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Google and Microsoft Agree To Stand Down In Patent Wars 43

_0x783czar writes: Today Google and Microsoft have announced an end to litigious hostilities between themselves; signaling another step on the road to peace as the "global smartphone wars" wind down. This moves settles 18 lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany, including those involving Motorola Mobility's patents, which Google retained after selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo. Both companies hope this move will help settle the smartphone wars and refocus their efforts on consumers. Reuters reports: "Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers."
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Google and Microsoft Agree To Stand Down In Patent Wars

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  • by Prof.Phreak ( 584152 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:24AM (#50634565) Homepage

    If they really want things to change, they should agree to work towards abolishing stupid patents---not to create semi-trusts that other companies have to fight.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:32AM (#50634597) Journal
      It's the wrong outcome if you want goofy things like 'some punk startup turning into the next Microsoft or Google, rather than being a no-risk-to-us R&D venture to be purchased if they do come up with something cool'; but if you are Microsoft and Google; such an agreement is pretty sensible. Patent fights between 'superpowers' are expensive and largely no-win(yeah, individual cases do get won; but the settlements are tit-for-tat and nobody wants an import ban or something screwing up a product launch; and it's been largely settled that nobody has enough patents to stop the other from building 'a smartphone' of some reasonable usability); but being a superpower is good fun; and patents are still useful when encouraging people with neat stuff to sell to you rather than try to go it alone.

      (In an ideal world, hopefully we'd see both parties lobbying for changes that make this agreement obsolete; and if they do I'll revise my opinion; but that's still theoretical at this point.)
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:43AM (#50634655) Homepage

      So, you mean they've now formed a cartel designed to abuse their combined market power to keep other players out of the industry?

      Say it isn't so. I'm shocked, shocked I tell 'ya.

      Anti-competitive behavior in the free market? Why that seems so unlikely.

      No, wait, the other one ... big players will always for cartels to collude to fuck everybody else over, that's right.

      • Any form of patent system is naturally a deterrent to a free market as you have created an artificial monopoly by law and are using the government to enforce it. In any game with intelligent players, the best will tend to gravitate towards whatever strategy is most effective and in a world where neither party has enough patents to stop the other, it makes the most sense to cooperate against any third parties.

        You can't complain about one form of anti-competitive behavior when you have a system that is alr
    • If they really want things to change, they should agree to work towards abolishing stupid patents---not to create semi-trusts that other companies have to fight.

      These two really don't want things to change.

      Much of their proprietary art is patent protected already, and let's face it: fighting patent litigation is generally going to favor the corporations with the biggest war chests.

    • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Thursday October 01, 2015 @10:15AM (#50635219) Homepage Journal

      If they really want things to change, they should agree to work towards abolishing stupid patents---not to create semi-trusts that other companies have to fight.

      Google has been spending tens of millions lobbying for patent reform, and only started to playing the patent game when it became clear that changing it wasn't going to work quickly enough -- though they haven't stopped trying to reform patents. The apparent contradiction has led some some pundits [] to question their motives, though I don't see that it's really a contradiction... the patent system is badly broken, but that doesn't mean Google can function in the industry as it is without playing the patent game. It's perfectly reasonable to play by rules you hate because that's what you have to do while simultaneously trying to change the rules.

      Personally, I think software patents are a crock, but I'm listed as inventor on a few of them. I hate the game, but it is what it is so I play it while donating to organizations trying to change it. My rule is that I donate 50% of my patent bonuses to the EFF. I suppose if I were a better man I'd donate 100% (after taxes), but I do like to have some recompense for the effort I put into writing disclosures.

      (Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer, but I'm speaking for myself only, not for Google.)

    • Alternate title (Score:4, Insightful)

      by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @10:27AM (#50635329) Homepage Journal

      Patent trolls agree not to ruin their arsenal, save it for innovators.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:25AM (#50634571)

    How are lawyers supposed to make a living if people act reasonably?

    • Microsoft and Google have decided that sufficient funds have been transferred to both of their respective legal teams that the ROI of any judgement would yield a net loss for each of the companies. Patent in affect have become the nuclear options and both parties had enough pointed at each other that any assured continued action would yield in a MAD scenario. So with the legal council fully funded with no more desire to shove the stove pipe with future funds, both parties have decided for the time being to
      • Maybe the fact the two companies are now led by Indian Americans also has something to do with the de-escalation? I don't know much about the different Indian cultures, but it appears that the families of both MS CEO Satya Nadella and and Google CEO Sundar Pichai come from southern India (different states though). Of course this doesn't explain why the former European American CEOs of the two companies couldn't get along with each other.

  • ... at least until one of them "Pearl Harbor"'s the other...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google and Microsoft have agreed to target Apple in the smartphone wars.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )
      Or Microsoft has decided that Android cant be unseated and its easier to fight for second place.
  • It's a trap

    • Or worse.

      They've decided to {shudder} combine forces and go all Pinky and the Brain on the rest of us.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Yeah, it may well be. I'm intrigued to know what's in this for Google. Are Android phones still being artificially inflated in price by Microsoft's frivolous patent shakedowns against all Android manufacturers?

      The whole reason Google retaliated was because of that idiocy, and if Google is ceasing it's retaliation to halt Microsoft's counter-retaliation then Microsoft has won, and Google has lost hard. Anyone know if Microsoft is giving up on the billions it rakes in from those Android shakedowns? If it isn'

  • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:32AM (#50634595)
    "Patent Lawyers Threaten to Sue Google, Microsoft for Loss of Income. "

    One litigator, misty eyed, related the personal side to this tragedy, "We had just ordered our (sniff) little Bernard and his sister Berkley their own matching custom ostrich-leather maid saddles... but now all our plans, even summering in the Maldives, everything is on hold....All this 'drop the litigation' talk is madness I tell you, Madness!"
  • by CSHARP123 ( 904951 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:54AM (#50634735)
    We need to see how they work with other start-ups and third party companies. Since the complete details are not disclosed, does this mean, MS is not going to sue other Android marketeers?
  • All Quiet in the District Court for the East District of Texas...
  • pet peeve: Can we stop calling everything a "war" ?

    Calling it a global smartphone war makes it sound like a real issue. What's wrong with simply calling it a conflict?

    We have enough actual, real wars. You know, with bombings, dead, raped, crippled and mutilated people. Calling a bunch of high-paid lawyers having an argument in a cozy courtroom a war is, IMNSHO, an affront to anyone suffering from a real war.

    • What about Steve Jobs vs. Android?

      "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this,"

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        He's guilty of abusing words as well, unless he secretly owned a bunch of nukes. Your point is?

  • by spacepimp ( 664856 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @11:09AM (#50635635) Homepage

    Microsoft is pushing for prosecution that Android is an abusive Monopoly for incorporating their own Google based apps. is comprised almost entirely by MS and their subsidiaries. There is no kinder gentler Microsoft.

  • This was never about Microsoft suing Google or Google suing Microsoft. It was about Microsoft suing Android phone manufactures for patent violations. Google themselves only became involved as a way to get Microsoft to back out. Essentially: "If you sue my customers I will sue you for violating Motorola patents".

    It looks like Google lost since TFA mentions nothing about Microsoft promising not to sue Android OEM's.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!