Yesterday news came out that Microsoft is boasting about a total of 10 patent deals being signed so far, with Android phone manufacturers. In case you haven't been following these so-called "patent deals", Microsoft has been keeping a long list of Android manufacturers and has been checking off one by one on its list to keep Google's Android phones from continuing their dominance of the mobile phone market. But why? Microsoft claims that the Android phones violate multiple of its software patents. And they probably do, since Microsoft has been able to get away with these deals with so many companies so far and also has the power and means register thousands of patents.
But let's step back and look at the big picture. Microsoft didn't start proposing these deals until Android started to grow and gain high market success. To me, it's just plain old greed that's getting the best of Microsoft. And now Microsoft has the legal means to squeeze everything out of Android that it can, hoping to help its struggling Windows Phone 7 in the mobile phone market. Microsoft is betting on mobile phone manufacturers to change to Windows Phone 7 because they are the ones getting stuck paying the fees to Microsoft. It's a great situation for Microsoft, but it is costing Android manufacturers a fixed fee per device, which they may end up passing down to the consumer. So who gets hurt? The consumer, again. Does Microsoft care? Only if it helps its own bottom line, even at the additional expense of consumers. Microsoft has hurt consumers out of greed time after time, even its own customers.
Microsoft has recently started to call these patent deals "license agreements". To me, a license agreement would be for an active Microsoft product. These patent deals are not about active Microsoft products, but about the competitor's products. Android is Google's operating system, so to hear Microsoft say they are in "license agreements" for Android is just plain wacky. Microsoft has no need to enter into agreements over the competitor's products, other than because of greed.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors have walked the streets of New York's Wall Street to make their statement against corporate greed recently. It's something that governments are designed to protect citizens from, however in the case of software patents, governments have not been able to do anything about it yet. Cases are currently being examined by high courts over software patents, so I suspect Microsoft is trying to get away with everything it can as quickly as possible. It seems every couple of weeks, new software patent deals are announced.
I know companies need to survive, however there is a point where it is overkill to continually thrash about and hurt consumers in the process. As I have mentioned before, consumers have the power to make a statement, just as the protestors on Wall Street have done. And in the case against software patents, not buying Microsoft products is one way to make that statement. I have stopped buying Microsoft products roughly about 10 years ago. I will not support a greedy company that is on a relentless journey to frighten each competitor into shelling out money, with software patents. Microsoft should be meeting its competitors in the marketplace by releasing top quality products that are appealing, not sneak around behind the consumer's backs by cowardly setting up secret patent deals.