“Apple vs The World” takes an interesting turn today as Google has kicked-off massively after Apple formed a tech-tag-team with Microsoft over the recent spate of on-going patent rows.
Using the press front of the Google brand – the company’s blog – Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond describes the rival duo as “getting into bed together” promising to let us know what’s really happening. And he does – quite frankly:
“Android is on fire. More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers. Android and other platforms are competing hard against each other, and that’s yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers.
But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”
Mr. Drummond’s comments are in relation to the acquisition by Apple, Microsoft and Blackberry maker RIM of the now defunct Canadian co. Nortel, and use of its thousands of unused patents in the war against Google’s Android mobile platform.
Also in the bidding war for Nortel’s wares were Google and its pals Intel, who were clearly outnumbered and financially outgunned by the super-union of three of the world top tech manufacturers and software developers who snapped up over 6,000 patents and patent applications including wireless technologies for 4G.
The VP continues, addressing the effect on pricing the purchase and use of patents will have fo Google mobile users: “A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a ‘tax’ for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers.”
Later in the tirade, Drummond talks about the $15 “licensing fee” that Apple and Microsoft impose on every Android gadget sold “attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7 and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.”
In closing he says “We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it… Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices – and fewer choices for their next phone.”
VP David Drummond’s full statement can be read on the Official Google Blog.
In response to the earlier assault, Microsoft has since issued a statement of its own, via VP of Corporate Communications, Frank Shaw.
Shaw states, on Twitter no less, that Microsoft had engaged negotiations with Google regarding a joint bid for the Nortel package, and even includes an image taken of the email communications between the two tech-industry titans.
General Counsel for Microsoft, Brad Smith, also chipped in – confirming that Google declined the opportunity of a united front with Microsoft. This suggesting that Mr. Drummond’s earlier rant was nothing more than bitter feelings being vented – very, very publically.
It’s not the first time a high-profile Google exec has blown off steam about Apple targeting Android. You may remember last month CEO Eric Schmidt accusing Apple of suing HTC because of “jealousy” over Android’s success.
Apple’s patent crusade has been unrelenting in recent weeks. In the last 7 days alone halting Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 release in Australia, pending a court review – as well as effectively shutting up shop for Germany’s Amazon Appstore.