Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Aug 2011 21:38 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y The Google-Microsoft patent war of words is continuing. Yesterday, Google (rightfully so, in my book) accused Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle partaking in an organised patent attack against Android, instead of competing on merit, claiming that they bought up Novell's and Nortel's patents solely to attack Android and its device makers. Microsoft struck back, claiming Google was offered to join in on the bids for the Novell patents, but rejected the offer. Google has now responded to this accusation - and to make matters even more confusing, Microsoft responded back. A public shouting match between two powerful parties? Count me in!
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RE[2]: OIN? Are you serious?
by kristoph on Fri 5th Aug 2011 00:23 UTC in reply to "RE: OIN? Are you serious?"
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Well, oh so many reasons, here is a few ...

1) Microsoft was at the the time and is at the moment the dominant OS platform so it's ability to assert patents over Linux was a big deal because it would improve Microsoft's already dominant position.

Google is currently the largest player in search and Android is now the most popular operating system in mobile (it's bigger then Microsoft + Apple combined) so it's not like anyones dominant position will be improved.

You might argue that Apple's dominant position as a smartphone vendor would be improved but it's slice of the pie is still pretty small compared to what Microsoft had (and has) on the desktop.

2) Most of the Novell patents were for software that was implicitly or explicitly related to the DOJ / Microsoft anti-trust case while these patents are mostly for hardware unrelated to any pending actions by the DOJ.

Obviously, OIN would not play a role since there is little if any impact on Linux.

3) The Novell deal was pocket change for most of the companies involved (including Novell) so when the DOJ wanted changes everyone smiled and moved on. This deal is $4.5 BILLION that will make a huge number of bondholders (in an otherwise bankrupt company) whole. If the deal was watered down those patents would not be worth the same amount making a large number of people deeply unhappy which means the bar for government action is much higher.

Possibly, Google could come to the table at this point so everyone had a license to the patents at the same market value but, really, all that would mean is that RockStar could not use them offensively which would make it as unattractive to Google as a Microsoft-Google deal for the Novell patents (because they could also not be used counter offensively).

This is just generally a crappy position for Google. Patent reform is not coming soon so the best they can hope for is to reduce the damage these patents will do to Android vendors (ultimately there is no doubt that every Android device sold will fill the coffers of multiple companies; the key for Google is making sure the fee is small enough to keep Android attractive).


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