Microsoft's Android tactics are 'hard bargaining' but not patent misuse

Good news for Microsoft.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

After Barnes & Noble lost a preliminary decision to Microsoft in their ongoing patent dispute, newly released legal documents -- first reported by Geekwire's Todd Bishop -- show how the judge felt about Microsoft's approach to getting Android device makers to pay up a royalty.

Administrative law judge for the U.S. International Trade Commission, Theodore Essex, said that Microsoft's negotiations with Barnes & Noble over the use of Android in the Nook were "certainly hard bargaining," but it wasn't patent misuse.

"Even assuming that these transactions and the related evidence establishes that Microsoft is bent on eliminating Android as a competitor, the mere fact that Microsoft is targeting Android for destruction is insufficient to establish an antitrust violation let alone patent misuse," he wrote.

Barnes & Noble claims that the way Microsoft approached Android patent licencing violated antitrust laws.

This is good news or Microsoft, who has patent agreements in place with makers of Android devices covering more than 70 percent of Android smartphones sold in the United States. And while Android isn't a particularly lucrative cash cow for Microsoft, currently only pulling in some $444 million a year, as the popularity of Android increases, so does the amount of cash that Microsoft pulls in thanks to the platform.


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