Here we go again.
It seems like a week can’t go by now without some company suing another company over some lame software patent. The latest is Microsoft which today announced it was suing Motorola for features on their Android phones.
As it continues to rapidly grow in size, Android is increasingly a target of such suits. But the weird thing about these suits is how they always seem to be indirectly targeting Android. That is, companies aren’t suing Google for Android, they’re suing manufacturers using Android on their phones. See: Apple suing HTC for another example of this.
So what does Microsoft think is being infringed upon here? Here’s the key blurb from Microsoft PR:
Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.
So basically it sounds like Microsoft is upset about the customizations Motorola has been making for its popular Droid brand of Android phones.
But the details are the best part. Microsoft is suing Motorola over battery power and signal strength notifications. Oh, and email syncing. Yeah, this is getting out of control.
In a blog post on the matter, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Horacio Gutierrez, even cites the similar lawsuits by Apple and Oracle as validation of their own. Ugh.
Update: In the comments, Seth Weintraub brings up a great point:
Microsoft is obviously pissed that Motorola is ‘all in’ on Android. Otherwise, why would they back UP HTC in their case, yet sue Motorola.
Back in April, Microsoft struck a patent deal with HTC — undoubtedly over much of this stuff. HTC is helping out with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7, Motorola is not right now.
Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and...
Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) is a data communications and telecommunications equipment provider that succeeded Motorola Inc. following the spin-off of the mobile phones division into Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. in 2011. The company is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Motorola Solutions is composed of the Enterprise Mobility Solutions division of the former Motorola, Inc. Motorola Solutions also previously had a Networks division, which it sold to Nokia Siemens Networks in a transaction that was completed on April...
Android is a software platform for mobile devices based on the Linux operating system and developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in Java that utilizes Google-developed software libraries, but does not support programs developed in native code. The unveiling of the Android platform on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 34 hardware, software and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards...