There’s something notable missing from Microsoft’s $7.1 billion purchase of Nokia’s phone business yesterday—the company’s giant patent portfolio.

As Nokia’s cell phone business declined, it started filing patent lawsuits. Nokia was unafraid to sue giant competitors like RIM and Apple.

The Finnish company’s aggression was one of the key factors that ended the detente between tech companies who used to avoid patent spats for fear it would only lead to “mutually assured destruction.” Microsoft paid billions for a license to Nokia’s patents, but the company has made explicit that Nokia still owns the patents.

The genius of this move is that it allows Microsoft to double down on its patent war with Android. Microsoft boasts that the majority of Android phones sold worldwide have already paid for a license to Microsoft patents. By 2011, patent licensing revenue exceeded Microsoft’s revenue from Windows Phone.     

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