Microsoft isn't content to pick up a few dollars on each and every Android handset sold by Samsung, HTC and now LG; it wants Google to eat its words about "dubious" patents being a "tax" on innovation. Shortly after announcing its patent licensing deal with LG earlier today, some of Microsoft's senior execs took to Twitter to needle Google about the so called "patents-as-weapons meme."
"Hey Google – we are the 70% #anotherandroidlicense" head of communications Frank Shaw opened the salvo with, before asking Google "Can we just agree to drop the patents-as-weapons meme?" It's always been Microsoft's argument that, in fact, cross-licensing deals is the most mature and sustainable way of managing the industry, something Shaw is keen to hammer home. "When effective licensing enables companies to share IP," his tweet continued, "the metaphor falls apart."
Shaw's sniping was soon joined by Microsoft EVP and General Counsel Brad Smith, picking up the #anotherandroidlicense hashtag and suggesting that "It’s time to recognize that in #patent world, lawsuits are the 1%; license agreements are the 99%." Other Microsoft staff joined in the fun.
Google is yet to comment on the LG licensing news, but we can't imagine it's particularly pleased that LG decided to deal rather than hold out. That decision - meaning Microsoft now has 70-percent of the Android marketplace paying it royalties of some level - puts further attention on the ongoing suit between Microsoft and Motorola Mobility, which Google is in the process of attempting to acquire.
Microsoft is currently suing Motorola, alleging its Android devices infringe on several of the software giant's patents. A preliminary ruling by the ITC found in favor of Microsoft, though a final review and ruling are still in the pipeline.