Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Google Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

How Google Drove Samsung Away 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-stay-out dept.
itwbennett writes "The patent licensing agreement between Microsoft and Samsung this week set off a firestorm of childish tit-for-tat between Microsoft and Google. But more telling is what Samsung had to say about its relationship with Google: 'Samsung knows it can't rely on Google. We've decided to address Android IP issues on our own,' a Samsung official told The Korea Times. The only good news to come from all of this, says blogger Brian Proffitt, is that we may be headed for a courtroom showdown over just what patents Microsoft believes are in violation, which really is what should have happened to begin with." Update: 09/30 20:05 GMT by S : As it turns out, the so-called "Samsung official" cited by The Korea Times turned out to be patent blogger Florian Mueller.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Google Drove Samsung Away

Comments Filter:
  • FUCK you MS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sunr2007 (2309530) on Friday September 30, 2011 @05:36AM (#37564686)
    If microsoft says that every android device violates their patents then its nothing but just a Extortion racket they are building up by threatening other vendors. Im glad that a company like B & N has balls where as HTC and samsung c not. I'm never buying any windows product ever in my life again. lets start boycotting all MS products. OTOH why Department of Justice/antitrust regularities cannot look into deals like this?
    • by andydread (758754)
      you can help us by signing this petition. [whitehouse.gov]
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "OTOH why Department of Justice/antitrust regularities cannot look into deals like this?"

      I thought Tan Jesus was going to change things. Oh, wait, he's actually Beige Bush III.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday September 30, 2011 @05:37AM (#37564692)

    From TFS:

    The only good news to come from all of this, says blogger Brian Proffitt, is that we may be headed for a courtroom showdown over just what patents Microsoft believes are in violation, which really is what should have happened to begin with.

    I completely disagree with the idea that the first thing you should do in a patent dispute is to take someone to court. Look at the difference between Apple and Microsoft as far as Samsung is concerned. In the case of Apple, Samsung has been taken to court in various districts around the world and has been prevented from selling some of their products at all in certain countries. Suit has met with counter-suit, and lots of lawyers have got just a bit fatter. This will either end with Samsung having to scrap their product line, or settle this all out of court with some deal. Either way it will cost them a bundle.

    On the other hand, Microsoft negotiated a deal, during which time Samsung was not prevented from selling their products anywhere. The end result is still a deal with another company, but without the cost and PR problems that lawsuits generate.

    Why should the former be the preferred option? Yes, more details on the patents would be appreciated but the companies involved with these deals must be given more information, otherwise they would not make the deals. I imagine a lot of the patents would be the absurd type, just like Apple's patents in the Dutch case [swpat.org]. But I am sure that some of their patents (VFAT, ActiveSync) would stand up in court though.

    • ...I imagine a lot of the patents would be the absurd type...

      I will reply to myself just to add that none of what I said should be considered to be in defense of patents. The absurd patents to which I referred are the trivial user interface ideas; the kind of idea that you decide upon with the toss of a coin. "Should we make that colour red or blue? Let's make it blue and patent it".

      Microsoft have disclosed some of their Android patents in the past as being of this type when they sued Barnes & Nobel [technet.com]. (Yes, it was after trying to negotiate a deal, so my original

      • by Kartu (1490911)

        The problem is that it is very difficult to write the rules to quantify just what should or should not be considered reasonable to be patented.

        Believe me, it's rather easy. Hint: EU. You can't have "software patents" at all.

    • by andydread (758754)

      Yes, more details on the patents would be appreciated but the companies involved with these deals must be given more information

      What the fuck are you talking about? Microsoft is not giving the information to anyone unless they sign a NDA for public information. [geekwire.com]

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        ..and each Android phone manufacturer that has made a deal with Microsoft has signed that NDA that you are complaining about.

        If you own Barnes and Noble stock you should take pause, because unlike these other companies that have their own IP to throw around, Barnes and Noble has zilch and are also completely inexperienced in these matters. There will be no middle ground, and no late-game IP swaps to minimize monetary damages. Either they will win and its business as usual (losing to Amazon), or they will
        • by andydread (758754) on Friday September 30, 2011 @07:59AM (#37565312)
          You completely miss the point. The NDA is required before even entering to negotiations. The NDA is about PATENTS which are public information. Telling people to sign a NDA so they cannot discuss public information is part of a delberate attempt to keep alleged infringement secret from the Linux community so that they can extort money from anyone that produces a Linux device or computer from TomTom to Buffalo to ACER and others. Your support for this egregious activity is telling.
          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            The NDA is required before even entering to negotiations.

            Its common in business to have NDA's covering all aspects of negotiations. In fact, its so gad damned common that there are standard fill-in-the-blank NDA contracts specific to negotiations, [ndasforfree.com] available for free.

            Your support for this egregious activity is telling.

            The only telling thing here is that you act like its uncommon for there to be NDA's when negotiating, when in reality its normal, common, and expected.

            Unware of reality much?

            • by andydread (758754) on Friday September 30, 2011 @08:54AM (#37565782)
              This is about PUBLIC information. They would not even discuss what public patents were being violated. It is not common practice to sign an NDA to disclose public information. Sign a NDA to disclose to me what patents I am violating? And you think this is right? Patents filed are public and the reason for patents to begin with is to make information public. Forcing people to sign NDA so you can tell them which public patents are being violated is underhanded and egregious. I don't see how you can support this particular activity.

              I quote Barnes And Noble statement on the matter below

              At the meeting, Microsoft alleged that the Nook infringed six patents purportedly owned by Microsoft. Microsoft had prepared claim charts purportedly detailing the alleged infringement but insisted that it would only share the detailed claim charts if Barnes & Noble agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) that would cover the claim charts as well as all other aspects of the parties’ discussions. Noting that the patents were public and that the infringement allegations pertained to Barnes & Noble’s public product, Barnes & Noble refused to sign an NDA. Insisting that an NDA was necessary, Microsoft discussed the alleged infringement on a high level basis only. Microsoft nevertheless maintained that it possessed patents sufficient to dominate and entirely preclude the use of the Android Operating System by the Nook. Microsoft demanded an exorbitant royalty (on a per device basis) for a license to its patent portfolio for the Nook device and at the end of the meeting Microsoft stated that it would demand an even higher per device royalty for any device that acted “more like a computer” as opposed to an eReader. After sending the proposed license agreement, Microsoft confirmed the shockingly high licensing fees Microsoft was demanding, reiterating its exorbitant per device royalty for Nook, and for the first time demanding a royalty for Nook Color which was more than double the per device royalty Microsoft was demanding for Nook. On information and belief, the license fees demanded by Microsoft are higher than what Microsoft charges for a license to its entire operating system designed for mobile devices, Windows Phone 7.

              • by Rockoon (1252108)

                It is not common practice to sign an NDA to disclose public information.

                Yes it is.

                NDA's in negotiations cover 100% of all things discussed during those negotiations, both public and private. Any information that is public still cannot be disclosed as being discussed during the negotiations. If we are negotiating and I tell you about a recent newspaper article, and we are following the standard industry practice of signing NDA's, then you cannot mention that I talked about that recent (entirely public) newspaper article during the negotiations.

                You are trying to spin perfec

                • by St.Creed (853824)

                  This depends on the NDA. I've never signed an NDA that banned me from discussing stuff that is known publicly.

              • by Simulant (528590)
                Yeah, this is fucked up and shouldn't be legal.

                And if no one can determine which public patents are in question by looking at the patents themselves, that's even more fucked up.
    • by jrumney (197329)

      But I am sure that some of their patents (VFAT, ActiveSync) would stand up in court though.

      Given that the VFAT patents have failed to stand up to the patent office once already (but were reinstated on appeal), I'd say there is a good chance that they won't stand up in court. ActiveSync may have more chance - HTC include it in their Android phones, but do Samsung? It's not a standard part of the platform.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      I completely disagree with the idea that the first thing you should do in a patent dispute is to take someone to court.

      I think his take is that it's a good thing if this goes to court, because then we (in the sense of "OSS community") will know which patents this is about, and can either do something about it or see the patents invalidated. Whether it's good for Samsung, HTC, Goggle etc is a different matter.

      For this reason MS might well chose not to sue Google, as the mere threat "we have patents of s

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rockoon (1252108)
        In February 2009, Google licensed Microsoft's IP for their Google-branded phones. It is for this reason that Microsoft has chosen not to sue Google.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by webheaded (997188)
          Source? I've never EVER heard this before. You can't claim something like this where no one else in the entire comments of the article backs it up and not give us some kind of source.
          • by debest (471937)

            Agreed. Citation *definitely* required for a comment like this one.

            I just did a quick search and found only this [microsoft.com] reference to any patent licensing agreement in February 2009, where Google paid Microsoft for their "ActiveSync" technology. Hardly enough to imply that Google has purchased a "Thou Shalt Not Sue Me over my Phones" license from Microsoft.

    • Actually competing on technical merit would be the first thing you should do. The benefit of a court case is that it requires MS to actually show what patents they claim Android is infringing. That means that the FOSS community can work on invalidating or working around said patents to shut MS up. A direct lawsuit could also make it a lot easier for patents required for interoperability to be licensed in a way compatible with FOSS via an antitrust case.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        It certainly isn't in Samsung's interest to take a risk just on the premise that the FOSS community will then be able to work around potential infringements.

        Evens Barnes and Noble didnt make their choice based on that premise. Barnes and Noble most likely decided that it was hard enough competing with Amazon without paying licensing fee's to Microsoft, and that it is better to stay in the market at current prices and margins and take the risk. Remember than companies like Barnes and Noble are in rapid dec
        • I didn't say it was in their best interest. Just that it provides a benefit in that they would be less capable of going after others. The fact that fighting them even if MS is wrong is likely more expensive than licensing is a big part of the problem, and a fairly good reason to make comparisons to extortion.
    • by rainer_d (115765)
      Apple said, they tried to negotiate a deal, too.
      It's just that Samsung would not agree to the proposed terms ("do the right thing") and Apple didn't want to move away enough (if any) from its original terms.
    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      To crib from Kipling:

      It is always a temptation to a greedy grasping boardroom
      To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
      "We sued you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
      Unless you pay us cash to go away."

      And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
      And the people who ask it explain
      That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
      And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

      It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy comp'ny,
      To puff and look important and to say: --
      "Though we know we should defeat you
    • I completely disagree with the idea that the first thing you should do in a patent dispute is to take someone to court. Look at the difference between Apple and Microsoft as far as Samsung is concerned. In the case of Apple, Samsung has been taken to court in various districts around the world and has been prevented from selling some of their products at all in certain countries. Suit has met with counter-suit, and lots of lawyers have got just a bit fatter. This will either end with Samsung having to scrap their product line, or settle this all out of court with some deal. Either way it will cost them a bundle.

      On the other hand, Microsoft negotiated a deal, during which time Samsung was not prevented from selling their products anywhere. The end result is still a deal with another company, but without the cost and PR problems that lawsuits generate.

      The problem with this analysis is you're making an implicit assumption that both Apple and Microsoft are operating from a comparable position of strength.

      Whether we agree with their position or not, Apple has generally stated exactly how Samsung (and others) are infringing on its patents. Microsoft, on the other hand, makes very broad claims and - so far - has never stated what specific intellectual property of its own is being infringed upon. And those companies that reach a licensing agreement with Micros

  • by RenHoek (101570)

    Can't we just get rid of patents now? I mean, it's more and more clear that this just won't work. Never mind that it was not what 'copyright' was invented for.

    • by Ja'Achan (827610)
      But they do work! Oh, you mean for you. No, they don't work for you. But that's because you're posting on Slashdot, rather than contacting your $.GOV_OFFICIAL.
  • by blarkon (1712194) on Friday September 30, 2011 @05:50AM (#37564750)

    The major manufacturers would have only come to terms with Microsoft if they came to the conclusion that in a drawn out court battle, Microsoft would win. Small parties have won against Microsoft in the past - we saw it with an XML decision recently - all of these firms that have signed up haven't done this because they are cowed by Microsoft's awesome juggernaughty power - they've done it because their lawyers have looked at what's on the table and said "best we go with that". You go to the barricades when you think you can win. You settle when you know you're going to lose.

    Where Google hung their partners out to dry was in asserting the fiction that patents don't matter and that under the current system you could get something (an advanced phone operating system) for nothing (no patent licensing fees). Google is full of smart people. They knew these issues were around Android. They could have sorted them out a long time ago if they had so chosen. But Google didn't go and fight that fight - if they had wanted to, they could have indemnified their partners and gone directly into battle with Microsoft on this issue. Instead the company chose not to.

    They've always had the war chest and could have tied Microsoft up in court for an eternity if they knew they were in the right. Instead they've let a situation develop where they are giving away an operating system for free that has their partners putting dollars into the pocket of a competitor.

    Talk about stifling innovation is cheap - if Google were serious about all of this they would have gone to the barricades on it. If they really believed in the rhetoric, they would have either gone down swinging or taken down the "patent trolls".

    • by ElBeano (570883)

      "The major manufacturers would have only come to terms with Microsoft if they came to the conclusion that in a drawn out court battle, Microsoft would win."

      I disagree. The terms of these agreements are never disclosed. I think instead of confining your analysis to just the results of a potential court battle, you need to consider what else might be thrown into the mix. It could just as well be that Microsoft is offering more than just indemnity for the licensing money. It could be a sweet offer we know nothing of, which allows Microsoft to continue to get press about the "cost" of using the Android OS.

    • by Hope Thelps (322083) on Friday September 30, 2011 @06:17AM (#37564834)

      The major manufacturers would have only come to terms with Microsoft if they came to the conclusion that in a drawn out court battle, Microsoft would win.

      That's obviously untrue. They will enter into an agreement with Microsoft if it's advantageous to do so. There are any number of scenarios where that would apply. For example, a 10% chance of Microsoft winning and being awarded $10 billion doesn't compare well with a straight payment of $100 million. A certainly of Microsoft losing but with Samsung paying substantial legal costs along the way doesn't compare well with a series of agreement that net out to essentially nil cost to Samsung (for example agreeing to pay license fees for Android but receiving funds for an advertising campaign for Samsung Windows devices). And so on. We'd need a copy not only of this licensing agreement but of any related deals to decide who won or lost here.

      • You mean like the substantial legal costs they are incurring defending and countersuing Apple through various international courts? Oh right, let's ignore all that and pretend that they are just falling over being bullied by Microsoft.

        • You mean like the substantial legal costs they are incurring defending and countersuing Apple through various international courts? Oh right, let's ignore all that and pretend that they are just falling over being bullied by Microsoft.

          I didn't say anywhere that they were being bullied. I'm saying that they approached it rationally like any other business deal. The fact that they reached a deal with Microsoft doesn't mean that they "came to the conclusion that in a drawn out court battle, Microsoft would win" just as the fact that they hadn't come to a deal the previous day didn't mean that at that point they had come to the conclusion that Microsoft would lose. They think that overall the benefits of the deal outweigh its negatives. That

          • Trying to negotiate with Apple would be like trying to negotiate the fate of the human race with the aliens in "Independence Day". Apple doesn't want the others to pay them, Apple wants the others to die and disappear. As a result, companies like Samsung have no choice than to "go Kamikaze" against Apple, because the only Apple-acceptable alternative would be complete and total capitulation.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Well, paying the Dane-geld almost always works out for the better of any individual. That's why the tactic works.

      If you get in a lawsuit MS can play scorched earth and you end up not selling phones due to injunctions and all that. You lose even if you win. Since MS doesn't actually sell any phones and their desktop lead is unassailable you can't really retaliate.

      The real fix is to get rid of the software patent nonsense, or heavily curtail it (make patents last two years or something).

    • by SiChemist (575005)

      As I mentioned in a comment above, Samsung and HTC are in business with Microsoft. It's in their interest to play nice with Microsoft as long as they are manufacturing devices that run WP7. Maybe they are getting massive WP7 license fee discounts that are equal to the amount they are paying. That way, they win and Microsoft gets to keep talking about "the cost of using android".

      • The way WP7 is selling compared to Android, it would have to be pennies per phone for the math to work out. It seems like most analysts believe it to be in the tens of dollars per phone. Of course I guess there's no way to know for sure.
    • by MikeURL (890801)

      I think it is just a matter of who wants it the most. Microsoft MUST win this because they can't allow a free OS to proliferate indefinitely. So if they have even the kernel of a good claim then they have to fight to the death to defend it. They have to make it so expensive for vendors to fight it that they decide just to roll over instead.

      I'm don't think it is as binary as you suggest. Samsung might think they could win but they might also be factoring in how hard MS will fight them on it and just deci

  • by pootypeople (212497) on Friday September 30, 2011 @07:13AM (#37565056)

    Why should a court case be inevitable now? Microsoft will NEVER detail what patents that they believe Linux infringes on. Folks have been begging them to do so for years so that if Linux infringed on any Microsoft patents that code could be reworked. Microsoft would have little ammunition for its shakedowns if they actually put their cards on the table.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Why should a court case be inevitable now? Microsoft will NEVER detail what patents that they believe Linux infringes on. Folks have been begging them to do so for years so that if Linux infringed on any Microsoft patents that code could be reworked. Microsoft would have little ammunition for its shakedowns if they actually put their cards on the table.

      So do you expect Microsoft to just cave in or to try to fight in court without saying what is being infringed? I don't think they will get very far with the latter, unless they can get the case seen in East Texas.

    • by Junta (36770)

      Two things.

      One, they at least put vfat out there as one thing. IIRC, there was some talk about random data in the 8.3 name serving as a non-infringing vfat implementation, but I still haven't seen anything one way or another. I think this is their main ammunition in going after anything, linux or not, that writes to removable storage. There may be other things, but they have put something out there.

      Second, there's nothing to say they *must* be 'linux' patents. Android has it's own userspace stack and UI

      • I do not remember where, but I read one guy, who was employed at a large company, say that the patent system today is used by large companies to keep small companies and disruptive innovations out of the way. Do not cause any surprise to you that we see every day news of great innovations that are only available in 10, 15 years?

        The system is not broken, the error is to believe that it serves to protect and encourage innovation
        • "True innovation" should be immune from patent pressures at it's initial debut unless multiple parties discover and create the exact same innovation at the exact same time using the exact same methodology. "True innovation" is about creating something totally new. The patents being fought over today are not targeting true innovation they are targeting incremental enhancements and modifications of pre-existing innovations. Existing computer systems all rely on electromagnetic spectrum manipulation, binary si
          • Then there is no such thing as "true innovation" because everything builds on what came before. The first ever motorcar was not "true innovation" because it built on the carriages that preceded it. The first ever steam engine was not "true innovation" because it required man to know how to make fire, which was not new.

            And the problem is that today, large companies have broad patents on the computer equivalent of "method of making fire" and "wheel-based transportation device" etc. So the little guy can't com

            • "Then there is no such thing as "true innovation" because everything builds on what came before" This is only true if you believe there are no new ideas or innovations left to discover. An attitude such as this would be saying there are no unknowns remaining because we can't think of anymore at the moment. I personally doubt we are at the pinnacle of our scientific potential or prowess in any scientific field. Most of our existing computer and communication technologies depend on our current understanding o
              • An attitude such as this would be saying there are no unknowns remaining because we can't think of anymore at the moment.

                Nonsense. The problem is this: Let's say I come up with gravity drive for my spaceship, which nobody has ever thought of before. It's a completely different propulsion system than anybody has ever imagined. Turns electricity straight into thrust. Then I go build my spaceship without licensing any patents from anybody and... get sued, because I still need high capacity batteries, fuel cells, CO2 extractors, thermal shielding for the hull, etc. and all of that stuff is patented by the incumbent competitors.

                Th

    • I would think that any judge would throw out a case against this because the developers are in Dolittle mode, i.e. willing to change it. wanting to change it. waiting to change it.

    • Microsoft will NEVER detail what patents that they believe Linux infringes on. Folks have been begging them to do so for years

      Begging is the wrong approach.

      If some company with a monetary interest in Linux, Android, or anything else that MS has threatened wants to get MS to reveal the patents that it believes are violated, what they need to do is:
      1. Ask MS to identify the patents it holds that it believes are violated by the vendor's product so that vendor can review the product and remove any components th

  • Have any of the infringed patents been made public? I can't find any mention of which patents Microsoft is licensing.
  • by Fri13 (963421) on Friday September 30, 2011 @08:55AM (#37565786)

    Please, someone working with Samsung, HTC or any of those companies, please send the documents to wikileaks. Let them to rip off the sensitive data of who leaked it to cover your asses and blow up the whole fucking shit back to Microsoft face.

    Do the right thing and show the world what kind asshole and abusive corporation the Microsoft is for whole world.

    Do the right thing.....

    At somepoint, someone need to stand up and stop the stupid chair game so everyone could actually sit down and start helping whole world without one corporation ruling what and when can be invented and brought to public.

  • by itwbennett (1594911) on Friday September 30, 2011 @02:25PM (#37570278) Homepage
    From the too-good-to-be-true department, Brian Proffitt has updated his blog post with a correction. Turns out that the quote that The Korea Times attributed to a Samsung official actually came from Florian Mueller. http://www.itworld.com/mobile-wireless/208357/how-google-drove-samsung-away [itworld.com]
  • So google is driving samsung away by what, not suing them? (because, you know, apple buys parts from samsung, but is suing them also).

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

Working...