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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. 



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

By Tony Swash on 8/7/2011 7:36:34 PM , Rating: 1
So let me get this straight.

Google's core business is built upon and defended by software patents. The secrets of Google's search algorithms are jealousy guarded. That is a 'good' use of software patents. Those patents are 'not bogus'

It turns out that there is substantial evidence supporting Oracle's claim that Google infringed Java patents, moreover some of the evidence clearly demonstrates that Google knew it needed a Java license but chose to not to bother to get one. Google's claim to have permission to use Java without a license is based on a single post in public blog by a Sun executive. Google is trying to get the evidence that it knew it needed a Java license excluded from Oracles law suite on a legal technicality whilst not denying the facts in that evidence. Apparently the Java patents are 'bogus'

Apple is not suing Google because Google chose not to infringe Apple iPhone and iOS patents in it's own Nexus handsets but turns a blind eye to Android OEMs breaching Apple patents and attacks Apple's defence of those patents because those patents are 'bogus'

Google opened the bidding for the Nortel patent portfolio and bid just aggressively as the other bidders for the patent portfolio. As the bidding process climaxed a large consortium coalesced which meant that companies such as Apple, RIM, Microsoft could collectively bid for those patents and remove a whole raft of patents from being used to attack each other in the future. Google were invited into this consortium but declined to join and subsequently lost the bidding process. Google claims it needed those patents for defence and merely neutralising those patents via a consortium purchase (which would have reduced the number of potential patents in legal play) would not have been good enough. If Google had won the bidding round then those patents could only have been used 'in defence' by threatening or actually using them to take legal action against other companies. Thus the Nortel patents are 'bogus because Google did not acquire them, if Google had acquired them then they would have ceased to be 'bogus' and would become legitimate.

Anyone else sense a pattern here? And I don't mean the freetards losing the plot.

I wouldn't even mind Google being such unpleasant assholes about all this if they just didn't bleat on in endless sanctimonious whine.


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