The company that makes the iPhone for Apple is now paying Microsoft to make Android phones

Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, is the Taiwanese company that makes the iPhone for Apple. But they’re also a company that makes smartphones for other handset makers. According to a report from Reuters, Foxconn has entered into an agreement with Microsoft for patents that cover Android and devices running Chrome OS.

What exactly does that mean? Say you’re a company that wants to make phones. You’d look at which mobile operating systems are currently the most popular, quickly decide to go with Android, and then gleefully grab the source code from Google’s software and start getting to work. Easy as that, right? Not really. Many parts of Android are patented by other companies, and Microsoft owns quite a few patents that Android uses. If you want to make an Android phone, you have to enter into an agreement with Microsoft, which means hiring lawyers and all that jazz.

With this agreement in place, you no longer have to sit a table with Microsoft and negotiate your terms. Now, you just submit your order to Foxconn, who is protected, and boom, you start selling devices.

Some of you think Android is “free”. In reality, it’s not.