Motorola pulls all tablets, most smartphones from German store

Motorola pulls all tablets, most smartphones from German store

Summary: Motorola customers in Germany may have noticed their choice of Android-powered enterprise-ready smartphones and tablets are somewhat lacking in numbers.


Motorola Mobility is currently stocking only a fraction of the products it currently develops in Germany thanks to aggressive and successful litigation in recent months.

The mobile hardware maker has suffered a series of defeats in German courts after the firm was accused of patent infringement by software giant Microsoft. However, Motorola recently batted one victory to the back of the cage proving that Microsoft's litigious advances were not fool-proof.

A German regional court ruled earlier this week that a patent belonging to the Redmond, WA.-based company was not infringed by Motorola. In spite of Motorola's recent victory against Microsoft's claims, the previous injunctions remain in place.

Apple also had a hand to play in the ongoing playbook against Motorola after the phone maker infringed a European patents belonging to Apple, a software feature described as a 'rubber-banding' patent.

Motorola Mobility, which was bought by Google last year for $12.5 billion, currently offers this many handsets in Germany:

Motorola Mobility's German smartphone online store. Screenshot credit: ZDNet.

That's right. Only three devices are currently available in the German online Motorola store: the Motorola Razr i, the Motorola Razr HD, and the Motorola Gleam+ (all links are in German.) 

To make matters worse for the Android smartphone maker, the Google-owned division is currently offering this many tablets in Germany:

Motorola Mobility's German tablet online store. Screenshot credit: ZDNet.

Rough translation: "Keine ergebnisse" means "no results." There's not a single Motorola-branded tablet on sale in the country. 

In a separate case last month, a Munich court said that Motorola Mobility must recall every Android smartphone and tablet that was then on sale in Germany that infringe a patent belonging to Apple. Depending on the cost that the Cupertino, CA.-based technology giant wants to splurge out, Motorola devices could be banned from sale, recalled from the market, or even destroyed. 

As FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller noted, who was one of the first to report the news after German technology news website Areamobile, despite Google buying the smartphone maker to protect Android from patent threats and courtroom litigation, Motorola Mobility "cannot even protect itself," says Mueller. 

According to Areamobile, a Motorola spokesperson said the patent infringing software was being "reworked," but offered no timeframe on when the devices would go back on sale.

While Motorola Mobility's market share in Germany could never exactly be called healthy, Android as a platform and operating system remains popular. 

Microsoft has already secured three separate injunctions against Motorola Mobility in Germany, which forced the Google-owned unit to pull many of its devices from the store shelves or modify the Android software where software patents were infringed.

However, Microsoft's chief lawyers said in August that it would prefer to seek "patent peace" between the two companies. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said that Microsoft "always has been, and remains open to, a settlement of our patent litigation with Motorola."

Topics: Google, Legal, Patents, Smartphones, Tablets

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


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • But wait

    I thought it was just that evil company Apple who was suing Android OEMs...
    • It's the One - Two Punch

      Apple goes after the evil OEMs while MS deals with evil Google. Almost like it was planned . . .
  • Google would be a fool...

    Google needs to finish pushing their patents claims against MS and Apple.
    Google would be a fool to settle with MS or Apple; especial since the Holiday season is coming.
    Marty Kaan
    • The patents Google has against Microsoft and Apple

      Are frand patents. I do not think Google has any choice in the matter.
      • No

        The lawsuit that Motorola recently dropped was not FRAND. It seems they will restart it next year. Also XBOX sales and other MS products were found to infringe Motorola patents. US judge told Motorola not to enforce those (for now, until US lawsuit is settled).
        Motorola could come back with vengeance both at Apple and MSFT later next year. And while Google will not feel such pinch, Apple with its monolithic ecosystem could be in trouble. MSFT is already in trouble.
        • The infringement

          Was based on H264 which ARE frand patents.

          Why is MSFT in trouble ? I think the trouble in this case is surely going to end up in Google/motorola's lap. Asking ridiculous prices for Frand patents has already been filed with the EU, which is going to investigate. But since the injunction has now been postponed or probalby completely dropped, Google/Motorola might be spared the EU investigation, unless Apple isn't in the clear in regards to H264.
          • And I am talking about different lawsuit

            There are multiple lawsuits. You are answering a post I did not write.
            Again: the lawsuit that is likely to restart next year is not FRAND. Period.
            BTW, if a patent is FRAND the licensee still has to pay.
          • Than it begs the question

            Which lawsuit you are referring about, as the only one I am ware of is the one where the xbox and Windows 7 were found to infringe on H264 patents. Patiently awaiting your reply..
          • Please allow me to emend your posting...

            Then it invites the question...
            1) please research the difference between "then" and "than"
            2) to 'beg the question' is to sidestep it with an assumption about the answer

            Which lawsuit are you referring to; the only one I am aware of is where the Xbox... (and so on).

            Please people, if you are going to post here, please do so in decent, understandable, REAL English! (Sadly for USA people, this rules out much of US 'English'...)
      • Google has the real patents

        Google and the Android companies (all companies in the world) own all the real patents in the world. Apple and Microsoft NEVER invented anything and all they have are totally worthless and bogus software and design patents, those can go do to themselves what Clint Eastwood was talking about.
        • Too bad we have to ask Clint Eastwood...

          ... because the rest of us can't figure out WTF you are talking about.
          • funny isnt it

            the average iq of a fan boy.....
          • "...the average IQ of a fan boy..."

            is lucky to run to double digits.
            Not unlike the Tea Party fanatics.

            No, it is NOT funny; it is tragic.
          • Also not unlike liberal fanatics

      • FRAND is not LAW

        ANY patent holder does not have to abide by FRAND if they choose not to participate.
        As long as you do not rely on Frand as well for licensing other's patents.
        FRAND is an agreement between members to set basic standard terms for licensing.
        It does not mean the Frand patent holder has no choice or is forced to offer their patents at prices less than they are willing to accept.
        Frand is not a vehicle for parasite companies to get their hands on patents cheaply or free. Fair, reasonable, and non-discrimatory but it does not mean cheap.
        • Actually YES they do

          FRAND is a CONTRACT that allowed patented tech to go into a standard. A contract that is signed before the standard is approved.

          So yes. There is a LEGAL case that shows that FRAND is enforceable.

          Now, FRAND does have a missing piece. The part that establishes a single price point. It still allows a little linearity on the how much or little a company charges for a license ... but only to an acceptable degree.
  • Google does no evil - but they do copy other's software efforts!

    Yup .. Android wasn't a stolen product. Just ask the German courts or the American courts about that. (But don't ask the United Kingdom courts - or should I say, just one English Judge. He has a most unique take on the term "coolness".)

    Go ahead guys. Defend Google and Android to your hearts content. But then explain why there are no Motorola tablets being sold in Germany now.

    You can thank me for this post later, Zack. This should be worth 100 additional comments. Grin.
    • Android wins all lawsuits worldwide

      Android DOMINATES THE WORLD and wins all lawsuits worldwide. It's only in Cupertino and in Seattle that some totally corrupt courts side with Microsoft and Apple.
      • yea....

        because germany is in seattle.... Brilliant....
        • Actually

          It is on Apple maps!