backtop


Print 40 comment(s) - last by Tony Swash.. on Aug 7 at 7:36 PM


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. 



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Companies Whinging
By Tony Swash on 8/4/2011 8:53:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Did you ever bother looking up more information regarding the Oracle V Google case at all? You might want to do that...You're about a month on behind regarding that case considering that there is proof that Oracle supported Google and Android using Java....


What you and I think doesn't really matter as it's what the judge thinks that will matter but just to halt the urban legend process in it's track I feel compelled to correct some of the inaccurate things you write. Sorry I know facts annoy you.

Oracle has never given Google permission to do anything with Java in Android. I think you are referring to reports of a posting in 2007 on a blog in which the then Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz praised Google for their use of Java and Linux on Android. Recently he gave a sworn statement to Google saying that he did not object to Android when it was released and that he still views it as a 'positive development' for the Java ecosystem."

The full text of these remarks are here

http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/07/oracle-get...

Clearly this helpful to Google the question is how helpful and how much weight does this carry legally? I don't know because I am not a lawyer but my common sense says that if you are about to embark on a global project of the magnitude of Android and with the expectations that it will transform and disrupt the business environment of markets and companies worth hundred of billions you would want to get something in writing. Something pretty good in writing. Something a bit stronger than an entry in someone's blog. Maybe even get your lawyers to have a look and sign the form of words off as being legally strong. Instead it appears Google embarked on the Android adventure on the basis of a posting on a blog. Sounds a very silly and very reckless way to behave to me.

I am not a lawyer but again my common sense says that given that there is firm evidence that Sun offered to License Java to Google for inclusion in Android for $100 million then Google must have known a license was actually going to be needed. Instead, bizarrely given the tiny license fee requested, Google decided to press ahead with Android without a license. Again that sounds a very silly and very reckless way to behave to me.

?In a more recent hearing the attorney for Oracle read part of an internal Google email in court: 'What we've actually been asked to do by Larry and Sergey is to investigate what technology alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome,' the Google executive wrote, referring to founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. 'We've been over a hundred of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java.'"

?""That's a pretty good document for you," the presiding Judge Alsup said to Oracle's lawyer. "That ought to be big for you at trial."

?Then to Google's attorney: "'You're going to be on the losing end of this document with Andy Rubin on the stand. You think about that,' Alsup continued. 'And I want to say this: Wilful infringement is final. There are profound implications of a permanent injunction. I'm not saying there is wilful infringement, but that is a serious factor when you're considering an injunction.'"

Does anybody think that Google played all this well? Or played it particularly straight? Of have anything to whine about??


"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki