In a blog post Wednesday on Google’s official blog, Drummong highlights what’s been going on in the battle to control as many patents as you possibly can. As everyone knows Android is spreading like a California wildfire, or a tsnumai. Android sees 550,000 activations per day across 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers and has already surpassed iOS as the number one operating system in the US.
More after the break
This is of course making Apple very nervous. Now that Apple’s on the defensive they’ve picked a strange bedfellow in Redmond based Microsoft. Hopefully you’ve seen the historic scene in Pirates of Silicon Valley where Steve Jobs shouts at the top of his lungs to Bill Gates that he stole from Apple. Gates turns around and reminds Jobs that they both stole from Xerox. Since those days Microsoft and Apple have been at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Now though, as Drummond describes, the tables have turned and Apple and Microsoft are teaming together to purchase the patents of now defunct Novell and Nortel two previous telecom giants. To offer a little background, if companies were buying patent portfolios for the intended purpose, they’d sift through all the patents and figure out which undeveloped technologies in the patent portfolio they could bring to market, innovate and make money.
As Drummond explains, in the case of Microsoft and Apple they aren’t buying the patents to produce more products. They wanted the patents to find little nooks and crannies that can be applied in a patent war against Google and Android. Not only do they create costly, and long legal battles but they can also end up charging costly licensing fees.
The law seems to frown on companies buying patents for this reason now and Drummond is hoping that the laws can be enforced, however he says they’re not naive and are prepared for the fight.
For a great read see this blog entry