This is the biggest one yet. Microsoft’s professional extortion campaign – the third side of the same triangle it shares with Apple and Oracle – has finally hit Samsung. The two companies have signed a patent licensing agreement concerning Samsung’s use of Android, in which a rumoured fee of $15 (!) per device will flow from Seoul to Redmond. Not entirely coincidentally, that’s about the price of a Windows Phone 7 license.
As usual, Microsoft is actually proud of this deal – and honestly, who can blame them. I mean, the current patent system allows them to do absolutely nothing, to contribute zero code to Android, and yet still receive massive piles of money. This is what we used to call the mafia; threaten people into paying protection money. Pay up, else we’re breaking your legs.
The reason for this is clear. Windows Phone 7 is not doing well in the market place, despite it actually being a decent product. So, what do you do if you can’t compete? Well, you litigate, of course. Zero effort, free money. Shareholders rejoice, and nobody gives a bloody frick about the chilling effect this has on innovation. Apple fanatics rejoice because they hate Google more than anything, Microsoft fanatics still think their pet company is relevant in the mobile space (how cute), and everybody else loses out.
We had a good opportunity here, people. When this whole mobile computing thing finally started to take off, we were looking at a wide open landscape of opportunities, lots of interesting players and ideas, newscomers, you name it. We were looking at innovation up the wazzoo. But I guess that as long as the large, established corporations buy governments the world over, we simpletons simply can’t have nice things.
Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.