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Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Android-Related Patent Infringement 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-license-for-you dept.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Engadget: "Microsoft has hit up the ITC over a total of nine alleged patent infringements by Motorola in its Android devices, specifically relating to 'synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.' This should be interesting — will it result in a quick cross-licensing agreement, or a protracted court battle spanning multiple years?" The ITC complaint was accompanied by a lawsuit in US District Court. Microsoft's Horacio Gutierrez explained the company's reasoning in a blog post.
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Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Android-Related Patent Infringement

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  • Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:21PM (#33764458)

    It's great to see the USS Microsoft sinking after all these years.

    On to bigger and better things!

    • It amazes me how this gets +4 insightful. This is why user-based moderation doesn't work.

    • Sounds like, from the description above, that the issues are not Android based, rather they are about concepts for what everyone, every OS does, to operate on the web with a mobile device.

      Microsoft, though, is acting the patent troll.

      Microsoft is trying to ensure that everyone that develops Android understands that they can be sued, and that rather than develop an Android phone they should be developing a Win7 Mobile phone.

      I think this tactic is pathetic. It shows that they can't compete. I honestly suspe

  • Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:21PM (#33764460)

    Translation:

    We're no longer relevant in this market but we own some patents so we're going to screw as much money out of innovators as we can.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Exactly. Microsoft is going to be very dangerous in the coming years. Those who can't innovate, litigate and Microsoft has one of the most awesome collections of patents. As they decline, expect some devastating lawsuits.

    • I've not got a dog in this hunt, but Windows Phone 7 stacks up very well against the competition. And when that has happened historically, they've been able to become dominant. Think about all of the corporate IT .Net developers and corporate IT phone choosers out there. Microsoft WILL quickly become relevant in the market.

      And the phone is just one facet of their .Net/Silverlight strategy. There are much deeper things at work.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        In the past yes...

        But RIM owns the business and corporate market hard. Microsoft has ZERO chance of cracking the Blackberry nut unless RIM does something super stupid.

        • by Motard (1553251)

          And that something super stupid could be trying to compete with Microsoft in the corporate space. RIM may have a lot of Crackberry addicted managers, but Microsoft has corporate IT - who chooses which phones will be used, and whose developers will promise the moon in order to become mobile developers instead of working on budgeting system internals.

          To my knowledge, Microsoft is the only dog in the hunt that is developing a plan for corporate app distribution (i.e. outside of an App Store type arrangement).

          • To my knowledge, Microsoft is the only dog in the hunt that is developing a plan for corporate app distribution (i.e. outside of an App Store type arrangement).

            What? You do realize that Windows 7 Phone not only is not backwards compatible with previous Windows Mobile versions but that Windows 7 Phone is heavily focused on consumer not corporate features, right? Two reasons why corporations are less likely to pick Windows 7 over Blackberry.

            • Windows Phone 7 is not the patsy that Windows Mobile was. It's a threat. Nobody with a Windows Mobile device is dreading an upgrade to a competitive phone.

              Name me one other mobile provider that has corporate development support already built into major corporations.

              Windows Mobile was a place holder. Windows Phone 7 is a game changer.

              • by Lumpy (12016)

                Nokia

                I see way more nokia smartphones in company use than windows mobile phones. WAY WAY more.

                In fact outside the USA, nokia dominates over ALL OTHER PHONE MAKES. ALL OF THEM.

                iphone and android put together are a tiny blip to Nokia outside the USA

              • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday October 01, 2010 @08:01PM (#33766724)

                Windows Phone 7 is not the patsy that Windows Mobile was. It's a threat. Nobody with a Windows Mobile device is dreading an upgrade to a competitive phone.

                Businesses normally don't like spending money for no reason. Many of them that currently have Windows Mobile phone will not like having to spend money on new versions of their current apps. Also they cannot upgrade their current phones to Windows 7. So that gives them no incentive to stay with Windows. They have to buy new apps and get new phones so then it offers no advantage to Windows. That puts it on par with Blackberry.

                Couple that with the emphasis that Microsoft has put on Windows 7 Phone being a consumer not a corporate phone. So a brand new phone OS has fewer corporate features than their previous phone. While Blackberry is rolling out more corporate features. Gee, which one will corporations buy?

                Name me one other mobile provider that has corporate development support already built into major corporations.

                As I said before Windows 7 Phone is focused on the consumer market. It does not matter how much lip service MS pays to having a corporate development environment if corporations are not going to buy Windows 7 phones for their employees because it does not have the features that they need. At best only corporations that develop apps might be interested in Windows 7.

                Windows Mobile was a place holder. Windows Phone 7 is a game changer.

                So far the market the kept Windows Mobile alive has been the corporate market. And MS is throwing it away for the consumer market. But from what I've seen of Windows 7, they are years behind Apple and Android. Heck, they are years behind WebOS. What do you base this belief that they will be a game changer when the game passed them by years ago?

              • by Flipao (903929)

                Windows Mobile was a place holder. Windows Phone 7 is a game changer.

                iOS was a game changer, Android was a game changer, WebOS was a game changer.
                Windows Mobile 7 is a knock off and they know it, which is why they're suing, as far as app development, the future is in web apps, which are usable on any platform, Silverlight was obsolete before it was even released.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:21PM (#33764462)

    I still want to know how the fuck you can patent checking email or checking battery strength? Or well all this chit is just stuff a guy living in a bubble and suddenly told to make a wireless phone that goes on the internet would think to add himself if he wasn't a moron.. I mean..FUCK

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jimmyfrank (1106681)
      Right? I mean, hey, lets write a calendar app for a mobile phone... but wait... how on earth will we get the information on the calendar app to show up on our app that runs on our desktop. Some how we'll send data back and forth, ZOMFG PATENT INFRINGEMENT PATENT INFRINGEMENT PATENT INFRINGEMENT...sad...
  • Another Example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sabs (255763) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:23PM (#33764494)

    This is yet more proof that software patents are stupid.

    • Re:Another Example (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:26PM (#33764552) Journal

      Plus it puts today's earlier story [slashdot.org] into some rather sharp perspective...

    • by rwven (663186)

      I think this is a great thing though. If we can put this idiocy to bed once and for all, then it'll be totally worth it. As long as motorola keeps making popular android phones, they'll do just fine. The risks of pursuing this kinda of litigation are substantial when you consider what microsoft stands to lose if they lose the whole suit. It'd almost be a slap down for almost all future litigation surrounding these sorts of things, and could all-but guarantee future losses for any other actions they take lik

  • Protection Racket (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:24PM (#33764516)

    Wow, one story about how Microsoft says you should develop a Windows 7 phone so that you're safe from patent lawsuits immediately followed by a story about MS suing an Android developer for patent infringement. I think maybe someone in MS PR department needs to read up on the definition of subtlety.

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:30PM (#33764602) Journal

      When it comes to the mobile market, Microsoft doesn't have time for subtlety... their mobile reputation has been circling the drain for years now, hype be damned.

      Thing is, unless there's an immediate injunction granted, Microsoft may not have time for the lawsuit to work its magic either... maybe they're just hoping to make off of forced royalties what they suspect they won't be making in voluntary licensing and/or sales? 'course, if that's their strategic move in mobile, their "technologies" are liable to become about as relevant as an LZW-compressed .gif file is to pictures online.

      • their mobile reputation has been circling the drain for years now, hype be damned.

        Their mobile reputation has been in the drain because they haven't done anything in mobile development in years. At the same time, Apple released the iPhone, Android has gone through several iterations, and even Palm on its death bed put out a new OS, MS has only released cosmetic patches to its Windows Mobile software.

  • Don't Cave in (Score:2, Interesting)

    by IRWolfie- (1148617)
    I hope Motorola doesn't agree to any settlement like HTC. best for this to go to court to clear android
  • Earlier today. [slashdot.org]

    *shrugs* I just have a phone that sends texts and calls people, what do I know. :^P

    • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:39PM (#33764724) Journal

      MS: Get our mobile OS - it's good, it'll protect you from lawsuits.
      All: Protect us? From who?
      MS: Us, mostly...

      • by rawler (1005089)

        Well, to be fair, it worked for for other Mafias.

      • by andydread (758754)

        Gangster to store owner: "get our protection. It will protect you
        Store owner: "Protect us? From who?"
        Gangster: "Us, mostly..."
  • by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:35PM (#33764672) Homepage

    Hmm .. let's see. HTC, Samsung, LG and Moto make Android phones. HTC, Samsung, and LG also make WinMo (sorry ... WP7) phones as well.

    I can't imagine Moto's differentiating factor between all the other handset manufacturers are the only bits that MS has issue with. (Anyways, isn't it all just skinning on top of Google's Android?!)

    Soooo, this must be a "screw you" for no longer making WinMo phones?

    • by arivanov (12034)

      IIRC Motorola _IS_ making WinMo devices. Just not mass market phones available through the retail channel. It is all various vertical market stuff.

  • Pot meet kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pop69 (700500) <billy@benart y . co.uk> on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:36PM (#33764686) Homepage
    In the past Microsoft was the one screwing over its "partner" and stealing mobile phone technology

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sendo [wikipedia.org]

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/01/06/microsofts_masterplan_to_screw_phone/ [theregister.co.uk]

    So having based their smartphone stuff on stolen tech, they're now turning round claiming other people are stealing their tech ?

    Oddly enough, it looks like Motorola were the ones who ended up with the Sendo tech.
  • by StormReaver (59959) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:37PM (#33764702)

    Microsoft's reasoning is simple: We're going to get our asses kicked by Android in the mobile market, so we're going to use our vast resources to try to destroy yet another superior product. This is standard Microsoft business practice. So shameful.

    • by swb (14022) on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:05PM (#33765018)

      It seems even more desperate than that. I think the smell of death has taken hold at MS -- they're toast in search, Windows Mobile went from pervasive to MIA in very short time span, they actually had tablets out years ago and now Apple seems to have a massive lead (at least in mindshare).

      My guess is they figured they HAD to do this because a flop with WinMo7 would be highly embarrassing and possibly cost Ballmer his job.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:26PM (#33765268)

        Which begs the question: Why the hell does Ballmer still have his job? He's utterly buried that company. It's running on nothing but the installed user base of his predecessor's tenure, momentum, and fumes.

        What is his vision for the future of Microsoft? Anyone? "The Wow?" What happened to that?

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      This is standard Microsoft business practice. So shameful.

      Well, no, not really. Traditionally, Microsoft has never been that litigious (yes, there's the FAT-patent-debacle, but that's an exception, not the rule). Hell, usually, they just buy up their competitors.

      The fact that they're turning to patent litigation in order to make room for themselves in the market, though, is not a good sign for the company or current management, IMHO...

    • We're going to get our asses kicked by Android in the mobile market, so we're going to use our vast resources to try to destroy yet another superior product.

      Except Microsoft leads Android. Microsoft is third in the market [nielsen.com] with RIM in first and Apple in second. Androids are fourth, behind MS, though growing. Both Androids and iPhones are growing where RIM and Windows Mobile are declining.

      Falcon

  • Anyone have thoughts as to what kind of a corporate war it'd take to have affects similar to what WWI and WWII had on western Europe wherein they lost their taste for military solutions to their problems? I really don't understand why this business method and software patent warfare hasn't yet soured the corporate world into rejecting them yet. I understand the anti-competitive "benefit" of destroying your enemy's capabilities but like any war it's never one sided...
  • by Qubit (100461) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:44PM (#33764766) Homepage Journal

    Let's think about this one. A big-shot at Microsoft tries to explain what's going on RE: a patent suit they're bringing against a competitor. Remember: it's a patent suit here.

    Gutierrez:

    People use smartphones for much more as well: they surf the web, play music and videos, and run apps.

    They do a lot of common activities, yes.

    Consumers expect more and more from their smartphones every day, making their phones resemble not so much a phone as a handheld computer.

    So really, their smart phones are acting like ordinary computers, right? So perhaps we could imagine their phones in that same problem space, as they are, according to Mr. Gutierrez, basically computers.

    Of course, for certain apps to run efficiently on handheld devices, they must be notified of changes in signal strength and battery power and the device must manage memory for storing data.

    Of course! I mean, I and the rest of us people with tech backgrounds totally agree with you! Just as in other domains like pagers, heart monitors, etc..., it would make perfect sense that for other small, mobile devices, things like managing power or signal strength would be relevant and important for the end user to know about.

    I mean, any one of us people well-versed in the field of technology would probably come up with something similar to what you did. I mean, "of course" we would!

    Given the wide range of functionality smartphones offer, they also need to be able to display relevant choices for users efficiently. Microsoft’s patented technologies tackle all of these challenges.

    Maybe Microsoft's patents read on some of this technology, but it sure sounds like you're trying to convince us exactly how necessary and obvious the content of these patents are in the context of computers, and I have to ask: Are you trying to win this case, or sink it?

    • by vakuona (788200)
      The functionality is common in mobile computers, but is basically pervasive in mobile phones since the 90s. Who has a phone without a battery and signal strength indicator? It's beyond ridiculous! How the heck can someone patent something so obvious. It should be obvious to anyone by now that computers can simulate, and actually do anything that involves display and monitoring stuff, and this isn't something anyone should necessarily need to patent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:44PM (#33764768)

    from the linked Microsoft blog post:
            "we’ve spent over 30 years developing cutting-edge computer software."

      hmm... personally, I feel that they've spent 15+ of those years abusing a monopoly thus sabotaging competition and reducing innovation. If theirs can be called innovation it's only because they cut everyone else off at the knees with legal tactics and illegal marketing manoeuvres.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Svartalf (2997)

      Actually it's been more like 20-25 years of that sort of thing...

    • Word, Office, Excel, Outlook, Access, Powerpoint, DOS, BASIC, Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, SourceSafe, Windows NT, NTFS.

      What do all the above and and many more have in common? None of them were originally developed by Microsoft. Most were acquired by buying other companies. Some, like IE(Core rendering engine was Spyglass Mosaic) Windows NT(Core OS was the same as OS/2 developed by IBM) and NTFS (slight modification of HPFS from IBM), were acquired in licensing deals where Microsoft was not always h
      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        No, BASIC was not created by Microsoft, it existed before Microsoft did, but the company that created it was bought out really early on by Microsoft.

        [citation needed]

        Are you being a pedant about Micro-Soft vs Microsoft?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_BASIC [wikipedia.org]

        Gates & Allen wrote a BASIC interpreter to run on an 8008 emulator. Gates & Allen improved it and made other versions of it too.

      • Microsoft did create HPFS. Well, Gordon Letwin and his colleagues did, and they were working for Microsoft. It took IBM to rescue HPFS, and it got reasonably stable in the IBM OS/2 1.3x stream (i.e. the IBM fork, also known as the first quality OS/2 release). IBM still had to swat HPFS bugs well into the 2.1x stream, though. IBM completely reimplemented HPFS in format-compatible fashion as HPFS386 since HPFS was hopeless for servers. (HPFS had a very low and very static memory cache. HPFS386 at least lifted
  • Article 1: "Microsoft may be one of the only remaining mobile operating-system providers that charges handset makers a licensing fee, but in exchange vendors get at least one important benefit: protection from intellectual property worries. 'Microsoft indemnifies its Windows Phone 7 licensees against patent infringement claims,' the company said. 'We stand behind our product, and step up to our responsibility to clear the necessary IP rights.'"

    Article 2: "Microsoft has hit up the ITC over a total of nine al

    • See how far that got RIM? Fucking Canucks trying to get in on our action.

      Riiight. Because BlackBerry Enterprise Server won't sell more copies of Exchange at all~

  • Anti-capitalist (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:10PM (#33765076)
    Its interesting how companies spout out capitalist philosophy based arguments against laws when it benefits them, but are quick to use non-capitalist strategies to edge the competition out.
    • by Cidolfas (1358603)

      That's exactly why I'm ok with government trust-busting early 1900's style, even with heavy libertarian leanings.

      Also, this is why I hate Ayn Rand. Yes, you can believe in libertarianism without masturbating to Ayn Rand.

  • Phone patent litigation has become a core revenue stream for the big patent holders, and complaining to he ITC has become standard - it's free (or cheap) and the government does all the work. The media also does loads of free work by writing articles about how X's product imports might be blocked, even though that's never happened...

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:17PM (#33765162)
    This smells like a desperation move of someone who tries to solve every problem with marketing. Buy our products because they are better? Nope, buy them out of fear. Stupid. My guess is ballmer is in the process of being forced out of microsoft.
    • 5,579,517 and 5,758,352 Common name space for long and short filenames. Let's write a file system that contains long file names. But we need to let people use short ones too. I know, we'll put them in the same namespace! Obvious
    • 6,826,762 Radio interface layer in a cell phone with a set of APIs having a hardware-independent proxy layer and a hardware-specific driver layer. We need to be able to swap out radio modules! No problem, we'll stick a new layer in there to blackbox the radio. Obvious

    The rest I'm

  • Well this method worked pretty well for i4i, but I can't wrap my head around this news with that news [arstechnica.com].
  • Holy shit (Score:3, Informative)

    by AlgorithMan (937244) on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:36PM (#33765380) Homepage
    Holy shit!
    I didn't think this
    http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1805678&cid=33762968 [slashdot.org]
    would become reality so fast
  • The Patents (Score:2, Informative)

    by Troy Roberts (4682)

    5,579,517 "Common Name Space for Long and Short File Names"
    5,758,352 "Common Name Space for Long and Short File Names"

    So, these two are the the infamous FAT patents.

    6,621,746 "Monitoring Entropic Conditions of a Flash Memory Device as an Indicator for Invoking Erasure Operations"

    Defrag applied to flash, really that deserve a patent?

    6,826,762 "Radio Interface Layer in a Cell Phone with a Set of APIs Having a Hardware-Independent Proxy Layer and a Hardware-Specific Driver Layer"

    Hmmm layering an API so that yo

    • by NullProg (70833)

      Don't know why you got modded to 1. I'd mod you +5 for getting the patent numbers together.

      5,579,517 "Common Name Space for Long and Short File Names"
      5,758,352 "Common Name Space for Long and Short File Names"

      So, these two are the the infamous FAT patents.

      These are the only two that will stand in court. All the others have prior art. Does the droid phone support fat out of the box?

      Enjoy,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Just keep in mind that patent title can be "Masturbating fluffy bunnies" for all anyone cares, what it's actually about is in the claims. Patent titles are often very broad, much more so than what the patent actually claims. So don't be so quick to think that patents won't hold up in court.

  • So apple/RIM/MS/Google/Motorola/HTC are all in lawsuits against each other?

    Why oh why didn't I get a law degree?

    In other words, the only ones who are going to win in all this stupidity are the lawyers.

  • When you can't compete any longer...
    ...Hire lawyers!

    MS really are a bunch of jerks!

    Of course that doesn't mean for a moment that I believe that Apple is suddenly the second largest company on the world either. I'm just waiting for that bubble to pop.
  • Microsoft Patent Troll.
  • Motorola have been in the electronics business for a considerable amount of time. Motorola demonstrated the first mobile phone in the 1970s.

    Okay, maybe some of Motorola's patents have gone now. But it's still a risk to sue a company with such a diverse number of past innovations.

  • Motorola makes other devices besides phones that use Windows. Why is Microsoft suing one of their own partners? Do they want Motorola to drop Windows all together? Dell, Acer, Symbol, Samsung etc. will all pay attention to this. Microsoft to partners: "In the future, as a Microsoft partner, we will dictate to you the OS your product uses or else we will sue you! We don't care if your hardware requirements cost more using our software."

    Why not sue Google directly. Apple didn't, Oracle did. It doesn't matt

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