Googorola yoinks Android mobes off German shelves
Apple, Microsoft patent warfare forces European retreat
Motorola Mobility's global smartphone market share shrank faster than usual yesterday when the mobe maker pulled all but one of its products from Germany.
Motorola Mobility's attempts to overturn the rulings have failed, forcing the Illinois-headquartered manufacturer to beat an ignominious retreat from the biggest market in Europe.
Now Moto's German portal offers only one product for sale: the bargain-basement clam-shell Gleam phone running a proprietary OS.
In comparison, there are 18 products on the Motorola Mobility UK and US sites: 14 phones and 4 Xoom tablets.
Moto announced a change of strategy in August towards making fewer phones and selling them in a smaller number of select countries. It also announced a 20 per cent cut in staff and the closure of a third of its offices. The change in direction came three months after Moto was bought by Google in May 2012.
However Moto and its new Googly masters would not have desired this week's dramatic withdrawal. ®
Obligation on Microsoft to negotiate a licence
Under the (F)RAND terms, Motorola is obliged to *offer* a licence. And they have done. Microsoft, in turn, is under an obligation to enter into negotiations. And they refuse to do so. Motorola has therefore satisfied its FRAND obligations, and Microsoft have not. Microsoft lawyers claim the FRAND terms are a contract, when in reality they are a commitment of negotiate a contract. If they really were a contract, then Microsoft, not Motorola, would be in breach for refusing to negotiate a price with Motorola.
Meanwhile Microsoft, Nokia and friends set up shell companies so that they can split standards-essential patent portfolios. This has effectively allowed Nokia, and others, to break commitments to cap total unit-cost FRAND licence fees for the standard-essential patents, commitments that were made as part of the standard setting process.
Microsoft and Nokia, et al. are thus exploiting loopholes in FRAND undertakings, and using corporate socket-puppets to extort potentially unlimited royalties from others, for patents that were supposed to be fee-capped, while refusing to pay FRAND licence fees themselves.
This is an issue that standards bodies really need to address; it's not just software-libre that has a problem with all these FRAND-based "open" standards --- an approach to standardisation which appear to be a fundamentally flawed fix necessitated by a basically broken patent system.
Interesting how M$ worms its way out of a ban due to a US court, but how there is no such luck for Motorola. I guess Google needs to figure out who they pay in the US to give them such protection in the future.
Re: Obligation on Microsoft to negotiate a licence
@a_been, instead of sounding clueless, get correctly informed about FRAND issues. You are just spewing Apple's incorrect line.