Google blasts Apple, Microsoft for patent gang-up

 

Claims to be hampered in the smartphone arena.

Google, fresh off losing a bid to buy thousands of valuable patents from bankrupt Nortel, accused its biggest rivals on Wednesday of banding together to block the search giant in the red-hot smartphone arena.

In a rare public outburst, Google chief legal officer David Drummond blasted Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and "other companies" for colluding to hamper the increasingly popular Android mobile software by buying up patents, effectively imposing a "tax" on Android cellphones.

Apart from increasing costs for consumers, snapping up the patents will stifle technological innovation, he said.

"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," Drummond wrote in a blog post.

He referred to "a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents."

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Google is forging ahead in the smartphone market but has been hampered by a lack of intellectual property in wireless telephony, which has exposed it to patent-infringement lawsuits from rivals including Oracle.

It lost out on the Nortel patents to a consortium grouping Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion and others, which together paid $US4.5 billion.

Google individually had bid up to $US3.4 billion for those patents before teaming up with Intel Corp, which on its own had bid up to $US3.1 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter.

They bid through $US4 billion and then tapped out, another source had told Reuters.

Increasing patent lawsuits

The Internet search leader is now in talks to buy InterDigital, a key holder of wireless patents valued at more than $US3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google, being a software company, was not focused on patents for a long time but is now shopping to stock up. It recently acquired over 1,000 patents from IBM.

Drummond said Google was looking to further strengthen its patent portfolio.

The wireless industry has been embroiled in a wave of patent suits in recent years as incumbents try to protect their position against newcomers like Google, which entered the market three years ago with Android.

The software, which is now used by phone makers including HTC, Motorola and Samsung, has rapidly overtaken Nokia to become the world's most popular smartphone platform, with about a third of the market.

HTC received a setback last month when a U.S. trade panel said HTC had infringed two of Apple's patents.

Also, Samsung has delayed the Australian launch of its latest Galaxy tablet due to a patent dispute with Apple, which says the South Korean electronics giant "slavishly" copied the iPhone and iPad.

Oracle is suing Google, claiming the Internet search company's Android software infringed on Java patents that it inherited through an acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010.

Patent acquisitions are expected to accelerate, with IBM and Kodak often mentioned as shopping intellectual property on the market.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan and additional reporting by Alistair Barr and Poornima Gupta; Editing by Ted Kerr)


Google blasts Apple, Microsoft for patent gang-up
 
 
 
Top Stories
Content, cost & constant innovation: How Foxtel plans to take on Netflix
Nell Payne inhabits the “brave new world of blue strings and networking”. Just don't ask her to put a TV screen on your microwave.
 
Sending in the drones
Margins are getting tighter in the industrial services industry, so Transfield Services' Stephen Phillips looks offshore - and to the skies - for the solutions he needs to keep pace.
 
Westpac fires starting pistol on core banking upgrade
St George readies itself for move to Celeriti.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Microsoft launches Office for Android preview
May 22, 2015
Microsoft has launched a preview of Office for Android smartphones. Pre-release versions of ...
Microsoft is working on an iOS email chat feature called Flow
May 22, 2015
Microsoft is working on a new chat app, but at the moment we know more about what we DON'T know, ...
Windows 10 free upgrade: Microsoft details who gets what
May 22, 2015
Microsoft was meant to be streamlining its OS with Windows 10, so why is upgrading so confusing? ...
Windows 10 has an edition to suit everyone's needs
May 15, 2015
Microsoft unveils a mind-melting six editions of Windows 10 ahead of its Winter 2015 launch. ...
Firefox 38 FINAL released, debuts new tab-based preferences
May 13, 2015
Mozilla has unveiled the latest version of Firefox 38.0 FINAL for desktop, with Firefox for ...
Latest Comments
Polls
Should Optus make a bid for iiNet?

   |   View results
Yes
  43%
 
No
  57%
TOTAL VOTES: 527

Vote