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Microsoft blasts 'web video killer' Motorola Mobility in EU gripe

Googorola patents complaint probe launched

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Updated Microsoft filed a formal antitrust complaint against Motorola Mobility this morning in Brussels, following the European Commission's decision to clear Google's takeover of the mobile biz earlier this month.

Redmond's beef with Google relates to "standard essential patents" that MS rather hysterically claimed could be used by Motorola Mobility to "kill video on the web".

Microsoft's decision to gripe about the mobile outfit to the commission follows on from a similar complaint lodged by Apple late last week.

Like Microsoft, the iPhone maker wants the EC to intervene "with respect to standards-essential patents".

Senior MS counsel Dave Heiner grumbled in a blog post that Motorola Mobility had "broken its promise". He said companies including Microsoft, Motorola Mobility and others had made a pact to make such patents available on fair and reasonable terms.

Heiner claimed that the contributors to those standards had also agreed to not use them to "block competitors from shipping their products".

An EC spokeswoman told The Register that it had "received the complaint" and added "we will examine it". Brussels approved Google's massive $12.5bn merger with Motorola Mobility just last week.

However, competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia signalled that his team would watch the sector closely, in particular what he described as the "increasingly strategic use of patents".

Microsoft's Heiner defended his company's own creative approach to patents:

Google says that it is just trying to protect manufacturers of Android devices against patent actions by Microsoft and others. But there are big differences between Google’s approach and Microsoft’s. Microsoft is not seeking to block Android manufacturers from shipping products on the basis of standard essential patents.

Rather, Microsoft is focused on infringement of patents that it has not contributed to any industry standard. And Microsoft is making its patents -standard essential and otherwise — available to all Android manufacturers on fair and reasonable terms. In fact, more than 70 percent of Android devices are now licensed to use Microsoft’s patent portfolio.

So that's all right then. ®

Update

Google has sent El Reg the following response:

"We haven't seen Microsoft's complaint, but it's consistent with the way they use the regulatory process to attack competitors. It's particularly ironic, given their track record in this area and collaboration with patent trolls."

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