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

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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