Google: Microsoft patent wars are due to lack of Windows Phone success

By Tom Warren, on 7th Nov 11 11:29 am with 55 Comments

Google Android

A Google lawyer has claimed that Microsoft uses the patent system when its products “stop succeeding.”

Tim Porter, Google’s patent counsel, made the claim in a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. Porter claims Microsoft’s patent litigation is distracting for firms that manufacture Android devices and leads to less innovation. He also reveals that Google feels Microsoft is simply using its patent portfolio to squeeze money from other successful products:

“Unfortunately, the way it works is you don’t know what patents cover until courts declare that in litigation. What that means is people have to make decisions about whether to fight or whether to reach agreements.

This is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past, with Linux, for example. When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they’ve built up to get revenue from the success of other companies’ products.”

The claims follow a lengthly verbal debate between both companies. Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, Horacio Gutiérrez, recently revealed that he feels Google is ”standing on the shoulders” of other people’s work with its Android devices. Microsoft claims its efforts to force vendors to pay royalties for their Android devices is part of a healthy solution to the patent conflicts. Microsoft has been working with a large number of Android manufacturers and recently announced that one of the biggest, Samsung, has signed a patent protection deal. Microsoft revealed recently that over half of all Android device manufacturers have now entered into a patent deal with Microsoft.

Microsoft has previously inked patent protection deals with WistronGeneral Dynamics Itronix,Velocity MicroOnkyoAcerViewsonicQuanta and Samsung. The deals reflect Microsoft’s efforts developing new products. Microsoft is also chasing Motorola for a similar Android patent deal. Google announced in August that it plans to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Google CEO Larry Page noted at the time of the deal announcement that Microsoft and Apple are “banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android.” Google hopes its move to purchase Motorola Mobility will better protect Android in the future.

  • Tim Acheson

    Sorry, but this is nonsense.

    Why does Google keep whining about patents? Perhaps because their business model depends on imitation as much as innovation, and because even after all these years at the top the corporation still lacks a comprehensive patent portfolio of its own.

    “Today, Google finds itself in exactly the predicament Gates warned about 20 years ago.”

    Patent law is a minefield, especially in the technology sector, but they remain the best way to protect innovation. The best way to avoid problems is to do your own innovation and file patents to protect your ideas, but Google has failed on both counts. Thus, Google’s best defence is now to lobby against the current patenting system.

    • Anonymous

      I slightly disagree. I think they depend on much more imitation than innovation.

    • Tim Acheson

      @BadManDuke I know a lot of people who would agree with you.

  • Jubbin Grewal

    SO basically Google’s way of saying “I know what you are, but what am I?”

  • Nick Webster

    To be honest I always saw this patent thing was Microsofts way of trying to convince compaines to switch to Windows Phone, I mean if you have Windows Phone you don’t have to worry about patents (owned by Microsoft)

    • Guest

      MS started getting serious about its patent portfolio long before Android. It began when they hired IBM’s patent god back in 2002/3. He’s moved on now, but he’s the guy who set everything up.

  • Major Plonquer

    So if I copy Google’s search algorithms, set up my own search service and give it away for free, Google won’t sue me?  Fantastic.  Or is he just spouting more Gobbledey Google?

    • Joshua Rowe

      Ooh like bing?

    • Koki_v3

      I give your trolling an F.

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      and you have any proof of that?….

      oh yeah, i bet none… you are just a troll :) and an idiot one

    • trashoner

      nop, like google search ripping off infinite picture search from winldows live search.

    • Martyn Metalous

      Completely agree, Google are and have been very aggressive their algorithm.

      Plus WP7 has sold better in its first year that Android did, so go figure…

  • Anonymous

    Yet another Google hate fest pending.

    • Anonymous

      They do try their hardest to earn it.

    • Guest

      Welcome, latest iTard troll.

    • Anonymous

      Google deserves all the hate it gets.

  • Sam

    Someone tell google , first remove Windows patent from Android ! second don’t copy Windows to your OS ! then talk ….. about patents ! very funny ! they copy other companies innovations and then they say shits !!
    Pls someone tell me does Google see us as a donkey ?!

  • Anonymous

    “they use the large patent portfolio they’ve built up to get revenue from the success of other companies’ products.” – which are only generate revenue due to the success of other companies’ innovations!!

  • Anonymous

    So why Apple and Oracle complain? They lack of success? Pay the royalties and you’re done. No need to whine. It’s not supposed to be opensourced. Afterall, Android is one of the most closed opensource projects.

  • Anonymous

    When was Linux ever succeeding as a competitor to Windows?

    • Anonymous

      Sometime in Mr. Porter’s made up universe apparently

    • Anonymous

      The Bizarro one.

    • Anonymous

      What ever happened with that?  Why didn’t Linux take off like everyone predicted?  

    • Guest

      Linux has done well against Windows Server in the data center and also in the embedded market. Desktop, not so much. At least not yet.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe you are just not good enough to visit a data center. Ever seen a windows server never needing a reboot for years?

    • Anonymous

      Yep. If you have actually have competent admins.

  • Owais_503

    whats patent ?

  • Stark

    Google’ constant whining is due to lack of different income sources.

    Microsoft’s sources of income: Windows (soon app store), Office + Office365, Xbox, Windows Phone (Zune Marketplace, music + apps), Hardware (keyboards, mice), Surface, Azure, Microsoft Game Studios and… *drumroll* ANDROID!

    Google’s sources of income: AdWords (around 97%)

    Google will fall. Not tomorrow, of course, but they will. It has already started. Look at the Apple Siri. No Google inside. Microsoft is going to integrate Bing everywhere. Millions of people will use Bing on their X360s. Same thing with Skype. Don’t forget about Microsoft – Facebook partnership. I could go on and on, but I’ll just repeat what I’ve alredy said before.

    The future is Microsoft.

    • Anonymous

      In other words Google’s statements can be summed up to : “Whaaaaaaahhhh” LOL :-P

    • Tom

      Advertising is a very dangerous revenue source to rely on, but it’s also one that tends to be sticky.  Look at how long it took for the Americans newspapers to start dropping into bankruptcy.  Their circulation had been decreasing for *FIFTY* years.

      On the other hand, the business cycle has speeded up quite a bit.  Google really ought to try and convert to other revenue sources.  With that recent “ads on the bottom” thing, they’re squeezing the ad thing way too fast, and way too hard.  It leaves them nowhere to go when times get tough.

    • Stark

      They’re running around like a headless chicken. Google+ is a flop, Android is a fragmented mess. All they do is just copy others. Even their search engine isn’t as good as it used to be.

    • HeatherL

      And… WMP was a has been, ZUNE failed, KIN dead on arrival, Bing going nowhere, WP7 is another flop, so what is your point Stark… Apple showed with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad that it is not if you copy but if you copy and improve, neither Google not MSFT was been great at the latter. 

      As much as I like my WP7, Google is partly right if MS would have not sat on Window Mobile and came out with WP7 2 years earlier liek they should have Android would not be a issue.  

    • Anonymous

      @e30af408fe8b687bfa13a4dbe02c4006:disqus I have to say, WP7 may not take tons of market share, but that is irrelevant. The point is MS has multiple revenue streams, while Google has 1 that makes 90+ percent of their revenue. 

      Bing going nowhere? Any marketshare it takes from Google is less money that they make… it makes no difference if they actually make tons of money off of it.

      To your third point, Android wouldn’t be an issue to an extent, but that doesn’t change the fact that if Android came out as it did – they would still have violated MS and Apple (along with who knows else) patents.

      Although you’re probably a troll, I hate completely inaccurate posts.

    • Stark

      I think you have replied to the wrong person ;)

    • Anonymous

      @e30af408fe8b687bfa13a4dbe02c4006:disqus ZUNE is not a total failure as it lives on in WP7. KIN was DOA but it was a corporate decision on Microsofts part not a product failure as it did not have time to succeed or fail. Bing is going nowhere, well it is the installed search engine on WP7 and Blackberrys, and even Apple now includes it. You are right, if MS would have released WP7 2 years earlier it would have been different, but for once MS did not release a heavily buggy product. Was WP7 perfect, no but it does work well. No OS works perfectly out of the box.

    • Guest

      Well, they’re now within 10% or so of MS’s marketcap and at double the PE. So looks like the market is quite a bit more optimistic about their future vs MS’s.

  • DonC

    If you have a large inventory of IP, you’d act to defend it too.  It has nothing to do with uptake of Windows Phone whatsoever.

    • Anonymous

      if you don’t defend your patents or trademarks, you will lose them. It’s considered that you are giving implicit permission to use the technology. Companies have to defend their patents.

  • DavidPaul

    Why is that nobody says like “we never infringed any patent of others” rather than justifying the infringment and whine about how people defend themselves. Is the world going towards socialism in innovation that anybody can use anybody’s invention and innovation :S

  • Acftootsie12

    Hmmm seems to me that if Google’s products are using things that Microsoft has patented, it’s Microsoft that’s doing the innovating. Not Google. Yes I realize you can buy patents that you haven’t come up with yourself, but I doubt that’s the case for ALL of them.

  • James

    100%  correct Microsoft is reaching and its down. But they didn’t listen now Nokia is making candy bar phone please I emailed Microsoft and Google 6 month ago and I gave them and opinion which was to put and real OS  and duo cores in their mobil phones Microsoft reply their software was not written for it mean while google went ahead and now ice cream sand is here and Microsoft is going down.But its not too late for M they only have to put windows 8 in mobil phone so they could monopolize the market

    • Mr. Furious


    • Jantje

      Dear me, what the &#*# are you talking about?

  • Anonymous

    when you spend millions of $£ on creating a method/technique or device which is new, you patent it so that you can benefit from whatever profit it makes and thereby recoup all the money and effort you put into it initially. If someone reverse engineers your method or device and makes a replica or utilises your method (intellectual property) in their own device, you are then entitled to ask them for royalties.

    Google bought android, which has linux at its core, with java and xml sitting on top of that. They then implemented a few methods/techniques which were discovered/developed by others (copied/reverse engineered/stumbled upon it…. call it whatever!) and added it to the mix.

    So as things stand, Android has nothing new or innovative about it, apart from the way Google has conveniently made it opensource and free.
    In all honesty, its like sampling from the beatles, elvis, madonna, beyonce, sting… merging them all into a track and then posting it on the internet as your own work and free to download. You’ll get eaten alive!

    If you cant get away with that, then Google by no means should get away with patent infringments.
    The Google patent lawyer refused to admit that software is better off without patents, but Google conveniently infringes people’s patents.
    So if they think its so bad, why dont they admit that they dont support patents in software and then opensource their search algorithm immediately.

    The only people who think patents are a joke and that they hinder innovation are people who download pirated media content or who dont know the kind of hard work that goes into building a device or developing an algorithm or writing millions of code day in and day out for years.

    Lets all give this patent issue a rest and focus on other pressing issues in the tech world!

  • Anonymous

    That’s how it works Google. :P
    “The more patents you have, the more money you earn.”

  • Guest

    So basically, Google are trying to say that they can’t innovate when they have to pay to copy Microsoft. 

    I don’t think they thought that one through.

  • JimmyFal

    Innovate all you want, lift code you want all you want, take patentable ideas, all you want. You just have to pay for the privilege.  At least MS licenses them, instead of “vowing” to “bring you down.”

  • Potato

    These patent lawsuits won’t hurt Google, but they may hurt the consumer in someway (remember, Google is now also in the process of gaining possession of thousands of patents of their own). See what happens when litigation takes precedence over innovation?

    • Anonymous

      well since Motorola wasn’t suing MS or Apple for patent infringement, I don’t think their acquired patents will help Google much right now. By the way, the way it works is first comes innovation and then litigation to protect your innovation. You’re allowed to be inspired by the innovation and create something similar but that works in a different way. You just can’t out right copy the innovation. The email in the oracle lawsuit shows Google actively decided to disregard oracles patent and just copy their code and deal with the consequences later.

  • Anonymous

    Google, u mad? :-P

  • Wemberg Carlo Estil

    google is mad bro!!

  • Anonymous

    to google – i think it’s easy to google “patents” so that you would know how it works and why it’s there.

  • Energydynamix

    Google andriod faces 41 legal cases (MSFT and apple included and more others), even from the open world, it will not stand.

  • Guest

    So what’s his explanation for why Apple going after Android OEMS as well? Google talks out of both sides of their mouth, or really out of their ass.

  • Rize

    The Google lawyer is a load of Sh$t, if Google has a problem with all of this, then 1. License the tech or 2. Put some serious $$$ into R&D of its own, otherwise, stop talking crap