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News Microsoft to make $444 million from Android

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Claave, 30 Sep 2011.

  1. scrumble

    scrumble New Member

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    Err, sandcrawler, MS only give you the choice because the EU forced them into it no other reason.

    As for the patents, I'm assuming that these patents are US only, and the same type of blatant patent trolling stories we read about week in week out.

    When someone finally invents a teleporting device I fully expect MS or some other patent troll to pipe up claiming they came up with the concept fifty years ago, and wave a patent that actually says "Device to transport matter from one location to another"

    What happened to the good old days when you actually had to create something before you could patent it.
     
  2. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    Linux, anybody? :D
     
  3. Farfalho

    Farfalho New Member

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    Without knowing what patents are, the questions remains to answer, so what you get is: If the patents are correct and Google is literally using them, they should pay. If the patents are vague and don't whatsoever mention specifically what is the technology behind it, Microsoft shouldn't receive a pence!

    And, it's my 2pences, what has Microsoft done in terms of mobile phone's programming? Hasn't the Windows mobile been a rubbish thing since the first days and now with iOS and Android, isn't a little, how do I say, old and unnecessary? Can't see anything until knowledge of which patents are being used
     
  4. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    Hang on there a second... The royalties in question will be made from patent protection deals made with handset/tablet manufacturers, not Google. Basically an agreement that says "Pay us money or we'll sue yer a$$ for using software that violates our patents". Have Google actually admitted that they have infringed any MS patents? I doubt it...

    Yet more patent trolling.
     
  5. azazel1024

    azazel1024 New Member

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    Well, this is one case where I think Mircosoft has a strong case and/or deserves to be getting money from their patents. Well or they could license them for free, that is always an option.

    Since most of the handset makers seem to be settling with MS on royalty deals pretty quickly in most of the cases to me suggests that the patents in questions aren't that trivial and aren't "vague" and that Andriod very much "violates" those patents.

    These doesn't sound like the case of some vague patent that someone is trolling about just to try to make a buck. Sounds like something(s) legitimate.

    Could also be that MS seems to be settling for relatively low royalty payments. $3-6 a pop isn't really allllll that much on a phone, when most of those phones pre-subsidized price is probably $300-600. I can't imagine handset manufacturers don't at least have a 15-40% profit margin per handset.
     
  6. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    That's just the point though; as far as I am aware, Microsoft have not yet proved that Android actually infringes on their patents. This agreement with manufacturers is a litigation shield - it protects the handset makes from the potential threat of legal action by paying royalties. If I was in that position, I'd sign the agreement - sooner that than have to try and take on Microsoft's resources in court.

    Here's the real nub of the argument though: Android is supposed to be free, open source and without licensing costs. If you end up having to pay Microsoft for each copy you supply, it suddenly becomes a different prospect to using a "free" operating system. (Of course it's probably not free for companies like HTC, Samsung, et al, as they're licensees of the proprietary parts of Android - the Google Apps - so they're probably already paying Google for Android.) Viewed in that light, it's hard not to be cynical about Microsoft's true reasoning behind this: are they truly defending their technology, which they believe has been infringed, or are they attempting to damage a competitor's chances in a market in which they have also heavily invested? Given the history of Microsoft's tactics, it's hard not to see this as just another opportunity to squeeze out competition.

    Of course this doesn't mean I think that MS are the root of all evil though; they're just another business interested in making money, which has potentially identified another way to make more money.
     
  7. Snips

    Snips I can do dat, giz a job

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    I'm sorry but Microsoft have every right to make Google pay through the nose for these infringements. If you wanted truly "Free Open Source" then maybe they should have gone off and written it using original content or their own idea.

    Does every version of Linux infringe Microsoft patents? Are they all paying money to Microsoft?

    I don't see what the problem is here, either they come up with their own original content or Microsoft can say "F$%£ You Pay me!"
     
  8. Woodlauncher

    Woodlauncher New Member

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    Are you trolling or are you being serious? If it's the latter, wow. Just wow.

    Do you know how BROAD most software patents are? It is HIGHLY unlikely that Google has stolen anything. And they aren't even making Google pay, read the article.
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2011
  9. deadsea

    deadsea New Member

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    Of course they have every right to defend their patents. But are they doing that? MS has not even attempted to sue google, the actual creater of infringing content. All they have done is go after the hardware manufacturers with their software patents. So the hardware guys need to decide if a few bucks per device or duking it out with MS legal team is cheaper. Kinda a no brainer decision since trickle payments are always better for cashflow as compared to lump sum legal fees/settlements.

    Take on Google head on if defending their rights is what it's all about. If they win, android will become their biggest cash cow ever. Royalties for a competitiors product Cheesecake!!. Pussyfooting around with the manufactures seems to suggest otherwise.
     
  10. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    But creating their own operating system rather defeats the object of using a free and open source OS - namely that someone else has done the hard work for you and given it away for free. Investing in your own OS is very costly exercise.

    I have not heard of any other Linux distro/retailer that has to pay royalties to Microsoft. I can go and create my own distro tomorrow, should I want to - do I have to pay Microsoft too? As others have said, if their claims have any merits then they'd take Google on in court and Google would have no choice but to settle.
     
  11. Snips

    Snips I can do dat, giz a job

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    Did you? Google are "annoyed" by this but still pay. If there was no validity then they wouldn't.
     
  12. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    Wrong again, I'm afraid. Google have not paid a single cent to Microsoft. Microsoft have not pursued Google regarding this. Neither the bit-tech article nor any others have ever said that any of this money will be coming directly from Google. Here's some links to further reading:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/29/microsoft_extract_444m_android_payments/
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/30/google_android_how_did_i_get_there/
    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscent...es_patents_shouldnt_microsoft_sue_google.html

    Microsoft are pusuing device manufacturers because, according to Microsoft, Android violates their patents at the point it is commercialised. Therefore they have nothing to gain, commercially, by pursuing Google: all they'd potentially achieve is blocking sales of Google Nexus devices. Hardly the lion's share of the Android device market.

    Microsoft have not gone after Google - full stop. If their claims have validity, why aren't they pursuing Google? The PC World article makes a good analogy: if someone stole £100 from your wallet and gave his friend £5 of that money, who would you want to see punished? The guy who stole the money or the friend?

    Google may not have gone about this whole thing in the best way; their major partners aren't necessarily interested in FOSS software as many of them are also licensees of Windows Phone 7 (if I remember correctly, the licensing cost per device for WP7 is around $6/$7 per device - the same amount that Microsoft is expected to extract per device from Android device manufacturers) and Google could do something to help out their partners in these patent suits. But as far as I am aware no one, not even Oracle, has yet proved in court that Android/Google infringed upon their patents.

    The Oracle case may indeed have merit; it is claimed that Google distributed proprietary Java software along with Android. From some of the analysis I read a while ago it seems that this may actually be true. But the software in question was not an inherant part of the OS, it was actually software used for unit/module/link testing which should never have made it out the door. It was released, in error, only with early versions of the OS and the situation has long since been rectified. Even if you accept that, Google has still not yet settled the case with Oracle - thus, it is yet to be proven in court that Android violates anyone's patents.
     
  13. scrumble

    scrumble New Member

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    Workaround?

    If, as has already been pointed out, MS are only claiming coypright infringement when android is 'commercialised', sell a 'blank' phone with a free copy of android on a disk.
     
  14. Snips

    Snips I can do dat, giz a job

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    Lol the Google fanfare in defence of this is quite pathetic and naive to think this will not be costing Google anything.

    If it's "Free" then it shouldn't cost you anything at all. Whether it's at the source or the Commercialised state.

    Their annoyance is a slap in the face of every manufacturer who took the OS in good faith from Google. Hang your head in shame Google, the so called free and Open company.
     
  15. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    *sigh*...

    The core of the Android operating system is free and open source; there are however proprietary components which are emphatically not free or open source and require a licensing agreement with Google in order to use - the terms of this license are not known, but it very likely requires some form of payment. Therefore a "complete" Android build for a mobile phone has never been entirely free or open source. How is Google being annoyed a slap in the face for device manufacturers? Or even me, for that matter? I've compiled Android builds from AOSP source code before now and I never had to pay a single cent to anyone.

    For the record, since I seem to be posting in here quite a bit, I have never said that it will not cost Google anything. The point is that Microsoft are not taking Google on - they are taking on the device manufacturers because they believe that will hurt Google's business. If there is any legitimacy to Microsoft's assertions, then why don't they challenge Google in court? Microsoft have not proved that their patents have been infringed. They can hurt Google far more by getting a court to prove that their patents are indeed infringed - they could potentially block Android from being shipped on any devices at all and completely cut a competitor out of the market - but instead they are using the threat of litigation in order to gain compliance. Who would want to challenge Microsoft's legal budget? If I were running Samsung or HTC and had to face that threat, I'd sign in a heartbeat.

    Please get down off your high horse and do some reading about software patents. The whole software patent system is broken and this is what is at fault. I am not saying that Microsoft is evil and that Google is the second coming of Christ. If Google believed that Microsoft infringed their patents they'd be doing the same thing!
     
  16. Snips

    Snips I can do dat, giz a job

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    "Please get down off your high horse and do some reading about software patents"

    *sigh*...

    Google aren't doing the same thing because they can't. Why is the Patent system broken? just because Microsoft is threatening to sue to ensure their product isn't copied on the Andriod OS. Come now, you can't hide behind a "I'm not a fan but" sweeping comment and then add that baby into it.

    Microsoft are doing nothing wrong here and for Google to be claiming they are annoyed sounds about as much as they can do. Claim to be annoyed because they can't defend themselves while Samung, HTC, etc.. pay the bill in the first instance. That won't last long.
     
  17. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    You're really missing the point here. MS have not sued Google. I don't know how many times I can say this... They have sued (and threatened to sue) device manufacturers, not Google. MS have not proved that Android infringes any patents, even by suing device manufacturers.

    Or, for less anecdotal view, there is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent_debate

    Prove to me that Google have definitively infringed patents; just a link to a news story will do. Until then, your argument has no merit.
     
  18. Snips

    Snips I can do dat, giz a job

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    *sigh*...

    By the very fact this topic is open and the fact that Microsoft will get money from Samsung, HTC, etc.., they very fact Google or a Google spokesperson has come out and commented on their annoyance, is kind of proof they've done something.

    Since you are championing Google's whiter than white company standards, show me they haven't infringed. Again, your sweeping comment of the "Patent system is broken" appears to come from your bias towards Google and nothing more.
     
  19. deadsea

    deadsea New Member

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    How does one go about proving having not done something? MS can just point out what google has infringed since it's open source, or sue for discovery. Wouldn't that be more sensible? Isn't it only natural that the accuser has to do the work.

    And how does Google being annoyed prove anything? I would be plenty annoyed if a competitor was making money off of MY products. Nevermind if that move was legal or not nor if I had copied anything from them or not.

    And being able to get money out of someone doesn't make the accusation valid or proven. That's a settlement, not a judgement. Look at righthaven. See how wrong that turned out.

    People have agreed to pay if righting the accusation potentially costs more, much less profit oriented companies thats all bout the bottom line.

    Think about it, how would one expect Google to defend android if the impending lawsuits always stay impending? "I'll sue you and have you tied up in courts for years and have all your infringing products blocked. Or you could pay me to settle this privately. Oh and you can't tell any one what we settled on" Sure Google could offer indemnity so all the lawsuits go to them...

    Hmm.. Come to think of it, why didn't Google do that? Anyone know?
     
  20. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    This is going to be my last post on this subject, unless someone can come up with a decent argument. It's starting to make my head hurt now....

    No, Google are annoyed because their partners are being sued over Android, which is hurting their product. That is not proof, not by a long shot. Proof would be a court decision that confirms, one way or another, whether a patent has been infringed. An out of court settlement does not count: it is often cheaper to simply settle these cases than to try and fight it out (which, incidentally, is part of my argument that the system is broken - it makes it easy for big companies to intimidate smaller ones with the threat of litigation and stifle innovation).

    I can't do that because nothing has been proved. Neither can you prove that Google have infringed patents. They might well be at fault - we simply do not know, because Microsoft are using the threat of litigation to enter licensing agreements. Microsoft have not even disclosed the patents in question. If they're not willing to disclose the patents, how can anything be definitively proven until it goes to court?

    As with anything in life, don't be so quick to accept what others are saying - prove it.

    Clearly you didn't take my advice, so I'll make it easier for you. Let's take a quick look at some of the stories on the Register tagged with "patent" - I'll only go back as far as the start of September...

    Apple snubs Samsung's Oz patent peace offering
    Innovatio targets Wi-Fi users with patent suits
    T-Mobile: Samsung ban really not in the public interest
    China's patent EXPLOSION could leave West behind
    Apple loses bid to trademark 'multi-touch'
    Samsung plots 3G iPhone, iPad bans in the Netherlands
    Who owns 4G mobile technology
    Apple sued for iPhone, iPad chip 'patent rip-off'
    Microsoft milks Casio for using Linux
    Google crams arsenal with 1,000 IBM patents
    SAP coughs $20m to feds in Oracle slurp spat
    Dolby wins licensing fees on BlackBerry, PlayBook
    Oracle rejects Google's man for mediation
    Patent wars: Apple attacks Samsung in Japan
    Righthaven struggles in court and at home
    Openwave sues: Asks for halt on iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry

    That's only a small selection and only back as far as the start of September. And, that's only from The Register.

    EDIT:

    No idea... And this is why I said in a much earlier post that Google may not have exactly gone about this the right way. I can only assume that it's because Android is, essentially, open source software. I can see how it would be pretty hard to indemnify someone against lawsuits for a product that has been built on the work of many others. They've also gotten themselves into spats with the Linux community over GPL/Apache license terms in the past... Though Honeycomb and the Google Apps are not open source and we don't know what the licensing terms for those are.

    As Microsoft have not disclosed the patents in question, it makes it hard to see exactly what their problem is. Is it with the Google-specific non-open source parts or is it part of their problem with Linux in general?
     
    Last edited: 5 Oct 2011
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