Barnes and Noble wants Microsoft probed about patent deals

Microsoft has been making a lot of deals recently with various makers of Android-based smartphones and tablets and Barnes and Noble thinks someone should look into it. News.com reports that the bookseller and the maker of the Android-powered Nook Color and the upcoming Nook Tablet is requesting the Department of Justice investigate Microsoft's patent agreements.

Microsoft has contended that companies that sell smartphones based on Google's mobile operating system use patents that Microsoft owns. Instead of going after Google itself, Microsoft has chosen to make deals with the smartphone makers like Samsung, HTC and others that give Microsoft royalty payments for each device sold.

Barnes and Noble has so far refused to give in to Microsoft's tactics and Microsoft decided to sue Barnes and Noble back in March on charges of patent infringement. In its letter to the DOJ, Barnes and Noble asked the federal government to look into Microsoft's dealings in this matter, saying, "Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices."

If Barnes and Noble manages to prove that Microsoft's patent agreements are invalid it could be a huge blow for Microsoft which is trying to get smartphone makers to use its own Windows Phone operating system. But if the decision goes in Microsoft favor the company could force any smartphone maker who uses Android to pay a royalty fee.

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