This year will without any doubt be marked by two things: the explosion of Google Android market share and the legal wranglings competitors ensued on companies belonging to Google’s ecosystem. Microsoft attacked and won licensing rights to the tune of $10-15 per each Android phone made by HTC and Samsung, while Apple attacked Samsung and HTC, even winning injunctions using as vague patents as they can be.
In fact, we wonder why LG didn’t sue Apple for stealing the design of the original iPhone (remember LG Prada?)… maybe due to the fact that LG would consider that dishonorable business practice.
After Google lost the battle for Nortel’s patent treasure, even U.S. Department of Justice intervened and warned Apple and Microsoft that they will not tolerate any lawsuits resulting by using Nortel’s patents as a weapon. U.S. DoJ officially stated it had to intervene to "protect competition and innovation in the open source software community".
After hearing about patent-based lawsuits and extortion-style license negotiations employed by Apple and Microsoft, all in order to stop Google’s Android – the search giant from Mountain View had to strike back.
Today, Google officially announced that the company has acquired Motorola Mobility for an unprecedented sum of 12.5 billion dollars. In his announcement,Google’s CEO Larry Page explicitly stated that:
"This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android?s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences."
All in all, the battle is only heating up, but if Apple, ORACLE and Microsoft continue their legal charge on companies in the Android eco-system, several thousand patents invented by Motorola engineers don’t go into the design of a product such as the copyright trick which Apple used on Samsung. If Apple, Microsoft or Oracle attack Android now, they might find their operating systems and each and every bit of silicon these companies ever manufactured or sold – infringing on Motorola’s intellectual property.
Is the time of Apple and Microsoft paying Google $10-15 for every device they sell approaching? If the companies don’t stop the IP war… they just might find theirselves on the receiving end.
You can read the whole announcement here.