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Microsoft Android China Patents

Chinese Gov't Reveals Microsoft's Secret List of Android-Killer Patents 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-it-and-weep dept.
walterbyrd (182728) writes "A list of hundreds of patents that Microsoft believes entitle it to royalties over Android phones, and perhaps smartphones in general, has been published on a Chinese language website. The patents Microsoft plans to wield against Android describe a range of technologies. They include lots of technologies developed at Microsoft, as well as patents that Microsoft acquired by participating in the Rockstar Consortium, which spent $4.5 billion on patents that were auctioned off after the Nortel bankruptcy."
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Chinese Gov't Reveals Microsoft's Secret List of Android-Killer Patents

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  • by MrDoh! (71235) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:38AM (#47246939) Homepage Journal
    Well, that's one way to handle repeat articles, delete the original one.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Motorola? And that was purely for its patent portfolio (the rest was just icing). $4.5B would have been a pittance to Google if it thought any of the Nortel patents were worth more than the potential litigation fees. Of course, they may also have something in the Motorola portfolio that they can use to smack MS down with, so maybe it's actually a case of Mutually Assured Destruction via patent lawsuits.

    • Motorola? And that was purely for its patent portfolio (the rest was just icing). $4.5B would have been a pittance to Google if it thought any of the Nortel patents were worth more than the potential litigation fees. Of course, they may also have something in the Motorola portfolio that they can use to smack MS down with, so maybe it's actually a case of Mutually Assured Destruction via patent lawsuits.

      The Motorola purchase by Google was not simply for its Patent Portfolio. There's a lot of pundits out there that want to write it up as such, but it wasn't. There was a lot of value Google got from buying Motorola that was beyond the patents issue. Having said that, some of the things they sold off/spun out of Motorola have covered a good chunk of that purchase.

  • by Parker Lewis (999165) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:44AM (#47246983)
    ... not stupid enough, Microsoft additionally wants to keep the patents secret. So, if your company reach a success level that can bother them, even if you try avoid most of the IT patents (which is impossible, because they're TOO generic), "SURPRISE, this is the list of patents you infringing and had no idea because we keep them in secret!"
    • by MrDoh! (71235) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:46AM (#47247003) Homepage Journal
      Agreed. It's crazy to create 'secret rules/laws' "Don't break our rules!" "What rules?" "We won't tell you them until you break them"
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There's an obscure by-law in the Faber College charter called Double Secret Probation. I believe you just violated that.

      • The whole concept of a secret patent doesn't make sense, since the word itself means open or visible, as in "patently obvious".

        • The sheer number of subsisting patents combined with the obfuscatory language of patent claims has defeated the purpose of making it "patently obvious" which inventions in common use are encumbered.
        • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:15PM (#47247259)

          The whole concept of a secret patent doesn't make sense, since the word itself means open or visible, as in "patently obvious".

          Irony upon irony. We're getting this list from a Communist nation - and such places are supposed to be tight with information, thus making them inferior to the open society upon which freedom supposedly thrives. With a little help from the NSA.

          • by omnichad (1198475)

            This list is also from a nation that's famous for its industrial espionage, which is a big part of communism.

          • by roc97007 (608802)

            The whole concept of a secret patent doesn't make sense, since the word itself means open or visible, as in "patently obvious".

            Irony upon irony. We're getting this list from a Communist nation - and such places are supposed to be tight with information, thus making them inferior to the open society upon which freedom supposedly thrives. With a little help from the NSA.

            True, but they're not above publishing an offshore company's secret information if it's to their advantage. That the reveal helps other offshore companies is collateral..... damage?

          • by turgid (580780)

            Irony upon irony. We're getting this list from a Communist nation

            A Communist country where people can own companies and trade stocks and shares?

            • by gtall (79522)

              No, a communist country where the state is a big player in the marketplace through state owned companies. Think of it as Fascism without a conscience.

            • Irony upon irony. We're getting this list from a Communist nation

              A Communist country where people can own companies and trade stocks and shares?

              A Communist country where at any time it wants to, the Party/government can nationalize companies and hold all the shares and properties as common assets of the People.

              Capitalism exists in China only to the extent that it is convenient for the Party. They've already demonstrated that at heart they're still a command economy by the fact that they maintain rigid control on the monetary exchange rate.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, no. The patents are visible, and you could do code review against Microsoft's known patent portfolio to create roughly the same list. The problem is, Microsoft doesn't want to do other companies' patent checking work. By keeping the list secret they get to extract patent royalties without risking Google working their way around the patents. If you want to know what the patents are, then prepare to spend time and money examining Microsoft's patents. Nobody wants to do that when it's probably cheaper to

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            they get to extract patent royalties without risking Google working their way around the patents

            You shouldn't get to to sue someone for "infringing your rights" if that's exactly what you want them to do.

            • Every company that licenses patents wants other companies to use them and pay for a license, and will sue if they use them and don't pay.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          In practice, who wields a patent is at least as significant as what is in it. Getting sued by a nobody is one thing, but how would you feel getting served by IBM or Apple and their army of lawyers?

          I thought this statement in the article was interesting: "Last year, the company made a big to-do about publishing a full list of patents it owns." It hadn't occurred to me this could be secret information, but it makes me wonder if companies set up mazes of shell corporations to obscure their IP holdings, lik

      • by Anonymous Coward

        But isn't that the implication of the entire law system in almost any country anyway?
        It's not like the teach basic law in school (beyond common sense). They want you to screw up.
        Very few areas are required to know the law in regards to whatever you may study, car licences being one of the major ones most adults will know about. But seriously very little things require you to know the law. It is only just beginning to appear in some computing courses I hear. (friends cousin mentioned his course)

        All of s

        • by nukenerd (172703)

          Microsoft ...... practically made the computing industry,

          When were you born? I owned a computer (an Amstrad) in 1983. I had one (a PDP-11) in my office at work from 1977. I first used one (called Titan) remotely in 1966.

          I first heard of Microsoft in 1988.

      • by Cardoor (3488091)
        its not crazy at all. if your endgame is to instill fear and maintain control, it's perfectly logical.
      • by Sloppy (14984)

        Crazy? Sounds like a fun card game [wikipedia.org], to me.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:01PM (#47247145) Homepage

      I've always thought that was stupid, and an abuse of patents.

      We're going to threaten you with the notion that you may be violating one of many undisclosed patents. We're going to insist on a cut of revenues to license these patents to you. We may or may not tell you the patents even once we have your money.

      This should be a put up or shut up scenario.

      I also heavily expect that a great deal of these patents would yield howls of outrage as they more or less became "a system an methodology for doing something exactly like in the real world, but with a communications device/computer/phone".

      This is just a blanket extortion scheme intended to make sure there can be no competition because everybody is beholden the the big players who hold patents awarded by chimpanzees whose job it is to simply approve as many as possible.

      Now that's innovation.

      • You have to ask yourself "did he fire five shots, or six?" The real question is, do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?

        It's Russian roulette with patents.
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Funny, sounds more like an extortion attempt under the RICO act to me.

          "Nice phones you have, a shame if something unfortunate were to happen and you found yourself in court needing to spend millions of dollars to even find out what we claim to own".

          This is extortion through insinuation that there is someone infringing, with no proof they are, and no ability for anybody to review the alleged list of patents.

          Because if they actually released the list, I bet it would be in the interests of many people to have

        • Russian roulette is when you load a single round into a revolver, spin the cylinder and try to shoot yourself in the head, seeing whether the round spun to the position of the barrel.

          I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader how the actual meaning of the term can apply to Microsoft's Android-Killer patents.

      • by turp182 (1020263)

        Everyone is playing by the same rules. We may not like the rules, but they define how the game is played. At this time it is up to a company to identify patents they may be infringing.and avoid infringement or seek to license as required.

        And if litigation starts, I'm sure the initiating party has to disclose the patents in question (probably along with a non-disclosure agreement).

        Apple and Amazon play the same way, as do many companies.

    • I assume the patents themselves are public, just mixed in with all the other ones. Searching for existing patents to something specific you're trying to do would hopefully uncover the specific ones you're looking for.
    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:04PM (#47247159) Homepage Journal

      How long have Android phones been around? Long enough for this to apply, I'd expect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

    • ... not stupid enough, Microsoft additionally wants to keep the patents secret.

      There is only reason for keeping details of patents secret: you know that some of them won't stand up to open scrutiny. In other words: you do it if you are engaged in confidence trickery. So turn it into a game of bluff and wrap those who do see them up in restrictive disclosure contracts.

      It would be nice to see many of these patents shown to be invalid; then those who have been screwed by this mafia like protection racket to sue and get their money back. However: I don't expect to see that happen, the sy

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:20PM (#47247311)

      The filings from their suing of Barnes & Noble gives some insight in the mafia-like way Microsoft runs their patent extortion racket. The entire case is completely disgusting, even before you see how trivial the asserted patents were.

      In July 2010, Microsoft first met with Barnes & Noble to discuss "patent issues" related to Barnes & Noble's eReader. Microsoft specifically alleged that Barnes & Noble's NookTM was infringing six patents purportedly owned by Microsoft. When Barnes and 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 non-disclosure agreement ("NDA"). Because both the patents and Barnes & Noble's NookTM product are public -- meaning there was no need for an NDA -- Barnes & Noble refused to sign one. In December 2010, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble then met to discuss Microsoft's assertions of patent infringement. In this meeting, Microsoft claimed that its patents were sufficient to entirely dominate and control the use of the Android by the NookTM or Nook ColorTM, but Microsoft again refused to provide the basis for these claims unless Barnes & Noble entered into an NDA. To move the process forward, Barnes & Noble agreed to a very narrow NDA -- one limited in scope to discussions relating to Microsoft's claim charts at this single meeting.

        In January of 2011, Microsoft then sent a proposed patent license agreement to Barnes & Noble. Although, as noted, the NDA executed in December was narrow and applied only to discussions of claim charts, Microsoft asserted that its proposed license agreement was confidential and subject to this NDA (which it is not). This proposed licensing agreement covered Barnes & Noble's use of Android on its existing eReader devices but is structured in such as way as to presume that Microsoft's portfolio of patents dominate, and thereby control, the entire Android operating system and any devices that use Android. Indeed, the proposed license would have severely limited and, in some cases, entirely eliminated Barnes & Noble's ability to upgrade or improve the NookTM or Nook ColorTM, even though Microsoft's asserted patents have nothing to do with such improvements. At the risk of inciting even more baseless litigation by Microsoft, Barnes & Noble does not feel comfortable sharing all of the details of the proposed license agreement in light of Microsoft's baseless assertion that it is confidential and covered by an NDA. Nevertheless, Barnes & Noble urges the Department of Justice to use its subpoena power to demand a copy of the proposed licensing agreement, and any other relevant documents, from Microsoft. Microsoft's assertion of confidentiality is simply a means to cloak its oppressive and anticompetitive licensing proposal and is another element in Microsoft's larger scheme to restrict competition in the mobile operating systems market.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        The filings from their suing of Barnes & Noble gives some insight in the mafia-like way Microsoft runs their patent extortion racket. The entire case is completely disgusting, even before you see how trivial the asserted patents were

        Well, they have to make money somehow. And now they can afford to buy the market, so they get a forever funding stream.

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      You can't keep patents secret, that by its nature is contrary to the patent process. You have to disclose how the invention works. [acs.org]

      The problem arises in what happens after a patent is acquired by another party and then by another. In some cases quite a few prior patent owners can fog up who actually owns it. In one personal case something I invented and was patented was owned by 8 different companies until it's wound up with the current owner. That's where the mystery comes in and Microsoft does have the

    • As far as I can tell, MS does not keep the patents secret (they can't), they just tell others: "We have over a million patents, and we think you are violating a least one of them. We're not saying which one, so that you cannot look it up and decide whether to pay up, work around it, or fight us in court. We'd rather that you do not take the risk of a lengthy court battle that ends in your product being taken of the market; much better for the both of us if you just pony up what we ask, now".

      This amount
    • by simstick (303379)

      A list of patents like this? http://www.microsoft.com/en-us... [microsoft.com]

  • Groklaw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tough Love (215404) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:46AM (#47247009)

    Groklaw... where art thou? You're going to miss the fun... let the patent killing begin. Gentlemen, start your engines.

    How nice to have the 800 pound gorilla on our side :)

  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:49AM (#47247029) Homepage

    ...in the mobile world. All they will do send a lot of people towards Apple and they will accomplish nothing.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:57AM (#47247101) Journal

    ...what's left but to become a patent troll?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Burning the bridges the trolls live under? Patent reform? Thorough review of ALL patents to see if they make sense? Force Microsoft to disclose ALL patents they feel might be infringed?

      Anything would be better than the stupidity which is the current patent system.

      • by Hentai (165906)

        Burning the bridges the trolls live under? Patent reform? Thorough review of ALL patents to see if they make sense? Force Microsoft to disclose ALL patents they feel might be infringed?

        All of this would require a MASSIVE amount of lobbying to accomplish, and therefore a MASSIVE amount of money.

        How do you currently get massive amounts of money?

        Therefore, what incentive do people who currently have massive amount of money have, to make the changes you propose?

        • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:29PM (#47247401) Homepage

          Of course the people with massive amounts of money are interested in maintaining an inherently flawed patent system which makes them massive amounts of money.

          Film at 11.

          When Microsoft can extort a share of Android with the threat of using an unspecified list of patents, the patent system has become so utterly broken as to be useless.

          • by KiloByte (825081)

            Uhm no, the patent system works as designed since day one. The purpose of patents was to extract some money for the rulers (the king at first). When money went to someone else, elected parliaments try to fight that, like in 1624 [wikipedia.org], but whenever they receive some of the money they propagate the problem. It was never about "innovation".

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              The Congress shall have power ... To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

              In its modern day form in America, it sure as hell is supposed to be about innovation.

              Instead it's mostly about rent-seeking and making sure nobody can make anything without giving you a cut.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:06PM (#47247175) Journal
    Doesn't it warm the free-market cockles of your heart that levels of 'market transparency' in "intellectual property", and the licensing thereof, that a regulatory action taken by commie chinese is the biggest boost it's had in years?

    Good work on that free market, guys.
    • by andydread (758754)

      Doesn't it warm the free-market cockles of your heart that levels of 'market transparency' in "intellectual property", and the licensing thereof, that a regulatory action taken by commie chinese is the biggest boost it's had in years? Good work on that free market, guys.

      I think the free-market types see patents as a big government granted monopoly. Somehting they tend to loathe.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:06PM (#47247183)
    Back in the 1990's Microsoft didn't have to worry about competing or innovating because of the Windows monopoly. as a result, Microsoft never really learned how to innovate and move a market forward.

    .
    Now Microsoft is faced with a marketplace in which Windows no longer has a monopoly. Unfortunately, Microsoft never really learned how to innovate, so what is left?

    Patent lawsuits, of course.

    The once powerful Microsoft, a company that could kill off a start-up just by announcing an intent to compete with it, is now reduced to trying to maintain its power over the industry via legal bullying.

    And the fact that Microsoft had to buy some (most?) of the patents to use in its bullying merely underscores the appearance that Microsoft still does not know how to innovate.

    • I'm aware of two platitudes that reflect different mindsets:
      • "Those who can, innovate; those who can't, imitate."
      • "Those who can, innovate; those who can't, litigate."

      Which is better for progress and why?

      • by Cabriel (803429)

        Imitation spurs innovation by differentiating, however slightly, from the original and other knockoffs so that people will aquire your product.

        Litigation prevents innovation and generates bad publicity, driving people away from your platform no matter how Right and Just your litigation may be. A vocal minority will always misrepresent your position to sway the market away from you.

        For the Market, Imitation is clearly superior.
        For the Seller, it's perhaps less clear which is better. Litigation is clearly a s

        • by tepples (727027)
          On the other hand, litigation encourages innovation through design-arounds. But then the effectiveness of design-arounds for promoting innovation depends on how clearly the lines for who owns what invention are marked.
          • by mythosaz (572040)

            It also encourages new solutions, not just derivatives.

          • by Qzukk (229616)

            On the other hand, litigation encourages innovation through design-arounds.

            Aside from clear ownership of invention, it's also necessary to understand what is patented. Setting aside Microsoft's "we've patented this but we're not telling you which patents they are" there are cases like the "in-app purchase" patents that have absolutely no mention of purchasing in the claims (the claims are specifically about providing feedback to the developer through an app). Is buying a smurfberry "providing feedback"?

            • Is buying a smurfberry "providing feedback"? [...] if you don't settle now you'll face an expensive discovery process and have to hand over your source code to us to prove that your code doesn't do what the patent says it does. Not a big deal for OSS, but for proprietary software the prospect of handing over the family jewels to the competition isn't a good one.

              Then one can short-circuit the discovery by making the engine free but keeping the data that it uses proprietary. For example, a game that allows players to buy Smurfberries could have the program itself under a free software license but the non-program assets copyrighted to Studio Peyo with all rights reserved.

              They can pull the "Doctrine of Equivalents" card

              At which point the defense can pull the "obvious to one skilled in the art given the prior art as of the patent's priority date" card. A publisher rich enough to license the "Smurfberries" name proba

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd recommend looking at the Halloween documents, purported (although not confirmed) to be from MS. If they are true, MS was looking at patent lawsuits as an offensive tactic back then as well.

      • Microsoft started looking at patent lawsuits when they hired IBM's intellectual property guru back in the 1990's. That was the move that convinced me that Microsoft was going to build a patent portfolio to use against competitors, instead of competing via innovation. I guess Microsoft thought it was easier to buy patents than to learn how to innovate.
    • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:33PM (#47247431)

      I think Apple is starting to be in the same boat. They had a coolness monopoly that many people used to make decisions based on a 'cool' factor rather than on usable features/functions. For instance, zooming on a web page was 'cool', even if it still wasn't practical to use the phone to view large numbers of web pages because of the small screen (pre-mobile web page world). My daughter snatched up on of the original iPhones right away, partly because she thought the zoom ability was cool. I stuck with my Android. Now, she has switched and vows never to go back.

      After receiving an iPhone from work, it's amazing to me that anyone even buys them. It sits in my pocket, next to my S4, and is only used to view work email because of it's limited screen size, inferior built-in soft keyboards, and substandard/non-intuitive navigation features. (We are not allowed to install Touchdown and connect to the email servers, so they give us iPhones instead.)

      Apple now thinks that getting into the 'connected' world is the way to go. They think that people will buy iPhones simply because of cool toys that can connect to bikes and golf clubs and such. It's kinda innovative, but like things all Apple, it's based on things other people are already doing. Just 'cooled up'. I wouldn't be surprised if they will own the patents and protocols and make it difficult for other companies to get in on it.

      Meanwhile, Android will continue to be fragmented, which drives the ability for thousands of companies to complete and innovate.

      Apple's only saving grace is their margin is so high they don't need market share.

      They just need their iDrones to keep buying and drinking the Koolaid.

    • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:39PM (#47247475)

      Or is that just another idea that somebody else invented, but Apple perfected? Then Microsoft steals the idea from Apple?

      In the early 1990s, Apple was suing everybody over this "look and feel" nonsense.

      Apple has to be the ultimate patent trolling software company. Especially considering their patents are mostly over silly design issues that Apple did not even "invent."

      But as horrible as Apple is, Microsoft comes close.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        Historically, Apple has been no where near as bad as MS. Recently, however, the gap has narrowed, and not by MS improving.

        OTOH, Apple has usually sued over actual features...though "round cornered rectangles" rather takes the cake in stupidly approved patents, even for a design patent. I was never sure whether or not they should have won the suit against Lotus.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:34PM (#47247445) Homepage Journal

    I find the innovation posts decrying the lack of innovation at Microsoft, Apple, etc. quite amusing.

    Big companies have rarely been known for innovation, and often known for acquisition of the innovative. As far as I know, the sole exception is IBM at this point in time, though there was a time when HP did a lot of research and innovation as well.

    But Apple has never been an innovator; they bought the ideas and companies that caught their interest and marketted them. The same with Microsoft. They bought DOS. They partnered with IBM on OS/2 leading to a lot of the technology behind Windows. They bought SQL Server from Sybase ASE (SQL Server is modified ASE 10.) I'm not even sure they coded Office instead of buying the pieces elsewhere.

    "Innovation" in the minds of a lot of people is about bringing new products to market, not inventing technologies. And who is to say that researching something that never makes it to market isn't a waste of time and energy? What good did Nortel's patent portfolio do them in the face of incompetent and abusive management practices? They were the Canadian king of the telecom markets, right up there with AT&T, but management managed to kill them off. Yet one can't deny they invented a lot of key telecom technologies.

    To sum up: Innovation is overrated. And in a world where it's "all been done before" such as IT, "innovation" is often no more than repackaging something that was done 20+ years ago that people forgot about.

    • by westlake (615356)

      "innovation" is often no more than repackaging something that was done 20+ years ago that people forgot about.

      Most likely because the tech was then too immature, impractical, or expensive for commercial development. The first (analog) videophone demonstrations, for example, were staged in the 1920s. It was a long way from there to Skype.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Sorry, but historically Apple has been very innovative. It's true that they aren't usually the originator of the idea, but they usually realized its value before anyone else, and put in LOTS of work developing it. That was worthy of respect. They pretty much created the GUI interface, even though even MS has a sort of clunky one, and Xerox had a good one that was just to compute intensive to use. The trip from Xerox Star to Apple Lisa to Apple Macintosh took a great deal of work, careful research, and i

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Oh bull shit.

        They bought their operating system (Next.)

        They bought their core GUI kit (Next again.)

        They were far from first to market with an MP3 player.

        Rounded corners on a square case is not "innovation" -- it's product design.

        Emulating a barrel bolt for "slide to unlock" is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain cell.

        They bought most of the components of the iPhone instead of designing their own.

        They're not innovators. They're assemblers and product marketers.

        Not that you fanbois wi

        • by HiThere (15173)

          Next didn't even EXIST then. You've got your timeline all screwed up.

          And when the Next OS *was* built it was a Steve Jobs project. He brought it with him when he came back to Apple, so even so I'm having a hard time swallowing your indignation at crediting it to Apple. Apple now contains Next (or vice versa).

          I've got no idea (or interest) in who did an MP3 player first. That was really out of thin air, though I *guess* it was an innovation, at least from the consumer point of view, if not from mine.

          I do

  • by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Monday June 16, 2014 @01:01PM (#47247649)
    If Microsoft knew of a real violation and failed to take immediate action I would find against Microsoft. After all, if others are investing in a product they deserve immediate action if they infringe. To stand back and allow another company to wade deeper and deeper into product sales and development without being notified is an unfair and unreasonable action. In cases where infringement is claimed but is not proven then the fines against the plaintiff should be punitive.
  • Can't innovate? Litigate!
  • If Microsoft made, licensed, or distributed a competitive mobile device, people would choose to buy it over iPhones or Android phones. However, they don't and people don't and so those great minds at Microsoft look at the situation and say 'we've got to knock off our competitors' rather than 'we've got to have a product that people prefer over our competitors.' If Microsoft can use it's patent acquisitions to force Google to pay big royalties, they can drive up the price of Android phones and make them le
    • by Virtucon (127420)

      Actually before RIM came out with the Blackberry Microsoft with Windows Mobile was doing quite well. When Blackberry took off it eroded the corporate space that Windows Mobile dominated because it was superior in terms of battery life and enterprise features. To this day Blackberry has the best enterprise integration and features, sure it's hella expensive and complex but it works. Now comes the iPhone and Android which erodes both Windows Phone and Blackberry. That's the evolving landscape of this thro

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Monday June 16, 2014 @01:37PM (#47247967)

    All Patents have a useful life and depending on when these were submitted most should be getting close to end of life of nearly there over the next few years.
    That's the silver bullet as it were for patents, there's a built in life expectancy much like Replicants.

    http://www.uspto.gov/inventors... [uspto.gov]

  • I'm pretty sure Google/Android have nothing to worry about. If in fact Microsoft holds valid patents that might be "Android killers" it is most likely that Google holds patents that could easily be "Windows killers." While the cold war and it's Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) mentality is over, at least between the US and Russia, it is alive and well in tech companies. The difference is the US and Russia practiced MAD with nuclear bombs. Tech companies do it with patents.

  • by Velska1 (1435341)

    Micro$oft have for long now been patent trolls who don't do much anything useful. Vista was a disaster, Seven was an improvement, but Eight is totally fucked up. I was sat before a computer with a starting view that looked almost exactly like a Windoze phone's display; but this one wasn't a touch screen. Go figure.

    This is going to be quite interesting, when two of the biggest software monopolies have it out with each other. I hope they both get cut down to size. The typical Micro$oft patent trolling is agai

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