Nikon Now Paying Microsoft Royalties for Android-Powered Cameras

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Microsoft announced yesterday that it has entered into a patent licensing agreement with Nikon for Nikon’s Android-powered digital cameras. While the details of the agreement were not revealed, Microsoft did say that it will begin collecting royalties from Nikon for certain camera models.

You might be wondering what Android has to do with all of this, since it’s not a Microsoft project. Android is a Google-backed, Linux-based, open-source operating system, but just because it’s free software doesn’t mean it has been cheap for device manufacturers to use it on their gadgets. The reason? Patent claims.

A number of large tech companies have been forcing device manufacturers to sign licensing agreements in order to protect themselves against patent infringement lawsuits for various components of Android. It’s not just computers and phones, either. Since Android is now being baked into dedicated cameras, camera manufacturers (e.g. Nikon) have begun feeling the pressure.

The Coolpix S800c is Nikon's first Android-powered compact camera

The Coolpix S800c is Nikon’s first Android-powered compact camera

Now that Nikon is agreeing to play nice with Microsoft, it can carry on with selling the Coolpix S800c (its first Android-powered compact camera) and spreading Android to more of its future cameras without worrying about Microsoft launching a troublesome lawsuit against it.

Other camera manufacturers that are already in the Android-powered-camera game include Polaroid and Samsung, and the latter has already entered into a similar licensing agreement with Microsoft.

As more and more camera companies are moving into Internet-connected mobile-OS-powered smartcameras, many of them will likely turn to Android as their OS of choice. If that happens, Microsoft stands to reap quite a bit in royalties from the camera industry.

(via Microsoft via ZDNet)

  • Julian Trœps

    Canon, run away, fast.

  • Matt

    Interesting, woneder what the patents are for… I support patents just like I do copyright. But, that does not mean there are abuses…

  • Hubert Figuière

    Nobody knows. It is played like this.

    Microsoft: Hi, we have patent on Linux
    Trollee: Ok. How much do you want?
    Microsoft: More than we make with Windows Phone
    Trollee: Ok.

    Nobody know what the patents, Microsoft never disclosed them. The guess? They don’t exist.

  • No more Nikon

    Nikon, since I am currently in the market for a new camera this news has just made me decided to choose canon instead.

  • chili555

    If Microsoft could compete in the marketplace, maybe it wouldn’t need to fall back on its Patent Troll business plan.

  • John


  • Zos Xavius

    Really? If Nikon licensed into apple would you choose them then? Does it matter what these companies pay for licensing to you? Every single manufacturer has to pay for something as all hold different patents. How many pay licensing fees to kodak? You should buy a camera that will serve your purposes. It is a tool. If you don’t want to pay licensing fees to microsoft then don’t buy an android camera and don’t use a smart phone. The patent system sucks, but microsoft is no more evil for leveraging their patents than anyone else.

  • The Lord Lucan

    Canon and Apple are quite close commercially. Could be interesting if Canon go the opposite direction from Nikon.. But surely it’s Apple, that would never happen.

  • Damien Wise

    Microsoft are acting like it’s a standover job: “Pay us, and we won’t sue you.” Even though they’re using someone else’s operating system and software.

  • vivanteco

    not true. the usual patents MS asserts in relation to android are referenced by B&N in their complaint to the DOJ

  • vivanteco

    Im sure you will be sorely missed

  • eraserhead12

    seriously, what patent claims would Microsoft have on an Android-run device?

    when someone makes a full-featured mobile office app (for tablets) that rivals/outshines MS Office, Microsoft will be doomed.. just sayin’.

  • Amir Asyraf

    Good, no more noob Nikon user… GTFO

  • Ken Elliott

    So a 90% market share in personal computers is an indication they can’t compete? Sure, they get their tails whipped in certain markets (phone, tablet), but they dominate others (laptops, desktops, servers, word processing, spreadsheets, etc.)

  • John

    They can use Firefox OS or Ubuntu Mobile Phone.

  • Igor Ken

    this is kind of funny that a company that doesn’t even manufacture cameras gets money from the camera business via royalties. :)

  • Matt

    Where do you see the patents in that link? I see accusations that I could belive, I’m not fan of MS. But, I do not see any actual information on the patents. I think this is a case of abuse by lawyers, who are the real problem.

  • Geoffrey Froment

    So .. Nikon made Android ( google ) camera, and they pay Microsoft for … ?