updated 08:40 pm EDT, Thu August 4, 2011
MS claims Google didn't care about shielding tech
In a response to Google's accusations, Microsoft's corporate communications lead Frank Shaw argured late Thursday that Google was being selfish in its refusal to join a coalition bidding on Novell's patents. He contended that Google just wanted patents it could wield against others. The Android developer allegedly didn't care about the wider technology industry and only about protecting itself.
"Partnering with others & reducing patent liability across industry is not something they wanted to help do," he claimed.
The claim is partly valid as Google effectively gave up rights to a large number of patents. Even though it wouldn't have had them as leverage, it could still have used them as a defensive mechanism, such as in a countersuit.
Even so, Shaw's remarks sidestep some of Google's concerns as well as ignore Microsoft's own behavior. Google's chief legal executive David Drummond had argued that many of the patents were vague and just being used for anti-competitive purposes by Microsoft, Apple, and others in the group than for legitimate attempts to protect innovative work. DOJ officials had deliberately changed the sale terms because it feared the patents would be used purely to sue, not defense like Microsoft claims.
Microsoft has itself been accused of creating many of the patent liability problems of the industry. It has made still controversial claims that it owns patents inherent to all of Android and Linux and has sued or forced royalties from many of those in the industry with few if any serious challenges to the validity of the patents in question. Apple has also been suing to slow down competition but has made far fewer blanket ownership claims.