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

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.

SHARE:

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, Software, Operating Systems, Open Source, Mobility, Microsoft, Linux, Laptops, Hardware, Google, Tablets

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

Talkback

31 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Nice work Paula. Well thought out and concise.

    nt
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
  • MS will be happy with licensing fees, just like with HTC

    and many other linux based users of MS ip.
    Johnny Vegas
    • So Microsoft intends on expanding the windows tax to Linux, is that it?

      Sorry to rain on your parade but that would not only be illegal everywhere except in the US but it would simply not work.

      I advise MS to concentrate on exploring the windoze tax on new pc hardware sales while they can because even that business will not last long.
      OS Reload
      • I would advise that you research more

        before you post, as you tend to comment on subjects that turn out not to be true to what you are saying.

        The facts are there for you to read, yet your posts would indicate that you do not do so.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • @Mister: blah blah blah. You write and write but you say nothing.

        You have an empty head, did you know that? But that's beyond your grasp right?
        OS Reload
  • There's one thing you forget.

    What Microsoft intends is to demonstrate that Android isn't "free".

    Microsoft is demanding licensing fees from Windows Phone manufacturers and with this lawsuit, they try to tell manufacturers that their OS isn't more expensive than Android.

    Will that hurt Android? Hardly. Will it convince manufacturers to use Windows Phone instead of Android? Microsoft thinks so, but I don't believe it.
    drphysx
    • RE: Microsoft's case against Motorola (and Google) won't hurt Android phones, pads or Linux

      @drphysx
      Actually, there might be exceptions, but most manufacturers would feel even deeper "love" for MS. Yes, piss off your customers, that would work MS.
      kirovs@...
  • RE: Microsoft's case against Motorola (and Google) won't hurt Android phones, pads or Linux

    Motorola might just be big enough and have enough patents of their own to tell Microsoft to take a hike! Note that Microsoft never tried to sue Google directly. Bullies always look for the easy mark!
    Rambling Johnny
    • Sometimes what you perceive as easy turns out not to be that easy

      Microsoft risks ending this fight with a with a few broken teeth and some scars and bruises.

      However that plays out we'll never know, they will settle the case privately, as Microsoft typically does in these disputes.
      OS Reload
      • RE: Microsoft's case against Motorola (and Google) won't hurt Android phones, pads or Linux

        @OS Reload
        Are you kidding? Wait until Motorola give an excuse for using ActiveSync without paying a license.
        illegaloperation
    • Microsoft and Motorola are almost identical in practice

      @Rambling Johnny:<br>both sue to win contracts they wouldn't otherwise get<br>Both jump patents of underfunded developers<br>both leverage buy outs of smaller tech threats<br>both set out to ruin the careers of anyone who exposes them.
      Papa_Bill
  • I am sorry Ms, Rooney, but your hypothesis is based on

    the assumption that Linux does not include any code which infringes on other people intellectual property.

    The part I have trouble understanding is that while you believe that Linux should be allowed to include Ip from other people if they choose to do so, why would you rally against others using IP from Linux in their products?

    HTC obviouslly understood that it was indeed using IP from Microsoft in their product offerings, and felt the correct thing to do would be to handle it the right way.

    Yet you know not what Motorola has used without the owner's consent, yet you defend them non the less.

    Illogical would be the correct term to use here.
    Tim Cook
    • Why do you write so much when you have nothing of substance to say?

      @Mister

      You write long pieces to say basically this: <i>"blah blah blah blah... "blah blah... "blah blah blah blah..."</i>

      That's not of much value to anyone, not even you. Don't you agree?
      OS Reload
      • RE: Microsoft's case against Motorola (and Google) won't hurt Android phones, pads or Linux

        @OS Reload
        No, Mister Spock correct. You commend on the other hand: blah blah blah.
        illegaloperation
    • Ummmmm, no.

      HTC didn't "obviouslly" understand that they were infringing on Microsoft IP. What they obviously understood was that it was almost certainly cheaper to settle than go through a protracted legal battle where the outcome may or may not have turned out in their favor. You do not know that Motorola has used Microsoft IP without Microsoft's consent. Illogical would be the term for that. Illiterate would be the term for not knowing out to spell words like "obviously" and "nonetheless". Who knew Mister Spock was illiterate?
      jasonp@...
      • RE: Microsoft's case against Motorola (and Google) won't hurt Android phones, pads or Linux

        @jasonp@... Pretty much agree. But be careful to check your own post before calling someone else illiterate. I doubt you really meant to write "not knowing out to spell words"!
        DJL64
      • Unfortunately...

        @jasonp@... Once a case is settled out of court we will probably never know one way or another. Both sides will be locked into non-disclosure agreements.
        cornpie
    • RE: Microsoft's case against Motorola (and Google) won't hurt Android phones, pads or Linux

      @Mister Spock and jasonp<br><br>Classic, as usual. It seems impossible for some people to argue a point without name calling. God Bless the freedom for people to hide their identity on the internet. <br><br>At any rate, both you and spock are potentially right. Or wrong. None of us KNOW what prompted HTC to settle. It may have been legitimate, or it may have been not-so-legitimate. <br><br>Ultimately, HTC did what they felt was right for them. But, honestly, does it make sense that a company like i4i would challenge Microsoft, yet Amazon, HTC and other huge companies would settle? I'm not sure either way, but it's best not to claim genius when we are ultimately ignorant.
      PlayFair
    • RE: Microsoft's case against Motorola (and Google) won't hurt Android phones, pads or Linux

      @Mister Spock
      There is no IP infrengement just M$ extortion fees.
      M$ must go down!
      Linux Geek
  • Quick fix

    A quick fix Microsoft could try: an Exchange security patch that breaks email connectivity for all phones except Windows Phone 7. Could they get away with that?
    symbolset