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Microsoft and Apple appear to be trying to bully the Android ecosystem out of the market with lawsuits and licensing demands.

Companies have transformed patents from a way to a protect innovations, into a currency used to bully competitors out of the market.  (Source: Google Images)

Without intervention, Android's top phonemakers may find themselves forced into a financially untenable position.  (Source: Digitals Life)
U.S. antitrust regulators fear "Rockstar" coalition could litigate Android phonemakers to death

The smartphone war continues to rage on and Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android has stepped out into the lead.  It outsold Apple, Inc. (AAPL) smartphones over 2 to 1 globally in the last quarter.  And minority players like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) were struggling to cling on to insubstantial market shares.

I. Google: Market Champion or Buying Time?

Android's race to the top was fueled by its support of an open ecosystem in which players like Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI), Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930), and HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) could all make Android devices without direct licensing fees (Google profited off of app sales and mobile advertising).  

The result was an ecosystem which frequently delivered hardware that was more advanced than Apple, Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM), and Microsoft's offerings.  And not only was the hardware better, the selection was broader too.

But despite the appearance that Android won, the ecosystem is now facing the looming potential of doom.  That doom could come thanks to Apple, RIM, and Microsoft's growing portfolio of purchased intellectual property and desire to sue Android handset makers into submission.

Apple currently is suing HTC, Samsung, and Motorola in cases that stretch across multiple countries and continents [1][2][3][4].  Microsoft is suing Motorola as well and is using legal threats to try to force Samsung into a per phone licensing deal (as much as $15 USD per Android phone sold), as it did with HTC last year.  Likewise, Oracle Corp. (
ORCL) is seeking $6.1B USD in damages, claiming that Android is infringing on the Java patents it obtained in its acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

The combined picture is clear.  Apple and Microsoft have sued or entered into sweet licensing agreements with virtually every major Android maker (a few like 
LG Electronics Inc. (SEO:066570) have been spared, presumably on the merits of their smaller market share).

II. Android Faces Death by Multiple Means

The question becomes whether Android handset makers can remain viable in the face of these lawsuits.  While a $15 USD licensing fee to Microsoft might not be lethal, if Samsung and HTC have to pay an additional $15 USD to Apple and $15 USD to Oracle, the result may be the phones will become unprofitable.

On the other hand, if Google's handset partners refuse to play ball, they may be forced to pay even worse damages by international courts.

Apple, Microsoft, and others have multiple routes to use their intellectual property to kill Android.

III. Shadowy Alliance Beats Google for IP Treasure Chest

Those efforts have been strengthened by the purchase of Nortel Networks' portfolio of over 6,000 patents.  The telecom equipment maker put the portfolio on the market after it was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2009.

Google hoped to win the portfolio, bidding $900M USD.  It insisted that its purposes for acquiring it would be peaceful.  In its blog its Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker explains, "[O]ne of a company’s best defenses against .
.. [patent] litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services."

The comment would prove fortuitous, as Google was beat by a shadowy bidder calling itself "Rockstar Bidco".  That bidder offered up $4.5B USD, an offer that was embraced by a cash-thirsty Nortel, leave Google's potential offer in the dust.

So who was Rockstar Bidco?  Turns out it was none other than Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and three other companies -- the same players who are working to use their already substantial IP to try to sue or license Android handset makers into the red.

IV. U.S. Antitrust Regulators May Step In

The plot to kill Android is so obvious that it has top antitrust experts screaming foul.  Robert Skitol, an antitrust lawyer at the Drinker Biddle firm, opines in a Washington Post interview, "Why is the portfolio worth five times more to this group collectively than it is to Google? Why are three horizontal competitors being allowed to collaborate and cooperate and join hands together in this, rather than competing against each other?"

Brian Kahin, a senior fellow at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, adds, "The one thing that's significant here is you have three of the four smartphone platforms ganging up on the fourth. You want patents for an economic benefit, not as a legal instrument."

The questions Mr. Skitol and Mr. Kahin raises are reportedly being echoed among top U.S. antitrust officials.  Pressure is mounting for the U.S. government to block or place serious restrictions on the "Rockstar Bidco" acquisition of the Nortel IP.

The American Antitrust Institute sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, begging them to limit the purchase.

The sale is set to be made official on Nortel's antitrust proceedings today, though regulatory approval still awaits.

Mr. Walker says the outcome of the pending sale could be a matter of life or death for the Android ecosystem and free market.  He states, "This outcome is disappointing for anyone who believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition. We will keep working to reduce the current flood of patent litigation that hurts both innovators and consumers."

V. From Bully to Victim: Google's Unusual Situation

Google clearly won't go down without a fight, nor will its handset partners.  But if the intellectual property pressure grows too great, the Android coalition may be rendered unable to compete.

The situation is highly unusual, due to a number of reasons.  First, Google itself is the subject of antitrust scrutiny on reports that it abused its dominant Android position to bully service providers.  Second, the case represents a situation in which small players are able to team up and legally damage a clear-cut market leader -- a relative rarity.

Thus Google -- which of late has become viewed as a bully of sorts -- finds the tables turned, and finds itself a clear victim.

VI. The Big Picture

While the possibility that Android, a beloved smartphone institution, could be sued out of existence by Apple, Microsoft, et al. is alarming to many, this incident in many ways serves most of all to illustrate much broader problems with the U.S. intellectual property system.

Companies in the U.S. are laying claim to increasingly generic intellectual property and using that IP as instrument not to innovate, but to litigate.  The street runs two ways in most cases -- often times IP lawsuits are followed by IP countersuits [1][2].  But often one player in the market is using IP as the general bully, while the other is trying to defend itself.

Many argue the U.S. desperately needs intellectual property reform.  But the federal government under both former President George W. Bush (R) and under President Barack Obama (D) has been slow to act.

The Nortel sale should offer a key signal to the market.  If the federal government blocks it, it may be a sign that the era of using IP as an offensive weapon is coming to an end.  On the other hand, if it's approved without restriction, it will offer a virtual blueprint of how to defeat your competitor.  If the latter scenario plays out consumers may find themselves in an odd market where it's not the competitor with the best products that wins, but the company with the best lawyers and patent portfolio.

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If collusion can be proven...
By killerroach on 7/11/2011 2:13:36 PM , Rating: 5
...and, it appears in this case like it can...

...this is basically a slam-dunk case for antitrust prosecution. What Microsoft, Apple, and RIM have done is entered into a cartel, and collusion by market participants against those not in the cartel would be about as by-the-book anti-competitive as it gets.

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By cjohnson2136 on 7/11/2011 2:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
The three companies even used a different name for the bid lol. If it was so legit why use a false name?

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By achintya on 7/12/2011 3:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
All bidders used a different name. I cannot find the article where I read about it, but even Google did its bidding under a different name.
Originally, Rockstar did no consist of Apple but had the other companies on board while Apple was a separate competitor. It failed to up its bid once Google put up a significantly large bid, and then Apple partnered with it to effectively join Rockstar (and keep it from getting kicked out completely and use its money to buy the portfolio). After the partnership, Google could not outbid Rockstar and thus lost to "Rockstar Bidco"

A point to note here is that a similar consortium comprised of Microsoft, Apple, EMC, and Oracle acquired 882 patents from Novell late last year. So this new win should not strike as too different from the previous win.

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By mckirkus on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
By killerroach on 7/11/2011 3:37:52 PM , Rating: 3
Honestly, in this case? Yes.

Why? Because all of these companies have hostile adversaries. Not just one or two, but many (especially Apple, who seems to curate a decent collection of them to keep as decorations around the Genius Bar). Any sort of investigation ought to be "pass the popcorn" good.

Additionally, as much as I hate how the process works in this regard internationally, if not the US DoJ investigating, then it'll be the EU (which has no love lost for Microsoft) or South Korea (where Samsung, one of their beloved corporate titans, has been engaged in a cold war with Apple as of late). To wit, for those still cynical: If the US doesn't take a long, hard look at things, somebody else will.

By StevoLincolnite on 7/11/2011 3:40:23 PM , Rating: 4
Call me a cynic, but you really have that much faith in our financial regulatory institutions after their negligence nearly lead to the collapse of the entire global economy?

I didn't really pay much attention to the financial crisis... As we saw no impact of it here, we were one of the few Western Nations that saw constant growth through the whole thing.

But I thought it all came down to the banks giving away to many loans to everyone, even those who would have found it hard to pay back and thus defaulted?
What hand did the Government have in it's cause? I'm genuinely interested now.

Not looking forward to my 2015 Windows Phone Vista.

Vista is old news, just like Windows ME.
Time to move on! :)
I think Microsoft learned a valuable lesson and one that it will attempt not to replicate in the foreseeable future.

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By Smilin on 7/12/2011 10:16:52 AM , Rating: 2
One problem with your theory. The litigation began before Nortel sold it's IP.

Remember also that Microsoft had already PAID to license this IP from Nortel before they were bankrupt. Google would not be honoring that agreement if they won the IP.

Interesting how everyone runs to Googles defense. If they were peddling fake Oakleys and Rolexes (nice ones mind you...but stolen IP) would the story be the same?

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By killerroach on 7/12/2011 1:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
Love the rhetorical device. You can't prove a negative, after all. Nobody knows what would've happened. All we can do is speculate based on past patterns of behavior, which, in case you missed it, have been from Microsoft et al. suing Google and their partners, not the other way around.

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By Smilin on 7/12/2011 1:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
"Love the rhetorical device. You can't prove a negative, after all."? Please don't confuse academic discussions of logic to the real world.

There was enough concern to make a federal case out of it..

You're also misinterpreting patterns of past behavior. Microsoft (the $9bil/year R&D guys right?) have built a massive patent portfolio over the last 30 years. Google hasn't got squat. Now use that fancy logic and make a guess as to who is more likely to sue whom?

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By killerroach on 7/14/2011 1:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't change the fact that the lion's share of modern software patents should a) never have been awarded in the first place, but b) are used less to protect one's own property and more as a cudgel to ward off competition. Microsoft and Apple's patent operations are an object lesson in cynicism about the market process.

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By Smilin on 7/14/2011 2:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. So if you spent $9 billion in year on R&D how would you act differently?

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By Smilin on 7/14/2011 2:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. So if you spent $9 billion in year on R&D how would you act differently?

I'm betting that without our arguably crappy patent process that the $9 billion would have never been spent to begin with.

RE: If collusion can be proven...
By Smilin on 7/14/2011 4:35:59 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting so if dailytech gave you a double post for no discernable reason what smart ass comment would YOU come up with?

By tng on 7/11/2011 2:14:36 PM , Rating: 1
Just sad this is. Although Tony is probably all for it.....

RE: Sad
By cjohnson2136 on 7/11/2011 2:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know Microsoft and Apple working together. Tony might have a heart attack when he reads that.

RE: Sad
By Tony Swash on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sad
By cjohnson2136 on 7/11/2011 3:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
As long as this does not affect Google+ which I have been using the past few days and must say I like it's layout so much more then Facebook, never used Twitter so not sure what there's is like.

RE: Sad
By Pirks on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Sad
By name99 on 7/11/2011 4:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
Wait to miss the IMPORTANT part of that article:

"Additionally, the Frendzy provides a large external screen, which can be used as advertising space, while the car is parked as well as when it is on the move; the French car-makers’ proclamation to the world regarding changing marketplace trends in outdoor advertising ?"

WTF? So what your Blackberry Playbook is controlling is a large advertising panel on your car! An advertising panel that is supposed to run (wasting electricity in an extremely obvious way) on a supposedly environmentally friendly vehicle?

Without getting into the issue of Apple vs RIM, let me just say that this basic idea is stupid beyond belief. It's a concept car that will NEVER get beyond concept.
You know how to repel women and make sure you will never get laid again in your life? Arrive at your date driving a car that displays video public advertisements all over it.

Believe me, if Apple were asked to be part of this godawful idiocy, they would have sent the Renault representative out the door with a "fsck you, and never come back. You want our good name to go down with this POS?"

RE: Sad
By Pirks on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sad
By fcx56 on 7/11/2011 11:45:15 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny you posted this as not more than three hours ago I tried to watch Sucker Punch and had to shut it off less than half way through. One of the worst movies in quite some time. Yeah the girls were hot, but let's be serious, having to watch them act like they're acting was simply excruciating. Oh, and try to pick a girl up with Sucker Punch playing for the "outside world to view" and see if that goes any better for you, talk about hard boned...

RE: Sad
By Pirks on 7/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sad
By Smilin on 7/12/2011 1:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
Dude WTF are you watching a PG-13 movie for the girls? Find something R rated, geez.

I for one have no problem with steam and clockwork powered german zombie soldiers fighting it out with a 'mech nor a 30' tall samurai with a freaking chaingun or a b-24 liberator vs a dragon.

Maybe I wasn't after oscar material or something but I think you turned it off too soon.

RE: Sad
By Tony Swash on 7/11/2011 5:16:34 PM , Rating: 1
Nah, Google was just mocking you Apple zealots all this time:

If so they cut off their nose to spite their face.

RE: Sad
By Pirks on 7/11/2011 8:40:08 PM , Rating: 1
Haha, maybe, maybe, or else I'll enjoy the spite face of Apple zealots when Google buys RIM :P

RE: Sad
By Smilin on 7/12/2011 11:42:25 AM , Rating: 1
You didn't deserve a -1 for this post. Your reputation is pretty much fucked at this point sir. You can do no right. Maybe time for a new name (and some moderation of your fanboyism this time around)?

This is just getting silly
By monitorjbl on 7/11/2011 2:19:28 PM , Rating: 5
First off, it's ridiculous that companies already use IP as an investment platform. You can invest X dollars in purchasing patents, and get Y*X dollars by suing the crap out of anyone that makes something resembling what the patent details. Lawyers are starting to become a new, horrible breed of investment banker; while the banker will put the money into a company that grows, the lawyer takes the money and just leeches on others.

But it's even more ridiculous that IP can be used as a weapon, like this. Effectively, it's the same thing as buying off legislators and having policies passed that negatively affect your competition (and not you), but infinitely more legal. It's really sad to see what was an attempt at regulation to protect innovators be turned into a weapon to stifle them.

RE: This is just getting silly
By BailoutBenny on 7/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: This is just getting silly
By BailoutBenny on 7/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: This is just getting silly
By monitorjbl on 7/12/2011 5:10:17 PM , Rating: 2
I can understand the way you feel about the system as it stands today, but when it was written I honestly think its intentions were good. Remember, at the time the legal system was very friendly to the guy with the most money or social standing get away with anything he did, even in America. Our society and people were still pretty British at the time, we'd been a nation separate from Britain for about 6 years by the time the first patent was issued. Monopolies were basically guaranteed to exist without regulation in a climate like this; some rich guy would very likely come along and steal your idea, leaving you with no recourse but a bottle of wine (if you could afford it).

With patents, that could (almost) no longer happen. There would be a record of your filing at the patent office, so if some guy came along and tried to make money off your idea without your consent, there would be a mountain of proof against him that would make social standing and wealth less important. It's basically providing a ton of non-circumstantial evidence against the offender.

Unfortunately, the law is way too lenient on what a person is allowed to patent and who can own a patent. If you can't create a working prototype within a certain amount of time, your patent really should be revoked; in other words, you can't just own an idea because you were the first to think of it, you have to actually make something out of it. Furthermore, patents should absolutely NOT be transferable. There is no reason for another entity to assume ownership of something another entity conceived of and created. The only purpose for that is exactly what this article details.

RE: This is just getting silly
By BailoutBenny on 7/13/11, Rating: 0
RE: This is just getting silly
By monitorjbl on 7/13/2011 1:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, it may have been more accurate to say 'steal your product and design'. In ye olden tymes, there wouldn't be a whole lot of evidence that this occurred if the guy who sole it just went to a different town or state to produce it. And if he had more resources to start with, he could probably do it much better and end up putting the inventor out of business. Nowadays, that's much harder to do.

However, monopolies absolutely exist without government. In a non-regulated market, the first one to market will absolutely and permanently dominate the market. With no regulation on price fixing, espionage, murder, theft, or any of the tactics that could be used to establish an absolute monopoly, a smart company will use all of them. The only reason they don't is because its not in their best interests to break the law. A company wants to win, not compete; it's in their best interests to own 100% of the market share because at that point they control the price, not the market.

In other words, a perfectly free market by your definition is one in which the companies are still bound by some code of ethics. Ethics are simply another form of regulation in this context, and as such would not exist in a perfectly free market. They wouldn't exist even in a real-world market if there weren't laws codifying them and dictating the punishments for breaking them.

RE: This is just getting silly
By fteoath64 on 7/16/2011 11:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
@monitorjbl: Well said!. I will bring it a step further so people will understand one new thing today. A company is a "structure" that uses humans (its employees/owners/etc) to keep itself alive and grow to the maximum it can. ie making as much money as it can. As such, the humans will resort to whatever means (legally mostly, sometimes illegal, other times they don't know and don't care) to achieve this because they felt they are "part" of this company. This structure has no regard for human values and exploit human greed for money and for power to achieve its aims.
So you can see that large companies are totally sterile in working environment and often violate laws intentionally.
Humans can survive without the structure but the reverse is not true, so its is the proverbial enslavement, unless one cuts the cords and exits. The society and mindset need a major change for us to evolve, otherwise we are doomed!.

RE: This is just getting silly
By Murst on 7/13/2011 4:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
The purpose of IP law isn't to "compromise and inhibit true competition", but to protect investment.

Why would a drug company spend $1 billion or more to invent a drug if it could not have it protected by IP laws? Once a drug is created, it costs cents to produce. The only way to make back the investment is to be allowed to sell the drug at a premium. If your competition could just steal the idea and sell it for cents, there's no way to remain profitable for the inventor.

I do think that IP is being abused by many companies/lawyers, but it does actually serve a very useful purpose in society. The laws need to be updated so that inventors are in fact protected, but abuse is removed.

Google penny wise, pound foolish!?
By jah1subs on 7/11/2011 2:22:43 PM , Rating: 3
Seems to me that Google underestimated the value of the Nortel IP portfolio. I am sure that will also be part of Rockstar's defense.

By StephR on 7/11/2011 2:34:33 PM , Rating: 4
Rockstar should fill a lawsuit against Microsoft, Apple, RIM and the 3 other companies for using it's name /slap

By Smilin on 7/12/2011 1:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
I think Google just doesn't understand the concept of IP.

Much of this is wrong
By brokeniplaw on 7/11/2011 3:37:02 PM , Rating: 1
Much of this article is just wrong:

"That doom could come thanks to Apple, RIM, and Microsoft's growing portfolio of purchased intellectual property and desire to sue Android handset makers into submission."

I don't think much of what is being currently litigated is purchased IP. It is IP that was developed in house by the companies mentioned. That doesn't make much difference if the IP is trivial which it is in many cases but this is not a very accurate description.

"While a $15 USD licensing fee to Microsoft might not be lethal, if Samsung and HTC have to pay an additional $15 USD to Apple and $15 USD to Oracle, the result may be the phones will become unprofitable."

As far as I know, Apple isn't interested in licensing for $15 or any amount of money. They want the companies to stop what they see as copycat development. I think if Apple wins, it is much more lethal than if Microsoft or Oracle win.

"The comment would prove fortuitous, as Google was beat by a shadowy bidder calling itself 'Rockstar Bidco'. That bidder offered up $4.5B USD, an offer that was embraced by a cash-thirsty Nortel, leave Google's potential offer in the dust."

This is completely mischaracterized. The "Rockstar Bidco" was not shadowy at all, every company in the bidding process used an alias during the bidding. The companies that were bidding were well known to all parties. Google used the name Ranger and put up a $4B USD bid before giving up. They were also free to form a team with another losing bidder if they could make a deal like Apple did with Microsoft, Sony, Intel and RIM. As far as I know, they didn't do anything like that.

"The plot to kill Android is so obvious that it has top antitrust experts screaming foul. Robert Skitol, an antitrust lawyer at the Drinker Biddle firm, opines in a Washington Post interview, 'Why is the portfolio worth five times more to this group collectively than it is to Google? Why are three horizontal competitors being allowed to collaborate and cooperate and join hands together in this, rather than competing against each other?'"

This is wrong as noted above. Google put up almost as much as the Rockstar consortium before dropping out. Also, all the companies involved were vetted by anti-trust lawyers from the justice department before entering the bidding. This probably will limit how much "screaming" they can actually do.

"this incident in many ways serves most of all to illustrate much broader problems with the U.S. intellectual property system."

This is the real issue. Google only is against patents such as these because their portfolio is too small for them to win the battles. But I've seen no indication that they disapprove of the US patent system as a whole.

The US needs to fix the patent system but there is almost no industry support for such a move. If something like this motiviates Google to start actually pushing for real reform then that would be a desirable outcome. And not Microsoft's reform which consisted of them whining that they should be able to win more lawsuits because they have more money to spend.

RE: Much of this is wrong
By brokeniplaw on 7/11/2011 3:47:35 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, Google eventually did team up with Intel. It was EMC that was in the Rockstar group, not Intel.

RE: Much of this is wrong
By psonice on 7/12/2011 6:28:58 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. This is a piss poor article, tabloid journalism that seems intended more to start a flame war between the fanboys than report some actual facts.

Btw, there were also rumors that google wasn't taking the bidding seriously at all (they were supposed to have bid pi, and other strange numbers from maths).

RE: Much of this is wrong
By lawrance on 7/14/2011 12:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
Great points. Thanks for saving me the time of having to point these things out. I'd like to add a couple more. Google was out to do the SAME thing as the Rockstar Bidco group which to to buy the patents and USE them. The Rockstar consortium consisted of Microsoft, Apple, EMC, Ericsson, RIM and Sony. It's better to have 6 companies sharing patents then one company controlling all of them. For those of you who think Google was simply going to spend 4B on patents and not charge the other companies to use them, is naive thinking.

I just love how this article makes Google out to be the victim here. It's business. Google has 35B + in cash right now. They could have gone higher but evidently did not see the value vs return. They could have partnered with other companies that dropped out like Intel and the RPX consortium, but chose not to.

By sprockkets on 7/11/2011 3:56:40 PM , Rating: 4
Already been posted by Horace Dediu that Microsoft already makes more money over licensing with android than WP7.


Motorola however preemptively sued apple for the douchebags they are and are trying to invalidate their BS patents.

For that matter, it is always astonishing how companies can be sued for violating cell phone technology patents when the IC's in the phone already paid for the licensing to begin with.

Legislative vs Executive
By name99 on 7/11/2011 4:42:41 PM , Rating: 3
But the federal government under both former President George W. Bush (R) and under President Barack Obama (D) has been slow to act.

Uhh --- you do know how the US government works, don't you?
For all their faults, it was not within the job description of either Bush or Obama to deal with; it is the job of CONGRESS.

We already have to suffer from vast amounts of moronic political commentary every day. Couldn't you at least, if you feel the urge to throw such commentary into your writing, validate it? Rather than wasting time telling us who the presidents have been over the past twelve years, how about you tell us who has controlled the relevant committee in Congress, and what their record has been?

Fair is
By Belard on 7/12/2011 1:16:45 AM , Rating: 3
Wouldn't be nice if Apple would just try to win market share with innovation and products? They command the tablet market. But of course, if they are able to kill Android for Smart Phones it would directly effect Android tablets as well.

And then we got the whole Apple vs. Samsung who makes Apple parts.

Its the odd nature of the business. Sony sells notebooks with MS OS, promoting MS-OS, etc... then they are out to murder each other with their consoles.

By MeesterNid on 7/11/2011 2:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
It seems that at least they see (I'm sure with the help of Google's Jedi lobbyists) that the "dark side clouds everything" though I believe a better approach here would be to address the idea of these "soft" patents instead of forcing one group to do or not do something for/against another.

By adiposity on 7/11/2011 2:19:01 PM , Rating: 2
Google hoped to win the portfolio, bidding $900M USD. It insisted that its purposes for acquiring it would be peaceful. In its blog its Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker explains, "[O]ne of a company’s best defenses against .?.?. [patent] litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services."

I believe Google's final bid was $3.14159 billion. $900 million was their initial bid.

By Mitch101 on 7/11/2011 2:19:22 PM , Rating: 2
If I were getting $15.00 for every Droid sold that I didn't have to support in any way. Long live Droid. Bot em if you got em. But I think its the deeper level of a mobile OS eventually becoming a desktop OS that they want to kill off more than anything. After all a desktop OS isn't far from what the Mobile OS's do today.

By ClockerXP on 7/11/2011 3:06:39 PM , Rating: 3
Hopefully this allows WebOS to get firmly in the game!

By Pirks on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
Approved without restriction
By Ilfirin on 7/11/2011 4:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
FYI, the deal went through without a hitch -

Did people forget NTP vs RIM?
By vision33r on 7/11/2011 7:27:59 PM , Rating: 2
It costed RIM $550mil to settle with NTP over pushed email patents.

Now, multiply that by over 2000+ patents in this Nortel pool.

$15 per phone?
By benuphoenix on 7/12/2011 7:37:21 AM , Rating: 2
How is $15/phone realistic? Wouldn't that be obviously anti-competitive in nature?

How far back...Clinton
By bobcpg on 7/12/2011 10:17:18 AM , Rating: 2
Many argue the U.S. desperately needs intellectual property reform. But the federal government under both former President George W. Bush (R) and under President Barack Obama (D) has been slow to act.

What about Clinton? Where do you stop? How far back does the blame go? Until you get 2, 3 or more different parties involved. What if Obama wins the second term, then is it just his inability to act?

By masamasa on 7/12/2011 4:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think not. This isn't OPEC...freedom of choice. Stop peddling your crap to consumers through lawsuits and let them decide what they want. What a joke these companies are. They engage in corporate bullying tactics to get their way rather than competing fairly in an open market. Disgusting to say the least, but along the lines of pathetic.

F**k Rockstar Bidco
By Phoque on 7/12/2011 8:01:55 PM , Rating: 2

Is it just me?....
By MisterHC on 7/13/2011 12:20:24 AM , Rating: 2
Or is it hilarious that a company as big as Microsoft is so bad at implementing and marketing a smartphone OS that they have to use blatantly anti-competitive legal measures to beat the competition?

What next? Intel suing all smartphone manufacturers to force them to use some pathetic Atom based solution in smartphones due to their lack of vision leading them to a massive 0.0% market share in the fastest growing technology sector.

If you are stupid enough to let them..
By mosu on 7/13/2011 12:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
I have just one simple question: If Nortel's patent portfolio is so valuable, why did they go bankrupt?

By fteoath64 on 7/16/2011 11:08:16 AM , Rating: 2
US Govt should not only block this but fine each of the collaborating companies a billion dollars each for Anti-Trust infringement. Then award Nortel 900M for its worth then confiscate ALL the patents. Yeah, lock them in the Smithsonian vault. This leaves them with huge change in the pocket while the public will cheer.
PS: You know these companies are not Black Budget contractors so what do you care ?. Right?.

By xiaomai on 7/18/2011 7:30:02 AM , Rating: 2

I tide fashion
not expensive
Free transport

This needs to stop
By apexwm on 7/18/2011 1:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
At some point this needs to stop. Software patents have created a disaster for competition to compete the usual old-fashioned way, which results in better quality products. Instead, software patents have eliminated innovation and have hurt the consumers while these large and over-bloated companies duke it out. Thankfully open source and GNU/Linux attempt to get away from this, which provide true value.

Positive side...
By TakinYourPoints on 7/12/2011 12:58:07 AM , Rating: 1
On the positive side, at least it is the halfass second-rate mobile operating system that is being threatened here, not an actual good mobile OS like iOS, WP7, or WebOS

By sdfdsfsdfs on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
By weiwei1 on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
By icanhascpu on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Can
By Mitch101 on 7/11/2011 2:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
What is Jim Carey in the Mask?

RE: Can
By W00dmann on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Can
By worldturning75 on 7/11/2011 3:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
He looks to be a little late too. Both and Cnet are reporting that the Canadian and U.S. Courts have approved the sale.

By dapneym on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Ok...
By GrammarPolice on 7/11/2011 3:31:15 PM , Rating: 1
quote: But if the intellectual property pressure grows to great, the Android coalition may be rendered unable to compete. Should be "too."

FAIL! The word "to" is used correctly here. Don't issue corrections unless you know what you're talking about.

RE: Ok...
By rflynn88 on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Ok...
By JS on 7/11/2011 4:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's "sentence", not "sentance". Sorry, I just had to. :)

RE: Ok...
By rubbahbandman on 7/11/2011 4:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, way too much grammar fail going on here...

RE: Ok...
By dapneym on 7/11/2011 9:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
Hah, so I did bold the wrong one. I was in between my comment and my actual job so in the process I probably lost my place. Regardless, I apologise for the mistake. Despite that issue my point in general does still stand. I know others have commented before about issues with grammar and spelling in other articles on this site.

RE: Ok...
By GrammarPolice on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Ok...
By themaster08 on 7/11/2011 3:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
Minimise and minimize is exactly the same depending upon where you are from. Minimise is used in the UK.

RE: Ok...
By jnemesh on 7/11/2011 4:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but you also use "colour" instead of color...everyone KNOWS that brits cant spell! :)

RE: Ok...
By themaster08 on 7/11/2011 4:20:30 PM , Rating: 3
Hey, it's OUR language, we spell colour how we like ;) Everyone knows that you guys just got too lazy to put the u ;P

RE: Ok...
By cjohnson2136 on 7/11/2011 4:23:07 PM , Rating: 2
I mean the language is called English, I am an american btw, so I feel like the English have more right to make fun of us then us of them.

RE: Ok...
By Smilin on 7/12/2011 11:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
Jesus H man.

Capitalize your proper nouns. Don't comma splice. Don't use "then" when you should use "than".

I'm not a grammar Nazi but if you keep typing I might join their cause.

RE: Ok...
By GrammarPolice on 7/25/2011 3:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
minimised - past participle, past tense of min·i·mize (Verb)

By dwalton on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: WOW!!!???
By W00dmann on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: WOW!!!???
By Jeffk464 on 7/11/2011 5:22:56 PM , Rating: 5
I count myself as one of those fandroids. I can't imagine being forced to go with win7, IOS, or rim. Hell, I would probably just avoid upgrading.

RE: WOW!!!???
By p05esto on 7/12/2011 12:20:00 AM , Rating: 2
Each to his own though. I'm really looking forward to Win7/Win8 phone/desktop integration. I think Microsoft has the best platform for serious business users who run Windows on their PC desktop and laptop. Now, if you run a Mac you're probably not a heavy business user anyway so an iPhone is probably fine for you. My point is just that we each have preferences and MS has intellectual property that they earned and have a right to...just as Apple and Google does.

RE: WOW!!!???
By tamalero on 7/14/2011 11:38:21 AM , Rating: 1
no difference from apple sheep in sites like engadget.

RE: WOW!!!???
By mondo1234 on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: WOW!!!???
By redbone75 on 7/11/2011 7:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
I wish DT would atleast put the authors name on the title link.

You still don't have to read it. The author's name is right below the title after you click the link. It's not like you click a link and are suddenly incapable of pulling yourself away from the screen until after you've read it. That would be people jacking, not page jacking :)

RE: WOW!!!???
By bobcpg on 7/12/2011 2:34:34 PM , Rating: 1
I agree, Mick's articles are needlessly long.

RE: WOW!!!???
By rubbahbandman on 7/11/2011 4:50:06 PM , Rating: 5
Are you serious? I think the article makes it pretty clear that several of the companies listed as part of "Rockstar bidco" are horizontal competitors ganging up on the successful upstart (in the smartphone market) Google. Definitely anti-competitive behavior that offers no economic benefit to the consumer.

The way I look at it, patents were designed to protect innovations from being ripped off in the marketplace, not as tools that could be purchased and used to artificially deny marketshare for strong competitors.

By the way, while Google dominates the marketshare, they certainly do not dominate the profits. How would you like it if it was Google in place of Apple as part of the winning consortium? I would be just as upset if that were the case.

RE: WOW!!!???
By sprockkets on 7/11/2011 6:13:14 PM , Rating: 3
Has Dailytech become a tabloid?

Or has the author allowed his love for Android to become so great that its has force his articles to become almost propagandistic in nature. I see it as a major problem that I can get more detailed information on the patent bids from places like Bloomberg than I can get here. While I come here and see an article full of conjecture, insinuations and uninformed opinions.

It's Jason Mick. It's his writing style.

Of course, he's on record as being an iphone owner, at least in the past, so calling him an android lover isn't quite applicable.

Who made up Rockstar? Apple, RIM, EMC, Ericsson, Sony, and Microsoft all ended in the winning group. I don't know about you, I see an android handset manufactuer in there. I guess what can look forward to seeing Sony sue itself to make Android unaffordable for it to use in its smartphones. You know what patents Apple negotiated with RockStar to exclusively own? Nortel 4g patents.

Yes, but the exact details of who owns what isn't clear yet. And apple owning 4G patents is going to be leverage against a lot of people.

All the bidders were approved by the U.S. and/or Canadian governments. So can someone explain to me how it is ok for Google with the most dominant position in the mobile smartphone to claim sole ownership of Nortel patents but its somehow wrong that a consortium of smaller players in the market to gain those patents.

Apple has almost 2x the money of Google in the bank. Microsoft and Apple are suing android makers for patent infringement. Google is NOT the dominant player in the smartphone market either.

Now tell us who Google is suing? And tell us why douchebags like Microsoft and Apple won't sue Google directly over Android?

RE: WOW!!!???
By nolisi on 7/11/2011 8:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
Apple, RIM, EMC, Ericsson, Sony, and Microsoft all ended in the winning group. I don't know about you, I see an android handset manufactuer in there.

So what if Sony/Ericsson does Android- there's a good reason why they're in the group- they're also a potential target for a lawsuit. Remember, Apple is going after hardware manufacturers rather than Google directly. By buying into a shared license, there is probably a clause that each company in this bidding consortium cannot sue eachother over competing products.

Sony might sell Android products, but buying into this buys them defense against lawsuits from other hardware makers/patent holders like Apple who are sue happy. This is an age where every company looks out for themselves regardless of who supplies them.

Sony being an Android device maker has nothing to do with the motivation behind the major players in this consortium- they were just smart enough to get Sony on board to help with the purchase- and with the combined market cap of Apple and Microsoft, they were smart to get behind it. Google, unfortunately, wasn't smart enough to get more handset makers in line to help.

RE: WOW!!!???
By vision33r on 7/12/2011 8:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's a very good tactic for Sony and they will be allowed to keep their smartphone portfolio.

Fanbois on this site and other site does not understand just what an enormous opportunity Google missed here.

We are talking about 6000+ patents here!! All it takes is a few filings against Android handset device makers and you can bury them in legal fees.

RE: WOW!!!???
By someguy123 on 7/11/2011 9:53:34 PM , Rating: 1
Dailytech has been a tabloid for quite some time. I don't think I've read a single news story, that wasn't copy-pasted, that wasn't riddled with the author's biased comments or filled with insinuating questions.

Questions like "can they kill android?" are the lowest form of reporting. If you don't even have the information and the balls to bluntly say "This consortium is attempting to kill Android." why even ask such a ridiculous question in the first place? Oh right, because it's just a question. Out goes the responsibility when you're merely asking questions, regardless of how slanderous and ill-informed they are.

That said I do come to DT as it does a somewhat good job of aggregating tech related news. Find general information here, get the real story elsewhere.

RE: WOW!!!???
By TakinYourPoints on 7/13/2011 2:27:38 AM , Rating: 1
Has Dailytech become a tabloid?

There is no "become" here. The fact that this place is on the sidebar for Anandtech, a tech site with arguably the most editorial integrity out there, is baffling.

Builda better machine: fight Android!
By Pirks on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
By PReiger99 on 7/11/2011 3:29:45 PM , Rating: 5
The fail is strong on that site... made by and for deluded RIM fanboys.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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