Summary: Microsoft’s patent tolls — which almost always rely on Microsoft APIs/protocols like ActiveSync, FAT, and C#/Mono — do not make much sense in relation to the Motorola lawsuit
MICROSOFT’S lawsuit against Motorola (see our new Motorola Wiki page for background) has been discussed quite a lot in our IRC channels recently. FAT patents in the lawsuit mean that Linux too is being targeted, but everyone seems to be paying attention just to ActiveSync, which baffled us because Google appears to have resolved ‘licensing’ of ActiveSync a long time ago [1, 2]. We haven’t researched this deeply enough just yet.
Jason Perlow, an IBM person, says about Microsoft that “if you can’t compete with it, litigate it” and he has a decent article about this case:
In doing so it lost several of its traditional OEM partners, such as Hewlett-Packard, who decided it was best to build and market phones its own OS with its purchase of Palm (Which has an ActiveSync license for WebOS, so HP won’t be getting sued by Microsoft anytime soon) rather than continue on with its Windows Mobile-powered iPAQ line of PDAs and phones, most of which were outsourced to HTC.
All of this Windows Mobile decline happened years before Android became a valid player in the smartphone ecosystem.
So what were Microsoft’s options? It could compete legitimately on its own merits, and aggressively market products that people actually wanted to buy. Or it could try to throw as many legal roadblocks against its competitors as they could. It sounds like they are going to try a little bit of both.
With their previous generation of Windows Mobile phones, Microsoft clearly failed and lost sight of what products the industry demanded. Instead, Google, RIM and Apple managed to figure out what customers wanted. Notwithstanding ActiveSync licensing by any of these companies, that’s really the bottom line.
One of our readers wonders if LG, which already pays Microsoft for Android, has just dropped plans to develop an Android tablet as a result of the lawsuit from Microsoft. The Source has this new post which it titled “Microsoft’s “anti-Linux” tactic” (quoting Microsoft apologists whom we mentioned before):
What I would like to draw attention to is how silent Team Apologista gets every time Microsoft pulls out the patent card against Linux, in stark comparison to how vocal they are whenever someone suggets Microsoft might pull out a patent card against Linux.
Dare to mention one may have patent-related concerns about Mono or Moonlight, and watch Team Apologista come storming in with tired half-truths and the same old debunked defenses – but see reported news of Microsoft using patents aggressively yet again and it’s nothing but crickets chirping from Waltham’s Warriors.
I’d also like to note that despite Team Apologista’s desperate and transparent attempts to paint people as “zealots”, “freetards” and so on, that anyone even casually following Microsoft with a shred of integrity must acknowledge that Microsoft has in the past and continues to this very day to use FUD — including patent-based FUD — against Linux. I suppose Seattle Times and the article’s author, Mr. Brier Dudley, are “unreliable sources” or “zealots”? Or, perhaps – just perhaps – they are simply reporting the facts?
Even the Seattle press seems to have become rather critical of Microsoft’s adaptation and leaning towards SCO-esque tactics. That ought to say something. █
“My message to the patent world is: Either get back to the doctrines of forces of nature or face the elimination of your system.” —Hartmut Pilch, Paraflows 06