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03.29.10

Apple, Microsoft, and Intellectual Ventures Versus Android, Which Finds New Home at Telstra in Spite of Microsoft

Posted in Apple, Australia, Bill Gates, Boycott Novell, Courtroom, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 6:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Bauer painting from 1915

Summary: The story of Apple, Microsoft, and about 1,100 patent-trolling satellite firms, which Apple, Bill Gates, and Microsoft are sponsoring (via Intellectual Ventures)

Apple’s lawsuit against HTC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] shows that not only Microsoft is the problem; Android is being challenged because it is rapidly becoming an industry leader in one of the fastest-growing areas of computing.

IDG argues that “Android Ecosystem Is Not Immune from Lawsuits”

While everyone focuses on the patent infringement suit Apple filed against HTC, there are many smaller skirmishes happening in all of software development, and the Android ecosystem is far from immune.

Some developers have been the target of patent claims, such as for displaying city of a caller on an inbound call. Some developers get attacked for more nebulous concepts, such as look-and-feel of applications.

Microsoft has already hinted that there might be more such action on the way. iTWire covered it:

This morning AEST, we have Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice-president and deputy general counsel, issuing a statement in support of Apple’s lawsuit.

Of course, Gutierrez, like many of his colleagues, loves to instill as much fear as he can among all and sundry in order to hike up the fear factor. This is a tactic that has been used by companies, governments and individuals since time immemorial. (As an aside, the BBC’s Adam Curtis released a wonderful documentary about this a few years ago.)

Microsoft never misses a chance to try and scare smaller companies for all kinds of reasons.

A few days ago we wrote about the world’s largest patent troll, which has about 1,100 shell companies (and investments from Apple, Bill Gates, and Microsoft), arming one of its shells with a patent that can be used against just about any modern phone [1, 2]. Here is what The Register wrote about it:

Paczkowski has now discovered that the current owner of the patent is Intellectual Ventures (IV), a self-styled “invention company” which The Reg wrote about just this Wednesday in conjunction with its TerraPower division’s work on small-scale nuclear reactors.

Those reactors may be small-scale, but IV certainly isn’t. According to a 1,989-page report published by the “Strategic IP Counseling” group Avancept LLC in January of this year, IV has a patent portfolio that could include as many as 25,000 to 50,000 patents squirreled away in around 1,100 shell companies.

“Apple display patent enslaves sun,” says another article from The Register and a final one says that “Apple director [was] ‘disgusted’ by Jobsian health secrets” (there are also patent extortion secrets from Jobs).

The web is abuzz with instant replays of Thursday’s revelation by the Wall Street Journal that recently deceased Apple board member Jerry York told the paper that he was “disgusted” with CEO Steve Jobs’ secrecy over his health problems.

Here is the original report and IDG’s comments about it.

The recent passing of Apple director Jerome York has left a hole in the company’s board of directors, but it’s also revealed that the group is not quite the unified front that it’s often thought to be.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal , York was unhappy with the way that Apple CEO Steve Jobs handled his health problems last year. In a 2009 interview with the Journal–comments from which weren’t published until this week–York said Jobs should have publicly announced his health issues when he backed out of appearing at Macworld Expo, less than a month prior to his taking a leave of absence.

Several other news reports say and also show that Jobs and Schmidt met to discuss business over coffee. The details are unknown because secrecy prevails. What we do know is that Telstra is adopting Android.

Telstra has put its weight behind Google’s Android mobile operating system, announcing plans to make its applications available through the Android Market app store.

The news comes with the launch of the HTC Desire Android-based handset, which will be exclusive to Telstra for three months from April 27.

We are rather surprised by this move because Telstra has also tightened its relationship with Microsoft, which seems to have some kind of a big shuffle in Australia (Microsoft New Zealand too has been in somewhat of a state of turmoil recently [1, 2, 3). Two days ago we wrote about Telstra’s relationship with Microsoft [1, 2] (Microsoft executive entering Telstra) and iTWire now tells the following story.

Telstra-Microsoft tie up spawns international copycats

Six months into its cloud computing hook-up with Telstra, the president of Microsoft’s business division has made clear this is how the software giant will manage SME access to its cloud globally, with similar deals with international telcos now in the wings.

Speaking exclusively with iTWire on his first visit to Australia since joining Microsoft, Stephen Elop said one of the key reasons for the trip was to meet Telstra. “What we are doing with Telstra in taking advantage of a large and successful telecoms company in a country to help us extend our reach is a strategy for the world.”

Stephen Elop is the man who is responsible for Microsoft Office. Let’s not forget how Telstra stifled OpenOffice.org a few years back.

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