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Device operating systems

OS Watch: Google Alleges Microsoft-Nokia Pact

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) have a tight mobile partnership, but could it be considered collusion?

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) says it's so. In an antitrust complaint filed with the European Commission , the Android maker has accused the pair of illegally transferring 2,000 patents to so-called patent troll Mosaid Technologies Inc.

"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," Google said in a statement. "They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."

Both Nokia and Microsoft have denied the claims that its patent sale to Mosaid last September was illegal, and Microsoft called it a "desperate tactic" by Google.

In other mobile OS news:

  • Microsoft ups its apps game: Microsoft unveiled its final Windows 8 Release Preview Thursday, featuring bug fixes, Flash support and a refreshingly fresh app refresh. Included in the new OS were three Bing hubs -- travel, sports and news -- in its Metro user interface style. All include rich graphics, interactive features and sharing functionality. Engadget has the hands-on rundown here. (See OS Watch: Windows Phone 8 Specs Revealed.)
  • RIM's multimedia meltdown: There are many reasons why BlackBerry is floundering in the marketplace -- weak leadership, misguided product launches, slow pace of innovation -- but one analyst firm says it is its inability to meet the needs of media-hungry consumers that's bringing it down. (See RIM to Sell the BlackBerry Farm? and Report: RIM to Cut 2,000 More Jobs .)

    Analysys Mason says only 9 percent of BlackBerry users use the media player on the smartphones, compared to 98 percent that do on the iPhone. Sure, RIM's customers email a ton, but that's become a commodity. Multimedia is where it's at, and RIM's missed the mark, the firm says.

  • Facebook favors Opera: Facebook fueled the flames of speculation that it wants to acquire browser company Opera Software ASA this week when it swapped out Google's Chrome browser for Opera in its recommended browser list.

  • Apple doubles down on Siri: Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s virtual assistant has gotten mixed reviews and even a lawsuit, but CEO Tim Cook says she's about to get a whole lot smarter as Apple "doubles down" on the technology. Speaking at the AllThingsD conference earlier this week, Cook said: "I think you will be really pleased with some of the things you'll see over the coming months on this. We have some cool ideas about what Siri can do. We have a lot going on on this."

  • Android, Chrome come together: Don't expect a Chrome OS-based tablet from Google anytime soon. Instead, the software maker plans to meld the worlds of Chrome and Android together for future tablets, according to its VP of engineering, Linus Upson. It won't happen overnight though. Upson tells TechRadar that it will be a slow process as Microsoft's past attempts to run the same OS on multiple devices and, conversely, Apple's success with Mac and iOS suggest that different platforms need different OSs. But, the two experiences will become seamless, he promised.

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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