There is fine line between protecting your patents and bullying other companies, a line that many different companies in the mobile world have been flirting with. Apple recently won a patent against HTC regarding the ability to touch a phone number from within your mobile browser and then have it transfer to your phone dialer immediately for calling.
This kind of patent isn’t going to hurt HTC nor is it going to really help Apple, instead it is just going to be a pain for the end-user.
These kind of patent laws really have me somewhat flustered because they don’t really seem to help or hurt either company, they just seem like bully tactics. Once again, I do understand the importance of patent law and protecting your earnings, but sometimes I feel that companies cross the line.
I suppose I would feel differently if I was running a multi-billion dollar company, instead I’m a techie that really supports and enjoys the open-source side of the fence when possible.
While the Apple suite doesn’t really change anything, Microsoft has actually had quite a bit of success on this front.
Microsoft has recently won a patent suit against Motorola that will likely result in Motorola paying Microsoft a licensing fee for certain features that are used in their Android handsets. Whether or not Motorola will contest the suit or enter into agreement with Microsoft, is yet to be unseen.
For Microsoft, Motorola is likely a huge target at this point due to the fact that it is being purchased by its mobile OS rival, Google. Anything it can do to slow down Google and Motorola could help Microsoft gain a larger base of support for Windows Phone.
If Microsoft can take another features away from Android with patent suits, it can combine these loss of features with the malware problems of Android, it might be able to win a little more support for its own platform.
Microsoft has claimed in various cases that Android (and Linux in general) infringes on patents related to technologies in Windows and Windows Phone. Over the course of a few years the company has wons suits that require multiple companies to pay for the right to use Linux.
Some of these companies include Samsung, LG Electronics, Fuji-Xerox, Brother, TomTom, and Kyocera Mita.
The companies General Dynamics Itronix, Velocity Micro, and Onkyo are among Android companies that have agreed to a licensing agreement with Microsoft.
Are the patent suits warranted? Again, this is likely up to how you view patent law but at least the court believes it is, and I suppose that is all that matters.
What I do find interesting is that a completely non-NT-based Operating System (Linux//Android) is giving up coin to Microsoft. No official information on the royalty agreement has been released, though.
Ironically, Microsoft is likely making nearly just as much off of Android as it is on its own mobile platform, Windows Phone.
Microsoft is preparing for a large gamble with Windows 8, and so I think it is likely a wise decision that they pull out all stops to slow down competition in anticipation of Windows 8 tablets.
Between Apple and Microsoft, Android may not have any features left by the time Windows 8 hits the market. Obviously I’m exaggerating a little, though maybe not a lot.
So what do you think about these kinds of patent suits? Do you feel that they are all necessary or that sometimes companies push things a bit too far?
Additionally, will the removal of various features and the creation of Android licensing hurt Android in the long run? Share your thoughts below.