Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond has answered Microsoft’s criticisms over Android patents.
Google claimed on Wednesday that Apple and Microsoft had “jumped into bed together” to wager a patent war against Android. The search giant’s chief legal officer, David Drummond highlighted Microsoft’s recent purchase of Novell’s old patents in part of a group known as CPTN. CPTN’s members include Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC. Google believes that Android’s success has created an organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and others through patents. “This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth,” claimed Drummond on Wednesday.
Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, responded to Google’s claims in a Twitter message on Wednesday. “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no,” said Smith. Microsoft’s communications chief, Frank Shaw, also posted an email message of correspondence between the two companies. Drummond has now updated his original blog post with the following:
“It’s not surprising that Microsoft would want to divert attention by pushing a false “gotcha!” while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised. If you think about it, it’s obvious why we turned down Microsoft’s offer. Microsoft’s objective has been to keep from Google and Android device-makers any patents that might be used to defend against their attacks. A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners. Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android — and having us pay for the privilege — must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn’t fall for it.”
Drummond also adds that the U.S. Department of Justice intervened and forced Microsoft to sell the patents it bought. “This only reaffirms our point: Our competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales,” added Drummond. Microsoft has not yet responded to Drummond’s updated post.
Update: Microsoft’s Frank Shaw has responded via Twitter:
“Hello again David Drummond. This is going to take a few tweets, so here we go. Let’s look at what Google does not dispute in their reply.
- We offered Google the opportunity to bid with us to buy the Novell patents; they said no.
- Why? BECAUSE they wanted to buy something that they could use to assert against someone else.
- SO partnering with others & reducing patent liability across industry is not something they wanted to help do”