Microsoft Corporation is one of the world’s biggest software makers and manufactures and licenses a range of products and services related to computing. Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the company is probably best known for its Windows software, although it has begun an aggressive drive into the mobile sector seeking to make inroads on market share held by Google and Apple. It paid 5.44 billion euros for the handset business of Nokia in September 2013.
Microsoft sues Samsung over 2011 smartphone licensing deal
Microsoft has fired a legal salvo at long-time partner Samsung, accusing the South Korean giant of breaching a contract over licensing of technology used in the smartphone market.
"After becoming the leading player in the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung decided late last year to stop complying with its agreement with Microsoft," the US technology firm's lawyer said.
The complaint filed in New York alleges Samsung is baulking at making payments for patented Microsoft technology used in smartphones and tablets.
"We will review the complaint in detail and determine appropriate measures in response," Samsung said.
Microsoft contends the South Korean consumer electronics giant is not adhering to a contract from 2011, saying it filed the court action after months of "painstaking negotiation".
The legal pact involved Samsung paying to use Microsoft intellectual property, according to lawyer David Howard.
Samsung's smartphone sales have quadrupled since the contract was signed as it grew from shipping 82 million Android-powered handsets in 2011 to shipping 314 million three years later, Microsoft maintained.
Samsung is biggest maker of handsets powered by Google's free Android software.
"Samsung predicted it would be successful, but no one imagined their Android smartphone sales would increase this much," Howard said.
After Microsoft made a deal last year to buy Nokia's smartphone business, Samsung stopped abiding by the cross-licensing contract, the US company claimed.
Microsoft said in the filing that Samsung used the Nokia business acquisition as grounds to step away from the licensing deal.
Microsoft closed the deal for Nokia's smartphone business in April with some adjustments from the announced price of US$7.52 billion.
Microsoft in June opted for the Android operating system from arch-rival Google for its new Nokia smartphone, in a move aimed at regaining momentum in the sector.