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Nokia CEO and former Microsoft Executive Stephen Elop.  (Source: ibtimes.com)
B&N: Microsoft is attempting to dominate Android with "exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions"

Can't beat 'em with innovation? Then we'll do it with litigation! -- That's the tone Microsoft continues to take with Google, and, more specifically, its popular Android mobile OS. 

The latest lawsuit coming to light is one Microsoft has levied against Barnes & Noble, alleging patent infringement for B&N's use of Android on its Nook e-reader.

B&N refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement, according to Groklaw, so it’s free to air its grievances against the lawsuit -- and boy has it. 

In its response to Microsoft's complaint, B&N says that Microsoft is trying to dominate Android with "exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions," that is more than Microsoft charges for the entirety of Windows Phone 7. B&N points to the strategic partnership with Nokia as evidence of the scheme.

B&N also calls the patents Microsoft alleged it infringes "trivial, not infringed and invalid."

Here are some longer excerpts from Barnes & Noble's response:

...Microsoft has asserted patents that extend only to arbitrary, outmoded, or non-essential design features, but uses these patents to demand that every manufacturer of an Android-based mobile device take a license from Microsoft and pay exorbitant licensing fees or face protracted and expensive patent infringement litigation. The asserted patents do not have a lawful scope sufficient to control the AndroidTM Operating System as Microsoft is attempting to do, and Microsoft’s misuse of these patents directly harms both competition for and consumers of all eReaders, smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile electronic devices....

And on Nokia's involvement in the alleged scheme:

On information and belief, as part of Microsoft’s recently announced agreement with Nokia to replace Nokia’s Symbian operating system with Microsoft’s own mobile device operating system, Microsoft and Nokia discussed and apparently agreed upon a strategy for coordinated offensive use of their patents. Indeed, in videotaped remarks made two days after the Microsoft-Nokia agreement was announced, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop confirmed that Microsoft and Nokia had discussed how their combined intellectual property portfolio is “remarkably strong” and that Microsoft and Nokia intended to use this combined portfolio both defensively and offensively. This type of horizontal agreement between holders of significant patent portfolios is per se illegal under the antitrust laws, threatens competition for mobile device operating systems and is further evidence of Microsoft’s efforts to dominate and control Android and other open source operating systems.

Microsoft replied to the allegations with its own statement to Geekwire: "Our lawsuits against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec are founded upon their actions, and the issue is their infringement of our intellectual property rights. In seeking to protect our intellectual property, we are doing what any other company in our situation would do."



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RE: Business as usual
By fteoath64 on 4/29/2011 1:02:14 AM , Rating: 2
"If B&N is violating a patent that MS owns then they either need to licence it or stop using it".

The triviality of the patents themselves make this determination almost impossible. Hence, it would be up to the judge to determine infringement. Having said that, any reasonable judge with some software understanding would dismiss this outright, or defer this to Google the owners of Android OS. MS is acting like a bully here. They should sue Google outright if they dare!.


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