Thursday, August 04, 2011

World War III Time: Let's Go To War

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseTechRadar: Google declares war on Microsoft and Apple over Android
Google has openly declared war on Microsoft and Apple, with the internet giant claiming that a "hostile, organized campaign against Android" is being waged through "bogus patents"....... the first shots of a war between the highest profile technology companies on the globe. ...... Whether that's with the purchase of patents, huge investment in products (ie Microsoft's Windows Phone 7) or by marketing – it is clear that nobody can pretend that it is good-natured rivalry that is spurring on a now vicious battle.
Eric Schmidt On The Case
Android Has To Be Kept Free
Microsoft And Oracle Misbehaving On Android

The short term victory would be to see that Android stays free, that manufacturers are not having to pay Microsoft - Darth Vader - a dime. The long term victory would be to see the ridiculousness of software patents in general go away.

Google: When Patents Attack Android
I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades. Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what's going on. ....... Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents. ...... seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it. ........ A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a “tax” for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation. ....... The winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion. Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop. ....... we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it. ....... We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means.
TechCrunch: Google Threw A Punch, Microsoft Fires Back With A Missile
Seemingly sick of being continuously slapped in the face by the patent issue
TechCrunch: Google Rips Into Microsoft, Apple, Oracle For “Bogus Patents” And Trying To “Strangle” Android
Google SVP and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond takes shot after shot at Google’s competitors. By name, he calls out Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle. What’s this all about? What else? Patents. ....... Damn. Them’s fighting words.
TechCrunch: Microsoft’s Android Plan: Evil Genius Or Just Evil?
Either Microsoft really wants to kill Android. Or, if Android continues to thrive, Microsoft wants to be the ones that make billions of dollars off of its success. ..... Prior to the Nortel deal, Microsoft had something like 17,000 patents, while Google had something like 700. Had Google won the 6,000+ Nortel patents, they would have effectively gained some deterrence from many of the lawsuits being hurled their way. And because the majority of the Nortel patents are in the mobile space, this may have meant an end to Microsoft’s pressuring of Google’s Android partners to sign licensing agreements with them. ....... And that’s a problem for Microsoft because as we’re now seeing, this is potentially a massive business opportunity for them. Sure, they’d prefer that Android (which killed Windows Mobile) would die and Windows Phone would take it’s place. But the next best option is to catch a free ride on the Android train. Patent licensing deals already in place with HTC, General Dynamics, and others could mean revenues of over $1 billion by next year, as Forbes reports. And if they’re able to convince Samsung to sign one as well (which could effectively force every Android partner to sign one), we could be talking multiple billions of dollars of revenue each year. ........ this strategy is extremely lame on Microsoft’s part. Instead of focusing on winning by out-innovating Google in the mobile space, they’re focusing on milking revenues off of a freely distributed operating system that they don’t actually make. When Apple takes these agressive approaches on patents, it’s no more right, but at least they can argue that they have a winning product (the iPhone) that they’re trying to protect. Their goal isn’t to get other companies licensing their patents, it’s to run those guys out of the market ......... Microsoft is going to end up making more money — perhaps significantly more — from Android than Google will. A year ago, such a statement would have seemed like a joke. But now it’s becoming reality. And it must be the ultimate nightmare for Google. ........ Keep your enemies closer. Or keep them fighting.
TechCrunch: Google On The Nortel Loss, Patents As Government-Granted Monopolies, And Plates Of Spaghetti
Google was feeling the pressure in the patent space after multiple attacks against them and their partners. ...... the worst-case scenario happened to them. Instead of Google winning the patents, most of their chief rivals did, including Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and others. Ouch. ....... “It looks like plates of spaghetti,” Walker says of the current patent situation, noting the everyone is suing everyone else. “This is new in the Valley. This has happened in the past 15 years or so. Now it’s a mess,” he says. ....... “A patent isn’t innovation. It’s the right to block someone else from innovating” ........ Clearly, he thinks that patents, at least the way they’re being enforced right now, are a bit of a joke. ...... “Of all the prior Nortel auctions [there were a few before the patents Google bid on], never had any of those gone for more than twice the stalking-horse bid. This went for five times as much,” Walker says. “It was the biggest patents sale in the history of the world.” ....... if Google made a strategic blunder when they put down the initial $900 million bid, since many assumed the entire portfolio wouldn’t garner more than $800 million when all was said and done?Perhaps this big bid emboldened Google’s rivals? ....... “You have to have the discipline not to overbid” ....... Rumors have pegged InterDigital as the next Google/Apple patent fight. ....... perhaps even Motorola patents will be on the table ....... Following the massive Nortel result, unsurprisingly, a lot of opportunities are being put on the market now ........ whether regulators from an antitrust perspective will engage ........ several times in history, even in the tech space, we’ve seen patent issues flare up and then settle down. In the microprocessor industry and the OEM industry, for example. “They settle into mutual assured destruction,” he says. “These fights are an arduous and expensive way to do it,” he says, implying that eventually, they’ll get there too. ........ Samsung has 30,000 patents ....... “When you see a lot of VC money flowing into the acquisition and holding of patents, it’s a problem. These are not companies doing new things, they’re buying them. You see hundreds of millions and billions of dollars flowing in to exploit others” ........ “An average patent examiner gets 15 to 20 hours per patent to see if it’s valid. It can take years to go back and correct mistakes,” Walker says more broadly. “It has become a kind of lottery.” ....... At the highest level, “patents are not encouraging innovation” ....... the hunt continues for some nuclear warheads to build towards mutual assured destruction, and eventually détente.
Google: Patents And Innovation
The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation. Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything; others are motivated by a desire to block competing products or profit from the success of a rival’s new technology. The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits. It's for these reasons that Google has long argued in favor of real patent reform, which we believe will benefit users and the U.S. economy as a whole....... we’ve decided to bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio ...... In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it's the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.
Google: Patent Reform Needed More Than Ever
Of the 20 patent lawsuits filed against Google since late 2007, all but two have been filed by plaintiffs who don’t make or sell any real product or service — in other words, by non-practicing entities or “patent trolls.” Most of these cases seem to feature the same small set of contingent fee plaintiff's lawyers asserting patent claims against the same small set of companies. We've also noticed a more disturbing trend: in many of these cases, the patents being asserted against us are owned by — and in a surprising number of cases, are even “invented” by — patent lawyers themselves. ........ Lawyers and plaintiffs have seen the potentially huge payoffs available in patent litigation. Before 1990, there had been just one patent damage award of over $100 million. Since 1990, there have been at least 15, with at least five topping $500 million. ........ Once a driver of creativity, our patent system now poses a hurdle for innovation. All too often, Google and other companies face mounting legal costs to defend against questionable patent claims from speculators gaming the system to reap windfall profits. And those lawsuits make it more difficult and costly to introduce the next revolutionary product. ........ ensuring fair damage awards. The current system too easily allows damages to be assessed based on the value of the whole product often containing many features — not just the value of the innovation of the allegedly infringed patent — which means the threat of potentially massive awards forces defendants to settle. Balance should be restored by requiring damages to be based on the value of the innovation's contribution to the product.
Google: Reforming patents, promoting innovation
the patent system has not kept pace with the changes in the innovation economy. Google and other technology companies increasingly face mounting legal costs to defend against frivolous patent claims from parties gaming the system to forestall competition or reap windfall profits. ........ the current patent system shows “areas of strain, inefficiency, excessive cost on one hand and inadequate resources on the other hand ....... patent law needs to be rebalanced in order to protect patent owners while ensuring that patent rights are not abused. ......... a windshield wiper found to an infringe a patent should not spur a damage award based on the value of the entire car ...... Certain district courts have become notorious for rarely invalidating a patent, and have tilted the balance too often in favor of plaintiffs. We support judicial venue provisions to ensure that patent lawsuits are brought only in district courts with a reasonable connection to the case. ....... The patent system should include a meaningful second chance for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review potentially problematic patents in a timely way, thereby promoting high-quality patents. ....... modernizing the patent law system to ensure it continues as an engine for economic growth and innovation ...... Low-quality patents and escalating legal costs are currently hurting the ability of U.S. companies to compete globally, and that in turn hurts U.S. workers and consumers. Without a modernized patent system, U.S. companies are at a competitive disadvantage, spending resources on unnecessary litigation and unwarranted licensing instead of on innovation.
TechRadar: How Microsoft makes money from Android
Neither Apple nor Microsoft likes Android ...... Apple is dragging HTC, Motorola and Samsung to court. At the same time, Microsoft has signed a licence deal with HTC and several other handset makers, is pursuing one with Samsung and spent over a year negotiating with Barnes and Noble, Foxcon and Inventec before turning to lawsuits and complaints to the ITC. ....... Microsoft has the most valuable patent portfolio in the business.
ReadWriteWeb: Google VP Accuses Competitors of "Attacking" Android with Patents
The purchase of these patents threatens Android's dominant share of the smartphone OS market by making the operating system more expensive for phone manufacturers to license. ....... Pending the outcome of antitrust investigations, it's clear that this deal puts Google and Android on the defensive. Google's position to license its mobile OS across a wide range of platforms is both a blessing and a curse. The range of options for consumers has helped Android net nearly 50% of the smartphone market, but if the cost of licensing becomes prohibitive to cash-strapped hardware manufacturers, that market will dry up quickly, and the profits for Android software developers will go right along with it. Apple doesn't have to worry about such margins, and other phone manufacturers might have to start building side businesses on WebOS or Windows Phone 7 to remain profitable, which is just what HP and Microsoft have been waiting for. Meanwhile, Google and Apple are said to be squaring off to duel over another large patent portfolio owned by InterDigital. Patents were intended to protect innovation, but they're certainly proving costly and distracting to the software industry's leading innovators.
Guardian: Apple using 'bogus' patents to make Android more expensive, says Google
the companies are effectively imposing a "tax" to push up the price of Android devices. ...... Microsoft has sued Motorola and Barnes & Noble, claiming that their use of Android infringes patents that it holds, while Apple has filed a number of similar suits asserting patent claims against other companies. ...... HTC has admitted that it is paying Microsoft a set amount for each Android device it sells. The amount has not been disclosed but it is believed to be between $5 and $15...... Apple recently won a ruling in the US that HTC infringes patents covering the iPhone. And Oracle is currently suing Google in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit alleging that Android infringes copyright relating to its Java programming language, acquired through the purchase of Sun Microsystems...... Patent acquisitions are expected to accelerate
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