Microsoft has jumped on the Apple train, complaining against Google patent domination.
Click to enlarge
|Image: 9to5 Google|
The software giant has filed an official complaint with European regulators against Motorola Mobility (MMI) and Google, accusing it of blocking vital video patents and the technology to connect products like XBox wirelessly to the web.
The complaint taken against Android maker, Google, and its soon to be $12.5bn acquisition, Motorola, is because the latter is “attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products”, claiming they infringe Moto owned technology patents.
That’s according to Dave Heiner, Vice President, Microsoft Corporate Standards & Antitrust, who revealed the move against the duo in a blog post entitled ‘Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web’, yesterday.
Microsoft argues MMI are blocking the licensing of common industry-standard patents on FRAND (fair and reasonable terms), as per previous industry wide agreements.
Apple filed a similar complaint with the European Commission against Motorola last week.
Moto has also ‘broken its promise’ to make the standard patents available to rivals, Microsoft believe, and now fear Google’s impending takeover of Motorola will worsen the situation and prevent availability of patents critical to its business.
Microsoft recently announced that it will not seek to block the sale of rival products on the basis of standard essential products as did Apple and Cisco.
“Unfortunately, Google refused,” Heiner noted and argued it is acting in the interests of protecting Android devices like Samsung, HTC and Motorola against patent actions by Microsoft and Co.
Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly, says Heiner.
“Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.”
The Redmond giant also accused MMI of overcharging for the use of its standard essential patents (SEPs):
For a $1,000 laptop, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft pay a royalty of $22.50 for its 50 patents on the video standard, called H.264.
As it turns out, there are at least 2,300 other patents needed to implement this standard, says Heiner.
If every firm priced its SEP like Motorola, the cost of the patents alone would be greater than all other costs combined to make PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices.
“This would greatly increase the prices of these devices for consumers,” Microsoft’s Corporate Standards & Antitrust VP warned.
This move against Google comes just one week after the EU and US regulators formally approved its $12.5bn purchase of MMI following a lengthy investigation, with the European Commission deciding the merger would not “raise completion issues”.
Google previously admitted the main reason it bought Moto was for its 17,000 plus technology patents treasure trove.
Such patent artillery will prove very useful for the Android creator as it battles chief rival, Apple, but also players like Microsoft as it looks to gain competitive edge in the smartphone and tab race.
Last week, US regulators warned it “will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action to stop any anticompetitive use [of SEP rights].”
It will also pledge to “continues to monitor the use of standard patents” particularly in the smartphone and tablet markets, in light of its importance to consumers.”
The EC also made similar warnings, which Microsoft and Apple are now hoping it will put into practice. Sharpish.