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Microsoft appears to be taking sides with the Taiwanese cell phone maker HTC in its legal tussle with Apple over intellectual property.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it has reached an agreement that will give HTC the rights to use its technology in phones using Google's Android software. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Microsoft called the deal "an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property." Although Microsoft didn't mention Apple directly, this pact comes a month after Apple sued HTC and accused the company of violating patents related to the iPhone.

HTC is a key partner for Google in its expansion into mobile services, which has ignited a more direct competition with Apple.

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