updated 06:15 pm EST, Fri March 2, 2012
ITC says Barnes and Noble can't talk antitrust
The International Trade Commission finished the week by denying Barnes & Noble its attempt to renew antitrust claims against Microsoft. A judge had taken belated evidence from the Nook designer into account but still decided that the original decision, that there wasn't enough evidence to suggest Microsoft was abusing patents, would stand. The verdict didn't necessarily side with Microsoft, but left Barnes & Noble withe option only of challenging Microsoft's claims that it violates patents.
Barnes & Noble has argued that Microsoft's campaign to make every Android device maker license patents is using questionable tactics that often have little to do with compensation. It claimed that Microsoft refused to show it exactly how it was allegedly violating patents without signing a non-disclosure deal, which would prevent it from showing any discrepancies to the public. Were Barnes & Noble to have agreed to a deal, it would supposedly have let Microsoft censor features to prevent Nook devices from competing with Microsoft's work.
The loss doesn't necessarily grant Microsoft a victory. Staff have suggested that Barnes & Noble might be found innocent of violating the patents at hand and thus that Microsoft would be denied its attempt to raise the price of using Android on the Nook line.
Microsoft has insisted that it inherently owns key technology behind Android, but critics have noted that it's following a strategy it used against Linux itself years earlier, where Microsoft uses royalties and threatened lawsuits to compensate for declines in market share. Windows Phone and Windows Mobile have continued to drop in share despite last year's reinvention of the platform, and Windows tablets have remained a small niche where even struggling Android tablets sell in much larger numbers. [via Florian Mueller]