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Microsoft withdraws software silos from Germany in patent war

Distribution HQ moves to The Netherlands to dodge Motorola showdown

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Microsoft is moving its European distribution centre out of Germany and into The Netherlands to protect itself from patent machinations in the German courts.

The software giant is shifting its software logistics out of harm's way as it awaits decisions in disputes with Motorola Mobility in the ongoing patent wars.

Microsoft had been distributing out of Germany in partnership with Bertelsmann's business outsourcing firm arvato.

"We have a great relationship with arvato and we are pleased with the quality of their service," Microsoft spokesman Thomas Baumgartner explained. "But Motorola’s refusal to live up to its patent promises has left us no choice.

"We would have preferred to keep our European distribution centre with arvato in Germany as it has been for many years, but unfortunately the risk of disruption from Motorola’s patent litigation is simply too high.”

Microsoft is awaiting a decision expected 17 April from a court in Mannheim on a case brought by Motorola Mobility over patents for the H.264 video codec standard.

Mannheim could award a preliminary injunction in the case, which would affect all kinds of Microsoft gear from Windows to the Xbox 360 if Motorola chose to enforce it.

Redmond has asked a court in the US to stop any such enforcement due to the negative impact it would have on a legal battle between the two firms in Washington, which it initiated. In that suit, Microsoft wants to end up with a worldwide licensing deal with Motorola, which would obviously cover Europe as well. ®

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