It's no secret that smartphone cameras are getting better. It's also no secret that stand alone point and shoot camera demand is down. So what do you do if you're a company with a lot of photography patents? Why, team up with a smartphone maker that's known for its cameras of course. That's exactly what happened this week when Microsoft and Canon agreed to share intellectual property. The companies said in a joint statement,
With this agreement, Microsoft and Canon gain licenses to each other's highly valued and growing patent portfolios.
The natural first question here is "What will we see come from this partnership?" Hopefully we will see Microsoft include Canon inspired lenses in their next generation of Lumia smartphones. Adding a high quality lens to the Lumia 1020 would make it a truly stand out product, and Canon knows all about high quality lenses.
There's also a potential benefit here for Canon. In addition to producing lenses for smartphones, Canon has the potential to improve their high end camera offerings. With the addition of Windows for Devices, Canon could develop a connected digital camera that people would actually want to purchase. They would even have the ability to encourage developers to extend the functionality of said camera.
Obviously all of this is merely conjecture. Some options are more probable than others. The important thing to take away here is that large companies are becoming more willing to work with others on intellectual property. The more willingness there is to collaborate with partners the more innovation we will see in new and exciting industries, like photography.