The two companies decided to allow each other access to their patents. At first look, the tradeoff appears to unequally favor Microsoft, whose Windows phone 8.1 will be introduced in July. After purchasing Nokia, Microsoft’s Windows Phones have displayed a major highlight, photography. Canon’s patents will usher Microsoft’s efforts in offering cheaper quality smartphones. The patent partnership agreement will surely offer returns for Canon too. The leader on imaging devices will probably enhance the compatibility between printers, among other devices, and the business oriented software designed by Microsoft. This is not Microsoft’s first patent partnership agreement, the company signed more than 1100 of those since 2003. Being the leader in software development does give you an important leverages. One other important patent partnership agreement was signed three years ago with Samsung.
Microsoft’s patent partnership agreement intentions
Details regarding the effects of the patent partnership agreement are scarce. Such a grand event rather signals that outstanding products might be delivered, but not too soon. Both companies will need to digest a vast amount of information first. We can only guess the main domains where the effects will take place.
Microsoft started as a software company, but now has a couple of hardware product lines. Canon’s patents will prove useful in enhancing the imaging capabilities of the Kinect sensor-bar and the Surface tablets, along with Nokia smartphones. Android and Apple are far ahead of Microsoft, with Android having the largest majority of market share. Better imaging capabilities on Nokia phones (already astounding), will be a major competitive advantage for Microsoft. Moreover, by having access to Canon technology through the patent partnership agreement, Microsoft will drastically reduce R&D. As already stated, Microsoft will focus a great share of its mobile division on producing low-end smartphones. A couple of billion people still don’t use a smartphone. Maybe this will be an advantage that will give Microsoft a chance to increase its smartphone market share.
In turn, Canon could take advantage of the compact Nokia cameras’ benefits. Canon could offer lighter cameras without giving up quality. The software patents will serve as compatibility boosters for the Canon hardware and Microsoft business software.
It is not the first time that the two companies sign a patent partnership agreement. In the past, Microsoft allowed Canon to use its exFAT file system. With the patent partnership agreement, both companies will thus avoid costly battles in court, as opposed to Apple and Samsung.