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Android maker says Microsoft uses the patent system only when its products "stop succeeding"

There's plenty of accusations flying around in the smartphone market these days of intellectual property abuse, bad patents, and IP violations.  Who is good and who is evil depends on who you believe.  On the one side is Google, Inc. (GOOG), makers of the world's best-selling smartphone OS, Android -- and its hardware partners like Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KS:005930).  

On the other side are companies like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) who hope to force Google and its partners into lucrative licensing contracts [1][2][3] -- or companies like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) that hope to remove its Android products from the market [1][2][3][4] [5][6][7][8] [9][10][11].  In Both Microsoft and Apple's cases, their weapon of choice is IP.

I. Google Says Microsoft is Free-Riding on Android's Success

Understandably, Google isn't happy about this situation.  In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Porter, Google's general counsel on patent matters, comments, "This is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past, with Linux, for example. When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they've built up to get revenue from the success of other companies' products."

Windows Phone Mango
Google says Microsoft is a sore loser who is trying to piggyback on its success due to Microsoft's own inability to compete on the smartphone market [Source: Engadget]

Google's comment that Microsoft is standing on the shoulders of its success, is almost the polar opposite of a recent comment made by Microsoft's general counsel Horacio Gutiérrez who argued, "The [Android] devices have evolved and become so much more powerful, because they've added a number of technologies that pre-existed the new devices. In general, they use software to become general-purpose computers...In doing that, [Google has] really stood on the shoulder of companies like Microsoft who made all these billions of dollars in investments."

As for Mr. Gutiérrez' comment that the cross-licensing and lawsuits were part of a natural and healthy adjustment process, he points out that Microsoft itself didn't have to endure that with Windows, despite a wealth of prior art.

Mr. Porter comments:

Microsoft was our age when it got its first software patent. I don't think they experienced this kind of litigation in a period when they were disrupting the established order. So I don't think it's historically inevitable.

The period of intense patent assertions (against things like the steam engine) resulted in decades-long periods of stagnation. Innovation only took off when the patents expired.

So what I think we're hoping to avoid is this intense focus on litigation to the degree that we all stop innovating.

Google's attorney does raise some good points in that regard.  Microsoft is still struggling with the legacy of an infamous 1991 memo by Bill Gates, in which he warned that had software been patentable in the early days of the computers, "the industry would be at a complete standstill."  In that same interview, Mr. Gates expressed fear that "some large company will patent some obvious thing" and "take as much of our profits as they want" via litigation and forced licensing.

Bill Gates head scratcher
[Source: Business Insider]

Today Microsoft awkwardly finds itself in that role of the big company, who is taking big profits and trying to defend its patents -- some of which are seemingly obvious.  For example, Microsoft has a patent on display icons showing an image is loading on a webpage, and a patent on loading text before images, to speed up page load times.

Google's subsidiary Motorola Mobility has refused Microsoft's licensing demands and has made it clear that it will fight Microsoft in court, if necessary.  Google is already in just such a battle with Apple.

II. Google Promises to Aggressively Battle Apple -- And Microsoft, if Necessary

Microsoft is not alone in having to explain away statements of its past.  After accusing Android of being a "stolen product", Apple was left trying to explain away why it lifted ideas from from Xerox Corp.'s (XRX) PARC operating system in its hit Mac computers.  And it also had an interview of its own to try to explain away, in which late CEO Steven P. Jobs remarked, "Picasso had a saying - 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."  

Apple recently obtained a second patent on the swipe unlock gesture, a feature that was available on many previous devices, including Neonode Inc.'s (NEON) N1m -- a phone which launched in 2005.

In his interview, Mr. Porter complains that a big part of the problem is that obvious patents or patents where there's prior art are not rejected at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but rather have to be eliminated via litigation.  He remarks, "Unfortunately, the way it works is you don't know what patents cover until courts declare that in litigation. What that means is people have to make decisions about whether to fight or whether to reach agreements."

Mr. Porter also confirms that Google's recent sale of patents to top Android handset maker HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) was designed as a counterstrike to Apple.  States Google, "We've said in the past that we aggressively stand behind our partners and want to defend the Android ecosystem. I think that transaction was definitely part of that."

In the interview, Google makes an interesting case, arguing that the biggest problem with the patent system arises from patents that were granted in a lax era in the late 1990s and early 2000s, prior to a 2007 Supreme Court decision which forced the USPTO to be more careful in what kind of patents it allowed.  

Patents wide
Google says the patent system was at its worse in the late 90s and early 00s.
[Source: InvestorsEye]

Concludes Mr. Porter:

But I think what many people can agree on is the current system is broken and there are a large number of software patents out there fueling litigation that resulted from a 10- or 15-year period when the issuance of software patents was too lax.

Things that seemed obvious made it through the office until 2007, when the Supreme Court finally said that the patent examiners could use common sense.

But Mr. Porter says that his company is a realist, and if it has to play ball, it will play ball.  He concludes, "Google is a relatively young company, and we have a smaller patent portfolio than many others. So it's certainly true that part of our intent in buying these portfolios is to increase our ability to protect ourselves when people assert patents against us or our partners."

Samsung and Apple are currently under investigation by the European Union for abusing the patent system in their plethora of suits and countersuits.

For further listening (or reading) on the topic of the issues with the U.S. patent system, we highly recommend the program "When Patents Attack" by National Public Radio special This American Life.  The program is pretty pertinent as it chronicles the world's biggest patent troll -- Intellectual Ventures.  A company that was founded by none other than former Microsoft chief technical officer Nathan Myrhvold.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

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Google and Patents
By zzzgz5 on 11/7/2011 1:39:29 PM , Rating: 4
Until Google is willing to pony up and stand behind the device OEMs in court, they do not deserve to comment.

It's like complaining about politics and then refusing to vote.

RE: Google and Patents
By JasonMick on 11/7/2011 1:45:32 PM , Rating: 4
Until Google is willing to pony up and stand behind the device OEMs in court, they do not deserve to comment.

It's like complaining about politics and then refusing to vote.

To be fair, it is pretty much doing what you suggest there. It handed "patent-poor" HTC several patents as part of a cheap sale, which Google even admits (see above) was designed to protect the OEM. HTC is now suing Apple with those patents.

It's also tried to buy several patent catalogs (e.g. the Nortel IP), though it's largely been beat out by some enormous bids from Apple/MSFT and others.

An interesting side note:
Sony is remarkably well positioned in this mess, as it makes several distinctive Android smart phones AND bought in on the Nortel IP and thus has a stronger hand to prevent Microsoft/Apple from suing it.

Notice Sony isn't MENTIONED in Microsoft's list of who it's suing or licensing:

Coincidence? Unlikely.

RE: Google and Patents
By Shig on 11/7/2011 2:14:48 PM , Rating: 1
Everyone loses in our current patent system.

RE: Google and Patents
By Taft12 on 11/8/2011 10:27:27 AM , Rating: 1
Not everyone loses!,_Inc.#RIM_patent_...

(please don't take this as support for software patents - everyone is well aware it's horseshit)

RE: Google and Patents
By Daemyion on 11/7/2011 2:40:42 PM , Rating: 2
Sony already has a cross-licensing agreement in place with Microsoft.[1]

I think that what the op was referring to was the fact that it's considered industry standard to have an indemnity clause in enterprise software contracts. The fact that Google doesn't have one with it's OEMs means it doesn't want to face the legal battle by itself.

Also, before one brings up the matter of Android's license (the GPL) and Google's inability to indemnify through that, one should remember that Google licenses the Android ecosystem separately and could, if it wanted, add the clause to those contracts.


RE: Google and Patents
By Daemyion on 11/7/2011 2:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
A more reputed source:
-- Notice the deal directly addresses Windows CE patents

Also, isn't about time someone "licenses" an edit button?

RE: Google and Patents
By zzzgz5 on 11/7/2011 4:08:27 PM , Rating: 3
I'd suggest that if Google trusted those patents to be upheld in court, they wouldn't have Given/Sold them to anyone.

Sounds to me as if the patents weren't of much value to Google.

The Patent system leaves much to be desired, yet all of these companies are playing on the same legal turf. To claim one company has an unfair advantage over the other isn't a valid argument. For Google to suggest " We're a young company with fewer patents and they're picking on me " is pretty lame.

If instead they claim the patents are invalid, then man up and go toe-to-toe with MS and Apple. Otherwise it's just hot air from a tired old windbag.

RE: Google and Patents
By Black1969ta on 11/8/2011 2:02:48 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds to me as if the patents weren't of much value to Google.

On the Contrary, It merely means that keeping a valuable OEM is more valuable, does it matter which patent you own when you have no facilities to manufacture products? excluding Patent Troll companies!

RE: Google and Patents
By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 4:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft tried to include Google in the purchase of the Nortel Patents. Instead Google decided they would rather have all those to themselves. Stop trying to make them look like saints.

The entire reason handset makers are vulnerable is because Google hides behind giving away Android, leaving all the responsibility for licensing in the hands of the OEMs. If Google would actually license the software then there wouldn't be a problem. It sounds more like Google is a sore loser because they screwed up by not joining the consortium that purchased Nortel, and other, patent pools.

RE: Google and Patents
By matty123 on 11/7/2011 5:08:40 PM , Rating: 3
Not so sure that's true but I could be wrong...

At the same time, Microsoft began to complain that the auction could result in a termination of the existing licensing agreements they had on the Nortel patents . And while they never specifically mentioned Google, it was pretty clear that they did not want Google winning — such a victory would eliminate at least some of Microsoft’s patent leverage over Android .

But this complaining was odd since we had heard that the existing licensing agreement on the Nortel patents would have to be honored by any winning bidder . So what was Microsoft complaining about? At least some believe Microsoft was just playing mind games at this point — mind games which would later come into play.

While much of the press after the auction focused on the Rockstar group’s win, the court documents make it very clear that it was actually Apple that won in partnership with Rockstar. Apple was the only group that had not dropped out. Again, they staked the Rockstar group to ensure a victory for the stronger player. Why was Rockstar the stronger player? Because of the other companies involved. RIM, EMC, Ericsson, Sony, and yes, Microsoft.

All of those groups together had the cash and clout to break Google’s will. And with Microsoft, there was clearly the desire.

But why on Earth was Microsoft doing bidding on patents they already had licensing rights to? That’s not yet clear. But one has to assume that they simply did not want Google winning them — at all.

Even if Microsoft maintained licensing rights to the patents, a Google win would ensure that it would be a lot harder to sue Android and its OEM partners for other patent infringements. So it sure looks like Microsoft teamed up with longtime enemy Apple to ensure victory .

Now I don't deny I quoted pretty selectivly from the article but ultimatly it looks like microsoft helped buy the patents purely so they could sue android OEM's otherwise why buy patents that they have already paid license fees for and also I don't believe there was ever an offer to team up with google.??


RE: Google and Patents
By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 6:00:03 PM , Rating: 3
According to Microsoft it was because they wanted to prevent any one company from having full control over those patents. I do know they offered to allow Google into the purchasing consortium and Google turned them down in favor of trying to get those patents for themselves. I don't have any illusions that any company is "good" or "evil". They do what they have to in order to survive and they will spin anything to make themselves look the best they possibly can. I'm sure the full story behind the Nortel buyout will never be completely known.

But I know Eric Schmidt actually commented on being approached by Microsoft to be part of the consortium to buy those patents. He tried to spin it so Google looked like the good guy by turning it down. But how can we know how Google would have used those patents? The best thing for the industry are these patent pools that are starting to show up, at least under our current system. And Google didn't want to join that patent pool for whatever reason, good or ill.

RE: Google and Patents
By matty123 on 11/7/2011 6:39:58 PM , Rating: 1
But apple and the other companies would anyway have brought the patents apple alone contributed $2.6 Billion, the logic I can't understand is microsoft paying for patents that they already have licenses for, the only two possibilities I can see is that either microsoft wanted to sue people for infringing or prevent android from escaping the legal issues it already has with microsoft {this seems most likely seeing how much money microsoft makes off android and how many android OEM's it's suing} or they wanted to own the patents which is a real possibility but I consider unlikely because as mentioned they already have a compulsory licensing agreement.

Now I agree I am not saying google is a good company and microsoft a bad one, I use windows on all my home PC's and love it, have played around with linux but it's not really my thing, but at the moment microsoft is behaving like a child, suing the competition because there products arn't doing well.

This is one of the patents microsoft is using to sue android, this is absurd and it's ridicolous that microsoft would even patent something like this, this doesn't drive innovation and if it cost microsoft billions in R&D they have incompetent people working for them.

A browser remotely retrieves electronic documents from a remote computer network for viewing by a user. For enhancing responsiveness, the browser initially displays an electronic document without a background image so that the electronic document is initially displayed more quickly. The browser also prioritizes downloading of embedded images of the document by their incorporation in the currently visible portion of the electronic document. Further, the browser dynamically creates additional connections for retrieving resources incorporated into the electronic document from the remote computer network.

Another absurd one.

A computer system and method for highlighting and selecting elements of electronic documents is disclosed. In one embodiment, a selection area identifies an initial selection of data, and one or more selection handles appear on the selection area to allow dynamic resizing of the selection area to select a larger or smaller portion of data or number of items.

Now I appreciate that some ideas truly are great but I don't think the vast vast majority of software patents are, through in fairness the other patents are worded a bit to pompously for me to quite grasp maybe they hold more water, but just the fact that microsoft thinks this is something they should patent and own puts me off the.


RE: Google and Patents
By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 7:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, those are absurd. The actual implementation of code should be what is available for patent perhaps. Not the overall idea of what it could do. The way some patents are worded seems crazy.

As for why Microsoft contributed? My understanding Google was going to put up more than any one company was willing to put up and therefore they all worked together to put the money up. I think Microsoft joined in because Google didn't want to. Microsoft also can't use those patents in a suit because, ultimately, they don't own those patents. A consortium does. That other company could sue but likely will enter into license agreements. So rather than Google protecting the OEMs by joining the consortium they instead left them with another company they'll likely have to pay licensing fees to. Sad.

RE: Google and Patents
By matty123 on 11/7/2011 8:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, those are absurd. The actual implementation of code should be what is available for patent perhaps. Not the overall idea of what it could do. The way some patents are worded seems crazy.

Agreed on this point, I agree the way the code is used should be patentable but not {and I think this is where things have gone wrong the last couple of years} the use of the idea. I blame apple in this regard for all their absurd and frivilous lawsuits against android OEM's, they have all patent holders {Microsoft included} jumping about obsessed with proctecting the most absurd ideas in the world {through to be fair my research on this is limited this is just what I had gathered from things I have read}.

Good point that microsoft can't sue android OEM's over the patents but it must be noted that google did team up with intel in the bidding wars and that it was very widely speculated and expected that the patents would be sold to google at the initial offer of $900 million, as far as I read google in collaboration with intel went all the way up to $4.5 billion over 4 and a half times the expected value of the patents and this on top of the $12.5 billion google is paying for motorola mobility it's not to great a strech to say google could possibly not afford the patents.

Your points are solid and good but I am just not inclined to put that much faith in microsoft at the moment, while I greatly respect most of the products and have used all the OS's since MS-DOS {back in the day} and all the iterations of office and a whole bunch of their other products, I believe android is doing a good thing for the mobile lanscape and while I use an iphone I don't like the overly aggresive campaign microsoft and apple {admittidely microsoft are far better than apple since they at least license their IP apple just wants to destroy the competition} are waging against android seemingly largely because of it's success.

RE: Google and Patents
By matty123 on 11/7/2011 6:44:28 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry I meant to post this one aswell, this one takes the cake in my opinion it's almost funny that they are actually trying to assert rights to something as absurd as this.

Described herein is a portable computer having a limited display area. An Internet or other hypermedia browser executes on the portable computer to load and display content in a content viewing area. During times when the browser is loading content, the browser displays a temporary, animated graphic element over the content viewing area. The graphic element is removed after the content is loaded, allowing unobstructed viewing of the loaded content.

Link: Same as above

RE: Google and Patents
By Reclaimer77 on 11/7/2011 7:03:31 PM , Rating: 1
The entire reason handset makers are vulnerable is because Google hides behind giving away Android, leaving all the responsibility for licensing in the hands of the OEMs. If Google would actually license the software then there wouldn't be a problem. It sounds more like Google is a sore loser because they screwed up by not joining the consortium that purchased Nortel, and other, patent pools.

Practically everything Google offers is free. Google has built an empire of not charging the end users one red cent. So I disagree that they are "hiding" by giving Android away. It's simply Google's prevailing business philosophy. Get Android into the hands of the consumer, and through the use of Android, other Google services can be leveraged through that mobile device. That earns them far more of a profit than licensing the OS to OEM's.

RE: Google and Patents
By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 7:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
Normally, yes. But in this case the OEMs would benefit from buying the OS from Google and allowing the defense of intellectual property fall to Google. Instead Google is giving away the OS and can say "well, we're not responsible for the final product so you can't come after us". Android would benefit from being sold and licensed by Google, in addition Google would have more control over Android allowing them to give a better overall experience. My Droid 2 was a f'in nightmare. It made my HD2 with WinMo 6.1 seem like a super stable platform, which is scary.

RE: Google and Patents
By TakinYourPoints on 11/8/2011 3:42:15 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft tried to include Google in the purchase of the Nortel Patents. Instead Google decided they would rather have all those to themselves. Stop trying to make them look like saints.

The entire reason handset makers are vulnerable is because Google hides behind giving away Android, leaving all the responsibility for licensing in the hands of the OEMs. If Google would actually license the software then there wouldn't be a problem. It sounds more like Google is a sore loser because they screwed up by not joining the consortium that purchased Nortel, and other, patent pools.

If I could upvote this more I would.

Either way, we'll see how their purchase of Motorola Mobility will help Google going forward. They majorly screwed up not having a good patent portfolio, and hanging their hardware partners out to dry after the fact is disgusting. Rumors of HTC buying WebOS makes so much sense, I imagine some of the top management there is livid at the position they've been put into.

People are deluding themselves if they think "popularity" is the sole reason others are suing Google. Litigation means nothing if it can't actually be backed up in court, and right now Google doesn't have a leg to stand up on and it is their own fault.

uh, what?
By NellyFromMA on 11/7/2011 1:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft are a bunch of sore losers because.... Google is losing the patent war so they want to influence the public on it instead? Who's the sore loser again?

RE: uh, what?
By quiksilvr on 11/7/2011 1:41:13 PM , Rating: 5
No. The whole point of Android was so that manufacturers didn't have to pay for the software, making it more appealing than Windows (which worked).

So Microsoft used its patents to squash this perk for manufacturers. Now they pay nearly the same amount they would have to pay to run Windows Phone 7.

In other words, instead of actually competing, they are just using their patents to leech off of the manufacturers and Google's success.

RE: uh, what?
By kleinma on 11/7/2011 3:43:06 PM , Rating: 3
If google is found to be using IP that Microsoft developed and patented, then who is leeching from who?

All google needs to do is take all offending code out of android and then it doesn't need to worry at all about violating patents and paying royalties to Microsoft. Of course then their OS would probably suck so instead of doing that, they would rather just cry about it and hope someone does something in their favor.

RE: uh, what?
By sprockkets on 11/7/2011 7:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
Of course then their OS would probably suck so instead of doing that, they would rather just cry about it and hope someone does something in their favor.

Actually the phone/tablet/ereader wouldn't even function.

Add insult to injury, a lof of the stuff they are whining about is stuff the Linux kernel developed for years, and it is 20 years old.

Remember the FUD Microsoft been flinging "Linux" for years. I guess they had no target to sue that would yield $$$.

RE: uh, what?
By TakinYourPoints on 11/8/2011 3:33:30 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Google is now playing in the big leagues and learning that they should have built up a patent portfolio to protect themselves instead of leaving their hardware partners hung out to dry.

RE: uh, what?
By omnicronx on 11/7/2011 4:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
The entire point of open source is that you don't have to pay for software, that does not magically imply that said software is unencumbered.. You can't piggy back on the ideas of others and expect to get it all for free.

Sure companies like MS and Apple hold thousands of garbage patents that should most likely be invalidated, but I assure you many of them are unique and non obvious, and should be patentable regardless of the system in place.

I love Android, but this idea that because Google invisioned an OS that should be free, does not make it so in practice. They should have known better and been more careful in their implementation, perhaps only taking a chance on items that they knew could be invalidated down the line.

Not much in this world is free, the idea that a mobile OS which usually accounts for tens of thousands of patents is going to be completely unencumbered is a pipe dream at best.

And FYI.. this is coming from an Android user.

RE: uh, what?
By spaced_ on 11/8/2011 2:39:34 AM , Rating: 2

Free software is simply called freeware.

OSS is about sharing knowledge and ideas and generally encourages you to 'piggy back' off others, depending on licence. Some licences simply force you to acknowledge the original creators, some copyleft, like the GPL (try to) force proprietary companies to keep any piggy back'd code open (but often they don't, after all, who's going to sue them for violating the licence?), some licences have no restrictions. But in general open source has the philosophy that ideas and code are to be shared in order to allow for rapid innovation and increased knowledge for EVERYONE. Android, nor iOS, nor even Windows would exist without piggy backing from many pre-existing ideas and code, many of them open source.

The difference is, if you patent an idea, you can legally obtain free money. So if you're a public company and have a horde of lawyers, it makes business sense to take advantage of the patent system to increase revenue, thus making shareholders happy, thus receiving pats on back / penis extension for being a good CEO.

Software and 'design' patents are just plain retarded. In 99.999% of cases, all they do is hold the industry back. If you want to keep your secrets to yourself, then do so. In order to develop anything of any value, it takes years of development anyway, this puts you years ahead if your idea doesn't suck balls. This gives you lead time and market advantage ANYWAY. Why do you need another 5-10 years to milk money from others via the legal system?

Problem is, as a software company, Google's business model is simply superior to Apple/Microsoft for the general consumer, they're always going to get a larger user base / market share if they offer their sh*t for free compared with not free. If Google enter any market, they can undercut the competition and it doesn't hurt their bottom $$$ because they have a different business model. Apple/MS don't like having their markets taken away by a company that does things that make consumers spend less $$$ on wanky tech gadgets. So as a CEO of a software company, you either have to adapt, or sue. Which would you rather do if you were CEO?

RE: uh, what?
By NellyFromMA on 11/8/2011 9:02:24 AM , Rating: 2
MS played the actual game and followed its rules, Google had an ideology and are now finding out a little bit about the difficulties of such a athing. Microsoft wasn't late to the party on this one, and there isn't a think about Android that MS hasn't done already, don't you think?

RE: uh, what?
By Ristogod on 11/7/2011 2:25:21 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. I'm getting a little tired of Google and their constant whining.

By ZorkZork on 11/7/2011 3:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
Already now the GDP of the EU is same size as the US (or a bit bigger depending on whose numbers you use). Add Japan, South Korea, Taiwan then you got something fairly substantial. And in a few years there will be 500 million middleclass Chinese and Indians. Then it will not matter what patent laws exist in the US. Manufacturers will just skip offering devices with potential patent problems in the US. And then the rest of the world can get on enjoying the advantages of healthy competition.

By matty123 on 11/7/2011 4:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed for now the US gets almost special treatment when goods are released, it's usually the first country to get new products and the most likely to see many variations of existing products but if they keep this up in a few years the US will be specifically excluded because there patent laws are becoming more and more obscure and unfreindly to smaller players. Also companies like samsung arn't american and if you look how long the US had to wait for the galaxy s2 to arrive these companies may already be setting the trend.

By matty123 on 11/7/2011 4:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
Found this quite intresting aswel

At this moment, on the White House's official website for petitioning the government, the only thing as popular as legalizing marijuana and separating church from state is a petition to "Direct the Patent Office to Cease Issuing Software Patents."

There are lots of good reasons to end the practice of patenting software, including the fact that software patents are primarily a vehicle for transferring wealth from the innovators who create it to patent trolls whose sole "product" is litigation. (Software patents are also sometimes used by big companies to take their rivals down a peg or two, in what seems like an effort to pile up so many cross-licensing fees that they all cancel each other out.)

Link: https :// staging technologyreview com/ blog/ mimssbits/ 27194/ {Won't let me post link says it is spam

By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 4:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
So companies should spend money on research and development and have anyone else be able to take that and use it in their own software? I don't get where that logic comes from. And if Samsung is setting a precendent, they're doing it by paying Microsoft to use Android.

By matty123 on 11/7/2011 5:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think you misunderstood what I meant by samsung setting a precedent... what I meant was that Americans had to wait for the galaxy s2 to arrive in the states almost six months, {which is ages in the tech world} it was released alomost every where else in the world before that, I have family in south africa who had the galaxy s2 available locally in june. Anyway what I am saying coupled with the post above about how the EU economy is almost the size of the US and there are 500 million upcoming middle classers in India and China is that tech companies may begin to shun the US as the best market for products {or the first} if the goverment allows this patent trolling to continue, eventually when companies can make more money elsewhere without the legal hoops in the states companies may focus there efforts elsewhere {assuming they can make as much profit elsewhere}. Ecspecially of note is the well documented slide to unlock debacle that was approved in the states {for apple} but preliminarly chucked out in Europe because of proir art, the patent office in the states it seems isn't even trying.

By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 5:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with software patents being far to vague currently and that they are causing problems. But I also disagree with the idea that companies shouldn't have a way to protect their intellectual property. And I firmly disagree with Microsoft being a patent troll. They are protecting technology they actually use in their own products. A patent troll, at least the way I see it, are these litigation companies that buy up patents and go after large corporations when they never intend to actually use these patents in any actual product.

I think most agree, including Microsoft, that patents need to be reformed. But I've yet to see any real good ideas. And that's unfortunate. It seems the two options I see posted repeatedly are either let the patent system continue as is or allow people to use whatever they want with no regard to the money others have spent in research. And I don't have a good idea for an alternative either.

By ZorkZork on 11/11/2011 3:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
Patents should be reserved for inventions that are not obvious. The rest of the world allows patents for real inventions. This rewards R&D spending. The US seems unique in allowing patents for stuff like gestures, in-app purchases, etc. And since litigation is absurdly expensive in the US, patents becomes a tool for big established players to block smaller upstarts.

By Da W on 11/7/2011 1:21:44 PM , Rating: 1
The patent system is flawed, but it is what it is. The rules are in place, they are widely known, smart companies use it to their advantage, just like they use open-source code, inside innovation, insde hardware development, hardware partneship agreements, marketting campain, collect information from everybody who use their search engine / phones / e-mail account.
The weapons are there, just choose yours. That's the way the world works.

RE: babies
By HrilL on 11/7/2011 1:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
The way the system is today makes starups so risky for investors that its putting a dent on inovation. At a time when we need more jobs we're strugging with a system that has a strangle hold on inovation. Sure the rules are known but the simple fact is that the system is broken. Bad patents suck the life out of inovation.

The patent system is supposed to promote the progress of inovation. But now days it stifles it more than helps it.

RE: babies
By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 4:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, software patents need to be reformed. But do you think a company that spends billions of dollars on research and patents should have those ideas taken and implemented in competing products? Reform would be good but we need some way to protect the research these companies do. And would that change the fact that Google would still be "stealing" other people's work? Probably not.

RE: babies
By sprockkets on 11/8/2011 1:04:29 AM , Rating: 2
But do you think a company that spends billions of dollars on research and patents should have those ideas taken and implemented in competing products?

Well since "ideas" can't be patented...

RE: babies
By nafhan on 11/7/2011 3:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, I agree. The problem isn't MS.
MS, like most other businesses, exists to make money, and they're doing so through a legal means. That's it. It's definitely a problem, but not one of MS's making. Until some meaningful patent reform occurs, this will continue, and likely get worse.

41 legal cases against adriod
By chriswd on 11/7/2011 1:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
andriod faces 41 legal cases from msft, apple, oracle and many more even companies from the open world . it just cant stand. google doesnt even have well developed R&D unit versus competitors but wants to use the techonology for its own benefit and does not want to pay.

By TakinYourPoints on 11/8/2011 3:46:01 AM , Rating: 2
All of this and the courts have come against Google time and time again. Google is leeching off the work of others and have as thin as a patent portfolio gets in the tech world. They shouldn't be surprised if they need to pay license fees or deal with having their products blocked.

Who is Sore?
By ltcommanderdata on 11/7/2011 1:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
Google: Microsoft's a Sore Loser When it Comes to Patents

I don't think Microsoft is the only one acting sore. Yes, Microsoft had the luxury of not having a patent system that allowed software patents when it was first growing. However, software patents exist now. Perhaps that will change in the future, but you can't just wish away the current legality of them and the ability to enforce them. And unlike Apple's often dubious patents, I thought Microsoft's patents were generally considered legitimate and strong. So Google's complaints aren't that Microsoft's patents were wrongly granted, but merely that Microsoft has them, they are using them legally, and Google just doesn't want to pay.

By p05esto on 11/7/2011 2:38:22 PM , Rating: 2
Go away Google/Apple...didn't you hear Microsoft is cool again? Well, at least their products are cool again. Can't wait for the Win8 desktop/phone/tablet/xbox unification, run anywhere utopia! Just saying, if they do that right....they'll be #1 real quick. Business people are real sick of the lack of integration and lack of ability to do real work on these "smart" devices, if MS can put that all together they will be in a good position.

Wait, what the hell does my comment have to do with this story? Crap am I retarded!

By Maximalist on 11/9/2011 12:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
Not even a week passes by without Jason Mick's article on heavily and unfairly abused Android. This makes me sick when I read Jason's lies and stretches of truth. Hope that everyone else reading Jason Mick's drivel understands that Google never said "Microsoft is free-riding on Android success." Read the quote. It is the fanboi author who cannot shut up with every opportunity he's got about poor little Android being abused by bad Microsoft. It is Jason Mick who bends and stretches the truth in support of his pro-Android and anti-Microsoft agenda.

Come to think of it, DT appears so much biased towards the free-for-all concept (and pro-Android and anti-Microsoft) when it allows outright ridiculous propaganda articles from an established imbecile published online this often. They definitely cranked up the volume. Something pro-Android and anti-Microsoft comes out several times a week and even several times a day now. One has to wonder if there are other drivers behind the brainless puppet. Is Google paying DT to discredit and smear Microsoft?

No surpise here
By masamasa on 11/7/11, Rating: -1
RE: No surpise here
By kleinma on 11/7/2011 3:50:25 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm yeah bottom feeders who make products that virtually EVERYONE in the civilized world owns at least one of...

What the hell are you talking about servers for here? If you find the offerings over complicated, perhaps you should look into an easier career, like bagging groceries or asking people if they would like to super size... Probably closer to your skill set.

I run over 2 dozen windows servers, both locally and hosted, I service over 500 Windows based workstations from Windows 2000 to Windows 7. I have never ever had to call or pay for MS support for anything.. ever.

RE: No surpise here
By mcnabney on 11/7/2011 4:42:02 PM , Rating: 1
For a company with so much money, talent, and resources - Microsoft delivers a very unstable and unreliable platform. They make themselves necessary by deliberately interconnecting their products - OS - Office - Exchange. They routinely break compatibility when advancing any one of those products - causing chaos and requiring more needless upgrades just so a company isn't tripping over itself as different departments and companies communicate with one another. And they just sit as a tollkeeper.

They don't innovate - they collect a tax. Almost all of their money is from Window client and MS Office. Online services loses a billion or two every year and they squeek out a small profit on Xbox/Zune/WP7. I work in a Fortune 10 company and we are still on XP. The reason - they don't have anything new or worthwhile. They even forced Office 2007 which has cost my company millions in headaches and NOBODY uses any of the new features. Exchange is the anchor and it keeps us stuck in an overpriced MS hell-hole.

RE: No surpise here
By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 4:49:15 PM , Rating: 3
Exchange is a fantastic product. You clearly don't know what you're talking about. There are other mail clients out there, so feel free to look at other alternatives. What's your argument against using those other products? That they aren't as good? Well, there you have it. You just proved my point.

No other vendor offers top to bottom computing solutions that even come close to rivaling Microsoft. And that includes ease of use, functionality and reliability. Perhaps your company should look into someone more qualified to do your job.

RE: No surpise here
By sprockkets on 11/7/2011 8:32:33 PM , Rating: 2
Exchange is a fantastic product.

Uh huh. What also is fantastic is that iOS Exchange client works better with it than WinMob ever has or will.

Fun stuff.

RE: No surpise here
By corduroygt on 11/8/2011 2:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
It actually works better with my iPhone than my pc with outlook 2010!

RE: No surpise here
By masamasa on 11/8/2011 11:24:04 AM , Rating: 2
I love how every tech (clearly IT guys) come out of the woodwork as soon as I make a few comments about Microsoft Server products re: performance and reliability. Entertaining and not surprising.

RE: No surpise here
By masamasa on 11/8/2011 11:22:03 AM , Rating: 2
That pretty much sums it up. Unstable and unreliable, aside from Windows 7. Hardly innovative.

RE: No surpise here
By masamasa on 11/8/2011 11:20:33 AM , Rating: 2
Nice, but goons like you work for me, not the other way around. Go bag groceries yourself.

RE: No surpise here
By Camikazi on 11/7/2011 4:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm I always heard that Linux was best at servers, if this is true how does Windows not have competition? Unless it's not true, in which case Linux people are liars, unless of course it's that Windows server is a good product?

RE: No surpise here
By Labotomizer on 11/7/2011 4:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
He leaves out that Linux drives the vast majority of web servers. He also leaves out that Microsoft is one of the top contributors to the Linux kernel and that they also just supplied a ton of code to the Samba team.

He also leaves out that Novell was the top player in the server space until less than 10 years ago, when Windows 2000 and 2003 started to replace it in the server room. It didn't ride on the back of any other product, it replaced Novell servers because it was better.

RE: No surpise here
By sprockkets on 11/8/2011 1:02:16 AM , Rating: 2
He also leaves out that Microsoft is one of the top contributors to the Linux kernel and that they also just supplied a ton of code to the Samba team.

Uh, what? Microsoft may contribute to making the hypervisor work better, but other than that, you better back up the whole Microsoft is a top contributor to the kernel.

He also leaves out that Novell was the top player in the server space until less than 10 years ago, when Windows 2000 and 2003 started to replace it in the server room. It didn't ride on the back of any other product, it replaced Novell servers because it was better.

Uh, sure. You like a shill or something? Cause I can have you talk to the IT department at SSC here in FL about how much "better" Windows server/AD was vs. Novell.

Here's a hint: They dropped Novell this past year, not because it didn't work, but because the guy working there keeping it running died, and couldn't be replaced.

What next, you going to tell us WinNT replaced Unix at the workplace in the late 90s because it was better too?

Yup - I was right.
By wpodonnell on 11/7/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yup - I was right.
By ClownPuncher on 11/7/2011 1:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
At least you let us all know about your awesome opinion!

RE: Yup - I was right.
By wpodonnell on 11/7/2011 7:17:50 PM , Rating: 2
YAY, palm clap for you, but the point stands - Mick's biased, juvenile tone is easily distinguished and it's an immediate turn-off for those seeking more even-handed coverage of tech news.

RE: Yup - I was right.
By matty123 on 11/7/2011 7:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
Then please elaborate and show us the bais, I have read the article twice and as far as I can see it's a clear representation of the facts. If you claim there is bais the onus is on you to clearly show where the bais has occured not to make broad statements without providing any information.

RE: Yup - I was right.
By wpodonnell on 11/7/2011 10:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
Did you not take any post-secondary English courses? Do you really need me to hand-feed a critical evaluation of the article? Why don't I ask you a few questions in the hopes that it'll help you think on your own?

What is the relevance of the picture selected for the article?

What is the relevance of the title for the article? It attributes a message to one of the players involved, but is it a direct quote? If not, what does the tone of language used tell you about the author's position?

What about the main body of the article - what's the tone like there? There are three major players discussed: Google, Microsoft and Apple. What kinds of descriptive words are associated with each? Is there a pattern to the tone of those descriptive words for each?

You state the the article is a "clear representation of the facts." Do you believe, if an article were to consist of only facts, that it would be impossible for the article to be biased? Also, consider that not all relevant facts can be included in an article - what about facts that were excluded from the article? With that in mind, now do you think that it's possible for "just the facts," to be biased?

I know that this isn't the spoonfeeding that you may have been hoping for, but I hope this helps, none the less.

RE: Yup - I was right.
By ClownPuncher on 11/8/2011 12:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
Get a job.

RE: Yup - I was right.
By wpodonnell on 11/8/2011 12:53:21 PM , Rating: 2
Jobs are easy to come by. Get a clue.

RE: Yup - I was right.
By ClownPuncher on 11/8/2011 12:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
I love it when people get insanely wound up about things they cannot change. Yes, Mick has some bias, but you could save money later on, lowering your blood pressure, by not reading his articles.

RE: Yup - I was right.
By wpodonnell on 11/8/2011 1:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
"Insanely wound up"? I guess that you haven't taken any post-secondary English courses, either, if you think my tone is insanely wound up. Also, did I not explicitly state that I no longer bother reading his articles? You don't even need a post-secondary English course for that one.

Oh, but I do disagree that there's nothing that can be done - there's a chance that shining a light on Mick's lack of professionalism and/or incompetence will encourage a little more scrutiny from readers and the people that sign his checks. If people want such strong bias, there are more fitting venues for them and him.

RE: Yup - I was right.
By ClownPuncher on 11/8/2011 7:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
Post-secondary rant, neurotic pedanticism. I am, however, glad we have you to champion the cause of Truth, Justice, and Honesty in tech related journalism.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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