Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

Summary: The news from that Microsoft has sued Barnes & Noble over its Android e-reader is significant. Microsoft has previously gone after Android phone makers, but are making it clear they are coming after the Android tablet space.

SHARE:

The news from Between the Lines that Microsoft has sued Barnes & Noble over its Android e-reader is significant. The folks at Redmond, who have previously gone after Android phone makers, are making it clear they are coming after the Android tablet space which is heating up.

Last year Microsoft sued Motorola for using the Android system on its smartphones, claiming it infringes on a number of Microsoft patents covering interface design and other features. The Motorola suit was part of an effort to approach major Android phone makers to pursue licensing terms for the technology covered by the patents.

Motorola aside, that effort paid off for Microsoft as HTC, probably the largest Android smartphone maker, agreed to license the technology to forestall any further action on the part of Microsoft. While the license agreement didn't necessarily indicate HTC's agreement that the Microsoft patents held weight, it certainly indicated that licensing the technology might be the best financial course to take.

The suit announced today against Barnes & Noble is significant in that the company only makes e-readers based on Android. The Nook and NookColor readers are basically Android tablets that are aimed at reading ebooks. They are relatively cheap compared to some of the Android tablets in the market, and according to B&N they have been selling well.

It is not coincidental that Barnes & Noble is an easy target for Microsoft. The company has been struggling in its competition with Amazon's book-selling business, including the growing ebook space. It is likely that Barnes & Noble was too easy a target for Microsoft to pass up with this suit that is no doubt the first of several. Android tablets are just getting ready to hit the market in impressive numbers from companies such as Samsung, Motorola, LG and others. The Barnes & Noble suit is only the first shot of many to be fired from Redmond across the bows of Android tablet makers.

Image credit: Microsoft

Topics: Android, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets

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

Talkback

32 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

    Pathetic. These guys can't bring a tablet on the market. And now, what is their solution? Prevent anybody else from making tablets.
    tatiGmail
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @tatiGmail

      They are as bald on ideas about the subject, as Steve Ballmer.
      xpect
      • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

        Poor Barnes & Noble. They are struggling to survive, and now this.
        nomorebs
    • That must be it, tatiGmail

      @tatiGmail
      As we all know that Android/Google would never infringe on other's intellectual property.
      Tim Cook
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @tatiGmail LOL yeah right look at useless ipad & ipad 2 it just another piece of crap. No FLASH, NO SD CARD, NO USB etc... Windows Tablet has all the features so that says Windows Tablet wins again
      ipadsucks
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @tatiGmail That's what patents are for. If I can't do it no-one else can either!
      The Star King
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @tatiGmail : So I guess you don't mind if you wererunning a company and some other company stole your technology that you spent millions to develop? James Kendrick obviously pointed to his view that Microsoft did it to slow down Android sales - which is PURE rubbish. Motorola & HTC settled - obviously a sign that they knew what they did was wrong.

      Stop being so biased or anti-Microsoft.

      And of course Google has said this will block innovation. Ya. Right. I'm sure Google wouldn't mention a thing if they weren't indirectly involved.
      Gis Bun
    • Yep. They sure know how to kill innovation.

      Remember when they killed the Netbook industry by insisting that OEMs put Windows XP and Windows 7 on them? Thank goodness for Google trying to resurrect it.
      Richard Estes
  • Winning vs Success

    Success is where you make something great. Everyone says 'wow' and buys it, you make lots of money and get to the top.<br><br>Winning is where you attack the top dog, drag them back, try to block them at every move, play lawyer tricks, and patent troll games.... until you are ahead of them. Then you call yourself the winner, but someone else is now top dog and it ain't you.<br><br>Gates tried to succeed. Balmer tries to win.<br><br>So we've seen a succession of failed products from Microsoft, and a succession of *attack* strategies. Even their launch party is a funeral for the iPhone, not a showing-off-the-product party.<br><br>What a sad pitiful company they've become.
    guihombre
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @guihombre : Errr. as i said elsewhere, so I guess you don't mind if you were running a company and some other company stole your technology that you spent millions to develop?
      Gis Bun
      • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

        @Gis Bun Have you even seen the patents that they are complaining about? They are innocuous interface developments that should never have been patented. In fact, software patents as a whole should not be allowed.

        If the "theft" was of using actual Microsoft technologies, not just innocuous interface designs, then I'd be all behind MS on this, but all they are doing is bullying other companies because they missed the boat.
        garethmcc
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @guihombre Barnes and Nobles/Android should use the defense MS used against Apple: You stole it from Xerox.<br>The only problem is: Apple licensed the GUI concepts from Xerox, while Microsoft copied Apple?s work. <a href="http://www.sanfrancisco-weddingphotographers.com">wedding photographers san francisco</a> | <a href="http://www.thesanfranciscomovers.com">movers san francisco</a>
      gogiants
  • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

    Since they can't produce one, they want to stifle the competition? Isn't this similar tactics to the Robber Barron's of the late 19th century?
    Of course, Barnes and Nobles/Android should use the defense MS used against Apple: You stole it from Xerox.
    dalspartan
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @dalspartan
      <i>Barnes and Nobles/Android should use the defense MS used against Apple: You stole it from Xerox.</i>
      The only problem is: Apple licensed the GUI concepts from Xerox, while Microsoft copied Apple?s work.
      Rick_K
      • That has been proven to be false, Rick_K

        @Rick_K
        Why perpetuate a statement you know to be false?

        It is illogical
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

        @Mister Spock
        I am simply correcting someone else for perpetuate a statement I know to be false.

        Does that make logical sense?
        Rick_K
      • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

        @Rick_K Repeat a lie a 100 times & it becomes the truth. Carry on, you have some way to go.
        mm71
  • A Surprisingly Strong Entry in the Evil Steve Sweepstakes!

    Just when I'm convinced that Steve Jobs has clinched the "Evil Steve" title, Steve Ballmer comes along and takes it back!
    Max015
    • RE: Microsoft throws down the gauntlet at Android tablets

      @Max015
      And he?ll fight to the death to keep that title. ;)
      Rick_K
  • Google &quot;search patents&quot;

    Have we ever seen Google get angry? They have a lot of money; they could cause all sorts of trouble. Ballmer deserves it.
    Robert Hahn