Google responds to Microsoft and vice-versa

We're almost over this whole Google/Microsoft catfight that's been happening. Almost. While good theater, it's not really solving any problems nor addressing them and it makes both companies look bad. Of course we'll start the blame with Google, who's original missive was more PR than anything and most agree, poorly planned.

Last night, Microsoft seemingly pulled the rug from underneath Google by noting they offered the search company a role in the Novell patent purchase. Google turned them down and didn't bother revealing any of this info in the original post, which was deceptive at best.

We'll save the rest for the break...

Google responded by saying yes, they did turn the offer because it was a trap:

"It's not surprising that Microsoft would want to divert attention by pushing a false "gotcha!" while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised. If you think about it, it's obvious why we turned down Microsoft’s offer.."

It then goes on to state, in essence, that Google wanted all of the bogus patents for themselves or for no one to have them. Since a consortium would have not indemnified their partners against further lawsuits (Google doesn't offer its partners such protection), such a venture would have been futile.

Just a short while ago, Microsoft's lead of corporate communications for Microsoft, Frank X. Shaw, just Tweeted a short and concise series of responses:

Hello again David Drummond. This is going to take a few tweets, so here we go. Let’s look at what Google does not dispute in their reply.We offered Google the opportunity to bid with us to buy the Novell patents; they said no.Why? BECAUSE they wanted to buy something that they could use to assert against someone else.SO partnering with others & reducing patent liability across industry is not something they wanted to help do

The last part is reportedly the real motivation here for this consortium: they bought up the patents to prevent smaller companies from buying them and suing the Apples, Microsofts and Googles of the world i.e. real patent trolling. Google had a different goal: to buy all the patents to leverage itself against MS and Apple. It didn't get its way and so is literally complaining to the world about it, trying to garner sympathy. Sympathy for a billion dollar company who has gained nearly 50% of the mobile OS market in 3 years by undercutting the entire industry.

Our favorite part is where Google's Drummond ends with

"Our competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales."

Yet Google is the one who is undermining the entire industry by giving their OS away for free. As Brandon Watson notes

"Taking a product that costs something in one place and giving it away in another used to have a name - dumping".

So hearing Google talking about "balancing the scales" is a bit ironic. The counter argument is that Apple and Microsoft are trying to level the playing field by making Android cost something to license, as opposed to making other people's IP free to the OEMs.

Sigh. Anyways, hopefully these two will make this fight more private as it is a little distracting...

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Face!
  • It's the silly season. And, apparently, the children's hour.
  • **** no, don't make it private! I wanna see the brawl till the end. :D Someone pass me the popcorn.
  • Like watching a school yard brawl.... you feel guilty, but you just CAN'T look away....
  • This is definitely showing What Google is really like...And how could being in the consortium not indemnify their partners? Surely this is Microsoft's plan with WP7 and other products... It is what they do in fact...
  • Google promotes "free and open"Alright, then how about I start my own search company using Google's PATENTED search algorithm. I'll even use Google's PATENTED Google Maps, Google Docs, and all of their other PATENTED services that Google uses to make money. For the heck of it lets throw some copyright infringement in there. I'll call my new search company Gooogle (note the extra "o").Yeah, lets see how far Google lets me go with this...
  • Umm... you mean like Bing search, maps and the newly released web based Office from Microsoft? Seems like Microsoft is making their own versions Google's services without any lawsuits against them.What people don't seem to understand is that Google wants/needs patents to protect themselves when others come after them, whereas MS, Apple, Oracle and the rest want patents so that they can go on the attack. With all the patents Google has built up over the years, how many times have they gone after other companies for patent infringement? They haven't.Windows Phone is a really nice platform, and so is iOS. Why can't they just figure out a way to get consumers interested in purchasing their products, and stop with the legal teams?
  • Isn't going after companies that are infringing on your preior work on certain technologies the definition of "defending" your stuff? So if Google infringes and ignores other companies patents because THEY feel they are invalid for whatever reason (when by law they are not), then it's ok and Google is the victim? Cmon man. They are crying because they aren't being allowed to play Walmart in the virtual world and put everything else out of business and own as much of our data as possible to sell ads on. They are as much a business as the other big players and you can spin it that Google is the good guy when they are far from it.
  • Sorry I'd like to note that Google essentially wants to know EVERYTHING about you, so that they can target ads directly at you. I'm serious, they have investments in oil, dna research, and several other things that just make me plain hate the company. I mean back when the Droid came out, I really wanted one, believe it or not, I thought it was a brilliant device. But then my brother showed me a video about google and all its investments, It creeped me out. So now GOOGLE WILL NEVER BE THE GOOD GUY! THEY, LIKE EVERY COMPANY ARE EVIL TO THE CORE!!!
  • 1) Microsoft was doing search long before Bing or Google. 2) Microsoft only copied Google's search results if you are silly enough to believe that easily refutable FUD that Google released.3) Microsoft doesn't use Google's algroithm, so Google doesn't have a case.4) No companies (that we know of) are infringing on Google's patents. Google doesn't have anyone to sue. Whining is their best option right now.5) The only reason anyone is "coming after" Google is because their PATENTS are embedded inside Android. Creators have every right to protect their patents. 6) This could easily be resolved if Google licensed the patents, or if the OEMs licensed the patents (as some do). Google constant whining over run-of-the-mill patent licensing is becoming tiresome.7) Companies are not afraid to "compete" against Google. In fact, iOS is selling just fine. What they want are licensing fees from Google using their tech.I agree that the patent system needs to be slightly revised to cut back on patent trolls. However, if you want to see how fast the tech world can take a dump then get rid of patents altogether. If companies can't make money off patents then R&D is out the window. Once R&D is gone, all the people who make your favorite toys are going to leave. Once the *actual* smart people are gone then you're left with a bunch of freelancers. And I'm willing to bet they don't have several billion dollars of free cash lying around to fund a new era of innovation. So why do companies protect their patents?Because if you don't you lose them and all the money you had invested in them. TL;DRGoogle wants to use everyone else's patents for free. Doesn't want to give their patents away for free.
  • Huh, Apple is making way more money off iOS than Google is off Android. Why can't Google sell their freaken OS because I'm sure that would go a long way in taking some heat off them and it would make more money for Google. If they continue to upset the capitalist apple-care by dumping their OS for free, they can expect their hands to be held to the fire. Google’s current behavior is anti-capitalist, sleazy and their reputation if sinking by the day.
  • Yes, because Microsoft wasn't in search or document editing, etc., etc. before Google got into it... :rolleyes:What you seem to forget (Or choose to ignore) is that Google with Android is actively violating other companies patents and copying every feature others try to implement in their OS. Android isn't original. It isn't revolutionary. It doesn't innovate... The other companies did that and Google copied them. That's all. Google even blatantly copied Java code for Android... Google is not on the right side, and these companies that own the patents or code that Google ripped deserve these royalties... Google should have been licensing these patents all along and not waiting for their OEM's to do it.Why should these companies not go after patent infringement because it's Google?
  • This is such nonsense, all around.First, all this yammering about IP is based solely upon what camp one is in.When Nokia sued Apple over the inclusion of a wireless phone antenna in their iPhone (Nokia claims to have invented that, no joke), Apple people claimed it was proof of Nokia's desperation and failed strategy. Yet when Apple sued Samsung claiming to have invented flat-panel touchscreen phones, it was "defending Apple's IP."Had Palm/HP sued Apple for using Palm's patents for dial screens and voicemail, no doubt it would have been a similar reaction.Google would happily use patents to block competitors if it suited them too, let's not kid ourselves.And I like Microsoft's stuff, and am a WP7 user, but Brandon Watson -- seriously -- said this?!?:"Taking a product that costs something in one place and giving it away in another used to have a name - dumping"Google "Microsoft Internet Explorer Netscape Navigator." Then read that sentence again.Sigh.The worst thing is that all this patent mumbo-jumbo ensures that small, innovative companies are crushed out of the marketplace entirely by big firms with lots of lawyers and questionable "IP."
  • brandon watson is a clown
  • and Drummond isn't? if you don't see that then u are an idiot.
  • Google didn't really have any interest in sharing patents. Why? Google isn't at risk of being sued. Google infringes on the patents of others, but doesn't "sell" Android. But Google's partners do sell Android through the sale of Android handsets. This leaves Google's partners' open for litigation.The only way that Google could "protect" its partners is by completely owning the patent. If they are just a minority player in the ownership of the patent, the other companies could still demand payment from carriers that are selling the Android OS that is infringing on the patent.Google's fear right now is that because of the patents Android has violated, that will cause OEMs to have to pay licensing fees for every handset that uses Android. In effect, paying a cost for Android. Android then loses the anti-competitive advantage it had by being "free". And now must compete on a level playing field, where OEMs will choose an OS based on the merits of the OS itself, and not as much about the significant cost savings of having a free OS.
  • True, but WP7 already has merits that make it a better choice without the need to stoop to patent trolling.Mango is just plain killer -- that's good enough for differentiation in the market, along with some decent handset hardware.
  • But where is the evidence of patent trolling?
  • *Munching popcorn maniacally* Jesus...this is better than the movies :P
  • Did ya'll know Microsoft's Dad can beat up Google's Dad?
  • Never thought I'd say this, but GLAD Microsoft and Apple teamed up on this (an Apple hater I am). MS and Apple have been in the mobile biz for years now, and I'm sure they have a treasure trove of patented IP and features, even before this latest portfolio purchase, that are now included in that fragmented mess called Android, which Google thinks is cool to give away for free like everything else they own. At the same time leave the OEM's floating in the water as the sharks start to circle.Granted I don't want to see good OEM's have to bite the bullet at Googles expense (converted HTC fanboy). But I think LEGIT patent owners (NOT the trolls of the world!) should be compensated accordingly.