Poor, poor lil’ Google. They are a billion dollar company, and yet they whine like this:
Google Inc. accused rivals Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. of waging an “organized, hostile campaign” against the Internet search giant’s Android mobile phone software, using questionable patents.
“They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices,” Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote on a company website. “Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.”
The campaign against Android is being waged “through bogus patents,” Mr. Drummond wrote, adding that “Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on.”
(click here to continue reading Google: Rivals Are Ganging Up – WSJ.com.)
I’m too lazy to write up responses to Google’s questionable, ridiculous arguments, but luckily, smarter folk have already done so. Like John Gruber:
So if Google had acquired the rights to these patents, that would have been OK. But when others acquired them, it’s a “hostile, organized campaign”. It’s OK for Google to undermine Microsoft’s for-pay OS licensing business by giving Android away for free, but it’s not OK for Microsoft to undermine Google’s attempts to give away for free an OS that violates patents belonging to Microsoft?
Or Brad Smith of Microsoft:
Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.
Google whines some more:
A consortium that included Microsoft and Apple recently paid $4.5 billion for patents auctioned by Nortel, an amount that Google notes was “five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion.”
Daring Fireball again:
First, the “estimate” of $1 billion was partially set by Google itself.
Then when the auction actually started, it’s OK for Google to bid over $3.14 billion, but when Apple and Microsoft bid $4.5 billion, that’s “way beyond what they’re really worth”. And if these patents are “bogus”, why was Google willing to pay anything for them, let alone pi billion dollars?
No one other than Nathan Myhrvold and his cronies sees the U.S. patent system as functioning properly, but Google’s hypocrisy here is absurd. Google isn’t arguing against a handful of never-should-have-been-issued software patents. They’re not arguing against patent trolls like Myhrvold and his shell companies like Lodsys — companies that have no products of their own, no actual inventions, just patents for ideas for products. They’re effectively arguing against the idea of the patent system itself, simply because Android violates a bunch of patents held by Google’s competitors. It’s not “patents” that are attacking Android. It’s competing companies whose patents Google has violated — and whose business Android undermines — who are attacking Android.
John Paczkowski adds:
Clearly, the company is taking a new tack here, framing the issue in its own way and, presumably, putting whatever lobbying and legal muscle it has into throwing out roadblocks. To wit, these few lines, also taken from Drummond’s post:
We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means.
I bet you are. Particularly since you’re facing antitrust inquiries into your own core businesses. And in the end, that may be another purpose of this post: To show regulators that Google isn’t always the unstoppable juggernaut it is portrayed to be. Sometimes it’s the victim, or it would like to be viewed that way, especially by the FTC and the tough-talking judge presiding over its patent infringement showdown with Oracle. One last point: If the patents to which Google refers are “bogus,” why bother decrying them at all? Or, for that matter, trying to purchase them in the first place?
(click here to continue reading Google Rails Against Anti-Android Patent Purchases – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.)
TechCrunch wonders why Google is so interested in patents now…
As you’ve undoubtedly seen by now, Google decided to go on the offensive today with regard to patents. No, they didn’t go after any company for violating their patents. Nor did they spend billions acquiring new ones. Instead, David Drummond, Google’s SVP and Chief Legal Officer, took to the Google Blog to lash out at Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and others for using “bogus patents” to attack their Android mobile platform.
But why now? In the past, Google has remained fairly mum on the topic. And they certainly weren’t calling out rivals by name. They’ve talked generally about the broken patent system, and even did a post explaining why they were willing to spend big money on the Nortel patents — for defensive purposes. But those approaches haven’t worked. Google is now arguably more vulnerable than they’ve ever been. And the stakes are about to go even higher.
When Google lost the Nortel bidding, they’re believed to have bid north of $4 billion before dropping out. Apple, backing Rockstar Bidco, eventually won with a bid of $4.5 billion. Now a battle for an even bigger treasure of patents looms.
(click here to continue reading Why Did Google Blog About Patents Today? Because The Nortel Loss Was Just The Beginning. | TechCrunch.)