Google accuses competitors of strangle Android plot

Google has accused a group headed by Apple, Microsoft and other technology giants of colluding to “strangle” Android smartphones by banding together to buy patents for smartphones and mobile networks.

Wednesday’s accusation came in an official blog posting, a day after reports of a Justice Department probe into the purchase of a massive patent portfolio from bankrupt telecommunications firm Nortel, fearing that the patents could be used to illegally hobble Android.

Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, accused the purchasing consortium of collaborating in a “hostile, organised campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”

The group, which also comprises Sony, Oracle, Ericsson, Research in Motion and EMC, paid 4.5 billion dollars last month for the thousands of patents, which cover wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, service provider, semiconductor and other technologies.

Drummond claimed that the group planned to use the patents in an anti-competitive strategy to throttle makers of phones using Android, which is the world’s top-selling smartphone software with 550,000 activations per day and a 38 per cent market share.

The move came amid an escalating patent war among the major smartphone companies. Microsoft has already demanded 15 dollars from Samsung for every Android device it sells, while Apple is locked in patent wars with HTC, Motorola and Samsung, three of the major Android manufacturers.

Drummond said that most patent claims were questionable. “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,” Drummond wrote. “They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices.”

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 4:51:19 AM |

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