Microsoft vs Google patent ding dong gets stuck on repeat
Paranoid Android or a naughty, patent-herding Redmond? You decide
Microsoft and Google are still engaged in a war of words over what Mountain View has claimed is a "conspiracy" against its Android platform.
We at Vulture Central recommend you take ringside seats and bring a huge bucket of popcorn for this row, as it shows little sign of slowing down.
In the latest round, Microsoft's top flack Frank Shaw wrote a series of tweets addressing the most recent catty comments from Google general counsel David Drummond, who said the software giant had tried to divert attention from the real issue behind the spat with a "false 'gotcha'".
The Googler claimed MS had defensively been herding patents away from Google and Android device-makers by waging a "hostile, organised campaign" against its platform with "bogus patents". He offered purported evidence that Google's three rivals in the game – MS, Apple and Oracle – were behind a consortium that purchased hundreds of patents from the Linux-loaded Novell.
"A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a licence would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners," said Drummond.
"Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android – and having us pay for the privilege – must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn't fall for it."
Microsoft's top counsel Brad Smith had earlier claimed that the company had approached Google: "We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no," he tweeted.
Following Drummond's update to his 3 August post on Google's corporate blog, Shaw once again took to Twitter to publicly unload his latest opinion about the brouhaha.
"Hello again David Drummond. This is going to take a few tweets, so here we go. Let’s look at what Google does not dispute in their reply," he wrote.
"We offered Google the opportunity to bid with us to buy the Novell patents; they said no.
"Why? BECAUSE they wanted to buy something that they could use to assert against someone else.
"SO partnering with others & reducing patent liability across industry is not something they wanted to help do."
In other words, the two companies are getting stuck on repeat with their arguments about who did what when.
Arguably, Google is on the ropes at the moment, given Smith's comment about inviting the Chocolate Factory to join hands with MS and bid jointly for the patents.
The world's largest ad broker has been silent on the issue for about 12 hours now. But it's unlikely this verbal, manbag-whacking fight is over yet. ®
Bloody software patents. Put a 3 year time limit on them and let's see which of these giants can survive by being clever and innovative instead of milking others for license fees for something they didn't even invent that is now decades old.
Re: Short sighted reactionary crap
He said SOFTWARE patents
Regular patents that allow private drug companies to recoup the money they spend developing drugs - good.
Software copyright allowing hard working developers to create code without people being able to copy their code - good.
Software patents - patenting vague ideas like double clicking or progress bars - bad. So bad European law refuses to recognise the wrethed bloody things.
"Arguably, Google is on the ropes at the moment, given Smith's comment about inviting the Chocolate Factory to join hands with MS and bid jointly for the patents."
This sentence shows the author did not understand Google's argument (or chose to ignore it). Granted, Twitter limits may have hampered Google's ability to lay it out, so here's a quote from PJ at Groklaw:
"The attacks are already happening, and if Google had agreed to a cross-license with the Microsoft/Apple/Oracle/et al group, then any of them could sue Google over *other* [non-Nortel] patents, and Google would not have been able to counterclaim with any of the Nortel patents to defend itself."
That's because members of a patent-purchase consortium usually make a binding agreement not to use the purchased patents against each other. There, isn't that better?
Disclaimer: I don't work for anyone involved (but I used to be a contractor for M$ back in the day). Now I'm just a satisfied Google user who's run free-as-in-freedom software for the last decade.
Hmm. Where's the Devil-disguised-as-Ballmer option?