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Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Android-Related Patent Infringement

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-license-for-you dept.

Cellphones 199

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Engadget: "Microsoft has hit up the ITC over a total of nine alleged patent infringements by Motorola in its Android devices, specifically relating to 'synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.' This should be interesting — will it result in a quick cross-licensing agreement, or a protracted court battle spanning multiple years?" The ITC complaint was accompanied by a lawsuit in US District Court. Microsoft's Horacio Gutierrez explained the company's reasoning in a blog post.

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199 comments

Finally (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764458)

It's great to see the USS Microsoft sinking after all these years.

On to bigger and better things!

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764596)

After I reflected for a moment, could this be what Steve Jobs hinted at a few months ago?

Google and Android is a common enemy for Microsoft and Apple.

Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764654)

There may not be much mobile love between Google and Apple, but I'm quite sure that neither one wants Microsoft to win anything in such a market.

After all, if Microsoft wins this one, what's to stop them from contriving other overly-broad patents against Apple's iPhone at the first convenient moment?

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (5, Insightful)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764744)

From the MS blog post...

"Our action today merely seeks to ensure respect for our intellectual property rights infringed by Android devices; and judging by the recent actions by Apple and Oracle, we are not alone in this respect."

Android threatens the iPhone perhaps more than Windows Phone 7 does at this point.

Plus, an Apple proprietary device vs. a Microsoft operating system used by many manufacturers is a competition model that both Microsoft and Apple have been content with for a very long time. Google is an interloper.

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765100)

Words has it Windows 7 is an AT&T exclusive. The iPhone apparently continues to be an AT&T exclusive for the foreseeable future.

Given the double exclusive BS, the only meaningful competition for MS in the phone space is Apple.

Given everybody's exclusive agreements with everybody else, I wonder when the FTC will feel the need to step in.

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765186)

Some picking apart may be in order here...

Apple sued HTC over hardware patents [docstoc.com] , IIRC. Microsoft merely included their (and Oracle's) name to legitimize what they were up to in the eyes of their audience. Not sure I'd want the association with Oracle, though - that particular one smells/tastes like Ellison trying to generate some revenue off of his recent purchase of Java, not (as portrayed) as some aggrieved party sick of getting ripped off (remember, Oracle just bought the thing).

Long-term, sure, Google will likely be vying w/ Apple for the #1 slot. OTOH, I don't think Apple cares if they ever quite reach #1 in the smartphone market, or any market. If they cared about market position, Verizon would be selling iPhones by now, and Dell and HP would be selling computers with OSX preloaded on them. OTOH, Apple has its own, not-so-obvious goals, mostly having to do with holding more money than the US Treasury and China combined, methinks.

Finally, one last nitpick... I sincerely doubt that Microsoft was/is cozy at all with the iPhone coming out of nowhere and basically tearing it a new arse in the US smartphone markets (and I bet that Palm hated the whole episode even worse). Globally, Microsoft was drowned out by Nokia anyway. :)

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (2, Informative)

Blink Tag (944716) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765288)

Some picking apart may be in order here...

[...] I don't think Apple cares if they ever quite reach #1 in the smartphone market, or any market.

Since we're picking things apart, perhaps you should acknowledge that Apple is very definitely #1 in the most important facet of "market share," namely share of industry profits, beating out Nokia, Saumsung, and LG combined. I contend it's a metric they most certainly care about.

See the pretty graphs at
http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/09/21/pie-chart-apples-outrageous-share-of-the-mobile-industrys-profits/ [cnn.com]

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (2, Funny)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765420)

Oh, I didn't mean to imply that there are cozy relationships.

Think of it this way: There's a pack of wolves with pack members named Oracle, Apple, Microsoft and a bunch of other (mostly smaller) wolves. There's a constant vicious competition for the alpha male position, but some ground rules have been established.

Then a big ol' wolf called Google shows up. He's from another pack and doesn't necessarily play by the same ground rules. And he threatens the dominance of all three. So he's attacked viciously.

Meanwhile, a wolf from Google's (web) pack (named Amazon) uses the distraction to screw Google's bitches (by selling Android apps).

And of course there's always a lone wolf. This one is called Adobe and he's trying desperately to impregnate all the bitches in all of the packs.

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765210)

lol. Considering that the actions by Oracle concerned their Java patents, patents which Microsoft infringed and now licence for 'tasty' amounts of money.

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (1)

ExileTechie (1913396) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765390)

Microsoft... as many fancy lawyers as they have, will have a hard time winning this one. "a total of nine alleged patent infringements by Motorola in its Android devices, specifically relating to 'synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power." 1. Really? Ever heard of competition? By taking control of a whole market is known as a Monopoly. No, it is not just a board game. This is Microsoft's typical response when they see they actually have competition. Now, from a legal standpoint, no I am not a lawyer, however, from the few business law classes I have taken, in order to get a patent it requires that the patent be something along the lines of a particular way of doing a task in which a normal person in the same field of expertise would not easily be able to figure out. Taking that into consideration, they would have to prove that Motorola actually infringed on a specific method or algorithm of doing these tasks which is not common or easy to figure out. 2. Synchronizing devices and information is an age old practice. It is a basic concept of the way data is transferred and the way mechanics works. Trying to claim that a common practice or thought belongs to one particular person is stupid. Did I mention before that you can't legally do that?

fake enemies (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765404)

Apple and Microsoft aren't enemies; they have patent cross licensing agreements and they are in different markets. All this Apple vs Microsoft bluster is more marketing gimmick than reality. Microsoft likes Apple as the token competitor and Apple like Microsoft because it validates their proprietary approach to software.

Re:fake enemies (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765620)

Apple and Microsoft aren't enemies; they have patent cross licensing agreements and they are in different markets. All this Apple vs Microsoft bluster is more marketing gimmick than reality. Microsoft likes Apple as the token competitor and Apple like Microsoft because it validates their proprietary approach to software.

I agree with that as far as traditional desktop/laptop computers go -- Apple don't really compete with MS, but instead sell high-end, high-margin hardware -- but with music players/phones/tablets/set-top boxes, it's all different. Apple is making MS look like the dumb, lumbering dinosaur it is, whilst building their own walled garden / revenue streams and being apparently very successful at it.

I don't disagree that Android is a threat to Apple though, and arguably to MS too... I say arguably because MS are probably screwed in mobile space regardless. So MS probably just want to come to an "arrangement" with Motorola so they get a slice of the action, whereas Apple is more likely to try to stifle competition. I'm guessing anyway! :D

Re:Enemy of My Enemy, etc... (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765558)

There may not be much mobile love between Google and Apple, but I'm quite sure that neither one wants Microsoft to win anything in such a market.

After all, if Microsoft wins this one, what's to stop them from contriving other overly-broad patents against Apple's iPhone at the first convenient moment?

I think Apple already licenses many of these technologies as part of their Exchange ActiveSync licensing. [msexchangeteam.com] This is the reason why the iPhone had no Exchange support at release despite the demand, they first had to license it and likely decided to see if the thing succeeded before going after the license and functionality.

Companies like Apple tend to do all they can to make sure they are not infringing on technologies owned by other large companies. The problem with Android is that, technically, it's the device owner that should be pursuing the licensing. Many companies that implement Android may had not done the homework needed to realize they should had gone into licensing agreements here or there.

Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1, Insightful)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764612)

Microsoft will be around for a long time to come, and so will Google, despite all of this. So I wouldn't worry (or gloat) about them. The real concern is how all of this patent litigation will ultimately impact Android application developers. That's what I stressed in my first reaction to this [bit.ly] . App developers invest a lot of creativity, time, money and hard work in a platform. If Google doesn't step up now and make a really serious effort to work out deals with all those patent holders, Android as a platform may be in trouble and app developers would suffer.

Google knew all along that smartphones (and mobile phones in general) are a field in which plenty of patents exist, and in which they are enforced aggressively. Google doesn't have a patent portfolio to match the portfolios of Microsoft, Apple or Oracle; so it doesn't represent a counterthreat. But it could try to negotiate license deals. That's what it must do now, not only for itself, not only for Android phone vendors, but above all for the application developer community its platform depends on.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764728)

It's interesting that you'd advocate for a quick and easy surrender, when in fact Microsoft may not even have a case (or even valid patents). Smells like FUD, circa 2003.

If Google came out swinging, no sweat - the devs (like everyone else) will figure that it'll settle anyway, and barring injunctions (unlikely), business will continue as usual.

You know? If IBM took the attitude that you're advocating, we'd all be paying some jackass in Utah $700/seat for Linux.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (0)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764784)

There's too much going on there with several major patents asserting patents. They can't all be wrong at the same time, and we're talking about a notorious patent minefield. I don't say quick surrender -- but a solution must be found.

In terms of the patents concerned, I'll take a closer look at them. I've updated my blog posting [blogspot.com] with a link to an article that shows the complaints filed with the district court and the US International Trade Commission.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764982)

They can't all be wrong at the same time,

Yes, they can.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764992)

Google is neither here nor there in this patent struggle. M$ is suing a customer Motorola a suicide suit, no windows mobile on Motorola. Instead of forcing Motorala to sell more windows mobile phones the nett result is the best way for Motorola to fight the lawsuit is to work to cut off the money supply to it's competitor.

All other Android users will take a similar track. Android is a free open operating system, M$'s civil suit is a threat to all of it's major customers, gang up of M$ now and they can simply gut the beast of Redmond.

Android for Google is all about creating an open environment in which it can compete and shutting down the closed M$ and Apple environments. For Android users, not Google customers, they are the end users but, for the manufacturers who choose to use Android and not be controlled by M$ or Apple, this is now a battle for independence and freedom from exploitative control by one corporation.

Keeping in mind software patents are meaningless in Europe.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (-1, Troll)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765120)

no windows mobile on Motorola

I think I read something about Motorola not intending to support Windows Phone 7 anyway. In that case, they have nothing to lose in terms of a customer.

Keeping in mind software patents are meaningless in Europe.

They exist in Europe (some examples here [blogspot.com] ) and they are upheld by national high courts such as the German Bundesgerichtshof.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1)

Sinisterduck66 (1905252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765402)

I just don't understand why people think Google is this benevolent company trying to bring happiness and rainbows to anything. Everything they produce, free or not open source or not, has the goal of making a profit for their shareholders. If you really think about it they are following a M$ model anyway. They offer a mix of free and pay services. Why use them, because they play really really well with each other as opposed to buying many different vendor products that while they do the same thing require more time and effort to work together. Sounds a lot like the M$ server lines.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765590)

Yes I agree a solution must be found.

How about recognizing that software patents are an absurdity and get over with it.

I mean, Sync information between to hosts, really????

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765342)

I suspect that Florian is now a Microsoft lobbyist. "fosspatents" is a very misleading name for his blog (he actually advocates RAND), and he's used up any credibility he might have had from the nosoftwarepatents campaign. He's a marketer, and I'm sure he's worth every penny. Too bad he isn't more selective about his clients, or more ethical about letting people know which side he's on.

Behold: http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2010/08/microsofts-use-of-patents.html [blogspot.com] . Not one mention of the "over 200 patents", and "linux is a cancer" was a long time ago, right? I cannot believe anybody consumes this apologist's effluvium, but apparently it's working splendidly.

Of course, I could be totally paranoid. But I challenge anybody (who is not a .net fanboi) to read his blog, or his comment history on /., and not reach the same conclusion.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (-1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765434)

I'm always hesitant to respond to anonymous comments but let me just say that I indeed encourage everyone to read my comments and blog postings. I just look for ways forward, under the circumstances.

The Linux cancer quote isn't relevant in my view because it's old and especially because it only related to the copyleft principle (didn't disparage the software in question). Since Linux doesn't affect applications running on top of it in terms of copyleft, the statement might have been based on a misunderstanding of the license terms in question. We'll never know.

Finally, in terms of the objectives of my work, I don't deny that I take a strong interest in FOSS as a whole doing well and in particular projects, more recently especially Hercules (and previously also MySQL, in connection with its acquisition by Oracle). I believe those are causes deserving of broadbased community support. As far as other topics go, there aren't specific causes for which I ask support -- I just want to contribute additional information and perspective to certain debates.

I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765564)

one more website to ignore

thanks for the heads up

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764970)

Certainly there are opportunities to develop new ideas for cellular phones and these merit patent protection. However, in an era of smartphones which are just replicating desktop functions that are commonly known "in the art", the validity of many of these sort of patents is suspect. This is the same as the wave of internet patents that arrived covering things that had already been done before only this time it was with "a network" attached.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (-1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765148)

I'll take a closer look at those patents over the weekend and some of them may indeed go back to pre-smartphone PC days but still be valid. Software patents can be valid for 20 years according to an international treaty (TRIPs).

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (0)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765630)

Certainly there are opportunities to develop new ideas for cellular phones and these merit patent protection.

Bullshit!!! Almost all patents should be revoked. Patents may of had helped at one tyme but all they do now is hold back progress, whether by the new kid on the block who does not have a patent portfolio to counter sue with, or by established players.

Falcon

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765142)

" If Google doesn't step up now and make a really serious effort to work out deals with all those patent holders, Android as a platform may be in trouble and app developers would suffer."

The problem is, there exists a couple of thousands of exactly similar patents like the ones Microsoft has that are exactly like theirs. Thanks to US patent office you can patent what the heck you want no matter how much prior art exists.

This is just Microsoft realising their platform is doomed and throwing sticks into the wheels of Android. Personally if i was hesitant to WP7 before, now we all know even Microsoft thinks it sucks and will not succeed on its own merits.

Google it could try to negotiate license deals. (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765504)

That's what it must do now, not only for itself, not only for Android phone vendors, but above all for the application developer community its platform depends on.

That's what Google could try to do, negotiate licensing deals, but they'd better not. Instead Google should, one, make MS prove Google is violating MS patents. And if so two, fight to have those patents revoked.

Falcon

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1)

dotdash (944083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765542)

I can see how Google can protect itself, but I don't see how it can (or will want to) protect every phone-maker. Of course, it can (and it must) protect people licensing/buying Android/phone from it, but that won't be much different from what MS itself does.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (0)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765556)

Oracle sued Google over Dalvik (the virtual machine for Android), so in that case Google doesn't even have any choice. Oracle appears to hold Google responsible for every Android phone out there.

Re:Worry about app devs, not Microsoft or Google (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765626)

And Microsoft blames Motorola? How does that make sense?

Re:Finally (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764618)

It's great to see the USS Microsoft sinking after all these years.

On to bigger and better things!

Microsoft: transforming the word "nigger" to refer to a software company instead of racism. Now THAT'S innovation!

Re:Finally (0, Offtopic)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764922)

There be that White Chair Whale!!! We must Throw it!

Doesnt help that they have Ahab at the wheel.

Translation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764460)

Translation:

We're no longer relevant in this market but we own some patents so we're going to screw as much money out of innovators as we can.

Re:Translation (1, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764626)

Exactly. Microsoft is going to be very dangerous in the coming years. Those who can't innovate, litigate and Microsoft has one of the most awesome collections of patents. As they decline, expect some devastating lawsuits.

Re:Translation (0)

thethibs (882667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764714)

So, if Microsoft invents it, it's not innovation, but if Apple uses it, that is innovation?

Re:Translation (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764890)

I got email delivered over a modem in the early 90's. The fact that it's now delivered over a GSM modem is hardly 'innovation', no matter what company tries to claim it as such.

Re:Translation (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764940)

Yeah, thats pretty much exactly what the word innovation means.

Re:Translation (1)

JonJ (907502) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765522)

Sometimes though, the big thing isn't what you do, but how you do it.

MS Is Just Entering the Market (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764900)

I've not got a dog in this hunt, but Windows Phone 7 stacks up very well against the competition. And when that has happened historically, they've been able to become dominant. Think about all of the corporate IT .Net developers and corporate IT phone choosers out there. Microsoft WILL quickly become relevant in the market.

And the phone is just one facet of their .Net/Silverlight strategy. There are much deeper things at work.

Re:MS Is Just Entering the Market (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764950)

In the past yes...

But RIM owns the business and corporate market hard. Microsoft has ZERO chance of cracking the Blackberry nut unless RIM does something super stupid.

Re:MS Is Just Entering the Market (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765146)

And that something super stupid could be trying to compete with Microsoft in the corporate space. RIM may have a lot of Crackberry addicted managers, but Microsoft has corporate IT - who chooses which phones will be used, and whose developers will promise the moon in order to become mobile developers instead of working on budgeting system internals.

To my knowledge, Microsoft is the only dog in the hunt that is developing a plan for corporate app distribution (i.e. outside of an App Store type arrangement).

Re:MS Is Just Entering the Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765394)

And the phone is just one facet of their .Net/Silverlight strategy. There are much deeper things at work.

You're giving the management at MS WAAAAY too much credit. There may be a few pie in the sky ideas from a few higher level management but as far as actual product goes, there's much more inter-company fighting over one manager's pet project versus anothers, etc.

The ONLY things MS makes ANY money on are Windows and Office (and server software in general). EVERY other endeavor has been nothing more than throwing pasta at the wall and hoping something sticks, while losing tons of cash doing so.

In the case of WP7, I expect there to be fighting over where to target it and I expect MS will focus it's energy at targeting the consumer market, where it will fail miserably against the deluge of Android devices and the quick development pace of Android OS (which MS will never be able to match) and the iPhone. I predict they won't, for example, break a critical mass of application developers and apps that would be needed to even give them a fighting chance. I also predict their focus will be on consumer devices to the detriment of business class features that would allow them to put up much of a fight against RIM.

In the end, the ONLY thing MS has going for it is lots of money (which I'll admit might help them make some ground initially), partnerships already in place (but which are strained due to everything from broken promises regarding windows CE in the past to things like HP buying a competative mobile OS to the fact that most hardware makers are going to prefer selling devices on an already established OS that costs them nothing compared to a NEW OS that they have to pony up extra for (I expect MS to heavily subsidize that in the beginning, though)). Oh, and let's not forget attempts to litigate their way into the market, as this story is an example of.

At BEST, I predict MS will be stuck at #3 and given their track record in the mobile space and coonsidering the speed at which Google and Apple have been doing software/product updates, they'll likely drift into obscurity. I must admit, I will not be shedding any tears when MS is finally chased out of the mobile space for good.

Obvious shit.. WHY??!?!@ WHY !?!?! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764462)

I still want to know how the fuck you can patent checking email or checking battery strength? Or well all this chit is just stuff a guy living in a bubble and suddenly told to make a wireless phone that goes on the internet would think to add himself if he wasn't a moron.. I mean..FUCK

Re:Obvious shit.. WHY??!?!@ WHY !?!?! (2, Interesting)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765340)

Right? I mean, hey, lets write a calendar app for a mobile phone... but wait... how on earth will we get the information on the calendar app to show up on our app that runs on our desktop. Some how we'll send data back and forth, ZOMFG PATENT INFRINGEMENT PATENT INFRINGEMENT PATENT INFRINGEMENT...sad...

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764464)

Didn't someone just post in the thread about Microsoft's indemnification promise that no one had ever sued a handset maker for patent infringement?

Re:Hmm (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764488)

If someone said that, it was wrong, before this one there was Nokia vs Apple

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764734)

Nokia vs Apple, Apple vs Nokia, Apple vs HTC, HTC vs Apple

Re:Hmm (1, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764532)

Microsoft made the promise that anybody licensing Windows 7 for their product would be indemnified, presumably that means against parties other than MS. And also it includes the right to use any MS patents that are included in the release.

I'm not aware of MS promising not to sue other phone makers using other firmware.

Re:Hmm (3, Informative)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764814)

Didn't someone just post in the thread about Microsoft's indemnification promise that no one had ever sued a handset maker for patent infringement?

I read that post too [slashdot.org] . It said that no one had ever successfully sued a handset maker who used Linux systems for patent infringement. That remains true unless Microsoft prevails in this suit.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764888)

I believe what they said was that no defendant ever lost such a case.

Another Example (5, Insightful)

sabs (255763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764494)

This is yet more proof that software patents are stupid.

Re:Another Example (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764552)

Plus it puts today's earlier story [slashdot.org] into some rather sharp perspective...

Re:Another Example (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764796)

Yeah, I had the same thought...

Re:Another Example (2, Interesting)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765308)

Indeed it does. It appears that they are using this tactic:

  • Indemnify own licensees against patent lawsuits
  • Sue everyone else
  • Spread the word that "nobody gets sued for using Microsoft"

and collecting license fees from phone makers in the process

Re:Another Example (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764780)

I think this is a great thing though. If we can put this idiocy to bed once and for all, then it'll be totally worth it. As long as motorola keeps making popular android phones, they'll do just fine. The risks of pursuing this kinda of litigation are substantial when you consider what microsoft stands to lose if they lose the whole suit. It'd almost be a slap down for almost all future litigation surrounding these sorts of things, and could all-but guarantee future losses for any other actions they take like this in the future.

Of course the inverse would suck greatly. It would do nothing but hurt consumers. Something MS is famously good at already.

Almighty precedence.

Protection Racket (5, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764516)

Wow, one story about how Microsoft says you should develop a Windows 7 phone so that you're safe from patent lawsuits immediately followed by a story about MS suing an Android developer for patent infringement. I think maybe someone in MS PR department needs to read up on the definition of subtlety.

Re:Protection Racket (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764602)

When it comes to the mobile market, Microsoft doesn't have time for subtlety... their mobile reputation has been circling the drain for years now, hype be damned.

Thing is, unless there's an immediate injunction granted, Microsoft may not have time for the lawsuit to work its magic either... maybe they're just hoping to make off of forced royalties what they suspect they won't be making in voluntary licensing and/or sales? 'course, if that's their strategic move in mobile, their "technologies" are liable to become about as relevant as an LZW-compressed .gif file is to pictures online.

Summary Of Horacio Gutierrez Blog Post (0, Troll)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764524)

"Smart Phones are increasingly important to people's lives. They must be notified of things. That's why we're suing motorola."

+5 Informative.

Re:Summary Of Horacio Gutierrez Blog Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764688)

Look, you think it's easy to type with Satan's cock jammed down your throat?

Don't Cave in (2, Interesting)

IRWolfie- (1148617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764526)

I hope Motorola doesn't agree to any settlement like HTC. best for this to go to court to clear android

Software patents sucks! (0, Redundant)

Skatox (1109939) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764530)

Software patents sucks! this is really stupid.

Let's patent this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764572)

Let's patent "using the internet to make an ass of yourself". Microsoft will owe us millions! /pinky-in-corner-of-mouth

Totally called it (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764664)

Earlier today. [slashdot.org]

*shrugs* I just have a phone that sends texts and calls people, what do I know. :^P

Re:Totally called it (5, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764724)

MS: Get our mobile OS - it's good, it'll protect you from lawsuits.
All: Protect us? From who?
MS: Us, mostly...

Re:Totally called it (0, Redundant)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764800)

I offer you a virtual +1 insightful or +1 funny. Take your pick. It will only improve your virtual karma, though.

Re:Totally called it (2, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764866)

I do thank you for that, kind sir.

However, I don't believe in karma. If such thing existed (the way it's understood in the West, which is the context in which we are speaking), Microsoft would have been bankrupt long ago, along with Monsanto, the RIAA and MPAA companies... and many, many politicians and executives would have had the equivalent happen to them.

Re:Totally called it (1)

rawler (1005089) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765408)

Well, to be fair, it worked for for other Mafias.

Re:Totally called it (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765576)


Gangster to store owner: "get our protection. It will protect you
Store owner: "Protect us? From who?"
Gangster: "Us, mostly..."

Interesting choice of company to attack (5, Interesting)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764672)

Hmm .. let's see. HTC, Samsung, LG and Moto make Android phones. HTC, Samsung, and LG also make WinMo (sorry ... WP7) phones as well.

I can't imagine Moto's differentiating factor between all the other handset manufacturers are the only bits that MS has issue with. (Anyways, isn't it all just skinning on top of Google's Android?!)

Soooo, this must be a "screw you" for no longer making WinMo phones?

Re:Interesting choice of company to attack (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764820)

IIRC Motorola _IS_ making WinMo devices. Just not mass market phones available through the retail channel. It is all various vertical market stuff.

Pot meet kettle (5, Insightful)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764686)

In the past Microsoft was the one screwing over its "partner" and stealing mobile phone technology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sendo [wikipedia.org]

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/01/06/microsofts_masterplan_to_screw_phone/ [theregister.co.uk]

So having based their smartphone stuff on stolen tech, they're now turning round claiming other people are stealing their tech ?

Oddly enough, it looks like Motorola were the ones who ended up with the Sendo tech.

Microsoft's Reasoning (5, Insightful)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764702)

Microsoft's reasoning is simple: We're going to get our asses kicked by Android in the mobile market, so we're going to use our vast resources to try to destroy yet another superior product. This is standard Microsoft business practice. So shameful.

Re:Microsoft's Reasoning (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765018)

It seems even more desperate than that. I think the smell of death has taken hold at MS -- they're toast in search, Windows Mobile went from pervasive to MIA in very short time span, they actually had tablets out years ago and now Apple seems to have a massive lead (at least in mindshare).

My guess is they figured they HAD to do this because a flop with WinMo7 would be highly embarrassing and possibly cost Ballmer his job.

Re:Microsoft's Reasoning (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765268)

Which begs the question: Why the hell does Ballmer still have his job? He's utterly buried that company. It's running on nothing but the installed user base of his predecessor's tenure, momentum, and fumes.

What is his vision for the future of Microsoft? Anyone? "The Wow?" What happened to that?

Re:Microsoft's Reasoning (1)

glittermage (650813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765254)

Only one small issue with Microsoft's plan, the owner of Android is beating Microsoft silly in so many areas.

Re:Microsoft's Reasoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765322)

It's even worse than that.

Microsoft made a pact with HTC when Apple sued them over the Android OS, allowing HTC to use MS's patents as a sort of shield. Now, MS is going after Motorola for using Android. Why? Because HTC is going to sell WinMo7 phones and Motorola is not.

Re:Microsoft's Reasoning (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765482)

This is standard Microsoft business practice. So shameful.

Well, no, not really. Traditionally, Microsoft has never been that litigious (yes, there's the FAT-patent-debacle, but that's an exception, not the rule). Hell, usually, they just buy up their competitors.

The fact that they're turning to patent litigation in order to make room for themselves in the market, though, is not a good sign for the company or current management, IMHO...

Corporate Warfare (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764716)

Anyone have thoughts as to what kind of a corporate war it'd take to have affects similar to what WWI and WWII had on western Europe wherein they lost their taste for military solutions to their problems? I really don't understand why this business method and software patent warfare hasn't yet soured the corporate world into rejecting them yet. I understand the anti-competitive "benefit" of destroying your enemy's capabilities but like any war it's never one sided...

Re:Corporate Warfare (3, Insightful)

pavera (320634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764730)

It's because the lawyers are running the show, and they win every time this stuff happens, no matter which side wins, the lawyers still get rich.

PATENT (3, Funny)

glittermage (650813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765464)

You know what PATENT means?

Patent
Attorney
Trust
&
ENrichment
Tool

Re:Corporate Warfare (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765514)

Maybe instead of trying to get rid of software patents we should be making the punitive damages much, much larger. Take it into M.A.D. territory to force a "cold" patent war.

wait. (0, Redundant)

Carebears (1867786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764736)

Microsoft is still in business? hmm.

Better to keep your mouth shut? (5, Interesting)

Qubit (100461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764766)

Let's think about this one. A big-shot at Microsoft tries to explain what's going on RE: a patent suit they're bringing against a competitor. Remember: it's a patent suit here.

Gutierrez:

People use smartphones for much more as well: they surf the web, play music and videos, and run apps.

They do a lot of common activities, yes.

Consumers expect more and more from their smartphones every day, making their phones resemble not so much a phone as a handheld computer.

So really, their smart phones are acting like ordinary computers, right? So perhaps we could imagine their phones in that same problem space, as they are, according to Mr. Gutierrez, basically computers.

Of course, for certain apps to run efficiently on handheld devices, they must be notified of changes in signal strength and battery power and the device must manage memory for storing data.

Of course! I mean, I and the rest of us people with tech backgrounds totally agree with you! Just as in other domains like pagers, heart monitors, etc..., it would make perfect sense that for other small, mobile devices, things like managing power or signal strength would be relevant and important for the end user to know about.

I mean, any one of us people well-versed in the field of technology would probably come up with something similar to what you did. I mean, "of course" we would!

Given the wide range of functionality smartphones offer, they also need to be able to display relevant choices for users efficiently. Microsoft’s patented technologies tackle all of these challenges.

Maybe Microsoft's patents read on some of this technology, but it sure sounds like you're trying to convince us exactly how necessary and obvious the content of these patents are in the context of computers, and I have to ask: Are you trying to win this case, or sink it?

30 years developing cutting-edge computer software (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33764768)

from the linked Microsoft blog post:
        "we’ve spent over 30 years developing cutting-edge computer software."

  hmm... personally, I feel that they've spent 15+ of those years abusing a monopoly thus sabotaging competition and reducing innovation. If theirs can be called innovation it's only because they cut everyone else off at the knees with legal tactics and illegal marketing manoeuvres.

Juxtaposition (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33764980)

Article 1: "Microsoft may be one of the only remaining mobile operating-system providers that charges handset makers a licensing fee, but in exchange vendors get at least one important benefit: protection from intellectual property worries. 'Microsoft indemnifies its Windows Phone 7 licensees against patent infringement claims,' the company said. 'We stand behind our product, and step up to our responsibility to clear the necessary IP rights.'"

Article 2: "Microsoft has hit up the ITC over a total of nine alleged patent infringements by Motorola in its Android devices, specifically relating to 'synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.' This should be interesting -- will it result in a quick cross-licensing agreement, or a protracted court battle spanning multiple years?"

It's more fun if you read it with a Brooklyn accent and imagine a guy with a broken nose saying it.

Maybe add in:

"And just to make sure you understand, RIM actually invented email synchronization, but we had a little talk with the DoJ. See how far that got RIM? Fucking Canucks trying to get in on our action. See; the US government is the muscle. We are, how do you say it... the patron? the patriarch? Maybe, the godfather. Mwuahahahahahah.... Ummm, the evil laugh -- was that out loud? I'm not supposed to do that part out loud."

Anti-capitalist (4, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765076)

Its interesting how companies spout out capitalist philosophy based arguments against laws when it benefits them, but are quick to use non-capitalist strategies to edge the competition out.

This is getting real common (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765082)

Phone patent litigation has become a core revenue stream for the big patent holders, and complaining to he ITC has become standard - it's free (or cheap) and the government does all the work. The media also does loads of free work by writing articles about how X's product imports might be blocked, even though that's never happened...

is ballmer being forced out of microsoft? (4, Interesting)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765162)

This smells like a desperation move of someone who tries to solve every problem with marketing. Buy our products because they are better? Nope, buy them out of fear. Stupid. My guess is ballmer is in the process of being forced out of microsoft.

Let's take a stab, shall we? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765168)

  • 5,579,517 and 5,758,352 Common name space for long and short filenames. Let's write a file system that contains long file names. But we need to let people use short ones too. I know, we'll put them in the same namespace! Obvious
  • 6,826,762 Radio interface layer in a cell phone with a set of APIs having a hardware-independent proxy layer and a hardware-specific driver layer. We need to be able to swap out radio modules! No problem, we'll stick a new layer in there to blackbox the radio. Obvious

The rest I'm unsure about. The "scheduling from a mobile device", "offline syncing", and "context sensitive menu" things may have been innovative, but that's been around for 10+ years so at this point it shouldn't count. The flash monitoring sounds kind of obvious, but the implementation may not be (I don't know much in the area).

It's odd to argue how patents are squashing innovation and then go and use obvious patents that at this point (10+ years since devices started doing that function) are extraordinarily common.

I think Steve is just mad about his bonus.

Re:Let's take a stab, shall we? (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765644)

The rest I'm unsure about. The "scheduling from a mobile device", "offline syncing", and "context sensitive menu" things may have been innovative, but that's been around for 10+ years so at this point it shouldn't count. The flash monitoring sounds kind of obvious, but the implementation may not be (I don't know much in the area).

No. All those functions have been around on laptops and tablets for a long time, as well as the Apple Newton and Palm devices. Many companies have developed and sold this kind of software. Android's productivity apps could entirely be based on open, established synchronization protocols, since that functionality has been standardized long ago.

Furthermore, many of these patents are of the form "doing X on a phone", where X itself is public domain and well understood; it's doubtful that such patents should hold up at all.

However, Google needs to step up to the plate and defend their partners. For a licensing fee, they should probably provide indemnification.

XML Editors, Anyone? (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765180)

Well this method worked pretty well for i4i, but I can't wrap my head around this news with that news [arstechnica.com] .

Reasoning summarized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765312)

"Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync, a proprietary technology that we developed, makes this possible."

"... seeks to ensure respect for our intellectual property rights ... judging by the recent actions by Apple and Oracle, we are not alone in this respect."

Everything else is filler.

To paraphrase, we made product that synced information back and forth (not like the palm pilot?), and everyone else is suing android, so we might as well too.

The Patents (2, Informative)

Troy Roberts (4682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33765470)

5,579,517 "Common Name Space for Long and Short File Names"
5,758,352 "Common Name Space for Long and Short File Names"

So, these two are the the infamous FAT patents.

6,621,746 "Monitoring Entropic Conditions of a Flash Memory Device as an Indicator for Invoking Erasure Operations"

Defrag applied to flash, really that deserve a patent?

6,826,762 "Radio Interface Layer in a Cell Phone with a Set of APIs Having a Hardware-Independent Proxy Layer and a Hardware-Specific Driver Layer"

Hmmm layering an API so that you have an invariant user space API and hardware driver portion. Seems like the kind of thing every OS does.

6,909,910 "Method and System for Managing Changes to a Contact Database"

Really!?!? I wonder how if my first year CS course work violates this patent.

7,644,376 "Flexible Architecture for Notifying Applications of State Changes"

Hmmmm... a publish/subscriber notification protocol, no that has never been done before.

5,664,133 "Context Sensitive Menu System/Menu Behavior"

Ha, Ha, Ha Context sensitive menus! I could have sworn I have seen things like that for the last 20 years or so.

6,578,054 "Method and System for Supporting Off-line Mode of Operation and Synchronization Using Resource State Information"

Hmmm... patenting persistent state storage as part of a synchronization process. Hmmmm... I wonder if any of the hash based synchronizer I have built in the past would infringe.

6,370,566 "Generating Meeting Requests and Group Scheduling from a Mobile Device"

Oh, doing it from a mobile device makes it so much more unique.

They are all garbage patents and if Motorola decides to fight versus cross licensing, I don't believe they will hold up.

Doesn't Motorola makes XBOX CPUs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33765566)

Or at least they used to until today.

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