Microsoft Slaps Motorola with Patent Lawsuit over Android

Anyone who did not see this one coming after Microsoft’s patent deal with HTC and Apple’s meticulousness in avoiding Windows Mobile in its suit against HTC hasn’t been paying attention. Microsoft has filed a patent complaint with the US International Trade Commission, as well as a patent lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola over its Android-based devices.

Well, paint me red and call me a girl scout – Microsoft has sued Motorola over the company’s Android-based devices. According to Microsoft, Motorola infringes upon nine of its patents relating to a whole array of stuff – with Microsoft being in the business for this long, you can barely take a piss without violating one of Redmond’s patents.

“The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power,” states Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft (write that on a business card).

Let me put on my black helicopter t-shirt for a minute while I hang up my “The truth is out there”-poster, but for some reason, this doesn’t surprise me. Despite their respective fanboys beating each other with sticks, Microsoft and Apple have always been very close allies and business partners – including several cross-licensing patent deals between the two giants.

So, when Apple sued HTC (“A positive development”, according to Microsoft), Cupertino was very careful and incredibly thorough in making sure that the lawsuit would target Android specifically, leaving Windows Mobile out of the picture – even though functionality of the two most certainly overlap a great deal. Then we got the news that Microsoft had signed a patent licensing deal with HTC.

And now we have Microsoft suing Motorola. I’m sorry, but all this reeks of a combined effort between Microsoft and Apple to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the Android platform. Apple’s iOS is in the process of being overrun by Android, and Windows Phone 7 will have a relatively hard time entering the market while Android is stealing all the non-iPhone thunder. Combine this with the historically close ties between Redmond and Cupertino, et voilà.

I’m not sure if I’m crazy or a genius (I opt for the former), but something ain’t right here. I want to believe.

91 Comments

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