According to latest reports, Google are accusing Apple, Oracle and Microsoft of trying to make Android phones more expensive to consumers, by undergoing a ‘hostile, organised campaign’ by using ‘bogus patents’ which were gained from the bankrupt Nortel, and their existing patent holdings.
David Drummond, the chief legal officer alleges that the companies are effectively imposing a ‘tax’ to increase pricing of Android devices.
Drummond wrote a blog post saying “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. Here is what’s happening:
Android is on fire. More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers. Android and other platforms are competing hard against each other, and that’s yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers.
But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.
They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.”
Microsoft have replied through Brad Smith, their general counsel saying on Twitter “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”
Drummond however is sticking by his statement adding “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”.
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