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I really want to know what these patents are. The fact that nearly a dozen companies are paying up makes me want to know even more. On the outside it looks like madness.
This has been driving me spare ever since the patent deal with Suse. You don't deserve this money!
Maybe companies should start following the AOSP code (http://source.android.com/) instead of their own custom software. That would at least put the pressure on Google to do something about it.
I bet those are a whole lot of patents. Some like long filenames in FAT. Others are more like swipe to unlock. But the fact is, they're all bunched together so that the invalid ones don't get challenged.
Microsoft learned that from IBM, btw.
Not only that, those patent deals are signed with a NDA. So those who license with Microsoft can't talk about what patents they license or what Microsoft told them about what they have.
Wikileaks might help, if only one agreement was leaked!
Here are at least some more details:
'Examples include patents related to “implementing both long and short file names in the same file system,” a monitoring system that determines when to erase memory from flash memory devices, and patents related to managing contact databases and meeting requests.'
For some reason wikileaks is preoccupied with politics, or tech companies are more paranoid than world governments about their NDAs.
As I recall, Barnes and Noble didn't have any previous NDAs with Microsoft, so called them out on their bullshit when they tried to get licensing for the Nook Color. If that's the kind of stuff they're doing with other OEMs, maybe they need to just cut Windows Phone 7 to the curb, too. Dealing with Microsoft is more trouble than it's worth, and I'd like to see Microsoft push an OS with no preinstalled base.
I'm looking forward to seeing google (motorola mobilit) signing for a MS license to use android on their phones. :-)
Its interesting how so many people forget that Google (Motorola Mobility) does currently hold the patent for "THE CELL PHONE".
-US Patent 3,906,166: Radio Telephone System
-Dr. Martin Cooper, et al.
That patent was issued in 1975. It expired over 15 years ago. Edited 2011-10-25 11:52 UTC
"For those who continue to protest that the smartphone patent thicket is too difficult to navigate, it's past time to wake up."
WAKEY WAKEY, THOMY SLEEPY POO
That's a weird quote because "navigating the patent thicket" means being able to do business without licencing patents that you don't want to. Clearly this patent thicket has succeeded in it's task of requiring rivals to pay money to Microsoft rather than just work around whatever 'functionality' they claim is infringing..
It's a good thing for innovation. Microft has been relatively weak on patents. Now they have at least SOME leverage in comparison to the other big players.
"It's a good thing for innovation. Microft has been relatively weak on patents. Now they have at least SOME leverage in comparison to the other big players."
Jenni can you cite this because this is contrary to what i know.
Do you call 10000 patents weak?
This is three times more than Apple.
Not quite 40000 of IBM but definitely not weak.
No weak at all. And Apple would be in better condition in their suits if they licensed. But since they choose not to license they have to fight everything out.
But calling Microsoft a patent Troll is not right at all. A patent troll is normally a none practicing company that is just in business to sue over patents.
Microsoft is a company that makes products that use the things that they claim patents on.
The bad guy here is Google. They knew they should of licenses Java, they knew there were issues with Linux. Microsoft been making these threats for years! Yet Google went through with it, they didn't indemnify their OEMS or anything. Its a mess and Microsoft is profiting off it.
In the end Microsoft is gonna make billions (If Oracle doesn't shut it all down) and Google should be held to task for not doing what they should of.
Oh and to those who think Microsofts position is weak, look at what Samsung did. If they were in a weak position, Samsung would of laughed. But instead they took a license like everyone else!
Actually I think calling Microsoft a patent troll is pretty accurate. For one, they don't actually make Android phones. Two, they charge more for Android than they do for their own OS. Three, most of their patents are likely to be utter shit. Barnes and Noble is the only company who stood up to them. Hopefully Microsoft loses. The real problem is that all this is being done on the premise that its easier to settle than sue, so Microsoft never has to put up or shut up. That makes them trolls.
Thats your opinion, but its contrary to how the patent system works. If you disagree with it, fine. However you cant blame Microsoft for licensing patents it owns, and as it notes, being licensee of many patents (to the tune of billions of dollars).
Google blatantly disregarded intellectual property it knew existed when it went ahead with Android, and will pay dearly for it.
Patent litigation is a gamble, either you end up winning, and paying 0$ (modulo legal fees...) or you end up paying a very expensive license and damages (if B&N lose the battle against MS, it is unlikely they will manage to negotiate a good deal). The alternative is to take a license at a reasonable price.
So the guys at company headquarters, they do some calculation on the expected value. Assuming the cost of winning the trial is 0$, the cost of losing is 90m$, and the cost of the licensing program is 50m$, and the probability to win (for an US company) is 50%, you will get an expected value of 45m$ for the trial path, and 50m$ on the litigation path, in that case, it is very tempting to make the gamble and go for the trial. Now you are a foreign company, and there is a skew in favour of US companies inside US justice court (or the management believes it), then your probability to win is down to 40%, and suddenly your expected value is 55m$, for the trial path, making the licensing path a much better solution.
And all of the above calculation is made using a different set of parameters, with the advice of each companies legal team. Now you might notice the interesting fact is that most companies that have chosen the trial path are US based (B&N and Motorola), the other two are manufacturers and probably believe that MS can't harm them anyway, since they don't do business in the US. While the company that have chosen to take a license are all foreign companies. This tells us that we are very much likely to be in the situation of the previous paragraph.
Also, Samsung is already on the losing side against Apple, I don't really see how the management of Samsung would be completely insane and tempt to gamble a patent trial with Microsoft.
Great insight. +1.
So why didn't they just agree to pay $15 per handset back when M$ first asked them to? Wouldn't that have been better than trying to negotiate and then having to just surrender to the $Morg?
"On The Call: Google CEO Larry Page
Friday, October 14 2011 @ 09:15 AM EDT
QUESTION: So we're seeing some of the Android partners now agreeing to pay Microsoft licensing fees. So in order to protect the ecosystem is Google planning on subsidizing a portion of these fees?
ANSWER: Rather than see Microsoft compete in the marketplace with their own smartphones, they have really continued to resorting to legal measures to hassle their own customers, right? So, it seems kind of odd. We haven't seen the details of those total agreements. I suspect that our partners are making good deals for themselves there.
So while there is a lot of press around that, we are really looking forward to announcements (on a new Nexus phone) with Samsung next week, which I think will be very exciting. We see Android growing gangbusters and we don't see anything that is going to stop that. - BusinessWeek"
So, there may be more to this than just a hammerlock on manufacturers based on 'patent strength'. From what I've heard Samsung agreed to make more wPhone models and got some marketing money in return for that. So what if they don't sell? Even better ; money for nothing.
Sorry - you have lost me when you where naming software patents and innovation in one sentence. I mean - do you really believe that?
Why are you always modded down? Everything you said right here and now is spot on. Why can't OSnews be objective instead of trying to push Thom's agenda?
Yeh, we dont like this but at least Microsoft is open for business (if you can call it that) and not trying to destroy Android until their dying breath like Apple
Brilliant. SJ's death plays into Microsoft's hands to make their behavior seem relatively desirable.
Microsoft is in the right here.
By forcing the US patent system onto Taiwanese, Chinese and Korean companies? How would you like it, if foreign laws were more powerful in your country then your own?
Say... Saudi public beheading... or stoning.
They are not trying to destroy Android directly, but they are still making profit from it, which is wrong since they never contributed anything to Android development.
I personally would be very embarrassed if I had something to do with Microsoft, making money from someone else's work is beyond low.
Microsoft is a huge troll and it must be treated as such, I feel very sorry for their customers.
Apple, don't even get me started on this one... they both suck. Edited 2011-10-24 08:21 UTC
More like 'open for extortion'. That's no business, they don't produce anything of value for Android - other than crappy Windows Mobile phones. (Ok, they are not crappy, but I am really upset).
I really hope B&N and Motorola Mobility will put an end to this extortion.
Yeah, let's forgive all thieves, because they didn't kill anyone.. Edited 2011-10-24 12:28 UTC
It's actions like this that makes me feel good that I pirated my copy of Windows 7 off of The Pirate Bay. And any Microsoft app that I want I will not think twice about pirating it.
It's actions like this that makes me feel good that I pirated my copy of Windows 7 off of The Pirate Bay.
You might think you are harming MS with not paying for a license to Windows 7, but that license is peanuts for MS. They sell these as low as $ 50.00 to OEMS. Meanwhile you are supporting the Microsoft Empire by being an MS user.
You use MS Windows. This means you are buying PC hardware that is Windows compatible, which makes manufacturers and OEM's more likely to put more effort in MS compatible hardware, because that is what you are willing to pay for.
If you buy (however cheaply) some Windows compatible software, you are making Windows attractive for developers to develop for.
If you read articles on Windows (wether bought in a magazine or read online), you create a market for Windows material.
Even if you don't ever buy stuff (only download) for Windows, you still count as part of the installed base. Continued use of MS ware implictly signifies that you endorse what they are doing.
Why is it that "saying you're proud of breaking the law" is supposed to be some kind of automatic put-down? All sorts of normally-upstanding people are proud of breaking the law under certain circumstances, because there are a thousand laws that you can break every day, and some of them are silly and some are immoral, and others just make you feel a little invigorated when you break them, such as speeding in your car. Protestors are proud to be arrested for trespassing. My sons are proud when they ride their bikes fast enough down our hill that the automatic speed sign tells them they're riding fast enough to be technically breaking the law by going more than 25mph. Maybe it's misguided to feel a sense of accomplishment for breaking a Microsoft licensing agreement, but it's not like taunting the dead body of a member of a rival gang.
I think it's a beautiful day to start telling all my friends what a piece of crap Windows phone is.
...if they really have the balls to think of themselves as something else than a bunch of litigious f***s.
I worked with Microsoft people. I like a lot of them - they are good developers and even the managers are competent and skilled in IT stuff. But man, their legal department really sucks, and the higher hierarchy is just stupid.
Makes me feel good about turning down their job offer some 4 years ago.
The patent discussion on OSnews focuses on the wrong things. Working towards patent reform is a good noble cause, complaining that companies sue each other working within the current system is not really helpful in any way. Some fraction of Microsofts patent are surely valid within the system, they did invent the things they patented, and are most likely using it themselves. Microsoft also spends billions of dollars licensing patents to make the products they do. Google trying to get away with infringing on patents is not really helping the cause in any way, and Microsoft going after Android is not really surprising; they need to if they want a level playing field (either that or they should start infringing themselves).
It is important to note that Google has been no real friend of the fight to reform the patent movement. They have refused to sign on with such movements as NoSoftwarePatents. Not that this is a surprise, there is no company that has benefited more from software patents ever than Google, they basically went from nothing to one of the top technology companies using only US patent 6,799,176, PageRank. I think you can be certain that Google would have sued if their competitors had implemented PageRank.
To summarize, the debate about patents is not about taking sides with or against companies, it needs to be changed in the law. Until that happens it doesn't really make sense to blame companies, they are by law required to maximize profits for their shareholders, and this is a logical route. Most of all though, remember that Google is not on your side.
Good read from Florian Mueller: http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/07/googles-new-anti-patent-sta...
Considering how whiny you get when people nitpick stuff in your articles one would think you would be less quick yourself; Google holds an exclusive license to the PageRank patent, meaning that they can demand that Stanford sues if anyone infringes on it. Technically Stanford would be the plaintiff, but the practical difference is non-existent (Google was built around the patent, and could and would have people/companies sued if they infringed).
What exactly do you think an exclusive license means? That Google is "exclusively" the only company that needs a license to get to use PageRank? Either you are playing stupid or you are misunderstanding something fundamental here.
No one else being able to license it would in any sane contract implies that no one else should get to use it for free, which implies some level of protection of the IP involved. You of course get to continue to subscribe to any theory you want that makes Google look idiotic (if they got an exclusive license without any way to enforce it) or benevolent or whatever, but to me this line of argument appears disingenuous at best and just silly at worst. Much like pretty much all of OSnews patent crusade granted, so there is at least some level of consistency.
You're claiming Google can demand Stanford sues anybody who infringes the pagerank patent simply because Google has an exclusive license. This claim is based on absolutely nothing, and you're pulling it out of thin air. I point that out, and I'm the bad guy?
Look, an exclusive license to use something is just that - an exclusive license to use something. It by no means indicates any level of Google control over Stanford's legal dpt. in any way, shape, or form. Stanford is a big boy - one of the most influential and most prestigious institutions in the world - and you truly think they let their legal team be bullied around by Google, a newcomer, which quite likely may only exists for a few decades?
I just wonder where does that certainty come from? Exclusive rights does not imply anything of the sort. Exclusive license implies only that Stanford has an obligation not lo license the technology to anyone else. They can sit on their hands while everyone in the world implements it or they can sue everyone left and right.
There probably is a clause that indicates Google can sue anyone using patented invention.
It is totally logical that such a clause exists, as it gives teeth to the exclusive license agreement. Actually, it would be a bit meaningless to have such a license without a clause like that.
Microsoft, instead of litigating and trying to kill Android, decided to profit from it instead. Android is not going anywhere and so you are best betting on profiting from it. Steve Jobs didn't care about the financial aspect as he was driven by revenge and wanted Android dead. Steve Ballmer being an Economics major and a genius saw the business opportunity in licensing patents to Android vendors.
I read that article and pretty much started gagging. Well good for the MS share holders (I guess) that they are successfully ripping off companies. They really should be forced to reveal the patents being infringed, otherwise it is simply unjust.
They are scared of that, since most of their patents are total junk. So when they don't tell what that junk is, others can't easily defend against their stupid claims.
They assess their risks, and consider not litigating a smaller loss. It doesn't prove patents validity in reality. Edited 2011-10-25 03:36 UTC
Sounds stupid enough to boast with such racket practice. They seem to think that it's something honorable. What a perverted company.
Where is your pride, HP?