Google Hits Out At Apple, Microsoft and Oracle Over Patents

Google has decided to take a stance against Apple, Microsoft

and Oracle in the escalating patent wars claiming they are waging a

“hostile, organised campaign” making Android smartphones more

expensive.

Google Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David

Drummond posted on the Official Google Blog claiming Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and “other companies”

are waging a patent war, “waged through bogus patents.”

Drummond claims the companies are doing this by banding

together to purchase patents from Novell and Nortel, the latter recently selling for $4.5 billion, well over the $1 billion

estimate before the patent auction. Indeed Google itself made an initial bid of

$900 million for the Nortel patents.

Google Microsoft Apple Oracle patents

Drummond believes these companies are using the patents from

Nortel to help them push up the price of Android devices by seeking license

fees for every handset sold. HTC has already admitted that it is paying Microsoft a fee, believed

to be between $5 and $15, per Android handset sold.

On a positive note for Google, Drummond believes the purchase

of the Nortel patents will likely draw regulatory scrutiny as “the law frowns on

the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means.” Drummond even

goes on to say that Google is actively seeking to strengthen its own patent

portfolio to “preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by

stopping those who are trying to strangle it.”

Twitter Brad Smith

Microsoft has hit back via Twitter with its general counsel, Brad Smith tweeting: “Google says we bought

Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly

with us. They said no.”

According to Drummond a smartphone might involve as many as “250,000

(largely questionable) patent claims” which gives an indication about the

complexity involved and the reason behind the huge amount of money paid for the

Nortel patents.

With the Android platform exploding since the launch of the first handset

in 2008, it is no surprise that companies like Microsoft and Apple are looking

at hitching their wagons to the operating system. Google will be hoping that regulatory

scrutiny of the Nortel patents purchase will help ease the pressure on it, but unfortunately we imagine that this is probably just round one of a long patent war.

Source: Official Google Blog

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