Apparently Google is upset that Apple and Microsoft is being mean to them. In a recent post on the Google Blog the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer – David Drummond, posted a rather, shall we say “interesting” blog post about what they believe is a hostile environment being created for the Android platform. Yes, according to them over 550,000 Android devices are activated every day. And yes almost 40 diffrent manufactures for both tablets and phones have created devices for them (verse a handful between Apple and Microsoft). And yes they are on over 200 carriers around the world. And because they are so successful, so important, so leading edge… they are saying that everyone is being mean to them.
The most recent claim that everyone is being mean to poor friendly Google, is the patent colelction that both Microsoft, Apple, and Orcle outbid Google on for Nortel’s patents. For those not in the know, within the tech industry there is a huge battle to collect pattens. Most products stretch across hundreds of patents, so having a patent collection is akin to the cold war, when you collect weapons to provide shelter form others hitting you with theres. And since many of these patents are grouped together in large bundles., many companies will typically band together to use them and place those patens in a “defensive” fund. Something to be used in case someone hits at them. In fact, in some cases to comply with the Department of Justice these patents that get bought have to be held in a pseudo “open-source” type environment to make sure things don’t get locked down too much (which he even links to in the post). Buying these things in large groups has been the norm for large companies for decades. In fact, in the losing bid for Nortel’s patents, Google did just that with Intel! (For a really interesting read about bidding for patents, check that previous link).
Another interesting thing to come from the blog post is that they claim that since the conglomerate bid 4.5 Billion on the patents, it proves they are being anti-competitive. The patents were originally priced at $1 Billion so this is surely a sign that they overpaid just to make sure they could hold it over google. Well if this is true, and companies shouldn’t have paid more than roughly $1 billion for them… why did Google’s own bid $4 billion not count? If they truly thought that those patents should not be bought with that much money, why did they bid so high in the first place? So it would seem the argument of “Look how much they paid for it, it’s un competitive” is more more akin to “But I wanted the my own french fries, it’s not fair that Jimmy and everyone else got it!” It would have been perfectly fine if Google got the patents for the 4 Billion, but anyone else it’s all of a sudden “anti-competitive.
Oh but it get’s even better. After the post by Drummond, Micorosft’s own Brad Smith posted:
Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.
So apparently they were all for letting Google into their little club hose to purchase the patents together as a group. They also posted “proof” from Frank Shaw of the email that they offered to let them join the “Rockstar” group buying them (which interesting enough originally did not included Apple:
Free advice for David Drummond – next time check with Kent Walker before you blog. 🙂 http://t.co/PfKle9H
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.
I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
It’s almost like two kids in a car going back and forth:
Google: Micosoft’s lookiong at me!
Microsoft: Am not!
Google: Are so!
Microsoft: Am not!
Apple… well they’re playing the “good child” and staying out of the argument, for now. I’m sure they aren’t exactly being grown up about this, but, as any parent can tell you, “at least they are being quiet.” Google here is being the apparent insitgator, with Micorosft coming abck at them.
Now I’m sure this is only part of the long back ally’d arguments, and politics that we’re seeing. But the more and more we hear about this, the more it seems that all these big tech companies are just large extension of the big kids that run them. Most techs I know never grew up, and that’s fine. But when you start bringing your childish methos to the big boy table you need to grow upa bit and stop complain that someone else won something. Espeicailly when, as you yourself point out, are “winning” the market your complaining about.
Children, I think it’s time for a time out.