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It could be argued that music is an international language for human expression; happiness, love, anger, joy, envy, fear – it can all be expressed through the wonderful world of music. The Windows Phone that you carry around in your pocket is the gateway to that music, whether you use Xbox Music, Spotify, Rdio, or Beats Music.

Today, we are going to look at a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones by SOL REPUBLIC, whose controls actually play well with the Windows Phone OS.

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In case you still didn’t agree that Windows Phone is the third ecosystem in the smartphone industry, the latest validation comes from comScore’s report of the U.S. smartphone subscriber market share ending January 2014.

While Blackberry's market share is on the decline, Microsoft held steady and found themselves holding the third spot in the latest survey behind Android and Apple.

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In a surprise move today, Google announced the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion dollars. On the face of it, that looks like financial loss from the original $12.5 billion purchase price by Google in 2012. However, keep in mind that price for just the hardware division, as Google will retain "the vast majority" of the Motorola patent portfolio (licensing them to Lenovo).

In many ways, it’s a brilliant move. Google is better served by the patent protection, but they probably couldn’t just buy them from Motorola in 2012. Instead, they had to purchase the whole package (hardware plus patents) and get into the awkward device manufacturing game. With today’s deal, they successfully spun off the hardware but retain those patents, which is really what they wanted in the first place.

There’s another reason why this may have happened: Samsung. Grab your conspiracy hats and read on why the sale of Motorola Mobility may be a big threat to Microsoft and Apple going forward.

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Microsoft has accused US Customs officials of refusing to adhere to the ITC's (International Trade Commission) order to block import mobile phones manufactured by Motorola, owned by Google. The ITC issued the import ban back in May 2012 after it was concluded that Motorola hardware infringed a Microsoft patent for synchronising calendar events with other computers.

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I know what you're thinking, "Oh, not more patents!" Believe me, we wish we could simply forget about the business altogether and focus on technology and innovation, but we're talking about multiple corporations here. Microsoft is battling it out against Google and are currently in a strong position. This has been reinforced with ZTE becoming the 20th company to have taken a royalty-bearing Android license. 

Today the Munich Higher Regional Court rejected Google's (Motorola) appeal against Microsoft's injunction against Motorola, which was granted back in 2012. The patent in question is EP1304891 on "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface." The lower court's ruling has now been affirmed by the appeals court and so the injunction remains in place for the foreseeable future.

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Motorola/Google lost a bit of ground in their patent litigation against Microsoft when the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington invalidated or dismissed thirteen of Motorola's patent infringement claims. The litigation claims that Microsoft infringed on sixteen of Motorola's patents with the Windows Phone and Xbox 360 systems.

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Although news on or about Windows Phone may be slow coming out today there’s still plenty going on in the tech world that’s tied to Microsoft with some residual effects for our favorite mobile OS. Instead of spamming our own site with tangential news, we figured we would just summarize in a digest. Cool?

Today’s new stories that we've found interesting are the following—

  • Motorola import ban for violating Microsoft’s patent goes into effect tomorrow
  • Office 2013 has an app store + hidden Metro site
  • Forbes Online says Nokia stock is worth holding on to

So head past the break to catch up on some of these interesting stories making the rounds today...

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Motorola has been granted an injunction on Microsoft products being sold in Germany. The Xbox 360, Windows OS, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player will all fall under the ban, should it be put into place. The injunction follows a ruling claiming the software giant had infringed two Motorola patents required to support H.264 video coding and playback.

An official statement from Motorola reads the following:

"We are pleased that the Mannheim Court found that Microsoft products infringe Motorola Mobility's intellectual property. As a path forward, we remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property."

According to reports, this is just one of several cases involving around 50 properties owned by the smartphone manufacturer. Microsoft has stated that should the software giant meet the demands of Motorola an annual bill would be in the region of $4bn (£2.5bn). The manufacturer has denied this claim.

A statement from Microsoft has been published, which highlights how the company will look to appeal the decision.

"This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web. Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise."

Motorola cannot enforce the ruling made by the German courts until a Seattle-based judge lifts a restraining order. This restriction was put in place by Microsoft after it claimed Motorola was actively abusing its Frand-committments (pact to license innovations required for widely used technologies under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms). A hearing is to be held on May 7th.

Source: BBC

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Microsoft prevails in patent complaint

Amongst all the recent patent litigation, Microsoft filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission claiming that Motorola violated six of their smartphone patents. An Administrative Judge has ruled in favor of Microsoft in one of these complaints and dismissed the other five. Both sides have proclaimed victory.

The patent in question deals with generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device and involves the Motorola Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip. The ruling could be seen as a victory for either side.  Motorola skated on the majority of the claims but won't get off scot free.  Motorola faces importation bans and will either have to develop/tweak the technology to avoid the infringement or pay licensing fees to Microsoft.  Still, Motorola is seeing the glass half full.  Motorola's Senior VP and General Counsel stated,

""We are very pleased that the majority of the rulings were favorable to Motorola Mobility. The ALJ’s initial determination may provide clarity on the definition of the Microsoft 566 patent for which a violation was found and will help us avoid infringement of this patent in the US market."

In a similar statement from Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel David Howard, Microsoft claims victory in winning one of six complaints by stating,

“We are pleased with the ITC’s initial determination finding Motorola violated four claims of a Microsoft patent. As Samsung, HTC, Acer and other companies have recognized, respecting others’ intellectual property through licensing is the right path forward.”

So what does all this mean? The Administrative Judge's ruling is the first step in resolving things. The ruling will now go to the full ITC Commission, who will likely support it, and an appropriate action will be determined that may include a ban on importing the devices in question. The ITC's final ruling is then subject to a sixty day review by President Obama.

The ITC final ruling is expected by April 20, 2012. 

source: tgdaily, allthingsd

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In what is becoming almost routine (see INQ), another OEM has come out and said that the Google-Motorola deal works out better for Microsoft than Google's Android. This time it was Walter Deppeler, president of Acer's operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. At the Berlin IFA consumer conference on Friday, he was quoted by Reuters as saying "It was a good gift to Microsoft", that Google "work against some of their clients" and finally that Acer would consider the implications of the deal before committing further to an OS.

Acer, who makes low to mid-range handsets, especially in important emerging markets, has recently started using Android in 2010 and is now actively developing Windows Phone devices (see the W4). While their phones won't compete in the U.S. or Europe, they are expected to be important players in Asian markets in the future. Either way, it's telling to hear OEMs publicly state what is becoming more obvious: this Google-Motorola deal and their continued legal quagmires are not helping to boost OEM confidence in Android.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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A lot has been discussed about what the Google-Motorola deal means to the smaller Android OEMs on the market. Om Malik of GigaOm has noted that several "mobile industry insiders" have expressed concern over the deal and relying too heavily on Google for Android. Now, one small handset maker, INQ who came up with the Skype and Facebook phone, is taking a serious look at Windows Phone 7 and saying so publicly. The owner of INQ Hutchison Whampoa, went on record saying:

“We see a number of major vendors very seriously considering Windows Mobile as a core platform and therefore we are following their lead and examining it as well to complement our work in Android to date...The advantages with Windows Mobile is that the legal issues and resulting costs seem to be much less." (Note: he uses "Windows Mobile" here accidentally)

He notes that due to Android's success, it has become a big target for litigation and perhaps if Windows Phone were that big, the same thing could happen. (While a possibility, we'd suggest that Microsoft is in much better shape with IP and patents than Google.) Finally, after discussing Windows Phone he knocks Motorola down a notch stating

“It is telling that the Motorola Board decided that they could get more value out of 15-20 year old patents rather than use their huge R&D to create new exciting technologies over the next 10 years which is what Motorola used to do very well.”

While INQ is hardly a major player in the field, seeing as the owner of the company, Whampoa also owns the 3G mobile network "3", so they could be a big deal in the future. What can we say other than we like where this is all going for Windows Phone?

Source: GigaOm

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As we know, just about everyone in the smartphone industry is suing everyone else. Microsoft is suing Motorola (which has been bought by Google) over patent issues involving Motorola's Android phones. Google stepped in last week and filed a motion to block Microsoft's Android Expert, Mr. Robert Stevenson, from testifying. Google asserted the claim that Microsoft violated confidentiality agreements and disclosed source codes to Mr. Stevenson.  Source codes on an operating system everyone thought was open sourced.

The U.S. International Trade Commission Judge handed down his ruling on Google's motion and Google got the short end of the stick.  However, the ruling may have opened the door for more litigation.

Judge Theodore Essex denied the motion stating that only parties in a complaint are allowed to move for sanctions. The Judge wrote,

"Google has not set forth any legal support for the proposition that a non-party may move for sanctions."

So the expert witness can testify and the wheels of justice can continue to grind.  Still there are two things to watch with this case.

First, will Google file a seperate claim against Microsoft so they can become a "party" and seek sanctions against Microsoft?

Second, if it is ruled that Motorola has infringed on Microsoft patents and Google's Android hardware partners have to pay royalties to Microsoft, would the $12.5 billion deal have been a bust?

source: Computerworld

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While the long term impact of Google's acquisition of Motorola (Googarola?) is still anyone's guess, one short term effect appears be to Microsoft and Nokia's benefit. Microsoft's stock rose 1.63% (up .41 points) and Nokia's stock rose 17.35% (up .93 points) in today's trading activity.

In comparison, Google's stock fell 1.16% (6.54 points) while Motorola Mobility's stock made the biggest jump at 55.78% (up 13.65 points).  We're pretty sure the jump with Motorola was due to the 63% premium Google paid for them but it is a little surprising to see Google sag. In addition, it's now been disclosed that Google has agreed to pay Motorola Mobility $2.5 billion if the deal doesn't go through, a figure that is six times the average according to Bloomberg.

Granted none of this could have a thing to do with the $12.5 Billion deal and the stock market these days may not be the best litmus test.  As crazy as Wall Street has been lately, tomorrow we may see completely opposite results. 

Still, it's nice to see Microsoft and Nokia stocks doing well.

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According to a Gigaom "exclusive," Motorola Mobility was in talks with Microsoft, as well as other parties, to discuss acquisition.  Their sources tell them that Microsoft was primarily interested in Motorola's 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications, which would have have become a WMD of sorts against Google.  Acting in self-defense, Google moved about 5 weeks ago, opening talks of their own with MM, which included CEO Larry Page and Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha, though more recently, Android co-founder Andy Rubin was brought into the mix.  Allegedly, Motorola preferred a deal with Google because Microsoft was only in it for the patents, and no the hardware manufacturing.  The result, Google's $12.5 billion payout or a 63% premium over previous stock estimates of Moto. Good deal?

If these claims are accurate, it is the next giant step in a patent war that's been brewing between Google and Microsoft for a while now.  It is also a possible sign of the decline of Android and the rise of Windows Phone 7.  Google now owns one of the many companies that use its Android platform, and has become a competitor to itself.  Google's new position as a player in the manufacturing game could drive other companies away from Android and into the arms of another operating system, say, perhaps Windows Phone.  Throw Microsoft's deal with Nokia, and now you have what could be a huge boost for WP7.

While this has the potential to be exciting for those of us who would like to see Windows Phone flourish, the situation is, sadly, one more example of how patents are being used to crush competition, rather than to bolster innovation. 

Source: Gigaom

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Just as we were lamenting Motorola Mobility's position on using Windows Phone (and their stock situation), Google comes out of nowhere and buys them up out for $12.5 billion. From the press release they mention how they want to "...supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open."

Although Motorola is a dedicated manufacturer of Android devices, they also happen to have something that Google really wants--namely a large patent portfolio. Remember, Moto for all intents and purposes invented the cell phone back in the day resulting in a large arsenal of patents that Google can finally wield in defense of Android (seeing as that OS is evidently build on stolen IP). That's something that they will have to do a lot of as Microsoft is currently suing Motorola Mobility over patent infringement, meaning now they are suing Google over the same issue. That court case should get interesting, to say the least.

Google's Andy Rubin states that they remain committed to still working with other partners, although this obviously puts HTC in an odd position--they're not Microsoft's exclusive partner anymore and neither are they Google's. Various OEM partners have publicly come out in support of the deal, notably LG, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson even HTC paying lip-service with the same paraphrase of "We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” although you wonder what they have to be saying privately about the deal.

The big question is what does this actually mean? Too early to tell though clearly Google is stepping up things against Apple and to a lesser extent Microsoft. Apple already has the hardware thing down and Microsoft now has Nokia in their corner. As to our thoughts? We'll gladly take our Nokia deal over Motorola any day.

Full press release after the break.

Source: Official Google Blog; via AndroidCentral 1, 2

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Motorola has had quite the ride, first being on board with Microsoft and Windows Phone then shunning it for an Android-only approach to now, evidently reconsidering using the OS. In between those two position shifts, Moto's stock has steadily declined over the last year (see our salty editorial, or their stocks above), demonstrating that going it alone with Android isn't enough anymore. Fact is, everyone has an Android line in the mobile biz which is why Nokia went with Windows Phone--easier to differentiate yourself as a brand.

Now we're at a point where Moto CEO Sanjay Jha, speaking at the Oppenheimer Technology & Communications Conference, said "I think we're completely open to the notion of Windows as a platform" which is a big change from "I don’t envision us using Microsoft. I would never say never but it’s not something we’re entertaining now." just six months ago.

Still, despite being sued by Microsoft, Jha is still angling for a sweet deal like Nokia has received, gaining more freedom and sway over the hardware and software. To that last notion, we chuckle only because Motorola, you're no Nokia. But hey, we like the change of heart, Jha. Maybe we'll be seeing something in late 2012 from you folks after all. Or not, whichever.

Source: FierceWireless; via ZDNet

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Motorola: No Moto Windows Phones

Motorola left little room for chance that the company would be launching a Windows Phone 7 device. During a press event at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, Christy Wyatt, Motorola's VP of Software and Services Product Management, stated,

"I don't envision us using Microsoft. I would never say never but it's not something we're entertaining now."

Not exactly nailing the door completely shut on the possibility but the statement is strong enough that we won't be holding our breaths in anticipation.

Wyatt cited timing issues and concerns about Windows Phone 7 not being open source as the reasons behind the decision.  Motorola felt that a closed platform did not afford them the opportunity to create unique value. Wyatt added that going with Microsoft would create a situation where the only value Motorola could offer was "commoditized hardware".

All of which raises the question; doesn't it make sense to have the software company (Microsoft) focus on the OS and the hardware company (Motorola) focus on...say...the hardware?

While the prospect of a Motorola Windows Phone does have a certain appeal to it, the company seems well rooted with Android. Wyatt notes that Motorola is the only vendor who is 100 percent Android. It is entirely possible that diversification isn't for everyone but it doesn't appear to be hurting HTC, LG, Samsung and other multi-platform companies.

Source: PCWorld  Via: Engadget

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Way back in June, we told you that Microsoft was developing a new OS designed specifically for enterprise hardware, like pricing and inventory scanners, like the Motorola/Sprint ES400S.  Yesterday, MS made it officially available for use.  As the name implies, Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is built on the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform and "can take advantage of multiple screen sizes and input methods, peripherals to extend device capabilities and multiple connectivity options."  It is already set to be used on products by Motorola, Intermec and Honeywell.

MS started with version 6.5 to give its customers a clear upgrade path from the current software, to Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, to a newer version of the OS that will be based on Windows Phone 7.  While official support for version 6.5 will last up into 2014, the newer WP7-based OS is due out in the second half of 2011, according to the big guy himself, Steve Ballmer.

Source: Microsoft


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