Google Hits Microsoft Over Android Patent Campaign [Analysis]

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The software patent is an abhorrent indication for IT industry; if it will be continued with the similar fashion then it will absolutely spoil innovations. Presently, patent places an ever larger tax on innovations that come from previous concept. It’s clear, if you can’t innovate around the idea, then you must be punished, to pay and pay and pay.

Microsoft is threatening Android phone manufacturers to pay for use of its patent – secured through Novel patent buyout. Obviously, Microsoft has adopted the rule to compete in mobile industry by harassing related players. Google’s business is in growing trend even as the global economy appears to be slowing down, and to its growth, Android OS plays a vital role.

For the third quarter of 2011, Google reported revenue of $9.72 billion which is a 33% year –over-year growth again. Net income has also been on rise, coming in at $2.73 billion up from $2.17 billion in 2010. Google is very excited about its innovative mobile operating system ‘Android’ and continuous growth of android partner ecosystem.

Patent issue, related to Android, has convinced multiple Android vendors – including HTC and Samsung – to sign agreement with Microsoft while both the companies are presently working with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 OS also.

About the Microsoft’s patent issues, the Google’s CEO-Larry Page-said, “Rather than seeing, Microsoft compete in the market place with their own Smartphone, they have really continued resorting to legal measures to hassle their own customers, right? So it seems kind of odd”.

Microsoft latest patent licensing agreement with Compal was big news in the mobile industry this weekend, which is an Android original device manufacturer (ODM). It has well documented, Microsoft is asserting that at least 23 of its patents are infringed by Android devices. Indeed, Microsoft now claims that it’s intellectual property (IP) licensing agreements cover more than half of the Android Smartphone market. It’s been said that Microsoft stand a chance to make almost half a billion dollars next year from Android licensing fees. Apparently, by IP licensing strategy, Microsoft is making more money from Android than making from its own Window Phone & platform.

Microsoft scored another win in its campaign, when Samsung glisten in the last week, and also stroked patent- Licensing deal with the Google’s Android software using Smartphone and tablets manufacturers. Samsung, world largest manufacturer of Android products, will pay Microsoft an undisclosed fee for every Smartphone and tablet. Previously, HTC, the second-largest maker of phones using Android, Struck a patent-licensing deal with Microsoft.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft views these things differently. In the last decade, Microsoft general counsel-Brad Smith-said; Microsoft has paid $ 4.5 billion licensing fees to companies including IBM, HP, Sun Micro system (now part of Oracle), Cisco and Silicon Graphics. According to him, it is the way, the industry works and has always worked, and also rise of the Smartphone has added a new layer of patent license for the cellphone Business.

He defines that the Smartphone work on three different layers. First layer is radio layer; Qualcomm is the largest patent beneficiary in the radio layer. The company collects about $20 on every Smartphone produced.  The second layer is media technology, allowing music and videos to play on the Smartphone, patent licensing fee is about $3 to $5 a phone and go to varieties of company. And last layer is software layer- computing operating system that animates Smartphone. According to Microsoft and Apple, the companies that are working on this technology for years, like Apple and Microsoft, went first and developed software ideas, upon those software ideas built by Android. Microsoft claimed that Android uses java software technology, developed by its Sun Unit, Oracle contends.

Whereas, Google explained, the Microsoft campaign is not just bad for Android, but bad for the industry and consumers as well as by substituting litigation and deal-making for innovation.

Truly, Microsoft‘s failure at mass-market tablets has decided that if they can’t beat apple and android at popular tablets, they will litigate them instead. Microsoft’s motives are quite clear; instead of developing a competing product, they want to skim off the top from the work of others.

This is just one more step in a patent war that’s going–to spread throughout the IT industry. It’s time to pause – if can’t be stop – the war before it reaches maximum intensity, and years more before the fire begins to die down. Most of this decade will be spent in the patent war, which will reduce innovation, destroy billions of dollars in value.



  1. Right now though what all the major companies are doing is not innovative. The look at competitors products break it down and then search for patents that some part might infringe. When they find one the competitor doesn’t own they buy it and make litigation claims. 

    Patent infringement claims should restricted to the current owner at the time of infringement. If the patent is sold all previous claims would be transferred but no further claims could be made on infringements happening before the transfer. That would encourage innovation and not litigation.

  2. Quite to the contrary, our patent system is the very core of innovation. The US patent system is a fundamental basis for ther very reason why the US has been the most inovative country on the planet.  the patent system is so fundamental to our sense of fair play and democracy that it is baked into article 1 of our constitution. without our patent system innovation will be stifled. 

    Without our patent system innovation will be stifled
    and the Microsofts, Hotmails, Googles, and facebooks of the world will never be
    born.  We will have nothing but giant,
    slow-moving megaliths refusing to spend $$ on R&D.  They will simply sit back and wait for
    someone else to innovate then steal the idea and run with hit. How many times
    have we seen Microsoft do just that.   If Microsoft has a patent on something then by
    that very fact, assuming the patent is valid, they were the first to invent and
    it is Goolge who is “skimming off the top of the works of others”.  It kills me when a company whines about the
    fact that someone else beat them to the punch with a patent then they turn
    around and file patents themselves and litigate when they feel their innovative
    idea has been infringed. Not all companies can be the first to invent every
    idea.  Not all compnaies have the resources to bring a new invention to market and hold that position.  For many, many years IBM was
    awarded more patents than any other company in the world (and they actually had
    an R&D budget), yet they were summarily dethrone by a little software
    company out of Redmond WA.  MS didn’t do
    that by being innovative.  They did it by
    out executing.  IBM was very innovative
    and dumped huge $$ into R&D, but was slow-moving and arrogant.  MS simply out executed them in a new market
    that IBM never saw as important or very valuable.  It was not IBMs patents that stifled
    innovation it was their market dominance and arrogance.

    Our patent system absolutely stimulates innovation
    and R&D by driving companies to get there first.  Their reward is to be granted an exclusive to
    that innovative idea for (now) 20 years from date of filing.  It takes 3-4 years and often more to get a
    patent.  Often times patented, innovative
    ideas are ahead of the market and sit in a file for years until the market is
    ready so effectively the patent holders ‘exclusive’ is for more like 5-10 years.  If you are a startup it can take all that
    time and more to build a viable, strong business capable of going toe-to-toe
    with the big  boys like MS, Google,
    etc.  Microsoft has never been known as
    an innovator.  They have built a huge and
    successful company on the backs of the innovative ideas of others – DOS,
    Visicalc, Word Perfect, NT (an invention by DEC), Mosaic,… are a few that come
    to mind – innovators who no longer exist. 
    the list goes on.  MS started
    getting their ass kicked by smaller, more innovative companies and then kicked
    in teeth when they tried to run over the innovative competitor if that
    innovator had a patent. Microsoft and MR. Gates used to scoff at patents
    because they occasionally had to pay damages in the aftermath of running some
    small company into the dirt as was their common practice.  Should innovation be the realm of only large, well capitalized companies who can take the good ideas of others and run? MS has recently decided to be somewhat
    innovative, although it appears they simply bought many of their smartphone
    patents from IBM rather than innovate on their own.  You can spend $$ on R&D or buy patents
    from the real innovator.   Big companies driven by fear of being locked out of a market will innovate because they have to to survive.  There appears to be some law of averages in the world of innovation such that many inventions in a given field seem to happen in parallel such that several inventors end up with complementary patents.  So the big boys invent and are each awarded patents and end up cross-licensing to each other.  Meanwhile the little guy comes along with an invention and by virtue of his patent he has a, theoretically, equal opportunity to bring his invention to market without fear of being ground to dust before het gets to step one. The system supports both the big boys and the little guy.  Patent trolls are another story for another time.

    We tend to think that because duplicating software is
    so easy that we have some right to do whatever we choose with it.   Put yourself in the shoes of the guy who
    spent countless hours with no pay building a piece of software only to have MS
    or Apple or Google rip it off and claim it as their own? 

    Our patent system was intended to provide legal
    protections for the small inventor – the little guy who spends hours in his
    garage inventing a better mouse trap. With no capital and no legal recourse he
    was bound to get run over by the big mouse trap companies as soon as he opened
    his garage door with his new invention in hand. 
    A good example is inventor Robert Kearns who invented the intermittent
    windshield wiper depicted in the movie “flash of Genius”  I would argue that the US patent system is
    the primary basis for the US being, albeit teetering on the edge of failure,
    the most innovative country in the world. 
    Without a big stick to somewhat level the playing field the US would not
    be anywhere near as inventive and innovative. 
    It’s a pretty old doc, but the old farts who drafted it seem to have hit
    the high points of our constitution pretty well.  The basis for our patent system is baked into
    the constitution – article 1 section 8 to be exact.  I find it humorous that all the whining about
    our patent system in the past couple of years comes from big companies … the
    same big companies who file for and are awarded thousands of patents with which
    they bludgeon other large companies and little guys alike while out of the
    other side of their mouths bemoaning the inequities of being ‘held hostage’ by
    some little guy who hasn’t produces a product…yet.  Long live the underdog!



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