Jun 14 AT 9:49 AM Alberto Vildosola 28 Comments

Microsoft tries to block Google’s purchase of Nortel patents, says it’s unfair

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 The old and outdated (i.e. Microsoft, Nokia) are trying to feed off the success of the new and innovative (i.e. Google, Apple).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.

Source: Reuters

Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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  • M

    the only innovative thing microsoft has done in the recent time that comes to my mind is the kinect. i wonder if they’re still around/dominating in 5 years.

    • http://Website Gee

      What innovative thing has Google done? Android is basically a refreshed WinMo.

      • http://Website Drone

        Ahah! You’re funny man :)

      • Andrew Garlinghouse

        Wow! That is one of the funniest things I’ve heard all week.

      • http://Website James Pakele

        Self driving cars… duh.

  • http://Website Adryan

    NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! SCREW MICROSOFT!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY BEST STICK TO THEIR DESKTOP OPERATING SYSTEM AND JUST GET OUT OF THE CELLPHONE BUISNESS. They want to nickel and dime android and on top of that they make more money of android than they do their own phones???!! Well yeah those greedy jerks aren’t going to give that up since nokia tanked and microsoft is pretty much too late and not making anything at all. So yeah I hope windows 7 phone dies. Not because i dont like or im too much of an android fan to like another operating system but because the creators of it are greedy douchebags.

    • http://Website Gee

      I love Google services and Android but Google isn’t any less greedy or mischievous.

      • http://Website Mil

        Depends what they do with Nortel’s patents. If they use it for defensive purposes then I think they are better than the rest. If they use it to actively pursue other companies then I think that is wrong and they are no better.

      • iDavey

        Who has Google sued? Who has Google set out to destroy?
        Like it or not, Google is the fairest player in this game right now next to Palm/HP.

        I fully believe if Google gets the patents it’s only to protect their OEM partners. Nothing else.
        Google aren’t the type to stunt a competitor with litigation. They just throw idea after idea out. Take risks. Something a lot of companies could learn to do.

      • http://Www.clusta.com h0ruza

        These are all corporate giants so greed is the nature of the beast.

        The difference is google makes it’s money mostly from adverts which is not coming out of my pocket directly but out of the pockets that have money in the first place…. Other businesses.

        I hope they get nortel so they can get back to making the bullies work harder for are money instead of trying to squeeze money out of people for music they already own for example.

  • http://Website mesasr

    stop the microsoft hate (btw this is not the first article)
    i understand your position as an android user and fan, but you went too far by meaninglessly calling MS and even Nokia(whos superior quality is recognized worldwide) old and outdated
    MS might be a little behind in the mobile market right now, but that doesnt mean they are not as innovative as Google and Apple. Oh and speaking of Apple, so now they are a friend eh?

    • http://Website Gee

      Seriously. Android 1.0 was awful. Compare the feature set of Android 1.0 and WinMo 6.0/6.5, nowhere close. Looking ahead, Mango so far is much better than what Cupcake was. I love my Nexus S 4G but I’m looking forward to what MS has in store for 2011.

      • http://Website themanwithsauce

        Yes original android was quite bad when thrown against the established players. But may I point out that you’re comparing an outdated version of android to a current mobile OS? What does that tell you about how fast google has moved towards improvements that ms had to play catch up even before the release of WP7…

  • http://Website Yourissues

    This complaint is coming the the same people that want the FCC to approve AT&T inquiring T-Mobile. Lets not talk about how fair that is for all the small carriers.

  • http://Website schwiz

    patent laws are so fucked in this country.

  • http://Website Mil

    This patent stuff is getting well out of hand. Microsoft has itself to blame for firing it’s lawyer dogs at the first sniff of profiting from Android. I believe Google acquiring Nortel’s patents will only be used to protect Google and partner companies from getting sued (i.e. they will use it for defensive purposes only). I really doubt Google will use these patents to go on the offensive. If they do then they are no better than Oracle, Microsoft, Nokia and Apple with their gung ho attitude.

  • dcormier

    Microsoft does have a point. Think about it, taking Microsoft as an entity out of the scenario.

    You are working on something that includes technology covered by some patents. You license those patents so you can continue to work on your product. Everything is fine and then some company buys the patents and your licenses to them are void. Now, you have to change possibly quite a bit of technology in your product. This impacts not only you, but your customers both in functionality possibly being removed, and new functionality not being added while the existing technology is changed to work around existing patents. Or, maybe you can license the patents (again), costing you your other arm and leg so you don’t have to change your existing technology.

    I don’t see who such a scenario would be good for, other than the new patent holder.

    • http://Website anony-mouse

      You hit the nail on the head. Thats exactly what Google wants to do:

      What MS is doing is using their patent portfolio to scare android phone makers into paying them a per-device licensing fee that will make android more expensive than WinMo phones. Google then buys patents MS has to license, and then settles on a ‘play nice’ agreement where MS keeps their existing license and stops threatening android phone manufacturers.

  • http://Website Lucian Armasu

    Microsoft is so full of it. Btw this:

    “And secondly, it makes Android more expensive than Windows Phone for OEMs to use.”

    ..is not accurate. WP7 still costs 3x as much as those licensing fees Android makers have to pay MS. But yes, I really hope Google gets these patents, so all these vultures, including Microsoft and Nokia, get to running their own business, instead of going after the competition in court.

    • http://Website anony-mouse

      While actual cost is probably 3x more, MS is known for subsidizing/taking a loss on their platforms to achieve market penetration. I would say they’re trying to erase or close the gap between android and wp7 licensing costs (ie $0 vs w/e MS decides during the agreement)

  • http://Website Deimos

    I had never bought a WinMo cellphone or device they sucked ass badly. Their concept of bringing desktop like GUI to cellphones is a FAIL! Plus.. they have always been blocking their source code and against Developers. Dont forget their FAIL First effort to enter in the cellphone market (KIN).
    Those poor Idiots who bought those phones are all alone in deep waters as it will happen with the time with WIN 7 Phones. I am in favor of fair competition, and microsoft its all against it! They are a little too late to enter into the mobile market.

  • http://www.kablowie.com Greg B

    Now, we know that quite often, one company will offer another company a sweetheart deal on a license because they’re getting some sort of comeback on another deal. So if Microsoft paid or is paying fair market rates on those licenses, based on their value alone, then the licenses should stand. But where Microsoft was getting a sweetheart deal from Nortel in exchange for a comeback on a separate deal where Microsoft licensed technology to Nortel, then that license should be terminated.

    In the long run, Google should be required to offer FRAND licensing rates on the Nortel patent portfolio to all potential licensees, but FRAND does have some discretionary leeway and Google should be able to exercise it to protect its own users and partners from Microsoft’s anti-competitive use of its patents.

    • http://Website Egon Ruuda

      Or they can do as Apple did with the clone makers. Good reading if you are too young.. If history has ever thought us anything in the IT world is “ALL who partners with microsoft goes belly up” and “When apple needs you, they are the best buddies in the world.. when it does not need you any more, apple WILL get rid of you.”

  • http://about.me/papakyriazis Nick Papakyriazis

    great article but a … kickass photoshop !!!

  • http://AndroidAndMe,viaPulse Charles Brandenburg

    It should Absolutely Not, go to Microsoft, because for 1, they are 1 of the Richest Companie’s in the World, that have Monopolized the Computer Industry, for Decade’s, and 2nd, because Microsoft Window’s, doesn’t conform to (W3C) World Wide Web Consortium, Web Programming Standard’s. Microsoft’s Programming compatability Suck’s! Google, conform’s to (W3C) Standard’s, is dedicated to Open Compatability, for new Software Integration, and is fair. Microsoft, is a Monopoly! Change is Good!

  • http://Website Brad

    M for Microsoft, M for Monopoly


    M for Microsoft, M for Morons

  • http://www.twitter.com/wrg25 W!LL

    Microsoft think they’re smart…. they don’t want Google to guy it because they want OEMs to pay them fees for using Android…. and they think Google is stupid…. M for Morons=Microsoft

  • http://Website khara bawl

    lol u gotta admire these businessmen, they’re hustlers.