Microsoft loves Android. In fact, its irony so thick you could cut it with a knife: it looks like Microsoft has made more money off Android than its own Windows Phone OS. Whether it’s HTC, General Dynamics, LG or Samsung, the Windows giant has left no stone unturned to make money out of its Android patents.
The Redmond giant also filed a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory) patent abuse claim against Motorola that the latter is demanding unreasonable compensation for Microsoft’s use of industry standard patents related to viewing video on the Web that Motorola holds claim to. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Google has now been left wondering – How do you solve a problem like Motorola?
Though the search giant spent over $12 billion to secure Motorola and its extensive patent portfolio, there’s no doubt that Microsoft still holds an upper hand in this fierce legal battle. While in the past, Microsoft has been ruthlessly going after any companies infringing on Android patents, it now seems to be softening its stand with Motorola. To that effect, Microsoft yesterday published a blog post suggesting that it’s it was open to a patent settlement with Google’s Motorola Mobility.
The post authored by Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said that the company was seeking a long-term agreement with Google and Motorola to provide “reasonable” royalty rates for its patented technology.
“Google can take one of two paths: it can choose either to engage in serious discussions to search for patent peace or persevere in its diversionary tactics. We hope it will choose the first course, and we stand ready to engage in good faith if it does.”
In the past, Motorola fired back at Microsoft with its own patent-infringement claims targeting the Xbox video-gaming system and Windows operating system. While I don’t see Microsoft and Motorola reaching a settlement, I appreciate the latter’s intent to do so. However, the volume of infringed patents as well as the “market rate” fee schedule clause does not inspire much confidence.
While Google declined to comment, Motorola Mobility responded with the following statement:
“Microsoft wants to undercut Motorola’s industry-leading patent portfolio, licensed by more than 50 other companies on fair and reasonable terms, while seeking inflated royalties tied to standards that Microsoft alone controls. Motorola is always open to negotiations that avoid wasteful and abusive patent claims.”
As for Microsoft, its goal as always seems to be to take Android to the bank!