Till date, Microsoft has milked the Android cash cow by taking on the likes of Samsung, HTC, General Dynamics Itronix and Google’s very own Motorola. While each of those patent deals has indirectly hurt Google, nothing’s pained more than the Redmond giant repeatedly targeting Google’s most high profile acquisition of all times, thereby raising questions – how do you solve a problem like Motorola?
All along, Microsoft has tried hard to expose cracks in Google’s new patent armour, and done so reasonably well. On Friday, Microsoft took the patent game to an altogether new high (read low) by directly adding Google as a defendant in Germany in one of its patent actions against Motorola Mobility.
Microsoft says the Google Maps software, developed by Google and found in Motorola handsets, violates technology it owns related to “identifying local resources.” Since Google owns the software, Microsoft has amended its complaint against Motorola Mobility to add its parent Google as an additional defendant. On its part, Motorola says that it has ‘limited’ information on the matter. The lawsuit began in the regional court of Munich last week with two hearings.
Needless to mention, the implications of this legal battle could be severe, especially if it’s ruled in favor of Microsoft. To put things in perspective, Motorola has already been forced to take down almost all of its Android tablets and smart phone offerings from German stores. If Microsoft were to emerge victorious, Google may well be forced to pull Android phones using the Maps or at least pull the app off its partners’ smartphones – both not very encouraging scenarios for the Android ecosystem.
“It became necessary to add Google to this particular case because Motorola maintains that it lacks sufficient information about actions occurring on Google’s servers,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in an e-mailed statement on Friday.
As expected, Google has responded strongly stating “We want to focus on innovation, not litigation, but we’ll vigorously defend against any amended complaint Microsoft files.”
As for Motorola Mobility, its German dream has turned into a nightmare. The company’s been forced to withdraw almost all Android smartphones and tablets and it could get worse if Microsoft wins this legal battle.