This is interesting. I’ve been saying for a while now that both Apple and Microsoft are hard at work making Android as undesirable as possible. Sadly, they’re not doing this by making their own products better, but by trying to make it seem as if Android isn’t free due to patent costs and such. It looks like Barnes & Noble is the first company to openly say the same.
Microsoft is suing Barnes & Noble over the Nook, claiming it violates a number of Redmond’s patents. The company has been doing the same to many other Android manufacturers, and to me this has been looking like a concerted effort to artificially inflate Android’s price to right above that of Windows Phone 7. Well, what do you know, this is exactly what Barnes & Noble is openly stating in its response to the lawsuit. It’s… Juicy.
“Microsoft has asserted patents that extend only to arbitrary, outmoded, or non-essential design features, but uses these patents to demand that every manufacturer of an Android-based mobile device take a license from Microsoft and pay exorbitant licensing fees or face protracted and expensive patent infringement litigation,” B&N writes, “The asserted patents do not have a lawful scope sufficient to control the Android Operating System as Microsoft is attempting to do, and Microsoft’s misuse of these patents directly harms both competition for and consumers of all eReaders, smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile electronic devices.”
“Microsoft did not invent, research, develop, or make available to the public mobile devices employing the Android Operating System and other open source operating systems, but nevertheless seeks to dominate something it did not invent,” it further states, “On information and belief, Microsoft intends to take and has taken definite steps towards making competing operating systems such as the Android Operating System unusable and unattractive to both consumers and device manufacturers through exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions that bear no relation to the scope and subject matter of its own patents.”
There’s more juicy stuff in there, such as an account of how Microsoft and Nokia are planning on using their combined IP portfolio in an aggressive manner. According to B&N, this is illegal under antitrust laws. All in all, I’m not surprised at all about this. Microsoft missed the train in the mobile market, and now it needs to compete to get back in the game. It would seem the company is falling back into old habits, using dirty legal tricks to try to maffia companies into not selling Android devices.
It’s doubly sad because Windows Phone 7 is actually a great, unique and fresh smartphone operating system that can certainly compete on its own merit. These dirty tactics from Redmond are a massive blemish on the WP7’s team’s efforts, and more than ever, want me to get my hands on a decent Android phone and leave my HTC HD7 in the dust.