Microsoft vs. Android

Microsoft vs. Android

Summary: If you can't beat them, sue them.

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It’s pretty clear that Microsoft, a many-time failure at mass-market tablets has decided that if they can’t beat Apple and Android at popular tablets, they’ll sue them instead. That’s my only explanation for Microsoft suing Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, and Inventec over their Android e-readers.

Microsoft, we now know, from Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez, Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property & Licensing, that Microsoft was trying to win by litigation even before Microsoft commercially released Windows 7 tablets. Gutierrez wrote, “We have tried for over a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec. Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action.”

Now, I’m no lawyer nor am I a patent expert, but Microsoft’s patents strike me as the kind of bogus software patents that are a perfect example of why software patents are a horrible idea. The patents cover such “patentable” ideas as “Loading Status in a Hypermedia Browser Having a Limited Available Display Area” and “Selection Handles in Editing Electronic Documents.”

Be that as it may, the are currently valid patents and Microsoft will try to use them to gain the money its own tablets will never see. I agree with Pamela Jones, editor of Groklaw, the legal technology site, who describes Microsoft’s motives as “Instead of developing a competing product, they want to just skim off the top from the work of others.” Amen sister.

So, why isn’t Microsoft just suing Google? A legal expert familiar with the situation told me, “Microsoft will bring a series of lawsuits this year in order to tee up the lawsuit it will eventually bring against Google.”

The lawyer continued, “This is just one more step in a patent war that's going--to spread throughout the IT industry. It will be years before it reaches maximum intensity, and years more before the fire begins to die down. Most of this decade will be spent in the fight, which will reduce innovation, destroy tens of billions of dollars in value, and offer a field day to certain non-US competitors. We warned people years ago about this, and now the Free World will be hurt, as everyone will be hurt, by the patent wars resulting from the companies' incautious embrace of state-issued monopolies on ideas.”

I wish they were wrong, but they’re not. Instead of ideas and products, we’re in for years of litigation instead of innovation.

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

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110 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

    The other option is for the companies to license the idea they are using , or invent their own.
    thomg57
    • These are just junk vague general software patents that allow Microsoft to

      use to cause problems for competitors. Microsoft has a product that nobody wants, so this is their only option.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        @DonnieBoy

        It's pretty obvious that WP7 beats Android (no matter which version) hands down. Keep trying Donnie, that's the only thing you're good at - being trying.
        tonymcs@...
      • Only to you....

        @tonymcs...
        Only to you......I tried a Win7 phone and it was the worst phone in the store. And to sue with bogus patents that all have prior art? Sounds too much like SCO, a desperate company, going down for the last time, grabbing at anything to keep from drowning....Pathetic.
        linux for me
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        @Tonymcs (Sorry Donnie, I couldn't reply to him directly and had to do it under your name)

        Anyway, Tony, if what you are saying is true, WP7 should be doing amazing numbers in sales. It's not. Android and iOS phones are completely crushing WP7 and anything Blackberry.
        I can't say which OS is better since I've never used WP7, I can only say I think the WP7 interface is fugly as hell from videos and pictures I've seen of it. However, I can say that they came to market with a sub-par product far too late in the race. WP7 should have come out about 5 years ago. Even then it would be struggling.
        ExploreMN
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        @tonymcs - WP7 is not even close to Android in terms of speed and stability.
        dev/null
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        @DonnieBoyProblem is your saying Microsoft is a p;roduct no one wants but billions do want it and it shows in thier varied sales such as windows os, office software, and the xbox platform so it's not that no one wants microsoft the fact is microsoft just isn't fast enough to be the first on most items
        it develops meaning from a business model stand point they have the money to slow competitors in order to try and catch up on avenues they are behind in while still leading in such things like windows os and game platforms.
        Fletchguy
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        @tonymcs
        While I do like microsoft and wp7 in noway does wp7 beat android in anything other then microsoft suite software compatibility. Overall usage, custom setup, apps, and user friendliness android is king over microsoft, apple ios, palm os, sybian, rim attempts or any other you ty to compare.
        Fletchguy
      • Do not appologize, ExploreMN

        @DonnieBoy
        it is ZDNet's fault for changing the website for the worse.
        Tim Cook
      • Are you implying you are now a patent lawyer?

        @DonnieBoy
        You claim the patents bogus, but a company the size of Microsoft would have proffesionals experienced in these technology matters.

        Could you please offer us information as to why we should belive you, and not them?
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • Correct, That is the same reason that Apple is suing many companies

        @DonnieBoy
        at the moment DonnieBoy, because they have an item that nobody wants.
        That is based on your logic, so it must be true.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        Tonymcs <br><br>Just as they have always done. If they can't make a good quality product to compete they will just scream and pout and threaten and sue and stomp their feet and say how unfair life is and leverage to jam their crap down all of our throats. But I'm sure your right.... oh and I am typing this on a droid x and I wouldn't use a wp7 phone if you gave me one.
        bjb1959
    • Fluff girls on parade

      @thomg57 Absolutely. To be safe, everyone should buy and install Microsoft Windows&reg;.
      Robert Hahn
    • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

      @thomg57 Or how about we ban Software Patents which legally shouldn't have been patentable in the first place. This needs to be fixed. The current Intellectual Property law model in the US right now isn't sustainable, eventually something is going to give and the economy is going to suffer for it.
      thezorch@...
      • Or...

        @thezorch@... If they can't ban software patents, they should at least be proportional to the rate at which software becomes obsolete, and expire in 5 years instead of 30!
        Bit-Smacker
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        @thezorch@... <br><br>Amen brother.<br><br>And I say that as the principel inventor on 2 software patents and a contributing inventor on a third.<br><br>I would be happy to see them ALL go away.

        In the end all software patents do is waste money on lawyers that should be spent on innovation.
        jeffpk
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        One of my great grandfathers was a 'fenstermacher' and as far back as I can remember all of my family's houses had these thing we called windows. So we were using the word 'windows' before Bill Gate's father was born. So maybe I should copyright the name and sue MS. :)
        john_gillespie@...
    • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

      @linux for me
      Yes because Microsoft is in free fall. They should be completely finished by the end of the year when people stop using everyone of their products including the ones that they license to other companies. Android will take over everything and Linux will rule. lol
      FlatbushE21
      • Remember IBM...

        @FlatbushE21 : just remember that IBM used to be the software leader of the pack. Today they are considered a software consulting company, even though most banks use their software.

        Why? 'Cause IT times change. Look up DEC and Exxon Computer Division if you're still in doubt.
        cosuna
      • RE: Microsoft vs. Android

        @cosuna
        you have a point but i fail to see how one compares Microsoft with IBM. Why are they similar because IBM was once the leader so that must mean Microsoft also has to fail because that's the way it always happens. One big difference is Microsoft has many successful businesses but i know someone will just reply with(windozes and offices) but if people were being honest they would know that there are many other businesses that they have which are successful. But we all know that they are failing because they don't dominate every market they enter. The markets that they do dominate however is always in decline. Please explain why Microsoft is going to be the new IBM.
        FlatbushE21