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Google Speaks Out on the “Hostile, Organized Campaign” by Apple, Microsoft and Oracle To Stop Android Through “Bogus Patents”


David Drummond the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Google, just released a pretty epic statement.  If you ever wanted to know their feelings on the ridiculous patent situation that Apple, Microsoft and Oracle have brought forth towards Android, then you’ll want to read this.  Some incredibly strong words that I couldn’t agree with more.  

Here is the piece in its entirety:

I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades. 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. Here is what’s happening:

Android is on fire. More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers. Android and other platforms are competing hard against each other, and that’s yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers.

But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suingBarnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.

A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a “tax” for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.

This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth. Microsoft and Apple’s winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion. Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop.

We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it.

We’re looking intensely at a number of ways to do that. We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means. We’re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone.

And as always, we’ll leave it open for discussion.

Via: Google Blog

  • Wunderwaffe

    Can somebody please tell me why there are apple fanboys on DROID LIFE. Why?

  • And that’s why Colin Smith pointed out its a “cowards and jerks” move because its not patentable your just buying it in the hopes that when it goes to court you can confuse the jury into letting the patent stay even though it is invalid.

  • cardo

    WTF am I gonna do with an iphone? jailbreak then what?..I prefer my freedom thank you very much and I don’t care whether google or apple started the grid thing or not, what I do care about is having options. I can make my android look anyway I want, the customizations are endless not to mention multitasking etc. Who wants a f***king grid box? Not me!

  • Sirx

    Keep kicking a$$ and taking names, Andy!  You’ve got the competition seriously shook up.

  • What_it_is_to_burn2002

    basically they’re saying they want to sell cheaper iphones

  • Vince Lewis

    I have a droid and I love it….but in this case Google = Hypocrisy

    • an

      How.  What has google done that is hypocritical?  Did they sue ANYONE over patents they own?  No, they didn’t.  Look up what that word means.

  • RW-1

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, however in this case the frightened have overstepped the line.

    Nice statement from Google, sums it up fairly well.

    The entire patent process needs overhaul, I’m sure the DOJ will look at it with lawmakers right after they impose tighter caps on movie theater concession stand prices.

  • Anonymous

    My support & purchasing power is behind Android.  Keep up the good work, Google!

    • Gabriel Ramirez

      ^^^^^^^   + 1    ^^^^^^^^

  • Chris

    I don’t have a dog in the fight (I don’t own a phone from Google / Apple / Microsoft / Oracle) right now, but I am looking forward to the new devices this fall.  It really is a shame that companies like Apple / Microsoft / Oracle can’t just compete by innovating and making good products.  Everyone thought Microsoft was taking over the world 10-ish years ago; now everyone is afraid of Google, in 10 more years there will be someone or something else.  Get over it – do you job, innovate, give us as consumers great options, show us what kind of amazing stuff you can do; make current technology better, even if the product isn’t a slam dunk there will be plenty of people who find it a good fit for them self.  (Not everyone wants the ‘best’ phone, but everyone does want the ‘right’ phone for them.)  Stop with the law suits, stop with the patent bull crud, do your job, make stuff; good stuff – people will buy it.

  • Carlosnumbertwo

    Hey guys these sorts of lawsuits will never bring down a legit and powerful competitor. We sorta freak out when we read these things but 90% of the time it just fizzles. BTW innovation sometimes stems from taking the idea of another and refining, making it usable and hence popular. All this talk about Android stealing this and Apple innovating that is just freaking irrelevant. 

  • Rob Meyer

    Brad Smith

    by koush

    Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”

    MS counsel stating they offered google a chance to buy in the patents.. somehow Im not sure it was so cut and dry.

  • Rob Meyer

    Brad Smith

    by koush

    Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”

    MS counsel stating they offered google a chance to buy in the patents.. somehow Im not sure it was so cut and dry.

  • Destroy them, Google. Stomp these weeds back into the ground. Fight for a customization user experience. I spit at all that stands in your way. 😉

  • Destroy them, Google. Stomp these weeds back into the ground. Fight for a customization user experience. I spit at all that stands in your way. 😉

  • Since when did trolls come over to DL? It’s turning into Engadget over here!

  • zee112

    The patent system was never designed to cover software. The courts forced this on the patent office. Listen to this. When patents attack: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

  • This is why I hate Microsoft and am starting to hate apple! As I type this on my Linux machine, I wonder why do people still use Microsoft for personal computing? At least with apple, I can understand it since it is based on a form of UNIX!

    Microsoft, go F yourself! 

  • Anonymous

    So basically Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft have all sold there souls to the devil, and now that he has messed them over they want a refund. So because they dont want to go through the “hell” of doing it the right way, they just want to take it directly from us. That about right?

  • joe1138

    OH MY GOD, Macro$haft and Apple are killing Kenn…er Android!!


  • Wandy

    Another reason no crapple product is allowed in my house,and why is an i*hone user on this site

  • Lee

    I’m so sick of Google crying after they ripped off apple. Look, iOS at the time was a complete original. The icon grid system etc. Multi-touch etc. Who are google trying to convince. If they really were original. They wouldnt even have this problem. Come up with some solutions that are really original. Or at least not on the commercial market already. So something that isn’t a touch screen, icon’s in a grid and they should be fine. I mean I was impressed by win mobile 7 because it was different and offered the market a new experience! If MS can be original Google can too. Now all they do is take ideas in the market and clone it and then bully their way into market dominance via their market share.

    • Dave WB00

      I’m pretty sure Android did add something different into their OS, they’re called “Widgets”. Oh and don’t forget that your beloved iOS is finally adding the pull down notification bar in iOS 5, which Android already had.

      • Anonymous


    • Kusheil

      oh jeez, blackberry had stuff the old palm pilots had icons in a grid of sorts long before apple. and before that i had an organizer that had icons in grids. get over it, people better technology that works. it’s how it is. i prefer my android but i think the other phones are great, the other os’s. i just happen to like android better. 

    • Christopher Davis

      They added what they thought people wanted and WP7 is definitely not what people wanted, Android has a more computer like home screen layout where I can customize it and add widgets and such which I prefer. I don’t like the grid icon look of Iphone its good and simple but not for me.

  • Guest

    This is typical Google. Do something without giving a crap if they’re legally clear or not, make a big stink about how “open” and “free” it is (which is total BS), then act like they’re the victim when someone comes knocking at their door with a list of things they’ve infringed on. Look at the whole WebM thing. Turns out it’s patent encumbered after all their crowing to the contrary.

  • Themrjustinjones

    class action suit anyone, no, ok.

  • Anonymous

    Android is free and Microsoft and apple are blood sucking leaches!! Apple wants some of that money since Microsoft already gets some from HTC. That’s the only thing keeping Microsoft right now. Both can go suck it!!!

  • Rob Becker

    Wouldn’t it be great if they paid 4.5 billion dollars for patents and then they couldn’t do a damn thing with them.  Yes, that would be great. Listen to the long version about how absurd this situation is here http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack