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Do you realize this only applies to US, south corea and one or two contries more, right?
Here in Brazil, for example, Apple can't use their mafia payment tatics, as there are no such thing as software patents. SO Samsung, HTC, and others can sell their phones here without paying any extra money to Apple or Microsoft.
So what? The legal costs are extraordinarily high in just those countries alone. Plus, the resulting damages should they actually infringe on any of the patents in question would be staggering.
Hence why HTC and other Android OEMs are Microsoft patent licensees. Meaning Microsoft makes money for every handset sold globally, for patents in the United States.
So they are not insulated from the thread of patent litigation simply because it is a United States law.
My point is; that Android is not free if they have to:
A) License patents from Microsoft (and given the fact that HTC and others have done so, they've decided that the risk isnt worth the reward of dragging it out in the courts)
B) If they DONT settle, then they need to pay exorbitant legal fees, and even more in damages should they lose.
Android is not free, there are hidden costs everywhere. Thats just one of them.
Since it's a cost of doing business in US. I suggest that all those expenses are paid by US customers.