It was revealed today by Facebook that they'd be picking up nearly 1,000 patents, patent applications, and licenses for patents from Microsoft, the latter company having purchased these and more from AOL last year. Facebook's renewed search and purchase mission this spring, it should be no secret, comes amid their current spat with Yahoo over patents both companies say the other has infringed. Facebook's purchase of patents today from Microsoft is said to be a continuation of a deal that was forged last year when it was Microsoft who picked up an "all or nothing" package from AOL for $1 billion USD.
So we've got Microsoft picking up one amount of patents from AOL last year for $1 billion USD, that deal having also been considered by Facebook at the time (so says sources familiar with the situation.) Now we've got Microsoft selling part of that batch of patents to Facebook for $550 million USD. We do not currently know if Microsoft will profit, so to speak, from this deal because we do not have the full number of patents purchased by Microsoft in the first place.
What is known is that Microsoft is certainly happy with this deal. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith noted the following in a statement on the situation today:
"[This deal allows Microsoft] to recoup over half of our costs while achieving our goals from the AOL auction." - Smith
As Facebook adds to its patent portfolio, it becomes more and more able to defend itself against companies attacking them with their own patent collections. In response to this action, a Yahoo representative wrote the following today:
"Nothing about today's action changes the fact that Facebook continues to infringe our patents. ... We see today's announcement as a validation of our case against Facebook." - Yahoo Spokeswoman
Have a peek through the timeline below to see where this deal came from and get clues as to where it'll go very, very soon.