07.25.11

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Google is Looking to Join the Patents Cartel to Defend Android

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Amid growing pressure from Apple, Microsoft, and perhaps its drone Nokia, Google plans to buy companies for their patents, thus becoming part of the problem for the sake of “defending” Android

“Abducted by lawyers” is how we recently described Google, after it had clarified that it would not join the abolitionists*. Dennis Crouch meanwhile covers Apple’s and Microsoft’s latest cartel additions, i.e. patents accrued (Apple reported paid for about half for this assault on Android) and Professor Mark Webbink has this important update on the Oracle vs. Google case, showing of course the opposite of what pro-Microsoft lobbyists want the public to see. Oracle’s case is quickly falling apart. “Sorry for the movie analogies,” notes Webbink, “but these images keep popping to mind. The latest is Larry Ellison as Golum, grasping his “Java” patents and declaring, “My Precious.” This comes to mind because of the revelation yesterday that Jonathan Schwartz, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, praised Google and others for incorporating Java into Android back in 2007.

“But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.”
      –Mark Webbink
“Then the patents fell out of Sun’s hands and into Oracle’s (My Precious), and Schwartz’ statement became an embarrassment. What to do? Why remove it from the internet, of course. But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.

“Now the interesting question about this and other similar comments that were apparently made by Sun executives is whether the statements communicated an understanding to Google and others that they would not be threatened with Sun’s patents; statements upon which they relied. This is the legal doctrine of estoppel.”

Watch the screenshot too.

Some people are piecing together FUD pieces about Google, and not just lobbyists like Florian and those whom he mass-mails for placement in the press. Here is just one example and a reminder that Google’s plan is to buy patents as a response to this. This seems like more than a rumour now.

Search engine giant Google is looking to acquire mobile chip technology maker InterDigital, after failing to purchase Novell’s massive patent portfolio.

[...]

InterDigital, which has a market value of about $3.1 billion, saw its shares rise by 29 percent to $68.67 thanks to the takeover rumours.

It has been hinted even by Nokia itself — now that it is a Microsoft drone — that it might be next in its attempts to extort Google and raise the price of Android using patents. Just pay attention to this news report:

Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest phone maker by volume, posted better-than-expected quarterly profit thanks to a major royalty boost from settling a patent dispute with Apple.

Nokia reported a second-quarter underlying operating profit of 391 million euros, above all expectations in a Reuters poll, which ranged from a loss of 35 million to profit of 285 million.

Nokia is part of the same cartel as Microsoft’s, especially after the company got hijacked by Microsoft, with Microsoft’s big private shareholders appointed to become the company’s CEO. Symbian was taken proprietary by him and MeeGo, the Linux effort, virtually abandoned.
___
* In software patents opposition — like in many other areas of activism — there are many factions and attitudes. Some classify certain software patents as “bad” and others as “good” (usually “theirs” versus “ours”), some want to get rid of patents altogether, some target only software patents, some target patent trolls, etc.

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4 Comments

  1. walterbyrd said,

    July 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s hard for me to blame Google for defending itself. Sure, the laws should be changed, but until they are: you can’t just leave yourself defenseless against predators like Oracle and Microsoft.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Notice that I am not blaming Google (Florian actually tries to make Google look like the hostile, crass party here), I try to urge it to help us, the abolition proponents.

    Google looks for a solution that works for Google (shareholder interests and all), but it doesn’t address the problem which affects many. The temptation of joining the cartel should be annihilated by regulators.

    twitter Reply:

    Defensive patents and pay offs did not help Novell. Novell was repeatedly sued by other companies after they paid off Microsoft. IV is designed as a shell company with lots of troll proxies, so money spent of either licenses or patents is a useless waste. As is the case with most extortion, there is no end to software patent judicial extortion.

    Fighting, on the other hand works. The dirt coming from the Barnes and Noble case is good advertising and it’s doing a lot of damage to Microsoft. How many of these court cases can Microsoft afford? If everyone takes Microsoft to court and complains to anti-trust officials, Microsoft will be ruined. That is the result every Android and would be gnu/linux OEM should hope for.

  2. saulgoode said,

    July 26, 2011 at 5:45 am

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    Regardless whether Google chooses to acquire patents, it needs to divest itself of all its investments in Intellectual Ventures. It is ridiculous for a company to fund people who are attacking its customers.

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