Thanks to the total failure of the patent system when it comes to software, litigation rather than innovation rules the mobile software market. With Motorola Mobility under its belt and Intel as an Android partner, Google has the bullets it needs to fight and win in this war.
Barnes & Noble said in an October 17 letter to Gene Kimmelman, the Justice Department's (DoJ) chief counsel for competition policy that had been drafted by Peter Barbur, of the law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore, that "Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices. Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals' costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices."
In another letter, from Barnes & Noble's general counsel Eugene V. DeFelice to James J. Tierney, chief of the DoJ's Networks and Technology Enforcement Section in the Antitrust Division, details Microsoft's method of pushing for a patent-licensing deal. DeFelice wrote that Microsoft accused Barnes & Noble of infringing on six patents at a July 2010 meeting.
"When Barnes & Noble asked Microsoft for more detailed information related to these patents, Microsoft refused, claiming that the information was confidential and could not be shared unless Barnes & Noble first executed a nondisclosure agreement." DeFelice claimed that "Microsoft's assertion of confidentiality is simply a means to cloak its oppressive and anti-competitive licensing proposal and is another element in Microsoft's larger scheme to restrict competition in the mobile operating systems market,"
Microsoft has replied "All modern operating systems include many patented technologies. Microsoft has taken licenses to patents for Windows and we make our patents available on reasonable terms for other operating systems, like Android. We would be pleased to extend a license to Barnes & Noble."
It looks to me like Barnes & Noble, and Android's parent company Google, have no interest in signing up for such a license anytime soon. The Android and mobile IP wars are heating up.