5th aug, 2011

Google is not angry… Google is disappointed (and angry)

Wired compares the current climate between Google (backing Android) and others (MS, Apple etc. not backing Android) as a family meltdown at a restaurant. A very good analogy.
Of course it all started long ago, but the spark that ignited the increasing pool of flammable liquid was IP. Some time ago a consortium consisting of Microsoft, Apple and RIM outbid Google in the pursuit of a pile of patents relating to mobile telephony belonging to Nortel. Google bid $ 900 mio. while the consortium bid $ 4,5 bn. Not a really hard choice for The Nortel people.
This has pissed Google off big time. As Wired says. Google is angry that they lost the bid to market rivals, angry that MS makes more money on OS7 then Android does, angry that former anti-patent allies now switched sides and last but not least angry that Google doesn’t have any really juicy IP of their own. Between them Microsoft, Apple and RIM was granted more than 9000 patents in 2010 and Google only 275.
This anger spurred a pretty harsh comment from David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. Here he bashes mobile patents big time calling them largely bogus. So now the companies are having words in public. Microsoft has replied with documentation of an offer that Google was actually offered to bid in the consortium but said no.
So is the deal here really that Google is dealing with a dwarfish portfolio of IP and is trying to get around this problem? Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil” and they think patents are evil. If that is the case they should be fighting for patent reform as Timothy Lee says in Forbes. Instead they are crying monopoly and hope that the DOJ will solve all their problems. At the same time Google paid for access to a whole lot of IBM´s patent, and playing the patent game themselves.
A funny fact: A European study has found that among the open OS for mobile platforms Android is the most closed.

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