Windows Phone Gets Another Backer

Remember when I foresaw Samsung and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) getting even cozier leading up to the first Windows 8 tablet? I hate to say it, but I told you so.

Today, Mr. Softy announced a cross-licensing patent deal with Sammy that provides broad coverage for both companies' products. Under the agreement, Samsung will pay royalties to Microsoft for Android devices, similar to HTC's $5-per-Android-device fee. One thing the deal won't do is help Samsung defend itself against Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) patent attacks.

Here's the part I’m far more interested in: The companies have also agreed to cooperate in the development and marketing of Windows Phone. Windows Phone Division President Andy Lees said, "Microsoft and Samsung see the opportunity for dramatic growth in Windows Phone, and we're investing to make that a reality." Similarly, Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, Samsung's executive vice president of global product strategy, added, "We are pleased to build upon our long history of working together to open a new chapter of collaboration, beginning with our Windows Phone 'Mango' launch this fall."

Sorry, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , but it looks like your OEM partners really aren't too keen on your acquisition from their camp. Samsung has been sending some pretty strong signals that it doesn't want to rely on Android as much anymore. The South Korean conglomerate has been focusing heavily on its own proprietary OS, Bada, and might even take it open-source and now is putting its weight behind the Windows Phone platform.

The announcement didn't disclose any specific financial terms, but a Reuters report earlier in the year had mentioned that Microsoft was originally looking for a $15-per-device royalty and that Samsung would try to haggle that down to $10 in exchange for supporting Windows Phone. Microsoft already has Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) onboard, although there's probably a lot more money flowing in that deal.

Evidence is stacking up in favor of my prediction that Windows Phone 7 will settle into a comfortable third place on the mobile totem pole. It shouldn't be too tough to topple Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) at the rate it's going.

What do you think? Will Windows Phone 7 finish in third? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Research In Motion. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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