Marketplace Dynamics

  • Android Patent Infringement: Licensing is the Solution

    Posted by Horacio Gutierrez
    Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

    Microsoft files legal actions against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec in the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. District Court over alleged patent infringement.

  • Microsoft sues Motorola over Android patent infringements

    Posted by Horacio Gutierrez
    Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

    As many of you may have seen, Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones.  We have released a press statement about our suit, but I thought I would provide a bit more context here around the innovations infringed by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones and how our suit fits into ongoing developments in the smartphone space.

    As we all know, smartphones have become an integral part of people’s daily lives and are used for a variety of tasks beyond making phone calls; from watching video and listening to music to staying in touch with family and friends. The Microsoft innovations at issue in this case help make smartphones “smart.”  Indeed, our patents relate to key features that users have come to expect from every smartphone.  The ability to send and receive email on-the-go has driven smartphone adoption.  Nowadays, everyone expects to receive e-mail from multiple services in real time, to read it on their phones, and to reply or send new messages out – in continuous and seamless synchronization with their email services.  Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync, a proprietary technology that we developed, makes this possible. 

    But people manage more than email from their devices, they manage their lives.  Users can not only send and receive email from smartphones; they can also manage their calendars.  Their phones will remind them of appointments and allow them to schedule new ones.  Similarly, users maintain lists of contacts on their phones, so that they can easily stay connected – by phone, text message, or email – to the people they interact with most.  Again, our technology enables people to see their calendar and email contacts on their phone, and to manage their calendar and contacts from whatever device they are using.

    People use smartphones for much more as well:  they surf the web, play music and videos, and run apps.  Consumers expect more and more from their smartphones every day, making their phones resemble not so much a phone as a handheld computer.  Of course, for certain apps to run efficiently on handheld devices, they must be notified of changes in signal strength and battery power and the device must manage memory for storing data.  Given the wide range of functionality smartphones offer, they also need to be able to display relevant choices for users efficiently.  Microsoft’s patented technologies tackle all of these challenges.

  • Adding our Voice to Concerns about Search in Europe

    Posted by Brad Smith
    Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation

    Microsoft is filing a formal complaint with the European Commission as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation into whether Google has violated European competition law. We thought it important to be transparent and provide some information on what we’re doing and why.

    At the outset, we should be among the first to compliment Google for its genuine innovations, of which there have been many over the past decade.  As the only viable search competitor to Google in the U.S. and much of Europe, we respect their engineering prowess and competitive drive.  Google has done much to advance its laudable mission to “organize the world’s information,” but we’re concerned by a broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative.

    We’ve therefore decided to join a large and growing number of companies registering their concerns about the European search market.  By the European Commission’s own reckoning, Google has about 95 percent of the search market in Europe.  This contrasts with the United States, where Microsoft serves about a quarter of Americans’ search needs either directly through Bing or through our partnership with Yahoo!. 

  • Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web

    Posted by Dave Heiner
    Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Standards & Antitrust Group, Microsoft

    Earlier today, Microsoft filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Motorola Mobility and Google. We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products. Their offense? These products enable people to view videos on the Web and to connect wirelessly to the Internet using industry standards.

    You probably take for granted that you can view videos on your smartphone, tablet, PC, or DVD/Blu-ray player and connect to the Internet without being tied to a cable. That works because the industry came together years ago to define common technical standards that every firm can use to build compatible products for video and Wi-Fi. Motorola and all the other firms that contributed to these standards also made a promise to one another: that if they had any patents essential to the standards, they would make their patents available on fair and reasonable terms, and would not use them to block competitors from shipping their products.

    Motorola has broken its promise. Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.

    [Read more...]

  • Still Seeking Resolution to Search Competition Issues

    Posted by Dave Heiner
    Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

    Two years ago, Microsoft applauded the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission when they opened their antitrust investigations into Google’s business practices. We believed then, as we do now, that the future of competition in search is at stake in these investigations. This is important not just for Microsoft, but for the thousands of smaller companies whose businesses depend on a competitive search marketplace. That is why so many companies have made their concerns about Google’s misconduct known to regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The European Commission has stated publicly that Google must address four areas of concern regarding its business practices, or else it will face enforcement action. We understand that the European Commission and Google are working toward a binding, enforceable legal order that would address these competition law concerns.

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