There’s no doubt that Android – as both a major source of income and an impressive way to build brand loyalty – is a big deal for Google. Google is now claiming that Microsoft and others are damaging Android unfairly, attempting to compete with patent suits instead of products.
The Patent Concerns
Google has plenty to worry about when it comes to patent claims. Oracle, who bought out Sun Microsystems and with it the Java patents, is suing Google for a sum that originally reached into the “billions of dollars.” While that case has since been toned down, the volume of total patent cases being fought by Google has increased.
Android is often the target and, according to Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, it’s the reason why competitors are buying patent packages. Two specific patent packages are cited: the Novell package (purchased early this year) and the Nortel package (purchased in July). Google states that these purchases are meant for “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”
Microsoft and others may be intending to use these patents to seek licensing fees from Android – at the rate of about $15 per device. Considering the dramatic spike in sales for Android over the last year (with Q2 demonstrating more than a 300 percent year-over-year growth), the profit from licensing may be reason enough. However, it would also open the market to other devices by driving up prices for Android phones and tablets.
Microsoft immediately responded to Drummond’s post by stating that his concerns were outrageous. One Microsoft representative even demonstrated that Microsoft had tried to bring Google in on the joint bid for the Nortel package. Drummond states that such a joint bid wouldn’t have prevented licensing fees, however,and “would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android.”