There’s a war going on in the mobile world. A war between the old and the new. The old and outdated (i.e. Microsoft, Nokia) are trying to feed off the success of the new and innovative (i.e. Google, Apple). On the Apple vs. Nokia front, we heard today that the two companies have settled a lawsuit… with Apple agreeing to pay Nokia a licensing fee. On the Google vs. Microsoft front, the latter has gone on the offensive, attempting to block Google from buying Nortel’s patent portfolio.
As we’ve told you before, Microsoft is going after Android OEMs with hopes of getting them to pay a licensing fee for using Android. This benefits Microsoft in two ways: First, they would make more money from Android’s licensing fees than from their own Windows Phone devices. Second, it makes Android more expensive than Windows Phone for OEMs to use.
Google, of course, doesn’t like that one bit. That’s why the company bid $900 million to acquire Nortel’s 6,000 patents. With Nortel’s patent portfolio, Google would be able to protect Android from patent lawsuits filed by companies like Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle.
But Microsoft is now objecting to the terms under which Google would be able to purchase Nortel’s patents that say Google won’t have to recognize any existing licensing agreements on the patents. Meaning it would no longer matter if Microsoft had a previous licensing agreement with Nortel; Google could still use those patents to sue Microsoft.
Microsoft claims the annulment of these patent licensing agreements “would result in considerable disruption in the development and enhancement of various existing technologies and give the prospective purchaser an unfair competitive advantage”. In other words: “We don’t want Google to be able use these patents against us.”
Nortel’s patent auction is scheduled to take place on June 20th. We’ll be keeping a very close eye on it, as it could very well affect the future of Android. Meanwhile, let us know in the comments whether you think Microsoft should be able to keep these patent licensing agreements or not.