It looks like Microsoft are going to start profiting from mobile phone operators selling Android handsets following the announcement of a patent agreement with HTC.

In what will most likely send shivers down other mobile handset makers like Samsung, LG, and Motorola, who've opted to use the free open source operating system, the two companies have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform.

The upshot is that under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC for every Android handset they sell.

Both companies are currently staying coy about what the patent covers, how much the royalties will be and whether or not Microsoft will be looking to earn monies from other Android users.

The news comes as HP has announced it is buying Palm, primarily so it gains its own operating system and can stop paying royalties to Microsoft every time it wants to launch a new product, something it seems other companies, like HTC might now not be able to avoid.