Microsoft's case against Motorola won't hurt Google, Android or Linux

Summary:Microsoft has filed a major patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola -- and indirectly, Google, Linux and open source.The software giant's case against Motorola's Android devices won't slow the momentum of Google smartphones or its Linux-based open source operating system.

Microsoft has filed a major patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola -- and indirectly, Google, Linux and open source.

The software giant's case against Motorola's Android devices won't slow the momentum of Google smartphones or its Linux-based open source operating system.

Consumers don't pay attention to patent infringement cases. Unless the court opts to halt sales of Motorola's Android smartphones, which is also unlikely, the market for Android devices will keep skyrocketing.

But will it impact the emerging Android-based tablet market?

Dell and other PC makers are gearing up for explosive growth in the Android-based tablet market, based in part on the success of Apple's iPad and the success of Android-based smartphones vis a vis Apple's iPhone.

Whether or not the case deters Android-based tablet innovation and manufacturing is unclear. But again, I don't think it's likely -- especially with the holiday season approaching.

Microsoft's Windows-based smartphone operating system and Tablet PC operating system -- which debuted long before market conditions were perhaps ready for them -- failed to garner much success on their own accord.  Observers note that some of the patents in question are common e-mail and calendaring functions.

More than likely, Microsoft is angling for a licensing payment from Motorola.

Microsoft reached an agreement with HTC in April related to the manufacturer's alleged use of patent technology in Android-based smartphone devices.

Apple and Oracle have filed similar cases against Android manufacturers and Google, respectively.

Ironically, the lawsuits are cropping up even as Microsoft and Apple ( as well as Google and the Apache Foundation) are engaged in a patent invalidation cause.

It seems clear that Google's competitors are engaged in a massive legal pig pile as the Android pot of gold expands. Microsoft invested mightily to make the smartphone and tablet market grow and is trying to wrest whatever it can from that decade-long R&D effort to cushion its bottom line.

But that won't hurt Google, Android or Linux. Quite the contrary.

What it may do, rather indirectly, is apply more pressure on Google to get its Android code cleaned up and ready for inclusion in the Linux kernel. And eliminating a temporary or permanent fork of Linux is only good news for open source.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Linux, Microsoft, Mobility, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets

About

Paula Rooney has covered the software and technology industry for more than 20 years, starting with semiconductor design and mini-computer systems at EDN News and later focused on PC software companies including Microsoft, Lotus, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell and other open source and commercial software companies for CRN and PCWeek. She receiv... Full Bio

Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.