In the past, I’ve been critical of Google for trying to dance around directly calling out their competitors who are actively attempting to screw them. Today, they’re no longer dancing.
In a post just put up on the main Google Blog, Google SVP and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond takes shot after shot at Google’s competitors. By name, he calls out Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle. What’s this all about? What else? Patents.
“I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades. 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,” is the way Drummond kicks off his post. He goes on to lay out what he believes is a “hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”
He talks about not only the recent Nortel patent auction (which Google lost while a group of rivals including Apple and Microsoft won), but also the Novell patent sale (which was also bought by a group including Microsoft and Apple), Microsoft’s insistance that Android OEMs pay them a $15 licensing fee for each device, and the lawsuits against Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. “Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it,” Drummond writes.
While Drummond says that their rival’s “anti-competitive strategy” is driving up the price of patents on the market to insane levels, he believes the law will eventually prevail and “this patent bubble will pop”.
“In this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it,” he notes, going on to say that the Department of Justice is currently looking into if Apple and Microsoft’s acquisition of the Nortel patents was for anti-competitive means.
“We’re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone,” is how the post ends.
Damn. Them’s fighting words.
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