A recent blog post from Google claims that Microsoft, Apple and Oracle have teamed up in a bid to make it difficult or expensive for users to access the Android open operating system.
Microsoft, Apple and Oracle have come together to buy old patents of Nortel. Having done that, they are now asking manufacturers to pay a fee of $15 for every Android system they wish to use on their mobile devices. This fee makes it more expensive for phone manufacturers to use the Android apps in their phones, compared to the Windows Phone 7.
Google’s official blog claims that the imposition of this “tax” for these dubious patents is a means of fighting Google through litigation rather than competing by developing their own patent-worthy technology.
The U.S. Department of Justice should ask Microsoft and its partners to license the said patents at a reasonable price as it does not approve of the acquisition of patents as an anti-competitive tool.
In the meantime, Microsoft has responded to this allegation, saying that Google had also been invited to bid jointly for these patents, but had refused.
Google, in turn, replied saying that joining the group would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners, thus making sure that they were unable to assert themselves against these patents. It would also mean that Google would end up paying for something that would actually hamper the growth of their platform.
Microsoft has further said that Google refused to join the other companies because it wanted to buy these mobile patents for itself, to assert against others. Clearly, the last word on this issue is yet to come, but in the meantime, it will be the end users who suffer as they will end up paying heavily for the use of the patents.