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Android Businesses Google Microsoft Operating Systems Patents The Almighty Buck

Finding Fault With the Low, Low Price of Android 364

Posted by timothy
from the armchair-quarterbacks-and-the-forces-of-envy dept.
bonch writes "Google's accusation of patent abuse toward its competitors has generated many responses, some of which have asked whether Android's free price is anti-competitive. Drawing comparisons to Microsoft's antitrust trial, in which they were accused of giving away Internet Explorer to drive competitors out of the browser market, Thurrott argues that Google's rivals are 'leveling the playing field' through patent fees by removing an artificial price advantage funded by monopoly search revenues. 'One could argue that Google is using its dominance in search advertising to unfairly gain entry into another market by giving that new product, Android, away for free. Does this remind you of any famous antitrust case?'"
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Finding Fault With the Low, Low Price of Android

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  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @06:51PM (#36991904)

    Its free. Lets be happy about it.

    Oh noes, its ruining my ability to sell stuff. Lets attack their patents to ruin it. Its got nothing to do with Microsoft's antitrust trial - that was something bundled with a sold product - this is something free which Google is using to sell something else (apps for example). Its kinda like how certain open source stuff works.

  • Yes, And... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:07PM (#36992060) Homepage

    > "'One could argue that Google is using its dominance in search advertising to unfairly gain entry into another market by giving that new product, Android, away for free. Does this remind you of any famous antitrust case?'"

    Yes.

    And Google's competitors are also abusing flaws in the patent system.

    Having one set of abuses to correct another set of abuses doesn't mean that Google's competitors are good, or that the patent system is working. They are all opportunistic and sociopathic. You have identified a second kind of distortion which is harmful to free market capitalism. Both flaws should be addressed at the system level, and these companies that are abusing these flaws should all be castigated.

  • Re:Internet Explorer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:42PM (#36992368) Journal
    IE6 was the version of IE released after the browser wars. IE 2 was useless - it came on my NT4 CD and crashed on startup on a clean install. IE3 was okay. I had it and Netscape installed, and usually preferred IE3. IE4 was bad, but not quite as bad as Netscape Communicator 4, which was just plain horrible. IE5 was what IE4 should have been, and Netscape was dead at this point. IE6 cleaned up IE5 a bit. And then we had a long wait for Mozilla to get into a useable state.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:59PM (#36992514)

    I'd have to look it up to be certain (and who has time for that?), but I think the main complaint is that they intentionally designed the browser to be inseparable from the OS's GUI. So not only was it bundled with Windows, it was also impossible to remove. But in those days I'm sure they didn't think twice about strong-arming manufacturers to keep other browsers out as well.

    IIRC correctly there was additionally the complaint that Microsoft designed Windows to crash Netscape.

    Basically there were all sorts of different ways Microsoft was (rightly) accused of anti-competitive behaviors. Pick and choose your favorite.

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:02PM (#36992538)

    And it was a lie; it was removable and not intrinsic to the operation of the OS. Microsoft just *wanted* it that way after standing on the shoulders (and farting on the head) of Netscape.

    The overall argument doesn't hold water. Free is fine. There are other Linux derivates on smartphones and tablets NOW with a similar price. Does Google do other evil stuff? Yeah, including not defending Android from litigation foisted on its OEMs.

  • Bing too! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kirkb (158552) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:08PM (#36992560) Homepage

    If Android is anticompetitive, then Bing most certainly is. Microsoft entered online search and advertising for the sole purpose of using its OS monopoly and buckets of cash to deprive others (specifically Google) of revenue. Proof? Losing more than $8Billion over the past 6 years isn't "trying to get a foot-hold". It's dumping. It's bundling. It's taking a dump in the pool so that nobody can swim there anymore.

  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:19PM (#36992626) Homepage

    Exactly. Google in no way forbids Samsung or HTC from installing iOS on other phones in their product line. OTOH, APPLE forbids that. Also MS retained all rights in IE, they just happened to set the price at free. Google has GPLed Android. The practical difference is that they can't wipe out the competition and then jack the price up to $1000/unit on the existing product.

    This is nothing more than oxygen tank makers claiming that free air is an unfair infringement on their profits.

    That or they're well aware that their behavior is just short of mustache twirling and they are trying to talk their way into a good night's sleep.

  • by Aighearach (97333) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @09:24PM (#36993058) Homepage

    No, being inseparable was their defense.

    The accusation was that they leveraged their windows monopoly to get an unfair advantage for their browser. They claimed it wasn't a separate software product.

    What is missing in this case is google using the search dominance to assist android. They seem to just be claiming that since google makes a lot of money, spending that money is an unfair advantage. It just doesn't pass the laugh test.

    If google was refusing to include iPhone in search results, for example, that would be equivalent to the MS case. Going from the MS case opinions, if google was putting iPhone results on the third page or something, even that would probably be okay. They're not prevented from getting any natural advantage from their monopoly, they're just not allowed to use it to de-facto prevent competition.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @09:33PM (#36993130) Homepage

    Google Search is a much, much less dangerous monopoly than Windows is or ever was, because they don't really have a way of locking you in. The cost of switching search engines is close to zero, while the same can't be said for OSs, especially since they have exclusive and widely used applications like MS Office.

    Google's dominance in the online advertisement market seems way more dangerous to me.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday August 05, 2011 @01:05AM (#36994094) Journal

    This is a shill article because the lie is so fucking obvious to detect. First of all, Android is made by the Open Handset Alliance. Google is of course a very major player in it same as Nokia was a major player in Symbian BUT it is called an alliance for a reason. Google doesn't work on it alone.

    Second, and this is the big whopper. Where do you think MS gets the money from to fund WM7? If it had to charge full market price the handsets would cost a fortune because it would have to pay for ALL the losses of all the previous windows mobile versions. The constant rename campaigns alone would set you back a hundred bucks per license.

    MS is using its monopoly on the desktop and office software market to fund its other operations, from the original x-box (which was economically a dismall failure) to MS phone software which so far has NOT had the kind of sales to pay for its own development costs.

    And Apple? Same deal, no upstart company could have done the iPod whose profits were used to then launch the iPhone and then the iPad. The major advantage Apple always had over smaller players is that thanks to its massive reserves it could place orders so large that it got discounts nobody else gets making their players cheaper by comparison (MB for MB).

    So basically Google and a LOT of other players pooled their resources to create a product they could all benefit from and made it available for "free". So? MS used its monopoly resources to create a product nobody else can use for free. Apple used it fast wealth to create a product nobody else can use or even create gadgets for without paying them and they often just refuse to license stuff.

    Who is being the bad guy again? Oh of course, Google for being less evil. What people forget about Googles "Don't be evil" slogan is that doesn't say "Be good" it just means don't be as evil as the rest... and in American Business, that is a pretty low standard.

  • by nevermore94 (789194) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:51AM (#36997450)

    Apple has not released iTunes for Android, nor do they currently intended to. I think this is where they are making a huge mistake. They are so focused on making iTunes an exclusive feature of the iPhone that they are missing out on all of the revenue that they could be generating if they also made an Android version. It is no different than making a Windows version of iTunes as well as a Mac version. Where do you think iTunes would be if they had left it only available on Macs? So, now I buy my music from the Amazon MP3 Store and I have not bought anything from my Windows iTunes since getting an Android phone. One more customer lost and a lot of song purchases.

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