Microsoft announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., to cross-license the patent portfolios of both companies, providing broad coverage for each company’s products. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties for Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets running the Android mobile platform. This means Samsung now pays Microsoft to use the “free” Android OS.

Samsung will have to pay Microsoft a small fee – likely between $10 and $15 – for each Android smartphone or tablet computer it sells. Microsoft won a similar licensing agreement with manufacturer HTC earlier this year, and has an ongoing dispute with Motorola Mobility.

“Microsoft and Samsung see the opportunity for dramatic growth in Windows Phone and we’re investing to make that a reality,” said Andy Lees, president, Windows Phone Division, Microsoft. “Microsoft believes in a model where all our partners can grow and profit based on our platform.”

“Through the cross-licensing of our respective patent portfolios, Samsung and Microsoft can continue to bring the latest innovations to the mobile industry,” said Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, executive vice president of global product strategy at Samsung’s mobile communication division. “We are pleased to build upon our long history of working together to open a new chapter of collaboration beginning with our Windows Phone “Mango” launch this fall.”