Huawei is the latest to lock horns with Microsoft over royalty payments for its Android devices
Chinese mobile technology giant Huawei is the latest company to come under Microsoft’s sights as it seeks royalties from Android handset makers.
The news arrives as Huawei prepares to make its UK debut with the MediaPad tablet and Vision smartphone. The company has also announced it will open a design centre in London to target the European market.
The Shenzhen-based company has confirmed that Microsoft is pursuing it for alleged patent violations and that “negotiations are in progress”, according to a report in The Guardian.
However, Huawei has more than 65,000 patents, “more than enough to protect our interests”, Victor Xu, chief marketing officer for Huawei Devices, told The Guardian and the BBC.
Microsoft has already signed royalty deals with at least ten Android hardware manufacturers, including No. 1 smartphone maker Samsung, as well as Acer, Compal Electronics, General Dynamics Itronix, HTC, Onkyo, Quanta Computer, Velocity Micro, Viewsonic and Wistron.
Huawei is the world’s second-largest networking equipment maker, following Ericsson and ahead of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks.
It is now using Google’s Android operating system to aggressively attack the smartphone market, with the aim of becoming one of the top five smartphone makers within the next three years. Previously Huawei manufactured smartphones under the brands of various mobile phone network operators.
The UK is Huawei’s first key market outside of China, and the company said this week it is to launch a design hub in London with the intent of developing higher-end handsets for the European market.
The design centre is to open by the beginning of next year and will employ several dozen staff, according to Xu.
Huawei is expanding in the UK, Japan and India next year, and other markets in 2013.
The MediaPad, first unveiled in June, has a seven-inch screen and runs the “Honeycomb” flavour of Android. The device will cost £275 excluding VAT when it arrives in the UK in the first quarter of 2012.
The Vision smartphone, meanwhile, features a 3D screen and is closely tied into Huawei’s cloud services platform. Huawei first showed the Vision in August, and the handset is to launch in the UK before Christmas via Phones4U.