Microsoft and Oracle are threatening Android-based phone makers, who had been enjoying the free OS from Google, with patent infringement and requesting to make a large payment, giving Apple an opportunity to widen the gap in the rivalry mobile OS competition.

Apple has developed their own operating system for iPhone, namely iOS, and only Apple, out of all the major mobile companies, enjoyed using it. Other major companies, such as Samsung, Motorola, and HTC, were not able to create their own, thus taking the advantage of the so-called-free Android OS on their devices.

It seemed like a good idea to use the “free” Android OS, until recently, when a serious repercussion started to haunt them down.

Perhaps Samsung and the others may not have to pay Google for using Android, but now Microsoft and Oracle, both claiming the patent infringement, are going after Android-based smartphone makers, asking them to pay per device, giving pressure on the companies.

“It’s not like Android’s free. Android has a patent fee. You do have to license patents,” said Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft has requested Samsung to pay $15 per device and the South Korean company is reportedly trying to lower the cost, according to the Guardian. Motorola has denied paying Microsoft and they are in a legal battle. HTC has made an agreement with Microsoft to pay $5 per device.

Oracle, who has already sued Google for infringing Java copyright, is now directly connecting with the Android-based phone manufacturers, reported Deutsch Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg’s to CNET. According to the report, Oracle has offered an early adopters program, where the smartphone companies have to pay around $15 to $20 per device to license the technology that Oracle claims its own patents.

Goldberg told CNET that so far there is none who signed up for this program.

Washington Post stated that obtaining the Nortel patents, a collection of over 6,000 mobile patents, at the last week’s auction could have saved Android. Unfortunately, Google has lost the auction against a team of rivals, consisting of Microsoft, Sony, RIM, EMC, Ericsson, and Apple who later backed others.

It appears that using an Android will not be free after all. Is it possible for Google to keep its customers? Or is this the downfall for the IT-giant in the mobile OS market against Apple?

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