Microsoft sues trio over Androidian book reader
Redmond patent suit hits Barnes & Noble
Microsoft is suing Barnes & Noble, Invetec, and Foxconn International over alleged patent infringements by the Android-based Nook e-reader sold by Barnes & Noble.
On monday, the software giant said that Android infringes on a number of its patents and that the trio must respect Microsoft's intellectual property rights.
The patents cover ways of tabbing through various screens to find information, quickly surfing the web, and interacting with documents and e-books.
IP watcher Florian Mueller listed the precise patents in question on his blog.
The action comes almost a year after smartphone maker HTC agreed to pay Microsoft royalties for devices it sells running Google's Android operating system.
HTC is also a Microsoft partner, making five smart phones running Windows Phone 7. You can check out a photo that encapsulates the spirit of the companies' fraternal partnership here.
Microsoft deputy general counsel for IP and licensing Hector Gutierrez called out the HTC deal in a statement on Microsoft's action against The Barnes & Noble Trio.
According to Gutierrez, Microsoft has tried for more than a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, and Inventec.
"Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations and fulfill our responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year to bring great software products and services to market," Gutierrez said in a statement here.
If past experience is an indicator of future performance of patent, licensing, and royalties cases, the companies will settle by agreeing to pay Microsoft royalties rather than risk a potentially drawn out and expensive patent litigation dispute.
Foxconn manufacturers Apple's iPad as well as Amazon's Linux-based Kindle ereader. The Amazon division that designs the Kindle, Lab 126, is now reported to be staffing up on Android developers.
The speculation is that is Amazon's looking to add a color screen to the Kindle. It should be noted that a version of the Kindle software is available for Android on other devices.
Meanwhile, Oracle has also taken issue with Android. The database giant claims Android violates patents in Java that it owns. Unlike Microsoft, however, Oracle has chosen not to divide and conquer. Last summer, it filed action against Android's owner and creator, Google. ®
It's a sad state of affairs...
When your immediate reaction to a patent issue is "troll!".
And you're right.
"quickly surfing the web"
If the patents cover "quickly surfing the web" then surely Microsoft have no prior art in this respect?!
And in a surprise development, none of the patents would stand up to the slightest scrutiny by anyone with experience in computing:
US Patent No. 5,778,372: HTML
US Patent No. 6,339,780: progress bar
US Patent No. 5,889,522: just plain window controls
US Patent No. 6,891,551: selected area controls
US Patent No. 6,957,233: metadata dialog box and storage
The idea that this shite is Microsoft's "innovation" only flies if your definition of "innovation" is as low as Microsoft's generally is.
It's long past time to dump the patent system completely - it simply doesn't work and it never really made any sense even when it stayed near the original conception. Now that it basically covers ideas and ways of scratching your nose it's worse than worthless.
F U D warning
A couple of points:
Microsoft is advertising this as a lawsuit against Android in general, when it in fact is particular to certain ebook reader interfaces. While I'm sure they have some basis for the lawsuit itself, the positioning of it as part of their greater anti-Android campaign is just more Microsoft FUD.
Remember SCO's "the hidden cost of Linux"? Now we have Microsoft's "the hidden cost of Android", and it's equally nonsense.
Secondly, Florian Mueller's name comes up again and again in these baseless Android attacks, and his motivations, financial and otherwise, remain very murky. Please, report the news (and this lawsuit is clearly news), but do it without treating him as a primary source or giving him more of a platform to stand on.
Pot to kettle: You stole our IP
Microsoft should be respected in this arena of the law for it, like a certain company in Cupertino, have been serial IP thieves over the years and have developed a depth of knowledge as to how to do it.