The following post is from David Howard, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Antitrust, Microsoft.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Tuesday announced that it has approved our purchase of Nokia’s Devices and Services business subject to certain conditions. MOFCOM’s decision effectively adopts Microsoft’s current patent licensing practices. In reaching its decision, MOFCOM concluded after its investigation that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone.
MOFCOM’s approval is based on a set of commitments which we’ve discussed with MOFCOM during the past few months (the English version of the commitments is here). There was an important principle with which MOFCOM approached these discussions from the beginning: any commitments should be focused on how our future conduct might change after we own the Nokia Devices and Services business, and should not impact our licenses signed in the past or historical practices. It has never been our intent to change our practices after we acquire the Nokia business, so while we disagreed with the premise that our incentives might change in the future, we were happy to discuss commitments on this basis.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business has been cleared to close in 16 markets and none of them has taken a different view, with the vast majority clearing the deal without any conditions.
We are very pleased with this important decision, a critical step forward in allowing us to close the transaction with Nokia, and we appreciate the professionalism shown by MOFCOM during this process.