Google Chides Microsoft for ‘Extorting’ Android Manufacturers, Microsoft Tells Google to Stop Whining


After Samsung became the latest Android handset manufacturer to agree to a licensing deal that will see them paying Microsoft a fee on every smartphone sold, Google wasn’t too pleased. Strongly believing that legal battles, patents, and licensing deals do nothing but stifle innovation, the technology giant behind the Android OS issued a statement chastising Microsoft for their attempts to “extort” makers of Android devices.

“This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.”

Microsoft’s Frank Shaw was quick to fire back, tweeting his own take on Google’s statement condensed “48 words to 1: Waaaah.” He further pointed to a Microsoft blog post in which the following text can be found:

“We recognize that some businesses and commentators – Google chief among them – have complained about the potential impact of patents on Android and software innovation. To them, we say this: look at today’s announcement. If industry leaders such as Samsung and HTC can enter into these agreements, doesn’t this provide a clear path forward?”

Legally, Microsoft has every right to demand fees from manufacturers, as evidenced by the numerous Android partners already paying out to the computer software powerhouse. Google simply maintains a utopian view of the tech world, one driven by innovation rather than money. That’s an easy stance to take when you hold an almost limitless supply of cash, but sadly reality differs slightly. As much as we agree with Google’s ideals, perhaps its time to stop playing the victim and take a proactive approach to the patent feeding frenzy currently creating nightmares for Android hardware manufacturers.

[via TechCrunch]

Kevin Krause
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  1. A proactive approach such as purchasing Motorola and thousands of IBM patents?

    1. I see Google collecting on Windows 8 and WP7 soon.. :)

      1. Won’t happen. Google isn’t a patent troll like Microsoft or Apple. Its hard to argue that patents are being abused if you’re also abusing them, so they’ll stay out of it. Besides, getting in a drawn out legal battle with Microsoft would be foolish. Microsoft isn’t targeting Google, they’re targeting hardware vendors supporting Android. Google could target hardware vendors supporting Windows, but a lot of those are Android partners.

        Look, the key here is that if Samsung and HTC thought they couldn’t be profitable selling Android devices after signing these deals, they wouldn’t have signed the deals. It just means that Microsoft quits picking on them and everybody can move on with life. Its certainly better than Apple trying to sue others out of existence.

        1. A patent troll implies the entity did not create/file for the innovation but only acquired it for the sole purpose to leverage the IP. In the case of Microsoft, IBM, Nokia, Motorola…these are companies that the IEEE consistently rates as tops in their respective fields in generating IP. Literally thousands of cutting edge patents are awarded every year and with strong IP pipelines.

          Google bought Motorola to leverage its patent portfolio, given known IP weaknesses that threatened OEM’s deploying Android. Now whose the patent troll?

          1. what your are impling isnt fact

          2. Now that’s a sunstantive reply

      2. This might be plausible. The fact that manufacturers could use Android for free was an advantage. Now that they have to pay MS in order to use it, they might begin to favor WP7 since they have to pay MS either way. If Google is going to use their new patents to protect Android, they will likely have to make licensing deals with their partners (which are also MS partners) and require a payment for every WP7 device sold. This will effectively cause manufacturers to pay twice to use WP7 (once to MS and once to Google), making Android the less expensive choice once again. (There is a licensing fee for any manufacturer who uses the Android Market or Google apps but even so, the same principle would apply for Google to maintain a balance.)

  2. Bullshit, Google are after money like all other companies, but they actually make a good operating system, unlike Microsoft.

    1. Wouldnt go that far. I have both an Evo 3D and an HTC Arrive. While I love me some Android, WP7 is a damn nice OS.

    2. Google COULD make a nice operating system if they could bug test it before release AND get their so-called manufacturing partners to stop playing the time-tested, tired approach to Linux which is take the OS and splinter it all to hell and back into 1,000 versions of it! Consumers are freaking sick and tired of buying a device then hoping since the manufacturer just haaaad to add in their flavor (Read: fragmentation) to the OS that they eventually get some table scraps instead of being left twisting in the breeze with their 400 dollar tablet while said manufacturer moves on to the next device. I’ve been using Linux for several years now and I’m seeing the same ol signs and troubles appearing in Android. Market full of abandoned beta-apps, fragmentation and just an all around pain in the arse experience for the end user – and “Root it” doesn’t offer much comfort. Especially when you see time and time again how software development in Linux gets abandoned. But Google have nothing vested in this OS so they could walk away at any time.

      I think my next tablet purchase is going to a company whose bread and butter IS the OS and they guard it viciously from any manufacturer tampering/altering. I’ve learned my headache induced lesson enough from using Linux on the desktop for the past 7 years, not putting up with that crap any longer in my mobile products. I want software that works and updates made available the day they are issued.

      If Google wants to lock down Android from all the nonsense, then we’ll talk.

  3. Here is the difference between Microsoft and Google.

    Microsoft receives money from other companies forcefully.

    Google receives money from other companies by choice.

    1. Usurping IP is theft. Defending one’s IP is an obligation to shareholders, else why invest billions in the first place. Inniovation has to come from somewhere and big ideas usually start with findamental and/or applied research. MS spends billions in this area and has a huge patent portfolio to show for itself and its shareholders. See the IEEE ratings to understand the various IP leaders amongst top companies.

    2. Samsung is a MS partner (Like HTC). They have agreements on licenses for Notebooks, tablets and phones (Windows, Office, WP7, etc). The word is that with this deal they are getting discounts on other licenses if they agree to pay for android, so at the end is a win scenario for samsung at expenses of google’s reputation…

  4. I agree, stop whining … I meant, to Google, why don’t you innovate to replace those Microsoft patents that might be used in Android?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am Android fan, using Nexus S. But, I think Google need to “clean up” Android …

    By the way, anyone know which Microsoft patents are being used to extort? I am curious to know.

    1. Nobody knows which Microsoft patents. Microsoft won’t say.

      It is impossible to clean up Android or any other software on the planet to avoid patent infringement.

      Basically, if you or I write any non-trivial program it already infringes patents held by every big company that has a significant number of fairly trivial patents.

      The problem here isn’t that Android is “dirty”. The problem is that the patent system is broken.

      Let me add . . . we do know which patents that Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble over. They included trivial patents like putting up an animated graphic while busy (eg equivalent of animated hourglass). Wow that’s real innovation there! Nobody would have thought of that! Groklaw has more details on the Microsoft vs B&N patents. But other than those few, Microsoft is silent on exactly which patents.

      If Microsoft were to say which patents, then people would immediately start looking for prior art — and finding it — thus invalidating those patents. Microsoft doesn’t want that to happen, because then they can’t use the threat of very expensive patent litigation to extort money. And yes, Extort is the correct word.

      1. We know which patents… These are the patents that microsoft claims over all linux technology. These licensing fees are the legacy of SCO’s failed microsoft-funded legal battle against all things linux.

        1. We don’t know which patents. Microsoft claims about 250+ patents cover Linux. But they have never said which patents. They have never provided a list of US patent numbers.

          If you think you know, then please provide a list. I would find it very informative.

    2. It could be any vague abstract idea.. That’s what’s wrong with the patent system.. Android IS clean, there is no Microsoft product in it, or Apple product in it.. or Oracle product in it… It’s all about patenting ideas, not making those ideas work.. and they are all guilty on every side of implementing others ideas.. It’s just that Android is doing it better right now, and the others are either scared or pissed.

      1. How is there no Oracle product in it? Dalvik is a virtual copy-paste of Java.

        1. Sun never went after Android for having Dalvik and they created Java (from the original language of Oak). Perhaps they should have done before Oracle came along. At least then the creators and maintainers would have had recompense instead of a greedy company that only recently crippled a couple of APIs and has no interest in further developing it.

          1. Google knew the IP existed, knew the licensing constraints, and chose to take the risk. We shall see if that calculation was correct.

        2. It is not a copy paste.. They had the Java developer working for them.. they built the machine based on specs.. They did not copy code.. There is a licensing issue.. If you knew all the specs to build a web browser, for example, that would load web pages, and based it upon standards, and had people working for you that have worked on other web browsers.. That does not mean you copied them.. Java is a language.. there was open source, and standards to be met to run java applications.. that is what Dalvik does it runs the code.. Nothing copied and pasted, it was built.. Oracle wants a piece of success, we’ll see what happens.

        3. Even if Dalvik were a copy-paste of Java, which it is not, how would this be a problem to have Oracle product?

          Java is under an open source license. So while Oracle owns the copyright on Java, Oracle makes it available under an open source license.

          Similarly Linux is under an open source license.

          Oracle claims patent infringement and copyright infringement. But this is really the magician’s misdirection. Oracle is suing not because of any “infringement” but because Google is making lots of money and Oracle wants some of it.

          Similarly Microsoft doesn’t own anything in Linux — they just realize that lots of people are making money, and not using Windows Embedded, Windows CE or whatever they currently call it — and Microsoft wants a cut.

          The problem is not that anyone did anything wrong, the problem is that some extortionists want money.

    3. Android has never been ruled against in court. In other words, as far as the legal system is concerned, there’s no reason to believe Android is infringing on any legitimate patents. The reason HTC, Samsung, etc. are paying Microsoft isn’t because of patent infringement. It’s because the cost of proving that they didn’t infringe would be more than the amount M$ is asking for. Let’s put it this way:
      I think you robbed a bank. I have some shaky evidence, and claim to have a lot more that I’m not showing you. However, I won’t take you to court if you pay me $50. Now you have a choice. You can pay me $50 to not bring this to court, OR you can swear that you didn’t rob any banks (which you probably didn’t) and pay more than $5000 in legal fees to prove it. Which would you choose?
      This is the formula for extortion. This is exactly what Microsoft is doing.

  5. Samsung should have fight M$ TAX. This just makes me want a Motorola as my next Android phone. I can’t stand M$ shit anymore.

  6. @kevin

    “Legally, Microsoft has every right to demand fees from manufacturers, as evidenced by the numerous Android partners already paying out to the computer software powerhouse.”

    You cannot justify the oppression by the individuals that have fallen as a the result of this war of attrition. There was no legal determination about this infringement, It was based on politics and financial backing. Which is why MS never went after the big fish in the first place. They chose to “extort” those who they had leverage with, as all dictators do.

    1. Great argument…except SAMSUNG is not exactly a “little fish”.

  7. Am I the only one getting the feeling that Google is merely biding time to build up a massive court case and throw a mind=blown campaign at Apple, Micro$oft, and RIM?

  8. Kevin, are you stupid? Microsoft has no right to demand these fees, but to prove that in court would require money and legal talent that most manufacturers choose not to invest in. Specifically, they are continuing the failed SCO battle against linux to capitalize on profit generated by linux-based Android phones. Their claims have been overturned in court countless times, but they continue to use their deep pockets to threaten further costly litigation against companies who would rather pay a nominal fee than deal with a lengthy court battle.

  9. By giving away Android to the phone manufacturers google effectively shielded themselves from the lawsuits and money that the manufacturers now pay to Microsoft. Google want to turn around now and act all innocent and blame Microsoft? Google knew what they were doing and now gets all upset.
    Kind of a douchey way to act.

    1. I wonder if giving something like Android away for free is an effective shield. If you stole someone’s car and gave it to another person free of charge, would you be off the hook? As well, Google claims Android is open and nothing is done proprietorially…but in court requests its Android road map be kept confidential. I’m not sure Google is completely shielded, hence the premium it paid for the MOTO acquisition. One wonders how good that shield will be considering SAMSUNG just did a deal with MS after the Google-MOTO deal.

      1. funny, so google just stole iOS and rebranded it as android and gave it away for free, is that your point ? you are delusional. So Android 11 million lines of code is exactly the same as iOS or WP7 ?

    2. haha you are such an idiot.

  10. Microsoft actually does have the right to demand money. They can demand compensation for the patents being infringed, and if the manufacturer does not pay up then take it to court. Every company has the right to demand, it’s up to the other companies to agree or to fight. Samsung probably felt that they have infringed on a patent and decided to pay.

    As for what Kevin said about demanding, I have the right to demand money from all of you, however you have to right to decline to pay. I’m sure that’s what Kevin was trying to say!

    1. What a nonsense! Like software patents! Software patents is a distortion of human logic. You cannot patent 1+1=2 but this what exactly software patents do.
      Anyway, a country that has accepted gene patents (a more irrational concept than software patents), it will accept anything.
      As long as foolish persons claim that “microsoft has the right to demand bla, bla…” the patent troll robbing will be acceptable…For me it is outrageous…

  11. People who do not agree with the protection of IPs are simply out of their mind. Listen, if you took the time to create a concept, vision, idea…whatever the case may be, you would want to be compensated appropriately for your work.

    Let’s put this in terms that hopefully folks will understand…let’s say you had property, I decided to start growing vegatables on your property and sold it and gave you no compensation for this; does that idea not sound wrong to you? You work hard, bought all this land, and I decide that I am just going to start making money off your property? That is why the patent system is set up this way…so property can be protected.

    1. Android and its code as open source is the property of all of us!So microsoft is indeed stealing from your (and our) property, but you as a fool, you defend your robber!

    2. Yes, except patents have limited life before they become public domain (~20 years)…so in this example the usurpation is even more egregious to the IP creator.

    3. IP protection of software sounds like a pyramid scheme to me. Those who get in early reap all the benefits off of those who come later. Software code is an evolving product. Coding is building from other’s building blocks. Of course you can create your own, but does anyone actually start with the very basic binary code and work from there, or do they work from libraries which were created by others through hours of tedious work?

  12. Eventually all of these companies will just start trading money back and forth. Maybe some day I can get in on that action

  13. Its not really that unfair when you think about it. Samsung and HTC now have access to Microsoft’s patents and they’ve got Microsoft off their back. The key thing to remember here is that HTC and Samsung signed these deals without too much resistance. That means they’re confident that they can still be profitable with Android after the licensing fee. Now Samsung and HTC not only have their own patent portfolios as defense, but also Microsoft’s as well as Google’s growing portfolio which will get a big boost provided the Motorola deal goes through.

    1. Except when license fees make the phones less competitive on costs as you move further down in price points. This is where lower cost OS’s to the OEM’s will have an advantage (e.g. WP Tango beyond 2012, Symbian thru 2012, Bada).

  14. It’s freaking Microsoft. We’re talking about the creator of the OS most of you are running right now, and you all think they need money? LOL, Microsoft is the one who’s crying, Google just wants to keep the peace; if only Microsoft will let them. Apparently as it stands now, it’s a no for peace from Apple and Microsoft…

  15. I love these Microsoft haters..LOL…Where is your wallet??

  16. I am sickened by the thought that by buying an Android device, I am putting money Microsoft’s pockets.

  17. “Legally, Microsoft has every right to demand fees from manufacturers, as evidenced by the numerous Android partners already paying out to the computer software powerhouse.”
    I’m calling bullshit on this one. The fact that they’re paying doesn’t mean that they would legally be obligated to pay. It simply means that to fight it out in court would cost more than what they’re paying M$. No court case has ever been won against any of these manufacturers, and no judge has EVER ruled that android infringes on Microsofts patents. If I had a multi-billion dollar company, it wouldn’t matter what that company sold, I would be able to financially bully these manufacturers in the same way. What it boils down to is: I have $20B and you have $5B. If you don’t give me $1B of that every year, then I’ll make you pay $2B a year for 5 years to battle it out in court, at which point, there’s no guarantee that you won’t have to pay that $1B a year on top of it. Financial bullying does not equal legal precedent.

  18. Just waiting for Google os. Then it’s good bye Windows forever.

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