Back in November of last year we reported on claim that suggested Microsoft makes as much as $2 billion a year off of patent agreements it holds over roughly 70% of the Android phones sold in the United States, thanks to partnerships signed with nearly every major Android OEM.

So what are these patent agreements actually about? Honestly, we really don’t know. Though we’ve heard thing about FAT partitions, microSD and the like — there’s never been a public master list of Microsoft Android patents, at least not until today.

One thing all these patents seem to have in common? They are all vaguely worded

It seems that China’s Ministry of Commerce has now published a list of 310 patents that Microsoft collects royalties from. The list was apparently produced as part of the interactions Microsoft had with China during the approval process for the purchase of Nokia’s devices/services division.

Out of the 310 patents, 73 of them are standard-essential and 127 patents are supposedly implemented in Android. While Microsoft has had some of these patents for a long time, others were acquired through the Rockstar Consortium. Obviously it would take forever to list all the types of patents that Android allegedly imposes upon but here’s a sample of just a few: “Data Format for Multimedia Object Storage, Retrieval and Transfer”, “ Synchronization Over a Number of Synchronization Mechanisms Using Flexible Rules”, “System and Method for Consolidating Television Rating System” and “Generating Meeting Requests and Group Scheduling from a Mobile Device”.

One thing all these patents seem to have in common? They are all vaguely worded, making it easy for a lawyer to twist them to cover just about anything Microsoft wants them to cover. This is just a brief highlight of what’s wrong with our patent system, you can essentially string together a number of words and call it a patent.

For a complete list of patents that Microsoft collects on, you can download a word doc from China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
  • Luka Mlinar

    As i understand it this is the only cash MS is making in the smartphone business. They couldn’t make a good OS if their lives depended on it. Any they tried nothing short of turning their OS into a LGBT flag. They did just about everything except what we loved in the first place; the clean Icon based environment.

    • MasterMuffin

      We is getting there. Being different isn’t bad :)

      • K2

        You seem to be the only level headed android fan on this blog.

        • MasterMuffin

          I’ve got nothing against Microsoft, you don’t become #1 by making bad products (with #1 I mean the most used desktop Os) :)

          • Nebojsa Trebjesanin

            Well MAYBE that’s true in a parallel universe? Who knows?

            But in this universe MS made 90% of it’s power through MONOPOLY IN 90’s! And because most devs like their app to be on the largest OS they can find (in mobile also), ofc that’s how Windows remained #1, because of number of apps (now it’s mostly because of games and because average Joe still don’t learn to work in Linux)

            And now that SAME MS plays bad for all of us games of patents, becoming just one more patent troll such as Apple and many many others! PATENT SYSTEM MUST CHANGE FOR GOOD FOR ALL OF US!

            And I’m not saying Google is not doing bad stuff such as spying (but dont be fooled by MS that they dont do THE EXACT SAME THING, also Apple, and almost every OEM has spyware in their official custom ROM)

            Also if Windows got most used because of APPS (def not because of open source, best OS (far from it, at least with their kind of monopoly money), stability, not having lots of serious issues, security, free licence, etc) then HOW is WP gonna rise? Because of its name? Just like Windows Mobile right? Where they abandoned it’s users and it’s not the first time for MS and if you ask me, unfortunately not the last time either.

      • CC

        I don’t mean to offend anyone but it’s not fair to blame Microsoft for their hard work for those technologies. I know some of those are no that useful but there are some good patents there too. I do really like Android as an OS (I have a Kindle Fire) but I don’t like what Google does. They used some technologies like Oracle’s (java) and from MS and other tech firms to build out an OS fast, and get ad revenue from it as fast as they can, then they let HTC Samsung and the other OEMs to pay for their mistakes (by licensing those patents) . They are just taking all the advantages from Android and the OEMs have to pay the price.

        And now you take all that anger to Microsoft because they didn’t license all those tech for free? Would you do that?
        It’s not like they dragged anyone into court for some small patent such as rounded squares like Apple did, (you know, squircles) but there are 310 patents.
        Heck … Google didn’t even build a Youtube Windows Phone app … they didn’t even allowed MS to build one ! It’s not like Microsoft said “I won’t license you this patent to build an Android phone”. MS even built OneDrive, Office for android and is consider to release Office for tablets before the windows 8 one.

        Just don’t let Google transform you into sheeps guys :) and have a nice day

        • MasterMuffin

          You maybe replied to the wrong person? Anyways I agree, over 300 patents aren’t nothing and Google isn’t being that nice to MS either. Just make the damn YouTube app for WP already Google!

    • Jayfeather787

      Agree. Windows 8 and 8.1 is pure garbage. Looks like a rainbow threw up on it, is slow, and is built for a tablet. Their phone OS is even worse. Linux is the answer and as always, LINUX FTW.
      Aside from that, Microdick should be focused on making a product over making court cases and patents. They spend too much time in the court, and it reflects in their garbage products.

      • ballistica

        The real garbage are their Win8 Store apps and tile-based start menu. If you rip that off you get pretty solid OS. So it’s more like experimental OS, not garbage. To be safe better wait for Win9.
        Agree with your second paragraph.

      • K2

        Dont be a blind hater, how is windows phone OS worse? It dint have a few apps you like so it worse? I tcame late to the market comapred to ios and android, so obviously it will be behind in apps. But it is getting almost all the apps. And it runs better on low spec phones than the garbage….android and ios.

        • Jayfeather787

          The ability to change the phone and customize it to your liking. Custom ROMs cannot be flashed on a windows phone. Plus Linux is just better in my opinion. I really like the way the filesystem works, and the fact I can get a terminal and run most Linux commands from a phone is outstanding. And as far as I know, pure Kitkat runs a lot smoother than on a windows phone with the same specs. My old Galaxy Exhibit second gen has similar specs to most windows phones, if not a tad less, and it runs faster than them. I know, because I have seen a windows phone with the same specs, and I compared it to mine, and mine was simply faster. As far as the desktop goes, I think that Windows 7 is great. It is a well built great OS. Windows 8 is garbage on the desktop. Simple as that.

          • K2

            So lack of customisation makes wp ‘worse’? Wow!

          • Jayfeather787

            Hell yeah it does.

          • K2

            It doesnt.

      • K2

        Bash microsoft if it wrongly sues android and google. But dont bash a genuinely good product.

        • Jayfeather787

          They make half assed products and they wrongly sued Google and Android.

          • K2

            How is wp halfassed?

          • Jayfeather787

            Because it is. Looks like shit, runs like shit. My comment below sums it up.

          • K2

            It isnt. It looks beautiful, and runs smooth. I have seen lumia phones run better than android phones with the same specs. Dont get me wrong i love google. But not android. I wish google itself had developed android from the ground up.

    • amanar

      that, and non-walled garden environment where you can install/develop app freely without any kind of restriction. I ditched WP because of that sole reason.

    • K2

      Who is ‘we’? Android fans? Why do you want wp to look like android? You already have android and ios ‘icon based’ Isnt it enough? If all oses look the same, it will be incredibly boring. You people speak so much about choice when it comes to android phones. Choice about how an OS looks is also important.

      • Luka Mlinar

        It looks like a theme. You can always put a theme on top of Android to look like WP but you can’t put a theme on WP to look like android.

        • K2

          So, that doesnt mean it is garbage. You want an icon based smartphone OS?……you already have it in android..

          • K2

            and ios. Dont mock another OS just because it doesnt look like or work like the OS you like and use. It is silly.

  • Jonathan TAM

    You guys spelled android wrong.

  • Evan Wickes

    andrew, 2nd to last paragraph really isnt true at all. 1) a title doesnt make a patent. its everything that is in the claims at the end of the document. 2) if you make a patent so vague, it does 1 of 2 things. it moves it into FRAND territory, where anyone can use it for pennies or completely invalidates itself. my company has written a few vague ones & the lawyers say it doesnt fly, since it can’t be protected in court. those patents are either refocused & rewritten, or just abandoned.

    • n900mixalot

      Absolutely correct. I’m glad someone else noticed that.

  • wat

    Probably the only thing keeping Microscum alive

    • MasterMuffin

      Nope. Have you seen how much money they have o.O

      • Jayfeather787

        Yeah. As a whole company, Micropenis has a ton of money. However, most of the money in their mobile department probably consists of lawsuits against Android.

        • MasterMuffin

          I googled micropenis and that’s actually a thing o.O

          • Jayfeather787

            I would absolutely hate to have that in my search history. I would get ads related to micropenis for weeks.

          • MasterMuffin

            You never do this stuff outside of incognito. Never!

          • Jayfeather787


  • saturobi

    The Arstechnica articles states, “the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) “concluded after its investigation that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone.”

  • Abd

    What a shitty company. From the top of the world to the top of words

  • Ruz

    Android came before MS so how? can someone please explain

    • DrewNusser

      Huh? MS was founded in 1975, and the first Windows Mobile phone was in like 2000 or something.

      • Ruz

        do u mean first touch screen windows phone??

        • DrewNusser


  • flamencoguy

    The world should just move to a Open Source Linux standard line ext4 instead of of using FAT, FAT16, FAT32 or exFAT for SD cards. That is what Microsoft is using to squeeze Android manufacturers on.
    OEMs can supply an add-on to Windows to allow PCs to access these formats.

    • Jayfeather787

      You deserve a million upvotes.

    • Julian Andres Klode

      Modern Android phones without an SD card use ext4 and/or f2fs for storage only. They do not include FAT support.

    • Dave

      Google can easily set sdcard to use ext4, but we all know they no longer have interest in sdcard so chance is small in vanilla android to have this feature

  • Aussie Droider

    Windows Phone and Stabbing myself in the neck. Not sure which one’s worse.

  • aahfeekiee

    This is the part of capitalism that, at its most profound, is still nothing more than rich people and their petty arguing. They’ve patented vague features, not specific systems.

    I guess when you can’t make money out of selling phones, you get to take from someone else that sells smartphones. Microsoft doesn’t give a shit about making good phones that are cheap the way they did with PCs, I guess there’s nothing much I’d ever miss by never going back to Windows Phone