Google claims Microsoft revealed confidential source code

By Tom Warren, on 11th Aug 11 8:41 pm with 40 Comments

Google vs Microsoft

Google has accused Microsoft of revealing confidential source code.

The online search giant has asked the International Trade Commission (ITC) to sanction Microsoft over a case involving Motorola. Microsoft filed a complaint against Motorola in October alleging that the handset maker had infringed nine patents when creating handsets powered by Google’s Android operating system. The two companies have been trading complaints ever since. PaidContent reports that Microsoft acquired access to Google’s “highly confidential source code” via a subpoena. Microsoft sent Google the subpoena in April requesting the source code. Microsoft handed the data to an expert witness, something that Google claims was not part of the original order. It’s not immediately clear whether the source code is for Android or another part of Google’s software offerings.

The news comes after a public Android patent spat between Microsoft and Google. Google claimed last week that Apple and Microsoft had “jumped into bed together” to wager a patent war against Android. The search giant’s chief legal officer, David Drummond highlighted Microsoft’s recent purchase of Novell’s old patents in part of a group known as CPTN. Microsoft fired back with messages on Twitter and after a brief exchange the pair of companies ceased arguing. Google is currently under investigation in Europe after Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint against the company. The complaint is part of an ongoing investigation in the EU into whether Google has violated European competition law. Microsoft’s complaints include the restriction of advertisers, YouTube technical measures to hinder competing search engines and discrimination against would-be competitors by making it more costly for them to attain prominent placement for their advertisements.

  • Ef Jay

    Big g must be feeling the heat.

    • BigChiefSmokem

      A guy told me one time, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the Heat around the corner.”

  • Frylockns86

    Google cries over confidential code, but has no quarrels over stealing other’s? 

  • Tim Smith

    Google is trying hard to become unlikable.

    • Anonymous

      Already happened about 12 months ago.

  • Seb

    I thought Android was open source..

    • Aaron

      Took the words right out of my mouth! +1 to you sir.

    • Anonymous

      open source but source code is confidential

    • Shane Nokes

      You do realize that the ‘source’ in source code & open source are talking about the same thing right?

      *sighs* Where do these kids come from?

    • Wourelia

      He was joking.

    • Jonathan Marston

      That’s what they want you to think, but maybe it isn’t so open after all:

    • Major Plonquer

      The source code in question is most likely open source – since it was from a few years back.  But when was the last time you heard of anyone other than Google changing the Android code?  Modern versions of Android are about as ‘open’ as Crocodile Dundee’s arse in Gay Pride Week.

    • Anonymous

      It is open source(except the latest honeycomb, though the next version has been promised to be open source). What is not open source is the Google branded add-on applications and features. This is what Google is complaining about.

  • Anonymous

    Google is upset because they’re succeeding in the mobile field but forgot to pay the suppliers any money.

    • mekamek

      MS should be sued for their past oligopoly

    • Anonymous

      Microsoft already was fined millions for this by multiple governments. Why get sued again?

  • Guest

    SUE MS SUE it is the only way WP7 will succeed is if we can kill Android off others the OS looks dead in the water.  

    • Anonymous

      don’t cry my child. you were a good troll.

    • Aaron

      Maybe a troll but he speaks the truth!

    • RommelS

      Maybe it is the truth, but business is business.

      In this industry, you have push everything to the edge to the point they have to walk on a tight rope between what is legal and what is not to gain leverage or market share. However, in this situation, MS has the upper advantage because of the number of patents it holds compare to Google. 

    • Guest

      How can lawsuits kill off Android unless Android itself violates patents? Are you suggesting Google lacks the funds to adequately defend itself? Android is being sued by MS, Apple, and others because your employer decided to go to market with a product it knew it didn’t have the IP to protect. And it hoped, incorrectly as it turned out, that every would turn a blind eye to that. But Apple, MS, Oracle and others didn’t. And now Google’s illegal actions are hurting its partners.

  • Antonio Raga

    This childish attitude from Google is frankly upsetting.

  • oolong2

    So Google is upset that Microsoft used a third party, that wasn’t cleared by google. to verify the source code that was given to them?

    I’m sure the third party signed enough NDA’s etc for everyone to be protected. 

    Seems like Google is just being childish at this point…

    I think they are reacting to all the patent deals Microsoft is trying to make with various Android handset makers…   If Microsoft is successful there will be less incentive for handset makers to use Android over WP7. 

    Couple that with the fact that Microsoft is putting Bing on everything including a lot of Android devices and you have the makings for some serious tension.

    • J A

      …and that is just Microsoft. Android OEMs are also facing patent issues with other tech companies, some are well known companies and others are not as well known but these Android OEMs are finding out that Android is not a good choise after all and this is causing them to at least consider Windows Phone OS. Even Motorola is seeking a similar kind of partnership that Nokia has with Microsoft. Android is destined to fail anyway with or without patent issues, patent issues just catalyses the failure.

  • Avatar X

    Since when an expert overview and revision of code that by defaut has to be confidential is “revealing confidential source code”?

    Talk about a cheap target for Google trying to hit.  But it depends on the paperwork, procedure guidelines and the court. Google is pretty much playing and pushing hard for a technicality.  I am actually surprised they are playing it, but does makes you wonder.  Hope Florian Mueller does a deep look on this, 

    • Avatar X

      Just like i had stated, Google playing for a technicality:

      “This is a secondary theater of war,” said Mueller in an email interview. “It’s about procedural tactics, maybe hoping that this could cause a delay, but whatever the outcome may be, it won’t change anything about the substance of this case. – Florian Mueller”

      Looks like Google is going to get double-slammed by both Microsoft and Oracle. At this point Google chaneces to beat them both are pretty slim. Microsoft do got way more creative and clever on how force out Google to pay up, by going around them making OEM’s to pay up first while at the same time slowly building their case.

    • Guest

      Don’t forget Apple. They’ve already won several Android related lawsuits and have more pending.

  • Julian Manzo Sotomil

    microsoft should be pacquiao not the other way around!!! 

  • Abhimanyu Jamwal

    I cant wait for microsoft to take its patent portfolio to the google office and show them how you innovate and not copy. Someone will get hurt and in all certainity its google, android and the OEM’s ….

    • Anonymous

      The truth is all of these companies (Microsoft, Goolge, Apple, etc) all steal from one another. This has been going on for decades, and Microsoft is no idle bystander in this practice (the first Windows “borrowed” heavily from Apple, if you know what I mean). All of these companies are guilty in some way over patent infringement, which makes the whole ordeal a waste of time and money.

      This pissing match between tech giants is petty, boring, and not good for the consumer. I’m not for letting them steal from each other, but the patent system needs work. I like Microsoft, but they’re far from innocent.

    • Guest

      “the first Windows “borrowed” heavily from Apple, if you know what I mean”

      Apple took MS to court over that and lost on most counts. Google can defend itself in court and do likewise. Why are they so reluctant to do so?

  • Major Plonquer

    If this is the best argument Google’s legal team can put up then they are dead.  If Microsoft had shown the source code to their own internal people Google would have been the first to complain.  So they did the right thing and brought in an independent expert witness.  And somehow that’s bad?

    Sergei Bris needs to get a grip.

    • mekamek

      MS should be sued for their past oligopoly

    • Anonymous

      Microsoft already was fined millions for this by multiple governments. Why get sued again?

    • Guest

      Did you sleep through the last decade?

  • mekamek

    MS is real scared. MS should be sued for their past oligopoly

    • Guest

      FO troll.

  • Anonymous

    just pay up google. IP isn’t free. stop stealing it.

  • Guest

    Um, who else was MS going to hand the source code over but to a external “expert”. Anything internal would have been considered biased/tainted. So obviously they’d need an independent review to verify their contentions. I think it’s interesting that Google is going the ITC route and not suing MS. Sort of tells you how weak they think their case is.

  • Mark

    Forget what Google claims, look what they’re asking for:

    “Google seeks to keep Microsoft-hired expert Robert Stevenson from testifying, saying that he’s seen the Android source code, which remains confidential.”

    What are they so afraid he’ll say?