Microsoft’s lawyer says “Android stands on our shoulders”

October 31, 2011
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Microsoft has a keen interested in Android despite selling its own mobile operating system - an interest that's vetted to the tune of more than $400 million a year in kickbacks from 53% of Android devices sold. Now Microsoft's deputy patent troll intellectual property counsel says that Google has built its OS on the back of technology developed (and owned) by the Redmond software giant. Microsoft is only one of many companies gunning for Android manufacturers, but tellingly, not targeting Google itself.

Horacio Gutiérrez, deputy general counsel for Microsoft's intellectual property group, told the San Francisco Chronicle the following in an interview:

These devices have moved from having a rudimentary phone system to being a full-fledged computer, with a sophisticated, modern operating system. In doing that, they have really stood on the shoulder of companies like Microsoft who made all these billions of dollars in investments.

He went on to talk about Microsoft innovations that are "really critical features that make smart phones what they are today." Without going into detail, Gutiérrez mentioned synchronizing data with servers and back-end hardware and software innovations that he believes belong to Microsoft. According to Gutiérrez, these patents aren't contingent upon the final outcome of a software process - say, making a web browser close when the desired action is completed - but on the way in which the outcome is achieved. Different methods of doing the same thing are covered by different patents.
A surprising number of Android manufacturers would seem to agree, or at least, they don't want to fight out the finer details in court. Samsung, HTC, ODM company Compal and many others pay royalties to Microsoft for every Android device sold. In fact, the number of Android devices that contribute directly to Microsoft's pockets far exceeds the number of Windows Phone 7 devices sold, even if the latter is more directly beneficial to the company. Google asserts that Microsoft is manipulating the IP and court system to extort its hardware partners.
[via The Register]


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  • http://tehk.org tehk

    Does Ballmer even realize that Android is running off of Linux? The technology giant Android is standing on top of is Unix, not Windows!

    • Anonymous

      If you follow the Linux world then you’ll know that this is EXACTLY why they are making these comments. Microsoft has for years made claims that Linux itself infringes on a large number of their patents. But they NEVER say what those patents are. Eventually they started running around making these back room deals with smaller companies over these so called infringements. What you see today going on with Android is just a continuation of what they started a few years ago. Many believe that there are no patents even talked about in these closed door deals and there may not even be money changing hands in many of them. Its all a big scam. I wish some of the Android blogs would do a sort of history report on this so that Android users might know some of the history behind whats going on today. I’m sure people would like to know.

  • Anonymous

    Well at least this is that same sense of self-entitlement that is dooming microsoft to decline and irrelevance.

  • TechGuy-Tech

    Microsoft stood on the shoulders of DEC when they “created” MSDOS for the IBM PC in 1980.

    So much of the original MSDOS was remarkably similar to CP/M – the 8.3 filename, wildcards etc. etc.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPTPK6PG7CJQLL2GVUYQDLQQYA Droid

    microsoft is parasit of world technology.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPTPK6PG7CJQLL2GVUYQDLQQYA Droid

    ..and Ballmer and bill Gates is satan

  • skobay

    If Android is standing on MS’s shoulders, it’s really quite convenient.  That way MS can look up and kiss Google’s @$$