Microsoft gets help in fighting possible Xbox 360 US import ban

A few weeks ago, a judge recommended that the International Trade Commission place a ban on the importation of the 4 GB and 250 GB versions of Microsoft's Xbox 360 S consoles into the US for violating patents owned by Motorola. Now it looks like a number of companies, including a couple that are normally rivals to Microsoft, are writing letters to the ITC requesting that the organization not ban the US import of the game console.

Ars Technica reports that these companies, which include Apple, Cisco, HP, Nokia, Intel and Activision, feel that Motorola is not offering to license the patents to Microsoft under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms and is instead taking another route by suing Microsoft.

In addition to those companies, a number of US lawmakers have also written to the ITC with their own objections to the possible import ban. US House of Representatives member Darrell Issa (R-CA) told the ITC in his own letter, "An exclusion order would eliminate the only U.S. based videogame console from a market."

Judge David Shaw had previously ruled that the Xbox 360 had infringed on four patents owned by Motorola regarding the use of H.264 video encoding. The judge's ruling then went to the ITC commissioners, which can allow the judge's determinations to stand, or they could also reject the recommendations. The commissioners could also change the judge's recommendations or send them back for more consideration.

Source: Ars Technica

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35 Comments

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They'll go through whatever legal stuff because that's what legal departments do to justify their existence, but if a fraction of Xbox owners complained to their Congressional reps & Senators any potential issue would go away, especially being an election year. wiki.answers.com reports 39 mill Xbox 360's sold in the US as of January 2010.

I'm just surprised more companies aren't helping them out. The Xbox has the largest share of the gaming market as of yet and is home to a lot of innovation. MadCatz, Bungie, 343i, Treyarch, Bulldog, EA, etc need to also lend support. Without the Xbox there could be a huge down turn in the economy. I think that we will see the ITC disagree with the judges verdict. If not, however, I'm moving to Canada.

Nicholas Coulter said,
I'm just surprised more companies aren't helping them out. The Xbox has the largest share of the gaming market as of yet and is home to a lot of innovation. MadCatz, Bungie, 343i, Treyarch, Bulldog, EA, etc need to also lend support. Without the Xbox there could be a huge down turn in the economy. I think that we will see the ITC disagree with the judges verdict. If not, however, I'm moving to Canada.

previous generation PS2 was king, this generation its the Wii. Xbox is not, and never has been the largest share of the gaming market.
even currently the xbox is just marginally ahead of the PS3.

Apple and MS share patents, they are not really rivals when it comes to them.

Nokia lives of MS, they are not rivals in any form of the word.

Activision releases games like COD for XBOX and even PC. Not rivals at all.

Intel well is the biggest cpu manufacturer, they have nothing to do with patents, or being a rival of Microsoft.

These companies stand to lose just as much as MS if this ban goes through.

the seer amount of 'fail' comments on this article makes me sad for the future of humanity.

We all know the US Patent system is flawed. Banning a US made console in the US is the height of stupidity especially just for video decoding..

ILikeTobacco said,

Hopefully it gets banned permanently. Will push Microsoft to stop
working on it and move funds over to the next gen project.


An idiotic suggestion right there. Do you honestly think Microsoft aren't already hard at
work in developing the next gen XBox console that'll eventually replace the 360 series?

DJGM said,

An idiotic suggestion right there. Do you honestly think Microsoft aren't already hard at
work in developing the next gen XBox console that'll eventually replace the 360 series?

That is an idiot reply right there. Please point to the part of my comment where I say they are not working on it at all. O right.... I am saying put more funds and minds on it. Reading comprehension goes a long ways on this site.

ILikeTobacco said,

That is an idiot reply right there. Please point to the part of my comment where I say they are not working on it at all. O right.... I am saying put more funds and minds on it. Reading comprehension goes a long ways on this site.

Meanwhile the overwhelming majority of their funds for the Entertainment and Games division are completely axed, rendering their R&D funds to a mere shadow of its former figure.

Yes, I agree, that's a bloody excellent idea. Well done

Most of you don't know that Microsoft owns a lot of Apple's stock, Apple would be dead without them, so Apple is only doing the right thing, the whole rival thing is called marketing.

PmRd said,

Most of you don't know that Microsoft owns a lot of Apple stock, Apple would be dead
without them, so Apple is only doing the right thing, the whole rival thing is called marketing.


Microsoft bailed out Apple way back in 1997 by buying up a sizable chunk of Apple stock.
This in turn, helped Apple out of the financial mess the company was in at the time, and
effectively prevented it going out of business. I'm sure since then, that fruit based tech
company would've since bought back most if not all of the stock Microsoft bought.

I'd hazard a guess Microsoft are only minority shareholders in Apple these days.

DJGM said,

I'd hazard a guess Microsoft are only minority shareholders in Apple these days.

Microsoft holds no Apple stock today, and was a minority shareholder even in 1997.

PmRd said,
Most of you don't know that Microsoft owns a lot of Apple's stock, Apple would be dead without them, so Apple is only doing the right thing, the whole rival thing is called marketing.

MS actually divested that investment way back in 2001. The only difference why MS and Apple don't sue each other a lot is because they have several multi-year cross licensing agreements. Apple benefited a lot when they introduced the iPhone due to MS patents.

Oh, and BTW, these cross-licensing patents were forced on to MS by the hand wringing of the DOJ..if I remember correctly!

I'm really confused about this lawsuit! isn't H.264 an ISO/ITU standard?? How does Motorola have patents on the encoding? and doesn't the Xbox360 only do the decoding side of things?? =|

PoohGQ said,
I'm really confused about this lawsuit! isn't H.264 an ISO/ITU standard?? How does Motorola have patents on the encoding? and doesn't the Xbox360 only do the decoding side of things?? =|
The payment of royalties depends on how h .264 is being used. Microsoft holds patents in H .264 however, it pays more in royalties than it makes off the patents. Since there's no way of telling currently how they are using the standard on the XBox it's hard to tell why Motorola is up in arms.

KCRic said,
The payment of royalties depends on how h .264 is being used. Microsoft holds patents in H .264 however, it pays more in royalties than it makes off the patents. Since there's no way of telling currently how they are using the standard on the XBox it's hard to tell why Motorola is up in arms.

Thank you for explaining that!

simplezz said,

Perhaps if the Xbox did get a ban, it would teach Microsoft to stop suing and attacking GNU/Linux.


What the hell has this got to do with Linux?!? Or, are you just trolling for the sake of it?

simplezz said,
Perhaps if the Xbox did get a ban, it would teach Microsoft to stop suing and attacking GNU/Linux.

suing linux?? when??? microsoft is involved in some of the development of it..

sexypepperoni said,
Funny that Microsoft needs the help of all these companies, Apple could do it on their own.

Can I have some fries with that bull****?

sexypepperoni said,
Funny that Microsoft needs the help of all these companies, Apple could do it on their own.

Microsoft didn't ask for help. The other companies insisted.

sexypepperoni said,
Funny that Microsoft needs the help of all these companies, Apple could do it on their own.

Stupidiest thing I've read for years.

sexypepperoni said,
Funny that Microsoft needs the help of all these companies, Apple could do it on their own.

Lol, what an ignorant comment...

sexypepperoni said,
Funny that Microsoft needs the help of all these companies, Apple could do it on their own.

This was to common sense, reading comprehension and logic what warwagon is to jokes, just even worse!
Incredible.

sexypepperoni stroke again!

GS:mac

I don't care about the reasoning Apple ect have for backing MS, I just want Google to stop this nonsense. If this helps end it quicker, then good.

dtboos said,
I don't care about the reasoning Apple ect have for backing MS, I just want Google to stop this nonsense. If this helps end it quicker, then good.
What the hell are you talking about?! Google didn't do this, Motorola did. Sure, Google purchased a big part of Moto but that doesn't mean it was Google that did this.

By the way, even if it was Google - I believe Apple has pulled more crap like this than Google and Motorola combined.

This is pretty epic. It's like a season finale where all rivals come together as one to defeat the bug guy. I like it.

Also, why are these companies helping anyway? It's not like the Xbox is helping them, is it?

I hope the Xbox import isn't banned, especially since all these companies are working together to keep it going.

sM4llziE said,
This is pretty epic. It's like a season finale where all rivals come together as one to defeat the bug guy. I like it.

Also, why are these companies helping anyway? It's not like the Xbox is helping them, is it?

I hope the Xbox import isn't banned, especially since all these companies are working together to keep it going.

In Apple's case, if Microsoft is found infringing, they might be as well (same reason why Apple is going after Samsung, but not HTC for the same patent-infringing {x}). Cisco won't be able to sell the same amount of networking equipment if the XBox goes off the market for awhile (home gaming routers, ISP equipment, etc). Intel, processors. Activision, games.

cybertimber2008 said,
In Apple's case, if Microsoft is found infringing, they might be as well (same reason why Apple is going after Samsung, but not HTC for the same patent-infringing {x}). Cisco won't be able to sell the same amount of networking equipment if the XBox goes off the market for awhile (home gaming routers, ISP equipment, etc). Intel, processors. Activision, games.

I disagree, the reason they are all working together is because they don't want the meaning of FRAND to be obliterated, if it did all hell would break loose amongst all companies, something I doubt anyone wants to see...
...with the exclusion of Activision who probably only cares about their main profit source (Xbox games).

This is what happens with the patent system in it's current state and the verge of going global thermal nuclear war among companies.

Do they want to enforce patents, rights and money as it is, or do they want to bend the rules when it's too convenient (or the companies are too big).

Jason Stillion said,
This is what happens with the patent system in it's current state and the verge of going global thermal nuclear war among companies.

Do they want to enforce patents, rights and money as it is, or do they want to bend the rules when it's too convenient (or the companies are too big).

It's Google who abuses FRAND patents, Microsoft and Apple sue other companies on NON FRAND patents