Microsoft calls out Google out on patent allegations

Earlier this evening we wrote in an acerbic tone how Google was complaining about being bullied by other companies over patents. Specifically, they pointed to the 6,000 Nortel patents that were up for bid and ended up going to a consortium of buyers, including Apple and Microsoft for $4.5 billion. Google was the only one left out of the consortium, they cried foul and now are excited about the Department of Justice getting involved.

In comments, we noted that Google should expect some people to hit back. After all, that post by Google's Chief Law Officer did not advocate patent reform, propose any new legislation or offer any solutions--it just complained that they were being targeted and that these software patents were "bogus" (this from the company that is entirely built on software patents).

Now Microsoft's General Counsel, Brad Smith, chimed in with an interesting comment on Twitter:

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

That sounds a bit different than how Google portrayed themselves in their blog post. One could suggest that Smith is not being entirely truthful here, but it seems odd that he would put himself out there with something that could easily be proved false in court.

So what's the deal Google? Are you serious about patent reform or are you seeking opportunism?

Update: Here's a copy of the email to Brad Smith of MSFT from Kent Walker, Google's General Counsel. In short, it supposedly shows Google denying an offer to participate in the consortium. 

Source: Twitter; via Electronista; Thanks, Rene Ritchie


Reader comments

Microsoft calls out Google out on patent allegations


Wow. Just WOW. It appears Google did not want to share and instead wanted all the patents to themselves. That Google guy who opened this can of worms might get fired. Mark my words.

Yup. That's what it looks like to me. We're talking about a company who thinks it's ok to do whatever they want. They don't care about your privacy or anything, not even your phones security with all the viruses and malware they let slip into their marketplace. They get away with it too cause there seems to be a love affair with google right now with people. As long as it's google or apple, people will jump all over it like it's the greatest thing in the world, while there's a lot of unnecessary hate for MS. That seems to be the trend these daysI see how google wants to play tho. They always seem to have the problem with MS. From not letting them access youtube for an app and other dumb stuff to this. It seems google is mad cause they still aren't bigger than MS, and have lost every bidding war against MS so far. Then they want to wipe their hands clean of the patent infringements, leaving it all up too the OEM's to fend for themselves, and got the nerve to cry about it right now when they were asked to join the group? smhshame on you google!It's all good tho. I don't use any google products or services. They won't get a dime from me. I don't like google anyway but that's just me

It's silly for Drummond to just whine about it. This was clearly just a way to set themselves up as 'the helpless victim' in the eyes of the public. But that totally backfired!

"(this from the company that is entirely built on software patents)."I dont' believe their search algorithms are actually even patented, because I think that would make them public would it not? Or is there something else you are referring to or am I missing something? Google also does not have nearly as many patents as other companies, and it seems that sometimes it's unfortunately about the quality of the patents, but the quantity.

And I'm not saying they don't rely on some of their patented features, but there certainly hasn't been this sort of weird free for all lawsuit clash on the search engine space, not that I remember, not on the scale that this mobile phone thing has gone to.

I'd have more sympathy for Google if not for the fact that OEMs have gone to court over patent violations and LOST. And for those who decided to license the patents obviously thought it was a superior option than going to court. Google keeps repeating the word "competition" like companies are afraid to compete, but these companies have been competing for a long time now. If they're afraid of anything it's Google getting away with one of the biggest heist in patent history. Of course companies will defend their patent portfolio. Do you seriously expect that they wouldn't? And it's not as if these companies are bullying Google around. First, Google is not a small company. It has loads of cash and is making more money than it can spend. Second, as the email points out, Google was invited to buy some of the patents. If Google is such an "innovative" company than how about you design something without using stolen patents? Or even better, how about you stop buying smaller companies and taking credit for their innovations? That's right, you won't. Because deep down Google is no better, or worse, than any major tech company operating today.

There has not even been a single Android lawsuit ruling in int's conclusion with damages awarded that I'm aware of. A couple injunctions here and there, but nothing has been ruled as "infringing". There have been some licensing deals....but nobody has "LOST" as you put it.

If the suing company didn't have a valid argument for their patent then they wouldn't have been granted an injunction.

The only injunctions have been in very minor markets, and injunctions don't really even mean anything. It just means it's worth further investigation.

An injunction is one step away from paying a licensing fee. HTC isn't paying MS a licensing fee because they like handing out free money. The worst thing to do is to assume that HTC didn't thoroughly look at the patents in question before paying for them. So again, Android OEMs are on the LOSING end of the patent war. You can argue about the usefulness of injunctions but Microsoft is still getting paid for their patents. And it looks like a few more companies are about to get paid too.

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Some simple logic may help simplify things for you. There are companies that Microsoft has gotten licenses from, or at least are in a license negotiation phase. Those are companies like LG, HTC, and Samsung. Who, just so happen to be partners with Microsoft. Then there are companies like Motorola...who Microsoft would love to make phones for them, but refuse......so Microsoft is trying to milk them for all they can. It's a give an take, HTC would rather just partner with Microsoft, give them a cut, which by the way, may include some cross licensing to protect them in a lawsuit against Apple. Apple just coughed up a bunch of money to Nokia.....after a long and stubborn battle. Nokia probably just gave up and asked for a certain amount of cash, and Apple just gave it to them because it was the easiest route. None of this is as cut and dry as you think it is. It's alot of chess, poker, and paintball all rolled up and spit out into a cluster of illogical legal mumbo jumbo that you apparently don't understand. Eventually all of this **** will just shake down, and there will be so many cross licensing it just ends up cancelling everything out.

" If Google is such an "innovative" company than how about you design something without using stolen patents? Or even better, how about you stop buying smaller companies and taking credit for their innovations? That's right, you won't. Because deep down Google is no better, or worse, than any major tech company operating today. "I agree 100%

I like how Google acts like they should be able to use the technology these companies come up with for free but flipped out when they thought Microsoft was copying their search results for Bing.

This is what happens when some corporate drone deep within Google fails to do his corporate homework.It's disgusting that Google is crying to the Justice Department about "fairness" and instead of competing in the market on their own merits is attempting to manipulate the game through total BS.

Ugh, I feel like I'm in a Chinese fire drill.There are two separate patent auctions being referenced in all this. Google's post references both the Novell auction (which closed with a consortium of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and others buying the available patents for $450 million) and the Nortel auction (which closed with a consortium of Microsoft, Apple, RIM, and others buying the available patents for $4.5 billion).Both Shaw and Smith are referencing the earlier Novell auction; the email, dated before both auctions, is mostly likely referring to this auction, too, but doesn't mention either Novell or the consortium for that auction (CPTN) by name.Unwired, over at Android Central, posted a link to a very well-written post regarding the further details being dug up about that original considered partnership, which is available here: http://fury.com/2011/08/twitter-is-the-new-soundbyte-and-thats-not-good/

So if I read that Android Central post correctly, Google was given the opportunity to participate in both auctions. Yet they either refused to bid, or lost with cutesy bid amounts.Refusing to bid doesn't win an auction. Neither does being cute. Most adults know how to work an auction. If you want the item, bid like you want it.

This is funny and of course shameful for Google:I just checked the offcial blog again and I saw that after thousands blogs laughed at him and Google about he still doesn't even know it's Windows Phone not Mobile, it seems like he edited and fixed the post to Windows Phone.What a loser! No wonder Google need to copy other companies services, technology and works all the time. Because it has employees like this!

LMAO! at Google/Android , have you guys been to the Android Central site??? MAN!! what a bunch of Crying Fan boy babies!!one thing i notice about MS and us wp7 Users.. we have a KILLER community compare to apple and Android , they just a bunch whiny kids , cry ALL THE TIME about EVERY THING . i posted a comment , and they just started calling me Apple fan boy and insulting me....*cough * I use wp7 * cough*

Post something critical on any tech site on an Apple or Android thread. You are an iSheep, An-drone, worship at Jobs Alter, Fandroid, ect, ect. Doesn't matter what you post or what link you have to back you up. Do not tread on those toes without thick skin. Glad I am a W7 supporter.

wait so I read the post from fury.com and he is upset because microsoft asked to be partners first google said no and the patents they could have shared are now used against them and the android guy is yelling about the microsoft rep.wtf did I miss something I mean in history if someone extends a olive branch and you slap it away almost always it comes back to bite you in the **** its not like they were forcing google they asked to share a patent that google most likely knew what it ment in the long run, his big argument was google was being parnoid and then microsoft sued him but if they shared the patent microsoft couldn't come back and do anything as they both owned the rights. same as if microsoft won and apple lost most likely we would see a smiliar deal between them about patent infrigements

Google is screaming against the company that is giving Samsung, Motorola and other Android using companies every opportunity to settle out of court on Microsoft's patents and allow these handset makers to continue producing Google powered devices. Just like HTC which settled on a per device fee out of court, all the above are infringing on Microsoft patents they actually developed, not bought. I am so over this patent stuff. Someone just hit the reset button and let's start over again.