Jun 252012

You have to wonder what kind of view Google has over the “Firewall” it claims to have erected between itself and Motorola Mobility Inc., a company they bought for the bargain basement price of $12.5 billion. In addition to getting a company that hasn’t been in the black for almost 2 years, MMI is doing its best to make its new owners look like deceitful double-dealers by shopping its patent spats with Apple and Microsoft around to the court of public opinion. The problem with their strategy is two-fold: generally, things that get blabbed to the press don’t correspond to their real-world courtroom counterparts and the things that MMI is bleating about don’t correspond to past matters of public record. And the disparities are as obvious as they are egregious.

As reported by Florian Meuller in his FOSS Patents blog, MMI’s statements to Ars Technica about the terms they’ve been offering to Microsoft in its race with Redmond for product injunctions are, at best, contrary to what they’ve been putting into court documents. Mueller opens by pointing out MMI’s statement that “Both Microsoft and Apple need to show that they’re willing to be reasonable as well by respecting the contributions Motorola has made in literally creating the mobile phone industry” would be nice – if 1. any of the crop of Motorola’s FRAND patents they were using against Microsoft had anything to do with cellular technology and 2. if they possessed any cellular patents that haven’t expired. He then moves on to MMI’s IP counsel’s claim that:

Microsoft says we demanded $4 billion a year from them, and that’s simply not true,’ said Kirk Dailey, VP of intellectual property for Motorola Mobility. ‘We never asked for anything like that.

Except that this statement is exactly the opposite of what the claim filed by MMI 2 years ago reads:

As per Motorola’s standard terms, the royalty (2.25%) is calculated based on the price of the end product (e.g., each Xbox 360 product, each PC/laptop, each smartphone, etc.) and not on component software (e.g., Xbox 360 system software, Windows 7 software, Windows Phone 7 software, etc.).

Microsoft’s allegation that MMI was seeking in the ballpark of $4 billion is actually on the low side, as it assumes an average PC cost of $500 (insert  “race to the bottom PC pricing joke” here). To top it off, the statement made to Ars about “never asking for anything like that” was made by the same lawyer who filed the very specific MMI royalty calculation: Kirk Dailey.

Google can claim up and down that it lets MMI operate on its own; that doesn’t make the huge black smear they’re continuing to apply across Google’s brand any less tawdry. It’d be smart if someone from Google had a little “come to Jesus” talk with MMI, or at least put a muzzle on their counsel. I personally have no problem with them doing neither and letting their duplicity continue to glare before the eyes of the entire tech world.

 Posted by at 2:13 pm
Jun 252012

It’s still early, but I think we have a winner. Jean-Louis Gassée writing about Microsoft’s possible motivation for stiffing OEMs and coming out with their own tablet – to light a fire under OEMs to make them build better kit:

If you do the right thing and come up with the world-class product Windows 8 deserves, we’ll back off and let you enjoy the just deserts of your efforts.

I hope he lets the sentence stand as written.

 Posted by at 9:13 am
  • RSS
  • Twitter