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David Drummond, Google’s senior VP and chief legal officer, seen here on the right.  (Source: Reblogging Donk)

Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs   (Source: Microsoft)

Frank Shaw, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications   (Source: Microsoft)

Email exchange between Brad Smith and Kent Walker  (Source: @fxshaw)
Google is taking fire from all sides when it comes to its Android operating system

I. Android Rises, Competitors Look to Cash In

When it comes to its prized Android operating system, Google is being attacked from all sides. According to the latest market share numbers from Canalys, Google's worldwide market share with Android-based smartphones is just under 50 percent. Likewise, for every two iPhones that are sold, five smartphones running Android are sold.

With Android already taking over in the smartphone sector, and preparing for a surge in tablets, Apple is looking to cut Android device makers off at the knees with lawsuits claiming patent infringement [1][2][3][4][5]. 

Microsoft is looking to get in on a piece of the action as well. It is already collecting a reported $5 for each Android-based HTC device sold as a result of a patent settlement. Microsoft is also looking to collect as much as $15 per handset from Samsung (Samsung is reportedly willing to settle for around $10 per handset). 

Throw in ongoing litigation with Oracle over Android patent violations, and Google just can't seem to catch a break. 

II. Google Cries Foul

Apparently, Google has had enough of its mobile operating system -- and its partners -- being attacked by competitors. David Drummond, Google's Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, took to the company's official blog and had more than a few words for Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle regarding their "bogus" patent claims. Drummond claims that the trio has sparked a "hostile, organized campaign" against Android and that their claims of patent violations are baseless.

Drummond even went so far as to dismiss Apple and Microsoft's buddy-buddy relationship which led to the purchase of Novell's war chest of patents. "I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades," opined Drummond. "Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what's going on." 

Apple, Microsoft, and four other tech giants purchased Nortel's patent portfolio for a whopping $4.5B, far surpassing Google's initial bid of $900M and final bid of over $3.14B. "The winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion," Drummond continued. "Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop."

Drummond goes on to talk about how everyone is ganging up on Google, and that such actions simply aren't acceptable in the marketplace:

A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a “tax” for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation…

We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it.

III. Microsoft Responds

Since Drummond called out Microsoft in the official Google blog, it shouldn't be too surprising that at least someone from Redmond was taking notice. Brad Smith, Microsoft's General Counsel, posted to his Twitter feed that Microsoft actually was looking to give Google a piece of the action with the Nortel patent purchase:

Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.

Frank Shaw, head of Microsoft's Corporate Communications department, even got in on the Twitter-bang action according to Engadget:

Free advice for David Drummond – next time check with Kent Walker before you blog. :)

Shaw posted an image of an email exchange (see image on right) between Brad Smith and Kent Walker, Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel, in which the latter said that Google would rather not go in on a joint bid for Nortel's patents.

It appears that the gloves are off in the mobile operating system battle, and Google is running out of friends to help keep it off the canvas. 

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Food for thought.
By Oxymoron907 on 8/4/2011 6:45:37 AM , Rating: 1
I have read most of the comments in regard to the joint collective bid. If you really think about it Apple and Microsoft bought the majority of the patents in doing so basically gives the deciding factor on what they take. If Google were to throw their hands into the action what exactly would they have gotten from it. I would have seen them getting table scraps. Now I could be wrong. But with this no one knows.

Now on the other hand to it. I have been thinking about those claims from Google about not using the patents to be on the offensive of taking down other companies. Part of me believes that. Case point is Google pretty much kept to themselves. Once they got huge and people preferred them mostly over Apple and Microsoft. That's when the Patent lawsuits and litigation's started happening. They have been on the defense pretty much the hole time.

But the case with Oracle had new evidence brought to light on that. One gentlemen said something about the Java use without license. There was a prior article talking about new light shown upon this. That Google in fact got the go ahead from Oracle's CEO to use java. Oracle then tried to delete this blog.


I am not the most educated when it comes to all of this. But from the things I have seen going on. I feel that Apple and Microsoft are trying to kill innovation. It feels like they want to settle with what they have so their will be no competition.

Now I dislike Apple more then ever. I don't have an issue with Microsoft. I also think that it was childish of the blog posts by both parties. This is definitely something to settle in a formal nature.

But I would like to see Apple stand up on it's own two feet for a change instead of resulting to patent abuse. It makes me wondering what they are doing since they also fall back on that.

RE: Food for thought.
By Conner on 8/4/2011 7:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
But I would like to see Apple stand up on it's own two feet for a change instead of resulting to patent abuse. It makes me wondering what they are doing since they also fall back on that.

ya... Apple should stand up on its own and reinvent another consumer product category... IMO after the iPod iPhone and iPad it seems Apple's has quite a few feet of its own.

(note I didn't say Apple invented I chose reinvent, cause honestly ideas aren't unique they're a dime a dozen, products on the other hand... are harder to download :) )

Curious how Palm Google Microsoft (insert major company here) didn't innovate until after Apple released their own product.

(props to creative and archos though, if only they were consumer friendly and knew what a good user experience was we'd be in a different world)

(now waiting for the down votes)

RE: Food for thought.
By TakinYourPoints on 8/5/2011 7:27:15 AM , Rating: 2
No downvotes from me, I laughed when I read the section you quoted.

Nope, they should just roll over, execute really well on yet another product category now that they showed everyone how to do phones and tablets properly, and then let every one else copy them yet again. Sounds fantastic.

RE: Food for thought.
By TakinYourPoints on 8/5/2011 7:24:28 AM , Rating: 2
I feel that Apple and Microsoft are trying to kill innovation.

Cute, since the facts seem to point at Google not innovating at all in mobile devices, just copying what Apple and MS do with a second rate mobile OS, then complaining when they don't defend themselves with a patent portfolio and act like confused children when the big boys start litigating and rightfully asking for license fees.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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