Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st May 2012 23:47 UTC
Legal "He's one of 10 reverse-engineers working full time for a stealthy company funded by some of the biggest names in technology: Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Sony, and Ericsson. Called the Rockstar Consortium, the 32-person outfit has a single-minded mission: It examines successful products, like routers and smartphones, and it tries to find proof that these products infringe on a portfolio of over 4,000 technology patents once owned by one of the world's largest telecommunications companies. When a Rockstar engineer uncovers evidence of infringement, the company documents it, contacts the manufacturer, and demands licensing fees for the patents in question. The demand is backed by the implicit threat of a patent lawsuit in federal court." And then people wonder why I call Apple and Microsoft patent trolls. These are the people destroying this industry, with Apple, Microsoft, RIM, etc. money. Sickeningly low.
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How stupid were Google
by Tony Swash on Tue 22nd May 2012 10:18 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I remember thinking at the time of the Nortel auction just how stupid Google seemed to be, how utterly inept, how frankly juvenile their senior management team seemed to be.

Consider the context at the time of the auction. Google was very openly and aggressively attacking the business models of some of the largest tech companies around by using their near monopoly of browser ad income to offer free alternatives to products upon which those large tech company's growth, revenues and possibly their survival depended. Google is of course free to do that, it's their prerogative. That's just business. But it's mind numbingly stupid not to think that that those large tech companies you are deliberately attacking through your offering of free products are not going to fight back. Big companies fight back against competitors all the time, and I thought it would have been blindingly obvious that those companies would fight back even more aggressively if an another company was not attempting to sell a competing product but was rather giving way the competing product for free in what was a clear strategy of destroying the business models of others.

Again I repeat: Google are free to do what they did. But in the real world there will be consequences. And one consequence was going to be a prolonged IP legal war. That war was underway at the time of the Nortel auction and everybody in the industry knew what was going on, what the scale of the IP wars were and what was at stake.

This is where Google's stunning stupidity comes in play. First they utterly fuck up the bidding process through the absurd and juvenile prank of using math constants to set their bidding offers. Are these people children? And then, when it is clear that a big consortium of the big tech players is coming together in a consortium that is almost certain to win, Google rejects an invitation to join the consortium!

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense? Play to win by all means but if defeat looms adjust your game plan to damage limitation. Or die.

So Google get's shut out of the Nortel consortium. The other big players (MS, Sony, Apple, RIM) are sitting happily inside it. Now comes the reckoning. Business is a Darwinian game, there are no guarantees of survival (just ask Nokia). Become a predator on the businesses of others by all means, it happens all the time, but for god sake don't pretend that everybody else is playing dirty when all they doing is playing to win.

The mobile device revolution is already surpassing the PC revolution in scale and economics. Vast fortunes are at stake. The shape of the global tech industry for the next decade or so is being determined now. There will be no mercy, only those with a laser like focus can survive. Being stupid really won't help. And whining about the consequences of being stupid is deeply unseemly.


“The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.” George Orwell

Reply Score: 2

RE: How stupid were Google
by kwan_e on Tue 22nd May 2012 14:14 in reply to "How stupid were Google"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense? Play to win by all means but if defeat looms adjust your game plan to damage limitation. Or die.


http://www.taoism.net/living/2004/200408.htm

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: How stupid were Google
by cyrilleberger on Wed 23rd May 2012 06:28 in reply to "How stupid were Google"
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

First they utterly fuck up the bidding process through the absurd and juvenile prank of using math constants to set their bidding offers. Are these people children? And then, when it is clear that a big consortium of the big tech players is coming together in a consortium that is almost certain to win, Google rejects an invitation to join the consortium!

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense?


From this it seems you see two reasons for google stupidity:
1) bidding with mathematical constants
2) they did not join the winning consortium

For 1), it makes me wonder if you ever bid on something of significant value (like a house, unlike some ebay thing). Since it was an English style auction (ie bidding until everyone folds and the highest bidder get the prize), the main principle is that you set a maximum price you are willing to pay (for Google it was around 4 billions $), and you bid random numbers until you win or your ceiling is reached. Whether it is 3B$ or 3.14B$ does not makes any difference, except that it was a good opportunity for google to make some buzz, at no cost.

As for 2), Google's motto is "Don't (openly) do evil", sure they do pretty crazy stuff (ie log wifi data, violate privacy settings...) but it *never* appears to come from the company management. From the very beginning it appeared that the consortium was all about trolling other companies to get money out of the patents portfolio, quiet obviously, Google considered it to be evil, and did not want to be associated with it. Whether it is a good decision or not remains to be seen.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: How stupid were Google
by Tony Swash on Wed 23rd May 2012 11:52 in reply to "RE: How stupid were Google"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"First they utterly fuck up the bidding process through the absurd and juvenile prank of using math constants to set their bidding offers. Are these people children? And then, when it is clear that a big consortium of the big tech players is coming together in a consortium that is almost certain to win, Google rejects an invitation to join the consortium!

In what universe did that strategic decision make sense?


From this it seems you see two reasons for google stupidity:
1) bidding with mathematical constants
2) they did not join the winning consortium

For 1), it makes me wonder if you ever bid on something of significant value (like a house, unlike some ebay thing). Since it was an English style auction (ie bidding until everyone folds and the highest bidder get the prize), the main principle is that you set a maximum price you are willing to pay (for Google it was around 4 billions $), and you bid random numbers until you win or your ceiling is reached. Whether it is 3B$ or 3.14B$ does not makes any difference, except that it was a good opportunity for google to make some buzz, at no cost.

As for 2), Google's motto is "Don't (openly) do evil", sure they do pretty crazy stuff (ie log wifi data, violate privacy settings...) but it *never* appears to come from the company management. From the very beginning it appeared that the consortium was all about trolling other companies to get money out of the patents portfolio, quiet obviously, Google considered it to be evil, and did not want to be associated with it. Whether it is a good decision or not remains to be seen.
"


I admire your confidence in Google's ethics. Mostly in this particular fiasco (like the much larger Android fiasco) I just see a not very well run company saturated with a pervasive and naive sense of entitlement stumbling into ill condsidered adventures. Nothing you say contradicts my point, for a very large tech company Google acted with breathtaking nonchalance and stupidity. They deserve everything they get.

Reply Parent Score: 1