Will Google and Microsoft Go To Court Over Android? Teaser: The dust up over patent rights and Google's Android mobile operating system ratcheted up another notch this week as Microsoft swung back a
Microsoft and Google have been increasingly at each other's throats lately regarding the software titan's claims that the search giant's mobile operating system infringes on some of its patents.
Still, the argument hasn't actually come to direct confrontation between the two until this week, when David Drummond, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) chief legal officer, lashed out against Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) on the Official Google Blog on Wednesday.
The real problem, he said, is that Android is wildly popular and it's free, and that threatens several other smartphone players -- Microsoft among them.
"Androids success has yielded ... a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents," Drummond said in his blog post.
He was referring to the recent purchase of more than 6,000 patents belonging to the bankrupt Nortel Networks, many of them in the mobile technology space, by a consortium of Google competitors for $4.5 billion, as well as the purchase of additional patents from Novell by a second consortium that also included Microsoft.
"Theyre doing this by banding together to acquire Novells old patents (the 'CPTN' group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortels old patents (the 'Rockstar' group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didnt get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge)," Drummond added.
His statements set off a fire storm at Microsoft and it wasn't long before the software giant fired back.
Before the day was out, Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, issued a tweet that was meant to undercut Drummond's claims.
"Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no," Smith's tweet said.
A few hours later, Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft corporate vice president of corporate communications, issued his own tweet.
"Free advice for David Drummond -- next time check with Kent Walker [Google's general counsel] before you blog," Shaw said, and attached a screen shot of an email that Walker had allegedly sent to Smith last fall, apparently declining to participate in the bid for the Novell patents.
"After talking with people here [at Google], it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn't be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate you flagging it, and we're open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future," the email said.
A Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com the company had no further comment on the latest dust-up.