Google files EU complaint, calls Microsoft and Nokia patent trolls

Apparently starting to feel a little threatened, Google has filed a complaint with the European Comission accusing Microsoft and Nokia of colluding to raise the price of mobile devices, a move Microsoft calls 'desperate,' according to a statement given to PCMag. And while Nokia was silent, Google sees things a bit differently.

Google released the following statement on the complaint:

Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices.

That's right; Google thinks that the folks at Nokia and Microsoft are creating patent trolls, which is even worse than being a patent troll. Microsoft, of course, sees things differently, claiming that Google's Android OS infringes upon numerous patents, and demanding that some device makers pay royalties on every device sold, as you probably already know. But this complaint goes a little bit further, targeting 2,000 patents sold by Nokia and Microsoft in September to a firm called MOSAID Technologies.

MOSAID, it so happens, specializes in collecting royalties on their patents, which, frankly, is kind of what a patent troll is. Google claims that the two sold the patents to MOSAID with the intention of creating problems for Mountain View, but Microsoft is just shaking its head, according to their statement:

Google is complaining about patents when it won't respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95 percent of mobile search and advertising.

As part of the terms of sale to MOSAID, Microsoft and Nokia each stand to gain a third of MOSAID's royalties, which could potentially add up to $3 billion over the next 10 years. All in all that's a pretty good sum, no matter how much money the companies are already making.

So, who's right, who's wrong? That's up to the European Commission, but we'll try and let you know when they make a decision. In the meantime, you can let us know what you think below, and read up on Google's own patent problems.

Source: MSNBC | PCMag

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16 Comments

Raising the price of mobile devices? Did I stumble into some parallel world where the iphone doesn't exist?

I like how the commenter's above didn't read the article or didn't understand what Google is filing a complaint about.

MiukuMac said,
I like how the commenter's above didn't read the article or didn't understand what Google is filing a complaint about.

But it's quicker to read the title and grab their pitchforks

There is no clear "right or wrong" really. Google has a point because what MS/Nokia is doing is a bit shady, and it isn't directly benefiting the consumer in any meaningful way. However, MS/Nokia have the right use use patent law to it's full extent to gain the biggest advantage possible... that's business!

I think Google are realising how hard it is to "Do No Evil" in a market like this, especially when your competitors play the patent game so well.

SuperHans said,
There is no clear "right or wrong" really. Google has a point because what MS/Nokia is doing is a bit shady, and it isn't directly benefiting the consumer in any meaningful way. However, MS/Nokia have the right use use patent law to it's full extent to gain the biggest advantage possible... that's business!

I'm pretty sure it's illegal in most countries to fund umbrella companies to attack competitors in order to circumvent anti-trust scrutiny. If Microsoft and Nokia are colluding, then this is clearly anti-competitive. It's not surprising though. There have been rumours of a Microsoft-Nokia pincer attack strategy against Android for a while now. The difference here is, they are funding other companies to do their dirty work for them.

SuperHans said,

I think Google are realising how hard it is to "Do No Evil" in a market like this, especially when your competitors play the patent game so well.

Doesn't that say something about the patent system as a whole? Software shouldn't be patentable. And if it is, there needs to be far tighter controls than there are at the moment.

If Microsoft succeeds in wiping out Android, they'll be next to no competition in the mobile market any more. That means the desktop PC market all over again. Nobody wants that.

simplezz said,

I'm pretty sure it's illegal in most countries to fund umbrella companies to attack competitors in order to circumvent anti-trust scrutiny. If Microsoft and Nokia are colluding, then this is clearly anti-competitive. It's not surprising though. There have been rumours of a Microsoft-Nokia pincer attack strategy against Android for a while now. The difference here is, they are funding other companies to do their dirty work for them.


Doesn't that say something about the patent system as a whole? Software shouldn't be patentable. And if it is, there needs to be far tighter controls than there are at the moment.

If Microsoft succeeds in wiping out Android, they'll be next to no competition in the mobile market any more. That means the desktop PC market all over again. Nobody wants that.

I couldn't agree more! With the second part that is. I'll take your word for the first part.

DaveGreen said,
According to FOSS Patents, the case il dismissed.
http://www.fosspatents.com/201...-antitrust-allegations.html

That's Florian Mueller's site. He's a paid agent of Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle. So naturally everything he writes is anti-Google. But as we've seen from the Oracle patent case, his predictions are way off.

In this particular prediction of his, he's using the US' ITC commission as a definitive indicator, or benchmark if you will, to judge what the EU's response will be. And as demonstrated by the browser ballot box, the EU takes a far more proactive approach against anti-competitive companies. So he's dead wrong here too.

Edited by simplezz, Jun 1 2012, 12:15pm :

simplezz said,

That's Florian Mueller's site. He's a paid agent of Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle. So naturally everything he writes is anti-Google. But as we've seen from the Oracle patent case, his predictions are way off.

In this particular prediction of his, he's using the US' ITC commission as a definitive indicator, or benchmark if you will, to judge what the EU's response will be. And as demonstrated by the browser ballot box, the EU takes a far more proactive approach against anti-competitive companies. So he's dead wrong here too.

Doesn't change the fact that the ITC found this complaint from Google utterly laughable. The EU will as well.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has funded trolls to attack the competition. Just look at SCO. Apple is doing the same thing as well in order to avoid the spotlight of regulators.

I just wish Microsoft, Apple, and other companies would compete on the merits of their products rather than using patents to manipulate the market.

This isn't the first time. SCO is a prime example. Another, albeit with a different purpose, is ICOMP: http://falkvinge.net/2012/03/0...o-smear-google-audaciously/

These dirty tactics to hurt competitors while avoiding the glare of regulators really does reinforce the "evil" label Microsoft has acquired over the years. It seems incapable of competing on a level playing field, so it instead resorts to patent trolling, secret NDA's, and general anti-competitive behaviour.

I just wish Microsoft, Apple, and others would compete on the merits of their own products rather than trying to monopolise markets through morally repugnant means.

simplezz said,
I just wish Microsoft, Apple, and others would compete on the merits of their own products rather than trying to monopolise markets through morally repugnant means.

You forgot to add Google as well. It's pretty clear they are not any better. I mean, criticizing Microsoft and Nokia's use of Mosiad when Google's done business with them in the past reeks of hypocrisy.

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