Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, walks through the venue ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony for the Foxconn Technology Group facility in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

iPhone Billionaire Gou Erupts at ‘Wrongful’ Microsoft Lawsuit

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Terry Gou responded with outrage to a low-key Microsoft Corp. patent lawsuit, accusing the software giant of a personal attack against him and his company.

The chairman of Foxconn Technology Group -- whose listed arm Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. assembles the iPhone -- called an ad-hoc media conference Tuesday to rail at his U.S. adversary. Gou, a well-known personality in Taiwan, proceeded to rip Microsoft apart for a “wrongful” attempt to extract royalties on Android software by going after FIH Mobile Ltd., his company that makes phones for Huawei Technologies Co., Xiaomi Corp. and other vendors.

iPhone Billionaire Gou Erupts at ‘Wrongful’ Microsoft Lawsuit

Gou is no stranger to patent lawsuits. In 2017, Qualcomm Inc. sued to force contract manufacturers such as Foxconn to pay royalties on patents used in iPhones in a case pending in San Diego. The billionaire, however, has kept a low-profile throughout that case, which involves Apple Inc. -- by far Foxconn’s biggest customer.

“Microsoft is falling behind in the smartphone era faced with the rise of Android so now it is adopting such a bad strategy,” Gou told reporters Tuesday. “I really sympathize with them.”

Microsoft is claiming in its suit that it’s merely trying to enforce contractual commitments from a 2013 agreement with Hon Hai.

“Microsoft takes its own contractual commitments seriously and we expect other companies to do the same,” the software maker said in an emailed statement after Gou posted comments about the case on Facebook.

Calvin Chih, chief executive officer of FIH, said contracts bar his company from paying on behalf of customers if they are not told by clients to do so.

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