Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 29th May 2011 21:29 UTC, submitted by teigetje
Microsoft It turns out that a lot of people haven't been paying attention. Over the weekend, a story about how Microsoft is earning more from HTC's Android devices than from its own Windows Phone 7 sales spread all across the web, with surprised reactions everywhere. Anyone who has been paying attention to Microsoft's recent patent trolling regarding Android could've seen this coming.
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Patent troll?
by malxau on Mon 30th May 2011 00:21 UTC
malxau
Member since:
2005-12-04

I'm not sure MS deserves to be labelled as a 'patent troll' for this. MS has been investing in smartphones for 10+ years, and although its market share is pitifully small it has contributed a lot of innovations that other systems are now using. It's certainly not a company that makes no products where patent litigation is a primary strategy.

Since a Windows Phone uses more MS technology than other platforms, the revenue MS receives from it per handset is significantly higher. MS would obviously far sooner sell a Windows handset than an Android one.

HTC (like anyone else) is free to develop a phone that doesn't use MS innovations, and sell it for whatever price consumers are willing to pay. Ultimately the market decides what Microsoft's innovations are really worth. Nobody is forced to use Microsoft's innovations, merely to pay for the innovations they use.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Patent troll?
by ephracis on Mon 30th May 2011 00:50 in reply to "Patent troll?"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

If you've been here for a while you'd know that Thom has been pretty clear that he does not see the requirement of not producing anything other than lawsuits as part of the "patent troll" definition.

I do however believe that he's part of a minority. But the given the trend I'm seeing he might not be for long.

"Patent troll" seem to be going down the same road as "FUD". ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Patent troll?
by lemur2 on Mon 30th May 2011 01:33 in reply to "Patent troll?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'm not sure MS deserves to be labelled as a 'patent troll' for this. MS has been investing in smartphones for 10+ years, and although its market share is pitifully small it has contributed a lot of innovations that other systems are now using. It's certainly not a company that makes no products where patent litigation is a primary strategy. Since a Windows Phone uses more MS technology than other platforms, the revenue MS receives from it per handset is significantly higher. MS would obviously far sooner sell a Windows handset than an Android one. HTC (like anyone else) is free to develop a phone that doesn't use MS innovations, and sell it for whatever price consumers are willing to pay. Ultimately the market decides what Microsoft's innovations are really worth. Nobody is forced to use Microsoft's innovations, merely to pay for the innovations they use.


Point of clarification: Mircrosoft has not established in a court of law that Android does infringe on any valid patents held by Microsoft.

All that Microsoft has established is that it is able to threaten firms like HTC with a lawsuit that will cost HTC more money to contest than it is worth compared to signing a deal with Microsoft.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Patent troll?
by Alfman on Mon 30th May 2011 06:02 in reply to "Patent troll?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

malxau,

"HTC (like anyone else) is free to develop a phone that doesn't use MS innovations, and sell it for whatever price consumers are willing to pay. Ultimately the market decides what Microsoft's innovations are really worth. Nobody is forced to use Microsoft's innovations, merely to pay for the innovations they use."

This is all very true for copyright, but not for patents.

Developers are often coerced into paying patent holders just to use their own independent code. The courts give patent holders the right to demand payment or shut us down. It doesn't matter if our version is superior or not, it doesn't matter if the patent is obscure or even if the patent was pending at the time. Having industry monopolies like MS to enforce patent monopolies against others is detrimental to innovation. I say this as a software developer myself.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Patent troll?
by bert64 on Mon 30th May 2011 10:04 in reply to "Patent troll?"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

MS might make more per unit sold with WP7, but they also had to pay to develop and market the software, a cost they don't have with HTC android handsets.

Ofcourse the primary differentiating factor is the shear volume of sales.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Patent troll?
by malxau on Mon 30th May 2011 17:24 in reply to "RE: Patent troll?"
malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

MS might make more per unit sold with WP7, but they also had to pay to develop and market the software, a cost they don't have with HTC android handsets.


The whole theory of patents rests on the opposite. MS had to pay to invest in smartphone OS development, including abstract ideas, concepts, and techniques. When handset manufacturers take those without paying, it distorts the market and discourages new investment into new approaches. The real question is what those things are worth.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Patent troll?
by JAlexoid on Mon 30th May 2011 10:23 in reply to "Patent troll?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Nobody is forced to use Microsoft's innovations, merely to pay for the innovations they use.


You haven't really been introduced to the concept of software patents, have you?
In US you can patent anything, even a patented idea. Just have to be careful with the words.
As for "innovation", it's not innovation when any other developer will do the same given same requirements.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Patent troll?
by malxau on Mon 30th May 2011 17:34 in reply to "RE: Patent troll?"
malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

"Nobody is forced to use Microsoft's innovations, merely to pay for the innovations they use.


You haven't really been introduced to the concept of software patents, have you?
In US you can patent anything, even a patented idea. Just have to be careful with the words.
As for "innovation", it's not innovation when any other developer will do the same given same requirements.
"

Actually I'm one of a small set of people with a Comp Sci degree and a Law degree. I've spent a lot of time looking into these issues in detail.

While I wouldn't dispute that the patent system is prone to abuse (and frequently abused), that does not mean that all patents are abuse in and of themselves.

Personally I'm not too concerned if an employer asks a developer to implement "x" solely because they saw it in some other product, and the subsequent implementation of "x" infringes on a patent held by those who conceived of it. In this case the first group had significantly higher costs by virtue of trying out many failed ideas, refining ideas to be usable and useful, user testing etc. The second group is just paying for code to be written.

The real question in this case is what the patents are; from there we'd know whether they are genuinely innovative or abuse. This is, of course, why patents are licensed under NDA...

Reply Parent Score: 2