In a corporate blog post on Wednesday, Google's Senior VP and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond spoke out against Android patent attacks and accused Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) and other companies of waging a "hostile, organized campaign against Android" through "bogus patents."
Here's a choice sampling of Drummond's outrage:
- A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a 'tax' for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.
This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth. Microsoft and Apple’s winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion. Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means -- which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop.
Drummond doesn't stop there. He goes on to say [Ed note: And the sound of a fist pounding the table is audible here] that "we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it. ... We’re looking intensely at a number of ways to do that. ... We’re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices -- and fewer choices for their next phone."
So the fight is on!
Google's Android operating system is indeed swept up in the current wave of smartphone litigation. But this statement from Google suggests these legal disputes are about to escalate even further. (See Apple vs. Android Patent Spat Goes Global and Handset Makers Air Patent Grievances.)
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile