Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Android Cellphones Microsoft Patents Technology

Google Files Antitrust Complaint Against Microsoft, Nokia 233

Posted by Soulskill
from the throwing-down dept.
x0d writes with news that Google filed an EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft and Nokia on Thursday, claiming they are using proxy companies to make smartphone-related patent claims in an attack on Google's Android business. From the article: "Google also plans to share its complaint about patent 'trolls' with U.S. competition regulators. The Internet-search giant alleges that Microsoft and Nokia have entered into agreements that enable entities such as Canada-based Mosaid Technologies Inc. to legally enforce their patent rights and share the resulting revenue. Google, which hasn't been sued by Mosaid or related firms, described its filing with European regulators as a pre-emptive measure against a developing legal hazard for Android partners. The threat is that if phone makers perceive a significant legal risk in using Android, they may opt instead for Microsoft's Windows Phone software."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Files Antitrust Complaint Against Microsoft, Nokia

Comments Filter:
  • by Night64 (1175319) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:36AM (#40179199)
    Europe knows it very, very well.
  • Distrust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EzInKy (115248) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:39AM (#40179215)

    As much as I distrust Google, which is quite a bit ever since they started asking for phone numbers, they still haven't reached the same level of fear that I have Microsoft and its insistence on forcing everyone into its collective. Add to that the fact that it's also against Nokia, a company I once adored before they jumped in bed with the devil incarnate, I must now say "good on you Google!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mclaincausey (777353)
      That doesn't make any sense. It's easy to avoid Microsoft. Try not using Google. Way harder.
      • I wondered where the OP got that impression too... It takes an unreasonably large amount of technical prowess to actually eradicate all of Google's tendrils.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It takes an unreasonably large amount of technical prowess to actually eradicate all of Google's tendrils.

          DuckDuckGo [duckduckgo.com], NoScript [noscript.net], and OpenPGP [openpgp.org]?

          What am I missing? A robots.txt [wikipedia.org] file?

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            It takes an unreasonably large amount of technical prowess to actually eradicate all of Google's tendrils.

            DuckDuckGo, NoScript, and OpenPGP?

            What am I missing? A robots.txt file?

            There's also avoiding use of Google's CDN, DNS, various Google-owned companies including DoubleClick and AdMob (try avoiding the latter if you have an Android - it's pretty hard unless you basically don't run any apps at all), YouTube, Picasa, various javascript include files, ReCaptcha, etc..

            At this point in time, I don't th

      • Care to explain some of this? How do you think I can achieve this in my workplace, where I don't control what Operating system is on my computer? I could chose not to use gmail, reader and chrome browser (the 3 big things I use after search) and switch to other services (losing the @gmail.com address would be difficult at first, I admit) but I don't see how I can avoid Windows, even at home (to play most games).

        No, if, in Imaginary Land, everything Microsoft were to disappear tomorrow, we'd feel a much grea

      • The search engine is the only product I use. DDG is catching up pretty well though.

  • Legal Risk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:40AM (#40179221)

    (Posting AC because I'm at work, not because I'm going to get modded into the stone age for what I'm about to say...)

    Google ... described its filing with European regulators as a pre-emptive measure against a developing legal hazard for Android partners. The threat is that if phone makers perceive a significant legal risk in using Android...

    Um, if there's a legal hazard in using Android, maybe that means Google/manufacturer's should license patents from Microsoft (or others). I know the current belief on /. is that everybody should be able to make whatever they want, even if they copy someone else's work but, ignoring whether or not I agree with that view, that's simply not how the world works. Sorry - it isn't. The world works such that, if you invent it and you patent it, you have the right to get paid when someone else uses it (or outright block them from using it for a time). You may not like that, and many don't, but that's how the world works. Not just the US - the world. Google may view that as a problem but the solution is simple - build Android so that it doesn't infringe on any patents or license the patents so that there's no legal risk.

    I know I'll be in the minority on this one but, sorry - the system is what the system is. It's simple, design around the patent or license it. Or don't and deal with the consequences.

    • Re:Legal Risk (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:50AM (#40179327)

      Licensing patents from trolls is like paying protection money to criminals. You're only providing them resources and incentive to continue their extortion and find new victims. The only right thing to do is put the criminals out of business, not pay them off.

    • Re:Legal Risk (Score:4, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:50AM (#40179333)
      Um no. While there are some here that would disregard all intellectual property, the vast majority are in disagreement about whether some IP should be protected as being valid especially in the area of software where patenting things like one-click may be ridiculous. The current situation has been a long time coming as companies like MS and Google have been stockpiling patents for defensive purposes against patent trolls. Unfortunately the cold war has now erupted into open hostilities. From what I can tell, it's easier to track who isn't suing. The situation will be addressed but it will be a bloody fight. At this point it is hard to tell which companies are using patents as weapons against competitors and which are trying to legitimately defend their IP.
    • Re:Legal Risk (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday June 01, 2012 @09:40AM (#40179975)

      Here's the thing. Every single one of the big phone manufacturers has a thousand patents that every other phone manufacturer has infringed on since the beginning of the industry. They all know this, but for literally decades everyone involved was smart enough to look at the situation and say "Oh hell no! I'm not starting that fight". The in strolled the new kid on the block, they bought some patents on the core technologies (enough to ensure they were inside the circle of mutually assured destruction along with the other manufacturers) but then they went and patented a few (frankly quite silly) UI patents. And so they thought to themselves, we might not be able to start the holy war on the core technologies, but we can certainly fire off just a few shots to protect our user interface. Which is a lot like the US during the cold war saying "surely the Soviets won't mind if we launch nuclear tipped cruise missiles at Kiev, after all, they're not ICBMs".

      And the result has been about what you would expect. All out patent war in the cell phone industry, with constantly shifting alliances, tactics, and weapons. We've had import bans because a photo gallery app slid just past the available pictures to communicate to the user that they were at the end. We've had court cases fought over "Swipe to unlock". We've had multi-billion dollar companies bought, sold, and gutted for their patent portfolios. And, most importantly and the issue no one seems to pay attention to, we've created an environment where there is absolutely no chance, literally zero, of a new player entering the game.

      So, you say to Google "build Android so that it doesn't infringe on patents". I say 50% of those patents are invalid, and it's just going to take the right court case to show that once and for all. Of the remaining 50%, everyone in the industry stomps all over them, to the point where even the biggest players can't be sure who owns what, who is defending what, and what their next project might infringe upon. It's broken. It's not really Apple's fault, even if they were the ones to set of Armageddon the system has been screwed up for too long to blame them. Any system that relies on cold war style MAD is going to break down eventually.

      • Apple did that to Samsung. Just look at Samsung's patents. I'm very surprised they have not already sued Apple.

        --Any system that relies on cold war style MAD is going to break down eventually.--

        Yeah, when you get someone totally crazy on the other side.

    • Re:Legal Risk (Score:4, Insightful)

      by oxdas (2447598) on Friday June 01, 2012 @09:42AM (#40180003)

      Um, if there's a legal hazard in using Android, maybe that means Google/manufacturer's should license patents from Microsoft (or others). I know the current belief on /. is that everybody should be able to make whatever they want, even if they copy someone else's work but, ignoring whether or not I agree with that view, that's simply not how the world works. Sorry - it isn't. The world works such that, if you invent it and you patent it, you have the right to get paid when someone else uses it (or outright block them from using it for a time). You may not like that, and many don't, but that's how the world works. Not just the US - the world. Google may view that as a problem but the solution is simple - build Android so that it doesn't infringe on any patents or license the patents so that there's no legal risk.

      I know I'll be in the minority on this one but, sorry - the system is what the system is. It's simple, design around the patent or license it. Or don't and deal with the consequences.

      Software patents are not valid in Europe, so no, this is not the way the "world" works. It is the way the U.S. works, but only since 1981. Prior to that year (and for a practical purposes the early 90's) software patents were expressly forbade by the USPTO and the Supreme Court. The definition of patentable material has expanded immensely in the last 30 years in US. Europe has been drifting toward allowing software patents, but the debate is as fierce there as it is here.

      With the U.S. Supreme Court recently reasserting itself into the patent debate, this is a great time for Google to push against software patents and Europe is the place to start.

  • Subtle ad? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Linegod (9952) <pasnak@@@warpedsystems...sk...ca> on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:41AM (#40179233) Homepage Journal

    "they may opt instead for Microsoft's Windows Phone software"

    No one is going to do that.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Yeah just like "Nobody will opt for Microsoft Explorer because Netscape has 90% of the browser share!"
      Oh wait.
      Nvrmnd.

      • by oakgrove (845019)
        Web browsers and smart phones are very different things.
        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          Not really. If it is perceived that Google phones are insecure or too-costly to own, Microsoft phones could easily win over the consumers just as Microsoft browser convinced people to switch from Netscape browser in the late 90s/early 2000s.

          • by oakgrove (845019)

            If it is perceived that Google phones are insecure or too-costly to own, Microsoft phones could easily win over the consumers just as Microsoft browser convinced people to switch from Netscape browser in the late 90s/early 2000s.

            Except people didn't switch to Internet Explorer because they perceived Netscape as too costly or insecure. By the time Netscape had lost it was due to the fact that IE was being bundled with windows as the default and Netscape 4 was a catastrophe. Furthermore, the market forces in play right now between the competing smartphone platforms is very different than what were at play during the (first) browser wars. There is no specific parallel that can be drawn between the two that isn't also general betwee

      • Yeah just like "Nobody will opt for Microsoft Explorer because Netscape has 90% of the browser share!"

        IE is -- once you've made an OS choice, which is often made for reasons entirely irrelevant to web browser -- opt-out rather than opt-in.

        Not the same thing as a smartphone OS.

  • Welcome to SCO 2.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spacepimp (664856) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:41AM (#40179237) Homepage

    Same agenda, only now the desktop isn't at stake, it is the mobile market sector. Same FUD, different day. Linux was proven and hardened after SCO, but in many ways it was too late, the tech world had moved on. MS is hoping for more of the same.

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:47AM (#40179293)

      The problem is that right now, they are driving up the real cost of Android phones, making money from it, and spreading FUD. It should be quite clear after the B&N screw-up that what they're doing is extortion.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Don't worry, if history is any indication the USDoJ will catch Microsoft red-handed for this only ten years from now and at a cost of only tens or hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

        Of course, if history is any indication, Microsoft will be let off the hook without penalties by whoever is sitting where Ashcroft was sitting last time.

        I adore that one of the big bad guys in Freelancer is named Ashcroft.

  • Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:42AM (#40179241)

    I'd like to see redHat, Suse, Canonical, etc do the same thing over the UEFI controls coming up. That really needs to be taken out of their hands.

    • You may have missed it in the news, but Suse is no longer part of the good team. Suse is helping M$ tax Linux [techrights.org]. So of the three in your list, Suse does not belong. Red Hat and Canonical might stand up against the UEFI power grab, but Suse is already in bed with M$.
  • by Erich (151) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:46AM (#40179277) Homepage Journal
    Google is at least trying to say "Hey, this whole patent troll environment sucks. You should really do something about this problem!"

    Hopefully someone will listen to their complaint before they are forced to take matters into their own hands.

    And I think everyone also sees the next step, which is retaliation. Google just bought all those Motorola patents, and having them shut down Nokia and Apple with all those 17-year-old cell phone patents would really be a step up in the Mutually-Assured-Destruction conflict, and everyone would suffer for it.

    Taking this approach with the nukes in your back pocket seems much more civil than approach taken by the others.

  • by Eirenarch (1099517) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:52AM (#40179353)

    Microsoft is suing Motorola (now Google) directly. Why the hell would they hide if they already do it openly and even if they do hide behind other companies how is this illegal? Can't a company pay another company to take care of patent fights?

    • by shione (666388) on Friday June 01, 2012 @09:01AM (#40179469) Journal

      They don't do it openly. Ask microsoft which patents android infringes and THEY WILL NOT TELL YOU. Every android phone maker that has paid the blackmail money^h^h^h settled has also had to sign a non disclosure statement. This is either because microsoft doesnt want the other phonemakers it hasnt gone after yet to create a workaround^h^h^h not infringe or because microsoft knows it's standing is very weak.

      • This is how they get patent deals but not how they sue. You can't possibly sue someone without showing what you've got in court. After all how will the jury decide if you don't show your patents? That's the whole point of a lawsuit. The patents MS holds against Motorola are well known and you can easily Google for them. Something with syncrhonizing e-mails, battery power blah blah blah.

    • If you have to deal with only one case or one opponent, instead of a whole swarm of lawsuits and troll companies, expenses go down and things become easier to manage, plus the uncertainity involved (a key element of FUD) also goes down.

      • That's good point but aren't the expenses for the attacker also going up if they have to file multiple lawsuits?

    • Why the hell would they hide if they already do it openly and even if they do hide behind other companies how is this illegal?

      Many jurisdictions have regulations (either as part of the antitrust regime, or their patent regime, or both) which restrict how a patent holder can use a patent to create or protect market power in a market broader than "things that exercise the patent". Assigning patent enforcement rights to a third-party, while itself generally legitimate, can be a manner to obscure an attempt to

  • Business as usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:52AM (#40179355) Journal

    The threat is that if phone makers perceive a significant legal risk in using Android, they may opt instead for Microsoft's Windows Phone software."

    What part of this is illegal? Isn't this how patents are supposed to work?

    • "Perception of risk" != "Existence of risk". Using agents to incite riots in a mass gathering (say, by pelting stones) is an extreme example of what's happening here. The harm in pelting those stones is limited to non-existant, but the people don't see it that way and the end result is much worse.

  • Google, as of late, you're just as f*cked up as microsoft.
  • Googles thinks Microsoft is sending proxies to do its legal work, or at the least is trying to convince someone of that fantasy?

    Microsoft hasn't shown any problems going after Android makers openly and directly. Sure it doesn't always make the front page but that's because Microsoft wants to licence the technology, not use the patents to block companies from the market entirely like Apple. This has always been Microsoft's business stategy from all the back in the days when it was Bill writing BASIC inter
    • by shione (666388)

      If Apple blocks android, more people would likely flock to ios. If microsoft did the same to android they would only be giving apple more customers. windows mobile is stuck in a chicken and a egg situation where it has a low uptake due to few apps and few apps because few use their phones. If windows mobile had more market share we would probably start seeing microsoft doing what apple is doing now.

  • They've been getting away with it for a while. Check out the situation with Dual Shock on the PS3.

    Immersion decides to patent troll the gaming industry over rumble force feedback, claiming they have the patents on it even though as a corporation they eschewed simple "rumble".

    So MS settles with Immersion, giving Immersion money with the requirement that they continue to press their case against Sony and that MS will get a cut of any monies from those suits if there is a settlement.

    We find out about it when M

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams

Working...