Microsoft requested European Union antitrust regulators to probe Motorola Mobility on claims that the United States phone manufacturer is blocking sales of Windows and Xbox products.
“Earlier today, Microsoft filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Motorola Mobility and Google,” wrote Microsoft’s Vice President and Deputy General Counsel David Heiner in a blog post this morning. “We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products.”
Microsoft’s post, “Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web,” lambasted Motorola Mobility for not making industry standard patents available on reasonable and fair terms, and for using those patents to block competitors from shipping products.
The industry apparently agreed many years ago to define common technical standards for everyone to use and build compatible Wi-Fi and video products. However, Heiner contended, Motorola is backtracking on its word and attempting to use standard patents for “killing video on the Web.”
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Motorola wants the Redmond, Wash.-based Company to remove its products from the market, or drop its ability to play video and connect wirelessly. The products in question apply industry standards for which Motorola owns patents, and the firm demands a $22.50 royalty for its 50 patents on the video/Wi-Fi standard, called “H.264.” According to Heiner, there are 2,300 more patents through 29 companies on the standard, but they are offered on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms.
It is worth noting that while Google demands a hefty royalty fee for patents, Microsoft orders the same for each Android phone sold. Mobile phone manufacturer HTC must pay Microsoft $5 for every handset sold with the Google-owned Android operating system installed due to a patent settlement deal on an intellectual property infringement. With that said, it seems only Microsoft can insist on exorbitant fees, because Heiner chastised Motorola for doing the same and argued Google’s actions will send the world into an Internet Stone Age:
Watching video on the Web is one of the primary uses of computers these days. And we’ve all grown accustomed to ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to the Internet, often made possible by the Wi-Fi standard. Imagine what a step back it would be if we could no longer watch videos on our computing devices or connect via Wi-Fi, or if only some products, but not others, had these capabilities. That would defeat the whole purpose of an industry standard.”
Heiner further took aim at Google and decried the search engine of not changing Motorola’s course after it became the new owner. The European Commission and the U.S. Justice Department approved Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility just last week.
Google is adamant on protecting Android device manufacturers against patent actions by Microsoft, but Heiner countered the Internet giant’s argument:
Microsoft is making its patents—standard essential and otherwise—available to all Android manufacturers on fair and reasonable terms. In fact, more than 70 percent of Android devices are now licensed to use Microsoft’s patent portfolio.
Microsoft’s Google-bashing is recently amped due to a launched smear campaign against the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine. Microsoft even posted a YouTube video depicting Google as a seedy salesman selling productivity software “on the side.” Meanwhile, another video targeted Gmail for allegedly violating consumers’ privacy rights just to leach advertising keywords.
Through all the mud-slinging, one bone of contention is known: Microsoft clearly views Google as an eminent and real threat these days. After all, Google does compete with the company on operating systems, smartphones, search engine, email, and productivity suites.