Posted by David HowardCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Antitrust, Microsoft
You may be wondering what happened to the YouTube app for Windows Phone. Last May, after we launched a much improved app on our platform, Google objected on a number of grounds. We took our app down and agreed to work with Google to solve their issues. This week, after we addressed each of Google’s points, we re-launched the app, only to have Google technically block it.
We know that this has been frustrating, to say the least, for our customers. We have always had one goal: to provide our users a YouTube experience on Windows Phone that’s on par with the YouTube experience available to Android and iPhone users. Google’s objections to our app are not only inconsistent with Google’s own commitment of openness, but also involve requirements for a Windows Phone app that it doesn’t impose on its own platform or Apple’s (both of which use Google as the default search engine, of course).
Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Today we have asked the Attorney General of the United States to personally take action to permit Microsoft and other companies to share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information. We believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees our freedom to share more information with the public, yet the Government is stopping us. For example, Government lawyers have yet to respond to the petition we filed in court on June 19, seeking permission to publish the volume of national security requests we have received. We hope the Attorney General can step in to change this situation.
Until that happens, we want to share as much information as we currently can. There are significant inaccuracies in the interpretations of leaked government documents reported in the media last week. We have asked the Government again for permission to discuss the issues raised by these new documents, and our request was denied by government lawyers. In the meantime, we have summarized below the information that we are in a position to share, in response to the allegations in the reporting:
Not surprisingly, we remain subject to these types of legal obligations when we update our products and even when we strengthen encryption and security measures to better protect content as it travels across the web. Recent leaked government documents have focused on the addition of HTTPS encryption to Outlook.com instant messaging, which is designed to make this content more secure as it travels across the internet. To be clear, we do not provide any government with the ability to break the encryption, nor do we provide the government with the encryption keys. When we are legally obligated to comply with demands, we pull the specified content from our servers where it sits in an unencrypted state, and then we provide it to the government agency.
Posted by Brad SmithSenior 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!.
Posted by Dave HeinerVice 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.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate 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.