back to article Behind Microsoft's $15 Samsung Android royalty claim

Microsoft is turning the screws on Google's phone and tablet partners, but what kind of win-win is Redmond really going for? Steve Ballmer's software company was Wednesday reported to be seeking $15 for each device Samsung ships loaded with Google's Android smart-phone operating system. Samsung is reported to be trying to …

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  1. NoneSuch
    Devil

    Can someone...

    ...not take these bullies to court and finally decide on the validity of these so called patents?

    1. RichyS
      WTF?

      Exactly

      Where the fuck is Google in all this?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        yes

        Indeed where is Google? Looks like they left them to dry (in the cold), or they are scared themselves. Google have another headache, oracle. The field looks like central Baghdad at the moment, or should it be fukushima?

    2. Rob - Denmark

      It's not quite that easy

      That's where the "incur years of high legal fees" comes in.

    3. N13L5
      Mushroom

      I hope Samsung will fight back and prove all these patents are foul patents to boot.

      Quote from Article: "Microsoft will be hoping it can influence the courts in the Barnes & Nobel and Motorola cases – and in any future cases – by saying: if you don't believe us on Android violating our patents, just look at all those who accepted we were right and agreed to pay up."

      One would hope any judge would know that most companies just fold cause they can't afford to fight the bastards...

      The whole concept behind patents is, of course, anti-competitive. That's why the U.S. founding fathers thought the time span should be very limited.

      I think an electronics patent should have half the duration of any mechanical engineering patent, and a software patent should only be a quarter of the duration, so humans everywhere can avoid being held back by a few greedy corporations who would ride a patent till 2050, and not make a single improvement, if they can keep others out of the market by patent power.

      Of course, Apple is worse than M$... cause they just sue to shut down competitors, they won't even license anything. (unless they got forced into a cross-licensing deal)

  2. Anomalous Cowturd
    Stop

    I've said it before...

    And now I'll say it again.

    "WHICH F|_|CKING PATENTS?"

    Why won't they just come out with it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They won't because...

      They won't come out with it because there's probably nothing to the claims. It's easier to threaten litigation and then say "but you have an out, just pay us and we'll go away".

      I hope B&N sticks to their guns. If they do, I'll be giving them more business.

    2. jubtastic1
      Facepalm

      Poker

      You don't get to see the cards for free.

      Reprehensible? Yeah, but they'd be fools not to.

      1. Doug 3

        patents ARE public

        so the fact that Microsoft is not listing the patent shows they are using them only as threats and do not want the public to know which patents they are using as clubs.

  3. Fehu
    Mushroom

    Do they have a patent on unmitigated gall?

    If you can't innovate, litigate.

    SCO redux, anyone?

    1. Medium Dave
      Devil

      It certainly looks hauntingly familiar...

      Microsoft's new vision: A lawsuit on every desktop.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    What they doin?

    Why Goog is sitting pretty, leaving its partners to get mowed down "hard" by MSoft? Can't they come forward with all the muscle, if Android is legit?

  5. Neil 7
    Holmes

    Money is not what is at stake

    It's about strong-arming hardware vendors into supporting the ailing Microsoft platform along-side, or better yet, instead of Android.

    The IP licensing income from Android is chump-change for Microsoft, even when it's on the scale of Samsung at $15/device. Far better for Microsoft if Samsung becomes (remains?) a strong supporter of WP7.

    You can see what Microsoft are doing by attempting to price their "Android licence" at such a level that eventually WP7 at $15/device starts to become a more appealing - and less troublesome - alternative proposition.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Wonderful protection racket they have going

    <sarcasm>So good to see that protection rackets are alive and well.</sarcasm>

    Google should be out there defending against these allegations of patent infringement. What's more, Microsoft should be required by law when making such allegations to declare, with specificity, which patents are being violated and how.

    One can't accuse someone of committing a crime without specifying the crime or the details of the crime. I can't accuse someone of "harming my person" without saying how, where, and when.

    Oh, to be a large corporation where those rules don't apply.

  7. Sir Bob
    Linux

    What we need is...

    Elliot Ness. If you squint a bit Steve Ballmer looks an awful lot like Al Capone.

    1. p3ngwin1
      FAIL

      Google tried....

      Google tried to buy a patent portfolio such as the NORTEL 6,000 patents.

      as an example of google trying to look after it's products, services and customers, it wanted to buy the patents to protect itself against such ligation like MS is doing.

      but you know what?

      a bunch of other companies teamed up and bought them.

      Google do try, but they aren't the bad guys here. it's companies like MS, Apple, and the others that conspire. so instead of asking where is Google to defend you, ask why the other companies are attacking in the first place.

      do you see Google ever pro-actively attacking other companies for such petty behaviour as patents?

      or do you see them constantly on the defense because other companies are always attacking because they can't innovate so they litigate?

    2. amehaye
      FAIL

      What they doin? Simple.

      This is not a question of whether Android is legit. This is a question of who has more patents in his war chest. Whether these patents are valid is of no importance.

      Right now Google has next to empty war chest, whereas Microsoft has dozens of patent-full war chests. If Google goes to battle now they will loose.

      Google tried to amend the situation somewhat with the Nortel bid. However, they lost and are now it a worse position.

      Fail, because the patent system has failed us all.

    3. Spearchucker Jones
      Alien

      I wonder if...

      ...Google's keeping a low profile because the patents are legit and hold water. Note that I don't know. Just wondering.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      *sigh*

      This has NOTHING to do with individual vs large corporation. The difference is because this is a CIVIL case, not a CRIMINAL case. Completely different animals.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        @AC

        Point still stands. You cannot take someone to court saying that they "infringed something" without stating what that something is and how they infringed it. That's kind of a basic premise of an "allegation". This sounds more like that old "you've been caught downloading music illegally so pay £500 and we'll forget about it" ruse. Except the numbers are much larger.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          @Mark 65

          Really? Never heard of SCO? That's exactly what they did. Their claims were baseless and they ran it through the courts for 8 years.

          Cost Novell and others a lot more than $15 a unit.

          And they would have gone on a lot longer but they don’t have the money that MS has.

          The thing is you can go to court knowing your wrong and still win - MS know this and are just gilding the lilly for the gullible who will point to those companies that have 'agreed' to pay danegeld.

          I wish I could afford a justice system.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            and can you explain

            why microsoft lost the xml patent if they are so strong and nobody can defend against them? They lost to small canadian company worth few million yet they got 200m. I don't know the specifics but the problem is the patent system, you play by the rules or you create your own patents. else you pay some money to use them.

        2. Vic

          @Mark 65

          > Point still stands.

          No, it doesn't.

          > You cannot take someone to court saying that they "infringed

          > something" without stating what that something is

          But they haven't.

          They've threatened Samsung. They haven't threatened us. That means they have no obligation to tell *us* what the alleged infringements are - even if we want them to.

          Samsung could tell us, of course - but it is standard Microsoft practice to require an NDA as part of the deal, so if they did tell us, they would no longer have the option of paying the Danegeld.

          Whilst I would rather like them to take the "publish and be damned" approach, I don't have that sort of control over Samsung...

          Vic.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Wonderful protection racket they have going

      And for everyone who might claim this doesn't matter and who doesn't care about the ethical aspects of threatening other parties over the dubious monopoly tickets that patents are, that's $15 ultimately passed on to the customer if such rackets succeed, and $15 siphoned off to someone who hasn't done a thing to deserve the money (despite what the vague claims on their tickets say).

      And when Samsung happens to be a partner of Microsoft as well as a competitor, at what point will legislators have the wit to realise that patents are just another tool for companies like Microsoft to compromise the independence of other businesses and generally interfere with the market in ways that play out just like Microsoft's illegal market interference of the past?

    6. Doug 3
      Childcatcher

      read up on the B&N patent dispute

      what you will find is Microsoft repeatedly tried to force signing an NDA and repeatedly hammered the B&N people on having an NDA and even pulled out an old NDA signed for a different project and tried to use it. Microsoft is using thuggery and threats to get people to sign NDA's and therefore keeping all the discussions private and out of the public ear.

      the B&N lawyers are the first bunch of lawyers I've seen in the tech industry who seem to know what is going on and are telling Microsoft to go "eF" themselves with all the threats.

      Buy a Nook or Nook Color people and help support a company willing to fight this patent thuggery currently going on.

  8. brale
    FAIL

    It's not 'WIN WIN'. It's 'I WIN DOUBLE, YOU LOSE'.

    yeah

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    patent troll

    in mythology, at least, trolls are diminutive. But it seems the fiercest patent troll on the block is a big fat fck3r called balmer.

    if you can't beat'em, sue'em

  10. David Kelly 2

    We need "loser pays"

    We need a revision to the legal system whereby if one sues and loses one must pay a multiple of the defendant's court costs.

    1. Jean-Luc Silver badge
      Meh

      @We need "loser pays" - Agree with the sentiment, but careful what you wish for...

      M$ is ridiculous. F*** Balmer, his lame products and his bullies.

      But a legal system where the loser pays may be even more efficient at scaring the bejeezus out of small companies than the existing system.

      Consider this scenario (Apple because they can be pretty trigger happy as well):

      Apple - "You are infringing our patents"

      Small guy - "No, I am not. See you in court"

      Apple - "We can afford to lose. Can you?"

      The better solution would be not to grant those patents in the first place or to have a lightweight prior-art discovery phase. OK, gotta go feed my magical wish granting ponies...

      1. pan2008

        and

        agree, then the canadian company wouldn't be able to sue microsoft for their xml patent. what needs reform is the patent system.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    law firm

    What we have here ladies and gentlemen is a law firm with a software division

  12. John Halewood
    WTF?

    patents

    The patents Microsoft seem to be going after are it's old FAT/VFAT patents (which must be nearly exhausted by now) for any system that's got an SDcard on it (after all, you can't pop them into your PC to transfer stuff otherwise 'cos Windoze won't support ext2/3/4 etc. and who's fault it that?), and such wonderfully stupid stuff as patent 6,370,566 from 2002, "Generating Meeting Requests and Group Scheduling From a Mobile Device." Erm, so M$ owns your calendar on anything "mobile". They also own a lot of other patents on things that are completely obvious and trivial, have been done for years on normal computers but M$ have inserted the word "mobile" into it and got a patent on it (although presumably they changed a few bits to justify the difference, or no-one at the patent office bothered to look).

    1. Oninoshiko
      Stop

      Good question, who's fault is it then windows can't read Ext*

      Last I looked, Ext3 & Ext4 is GPL code which MS can't include in their OS.

      The BSD guys do maintain an independent ext2 system (I believe they make a point to not look at the linux code, as they would rather not "catch the GPL"), but I do not think support for ext3 has been added (although it can be mounted as ext2). For some time even that version was bit by some linux devs deciding to change the inode size (wouldn't it be nice if standards in linux where something that where actually adhered to?).

      Ext4 is not compatible with Ext2 (like Ext3 was). So to my knowlage, no implemtation of Ext4 they could use has been created. This is squarely on the primary Ext* developers for not useing a more open license then the GPL.

      While the blame for MS not supporting Ext3+ is on the devs (for now), I do agree MS' patents are mostly silly.

    2. Neil 7
      Meh

      Why won't Windows support ext2/3/4?

      Surely with all the talent Google have at their disposal they could come up with a driver for ext2 that can be installed on XP, Win7 etc. and would automatically recognise mass storage ext2 filesystems when connected over USB etc.?

      Sure, it's an minor inconvenience to install the driver the first time but a damn sight cheaper than Google partners paying Microsoft $15 per device.

      It's not as if Windows doesn't already support a number of different file systems beyond NTFS and FAT (eg. ISO's, and UDF).

      1. Ommerson
        Stop

        It gets worse than this

        The TI OMAP series of devices - found in lots of phones and tablets - have a first stage boot-loader baked into the device that reads a FAT partition in order to boot the system. It may be that this doesn't infringe by virtue of not using VFAT, but who knows?

        I bet other devices work similarly. Do the hardware vendors license the VFAT patent on behalf of their OEMs?

        Even if you remove VFAT capability from the device, you might not be able to escape it at boot-time.

      2. M Gale

        Design != Implementation

        While it's easy to confuse the two, ext* is not GPL. There are plenty of GPL implementations yes, however there are also implementations of ext* under different licenses. Just as an example: http://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsx/ is an implementation for OS X, dual licensed under GPL and BSD.

        Microsoft have no excuse other than continuing their vendor lock-in and making it hard for anyone else to use anything other than their godawful FAT32. This has nothing to do with the ext* devs. Though yes, Microsoft's patents are not only silly, they are downright dangerous. As are software patents in general, really.

    3. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Mobile meeting requests

      I'm sure that my cerca 1999 Nokia 9110 communicator had mobile meeting requests and group scheduling. OK it had to use dial-up internet to send the messages, but I'm sure that it did it.

      (That was back when Nokia made cracking hardware and had decent software to back it up, and still with a reasonable battery life, especially considering that it was a 486 in a telephone)

  13. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    What's Android? It's Linux.

    Microsoft still needs and still intends to destroy Linux as a rival computing system.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: What's Android? It's Linux.

      Think about it for a second... Why destroy something which can make you $15 per sale, cost you $0 to produce, and $0 to support... Money for nothing.

      1. Vic

        Re: What's Android? It's Linux.

        > Why destroy something which can make you $15 per sale

        Because they have to.

        At present, the vast majority of computer users believe they *need* Microsoft products.

        If Android takes off in the way it looks like it will, that belief will rapidly evaporate; users will become used to using an OS that is not Windows, and might well prefer it.

        There goes one of Microsoft's big cash cows: Windows. That's a big chunk of revenue gone.

        But it gets worse. If people start using non-Windows OSes on the desktop, what will MS do with Office? Port it to Linux?

        If they don't, people will stop using Office. That's Microsoft's other big cash cow gone.

        Allowing Linux to survive means a huge drop in revenue for Microsoft - and might even lead to a terminal decline. Microsoft has to kill Linux to survive. And at the moment, that means killing Android.

        Vic.

        1. Just Thinking

          And use what instead?

          "If they don't, people will stop using Office."

          What will people use instead of Office? OpenOffice? They would need to debug it first.

          I use several excellent open source products, OOo isn't one of them.

          Most of the software I use daily would run on Linux. Office is the main reason I use Windows.

          1. Vic

            Re: And use what instead?

            > They would need to debug it first.

            I use LibreOffice on a daily basis.

            I find fewer unexpected "features" than I do with MS-Office...

            Nevertheless - once OOo/LO get more traction, the swing would happen very quickly indeed.

            Vic.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win Win Win?

    Don’t know how Micro$oft’s racket is a win for the victims, but it could be another win for Apple.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    If I was samsung.....

    .....I'd drop the windows 7 phones, say they are under-performing and not selling against the 'superior' android os.

    This means not paying a windows mobile 7 tax (which I suspect is more than the $15 android is 'costing'). Play the long game, make sure they aren't in the mobile business, only their stupid $15 'royalty' which I suspect is for FAT32 support or some such shite. Keep em out, make bing cost even more and be even less relevant and the relatively small amount of money they will make from royalties will do their business long term damage. (yes, it will probably take 10 years or so, but it will happen).

    IMHO microsoft stopped innovating about 8-10 years ago. They are constantly playing catch up. SQL server is no match for a proper database, office is a bag of shit (ribbon bar, whats that about?) and the only reason it survives is dubious tactics used to kill the competitors, sharepoint, I don't even understand why anybody would want that in their estate, its not brilliant its shit, slow and overpriced. They know their days are numbered, so it looks like they may as well change their name to MicroTroll and be done with it.

    Rant (nearly) over, I don't mind people who invent something, but I'm very against software patents. Its just killing everybody (except the lawyers). For example, having the idea that using two fingers on a touchpad to do something shouldn't be patentable, designing and manufacturing a device capable of multi-point detection should be.

    Right, I'm off to a darkened room for a lie down and some deep breathing........

    1. Phantom Wibbler

      Just what...

      I was thinking as I read the article. The first thing I'd do is drop WP7. If HTC and LG drop their WP7 handsets too that leaves MIcrosoft depending on Nokia, and no handsets until Nokia eventually deliver their first. See how Microsoft like them apples!!

  16. Johnny Canuck
    Thumb Down

    This is not a title

    I for one, want to know which patents are being infringed. Microsoft has been saying this for years but have not offered one shred of proof. If I recall, they also strong-armed Novell with this tactic. I think they also claimed that ALL Linux distros infringe on their patents. I simply don't believe it - they're just hoping the cost of litigation will intimidate companies into compliance.

  17. gerryg
    Terminator

    research into costs of litigation

    http://www.inventionstatistics.com/Patent_Litigation_Costs.html

  18. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Choices

    So I can either buy a tablet from Jobs (and feed his ego) or buy an Android one and, er, feed fucking Microsoft.

    I have a better idea. These patents only apply in the US so tell MS to run along and go fuck themselves. That way we can buy devices without paying these trolling arseholes.

    1. Thomas Wolf

      you wish - non US customers pay for patents too

      The problem is that most companies producing & selling electronics are multi-national corporations who have to follow US law. So they have to pay MicroF%ck the patent fees - and simply charge all their customers - including the ones not in the US - a bit extra to make up for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        There is a solution

        The solution for Android is Symbian! Oh but wait, there's an M$-rat/mole/whatever-animal in that company.

        We're fucked.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Choices - will be made for you

      I just hope that someone in the far east makes an Android device for non-US countries and ignores MS. The $15 saving is, in reality, several % of what one of these devices should cost.

      The only problem is MS just agreed something with the Chinese that probably means it would be impossible for the development to take place there...

    3. Magnus_Pym

      Size of market

      It does make you wonder if the maths actually work. Does it cost more to give $15 dollars of the profit the on everything sold anywhere or give up the US market and keep all the profit on the rest of the world. If as people suggest margins are thin perhaps only 10% then that $15 is half the profit for a portion of much less than half of the world market. It looks it's like a close run thing whether or not to both with high-tech the US at all..

  19. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    15 smacks? who cares

    That $15 winds up being tossed into the new 30 month contract. Coming soon to a wireless carrier near you.

    The question I'd want answered is; will this protection money buy them some defense against Apple? That could paint a much rosier picture for Samsung if they had MS sitting with them at the table.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    HMMMM

    I find it interesting how much hatred there is for Microsoft sounds to me like someone that wishes they could be there instead every last one of you would be all over suing if you held any patents of any value.

  21. Neil 7
    Go

    Hey, Samsung!

    MeeGo is very nice. And totally free! :-)

  22. Mikel
    Devil

    These companies are easy shorts

    These contracts are fatal in the longer term. These companies are completely at the mercy of continuations of patent licenses from a company that sees granting those continuations to be a threat to its existence. They've conceded the necessity of the patents by licensing them in the first instance. They are subject to be re-dunned incessantly as Microsoft buys more patents, and the Nortel patent purchase almost certainly isn't covered as it isn't even closed yet. Microsoft's Brad Smith was laughing about that when he gave this victory tweet on the Wistron deal: https://twitter.com/#!/BradSmi/status/88239362524971008 These guys are so much in awe of their brilliance they can't shut up. The pi reference is to Google's bid on the Nortel patents.

    No doubt these "partnership" agreements include enough access (the wedge) to exploit the new patents Microsoft acquires over time, even for products in preproduction.

    When these companies don't get their continuations because Microsoft doesn't want to give them or don't re-up because they can't afford to be extorted to death, the courts will be swift and harsh. Even if they do re-up, it will be under concessions where they make their Android products abhorrent (Bing integration, IE for Android, Silverlight, MS Android App store or some other such nonsense) because if Microsoft can't make Android go away, they can at least make it bad. Whether they get their licenses is utterly dependant on Microsoft, and Microsoft sorts their generosity by "what can you do for me?" That's not a good long-term path when you're competing against others not so encumbered.

    These poor souls have signed a Faustian bargain and cannot win in the long term, though they've avoided some short-term costs in order to enter the lucrative Android market without the immediate prospect of an IP lawsuit. They've traded their souls for a brief period of prosperity, as is often the Devil's deal.

    Because they are foolish enough to not see that, they've got rot at the top and are an easy short in the longer (~2 year) term. Some of them may even have influential investors who pushed this deal against the average shareholders' best interest. If you dance with the devil, you WILL pay his fee. I like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" as much as the next guy, but generally speaking Johnny doesn't win the fiddle made of gold.

    Personal note - editorial problem with the fine article: "Microsoft has been _forced_ to take Motorola, the world's eighth-largest phone maker, to court over nine alleged patent infringements in Android on Motorola's Android smart phones." (emphasis mine) "Forced" may be the wrong term here. "Obliged" may be more appropriate. AFAIK, lawyers don't march their complainant clients into court at gunpoint.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On the other hand

      Patents do expire, and presumably HTC and others intend to still be in the business of selling mobile devices 10 or more years from now.

      Licensing buys you some breathing space giving you a chance to either find a different non-patent way of doing something, for the patent to expire or for circumstances to change.

      Enter a legal battle and the only surety is that for the next couple of years you will spending money and effort on lawyers that could be used for development and marketing of products.

      At the end of the battle, they could still find they have to pay licence fees or that they have expended the same amount of cash as they would have paid for the licensing and now the patent is free for their competitors to take advantage of as well.

    2. Vic

      Re: These companies are easy shorts

      > They are subject to be re-dunned incessantly as Microsoft buys more patents

      And that is called paying the Danegeld

      But we've proved it again and again

      That once you have paid him the Danegeld,

      You never get rid of the Dane.

      Vic.

    3. M Gale

      MeeGo

      Also about as likely to get you threatened by Microsoft. It's based on Linux, don'tcha know?

      https://meego.com/about

  23. Jay Jaffa
    Thumb Down

    MicroTroll

    The future of a once great company - trolling

  24. Mikel

    Second post. Bad form, I know

    I'll keep it short.

    These licensees: HTC, Velocity Micro, Okyo Corp and Wistron. They have marked themselves as targets for every patent troll on Earth. They have announced that they prefer publicly embarassing patent licensing to prolonged court battles. They will may as well set up a legal office in East Texas now, because the ticks are hungry and the dinner bell is rung. They'll need a sizeable office space for this, as the ticks aren't just hungry: they're plentiful.

    HTC is the only sizeable member of this group in terms of market share, and I wouldn't worry about them. No doubt they will shortly retire from US marketing and escape these issues - after spinning off a US extrepeneurial venture that doesn't have these issues and is fiercely competitive. The rest of them are small fry in the US markets these patents apply to and almost nobody here ever heard from recently. What will HTC call it? HPC? HGC? H3C? HTCA? Some or all of those are taken. It doesn't matter as long as they structure the corporate responsibility like Sony does - with plausible deniability, at least legally.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google

    Presumably the deals MS has struck with the various manufacturers mention the specific patents. And presumably those manufacturers have contacted Google about it, and not got an answer that the MS claims are without foundation and to fight them.

    Much as we can debate the shortcomings of the patent system as a whole, it seems that Google has a rather cavalier approach to others IP (see the java case) and does not stand behind the products it puts out. It has more than enough money and clout to bat away claims without merit, and to indemnify any manufacturer shipping Android.

    But it does not, and presumably it has not done so privately to aid those manufacturers MS is following for patent deals either.

    You might not know the details of the patents yourself, but that's irrelevant. You can huff and puff about it, but it's the manufacturers who MS is targeting and most seem to be settling rather than fighting - and Google is doing nothing to help.

  26. Babai
    Linux

    Why not change SDCard's filesystem from vFat to ext3/4 ?

    Most of the claims here are based on stupid ISO standarized vFAT allocation on SDCard.

    As the android kernel is Linux, why can't we move to something else ?

    Say ext3/4 or RaiserFS or something else ??

    Only problem I see is when you'll mount the drive after connecting mobile device to PC.

    That problem can be solved by EVERY handset manufacturer by providing driver software to read ext3/4 in Windows system .

    A simple update from google and every manufacturer will suffice.

  27. Arclight

    The only way

    To stop microsoft is to hit them where it hurts. Boycott Microsoft products. The x-box, Microsoft games, Windows Phone etc;

    But it won't happen, as only a very, very small percentage of people even know about M$ patent trolling.

  28. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Unhappy

    Entertainment?

    Nothing like watching the extremely slow train-wreck that is the tech industry slamming itself into the buffers of the patent system. Sadly we will all lose out, as consumers are given less and less choice as the mega-corps butcher the smaller companies in court hearings.

    1. 0rkki
      Linux

      Re: Why not change SDCard's filesystem from vFat to ext3/4 ?

      Adding to Babai's suggestion...

      Thinking about the Windows users who dislike installing alternative file system support to every Windows PC that they use to access the Android system, I am wondering if Google and the manufacturers could device a way for those customers to pay the 15USD license fee directly to Microsoft and enable FAT support in the Android device. The technicalities should be solved in technical, legal and business level. I like to fantasize that the end users could directly make the choice by themselves, in the process be reminded whom they are siding with their technology choices, instead of less sophisticated users left thinking "Android is so difficult".

      Additional benefit is that the 15USD will not be shown as more than 15USD, because of added taxes and other fees that are added on top of the license fee.

      (On the other end, Apple [I have heard] requires people to access their phones using iTunes software, so we have a precedence that we do not necessarily need FAT support to have the users accept the device).

  29. mirmit
    Mushroom

    The beauty of the open source

    Google released android code in 'open source' form. This allow anybody to use Android without signing any piece of paper with Google. Google has therefore no responsibility with regards to Android code. You're alone.

    When a company license a software, such as a mobile platform, there is a contract coming with and the responsibility and liability are detailed in. You pay and the licensor will protect you from litigation. This is why this kind of story didn't appears with the Symbian, S60, Windows Phone, Palm OS and others.

    Android is definitely no free anymore.

  30. James Pickett

    Fnaar

    "Nook e-reader"

    I want one of those!

  31. SteveBalmer
    FAIL

    Are Microsoft playing legal?

    Not that it matters, as they are so big, they can buy themselves out of any legal problems.. But it seems like they are using their dominance in one sector (Windows) to try and scew companies that operate in that sector and the mobile sector..

    In other words Microsoft know that Samsung need to be a Windows OEM licencee, and there they know Samsung can't afford to piss Microsoft off, so basically Microsoft can charge what they want for undisclosed patent protection rackets.

    I'm sure the Microsoft shills will be out in force to defect Microsoft, as soon as Amoreica wakes up...

    bit.ly/ca7rUk

    1. Baskitcaise
      Holmes

      "I'm sure the Microsoft shills will be out in force"

      Yeah, just read some of the posts on here.

      That is all.

  32. Tim Bates
    FAIL

    Way to piss off your customers MS...

    Do MS not realise that pissing off customers and potential customers really doesn't help their image?

    Nor does it do anything to improve their shitty phone OS.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    IF / WHEN they lose!

    "...not take these bullies to court and finally decide on the validity of these so called patents?"

    The problem is IF / WHEN they lose they will end up with a huge heap of costs, damages (likely to be significantly greater than the royalty payment) and having to pay future royalties (probably at a higher rate) if Microsoft even chose to let them - they could probably insist they stop selling the infringing device!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Google don't appear to give a fig!

    Google want to make money on the advertising and mining your data - they gave the software away to get phone manufacturers to use it and now leave them to fight it out.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Doh!

    "Do MS not realise that pissing off customers and potential customers really doesn't help their image?"

    Doh! So I guess MS should just let anyone copy their software / patents?

    Clearly they have a case as manufacturers are paying up - either that or they don't want to fight it out / don't fancy their chances of winning.

    1. Vic

      Re: Doh!

      > Clearly they have a case

      That is not clear at all.

      If you have evidence, post it...

      Vic.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    1 and 1/2 ways

    To have windows recognizing ext2 and ext3 anyone can use this http://www.fs-driver.org/index.html . But I suspect that fat/vfat/ntfs are involved and here we go again with the patents stuff...or imagine if the hardware were sold without software, just with a boot loader, like any pc? Anyone who wanted android only have to do was download the firmwares like "Connect your device to wifi"...Of course wp7 wouldn't be supported and if installed the user would void the warranty :-)

  37. George 24

    Out of court settlement...

    Could it be that ms is getting close to have win 8 mobile ready? I can smell a "put our os on your hardware and we forget our patents"

  38. Magnus_Pym

    Percentages.

    My earlier post made no sense so I thought aught to clarify.

    Is (total android items sold throughout the world * $15) < profit on total items sold in the US ?

    or is it only the fact that Microsoft can screw them over due to its desktop/laptop OS monopoly that balances the equation?

  39. something

    Questions that need to be investigated

    First of all, we should find out what are patents that MS is asking royalties for.

    Secondly, Oracle sued directly Google for said patent infringements in Android and not the handset manufacturers that were shipping products based on this OS. What is the difference with the MS case?

    It appears to me that MS is gradually approaching all handset/tablet manufacturers that ship products based on Android. This is a divide and conquer strategy. If there is an actual case in favor of MS then there is little to be done by the other companies. However, if it is disputable, then all other companies should try to work together and have the related patents invalidated. That means that the trial cost and risk is significantly lowered.

    To be honest though, MS plays its cards smartly on this one, because it went first for the small fishes and built a case and an argument through their licensing.

    Another thing that should be mentioned, is whether MS is using its Windows hegemony to threaten companies like Samsung. Being a convicted monopolist that should be a trench knife. If I remember correctly MS has been convicted in both US and Korea.

    The point to take home is that building a patent portfolio is no more protecting your idea and making (legitimate) profit for it. Building a patent portfolio is primarily a defense mechanism against cases like this one or so many others.

  40. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Go Motorola

    At least Motorola have made a stance against M$ and their patent trolling, and With Motorola claiming several M$ software products infringe on its patents.

    Motorola has been in the telecomms business for a lot longer than M$ has so it really do hope that Windows mobile infringes some Motorola patents and they get a taste of their own medicine.

    As its been mention before if the patents relate to Vfat why dont the handset manufactures just make the handsets use the UDF file system as this has been supported in Windows since XP so its going to be a very small amount of PCs that wouldn't recognise the handsets.

    It does smack of a bit of M

    I think my next phone with be a Motorola so i know none of my pennies are going to M$ for sitting around on there arse and patent trolling.

  41. Bugs R Us
    Thumb Up

    Nothing wrong with patent system

    Patents are just another means to form business partnerships. People should stop complaining about them. These things don't affect consumers in real terms. $15 more on a premium smartphone when the retail price is already $500+ , no big deal, shop around and you'll find a discount of $20 I'm sure from another retailer.

    1. 0rkki
      Thumb Down

      Re: Nothing wrong with patent system

      Pretending what you say is has any sense (it seems you just want to provoke people), I think we need to have more than $20 discount to cover the extortion fee.

      When the device crosses the country borders, there will we some toll fee added (not sure what it is exactly called - I am not native English speaker). The shops and everybody before them need to add certain percentage to the price to cover their costs and add profit. Then we have in most places something like VAT. All this will be added to the top of the added price that manufacturer need to ask for their device. These additions are relative to the price that the original manufacturer gets.

      Even if the manufacturer throws some of the profit away, and not add the full $15 to the price they get per device, it seems the price that customers need to pay to get the product is significantly more than the $15 extorted by the patent troll.

  42. Jeff 11

    Pragmatism

    "> Why destroy something which can make you $15 per sale

    Because they have to.

    At present, the vast majority of computer users believe they *need* Microsoft products."

    However much this might be the Ballmer view, Microsoft needs to be pragmatic. They have very little influence in the mobile device market at all and the Nokia deal is a huge risk for them. Microsoft as the dominant force in computing has been in decline for years, and they need to come to terms with the fact that their competitors are starting to overpower them in various markets. Devoting resources to killing Android, as such, is a waste of time - WP7 is stillborn while Android is becoming the norm worldwide. They may as well get something out of this situation.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what can we do to cost MS 15$ legally?

    Can we protest this by:

    1. Asking why the Feds aren't prosecuting MS for racketeering

    (extortion)? What is the legal distinction between MS's behavior

    and organized crime's protection rackets?

    2. Can we start a criminal action against MS as individuals that

    would cost MS at least 15$? Can I claim damages of 15$ for

    every phone I buy that runs Android assuming that HTC is

    already paying the extortion?

    Are there any other ways that would cost MS money legally?

    How about support calls whenever we have Windows problems?

    How can we raise MS expenses by 15$ per Android phone?

  44. Christian Berger Silver badge

    I wonder how many of those patents...

    I wonder how many of those patents are about misfeatures nobody wants. Like running mobile Apps in a virtual machine or having DRM or useless touch screen gimmicks.

  45. Mikel
    Devil

    Karma

    In order to sit on Microsoft's side of the table and negotiate these deals that destroy utterly the negotiating partner you have to know that you are a demon - and they do. They revel in it. They aspire to find innovative ways to find companies to seal their own doom, so as to increase their value to their dire lord. They are well compensated with mortal comforts while they do their work. They care not how they impede progress for you and I, nor how many they put out of work. It's all about winning.

    But in the end there is balance whether they like it or not, as Matt Ammon found. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Operator-in-crane-wreck-has-history-of-drug-abuse-1220193.php You reap what you sow.

    The act itself cheapens them. It makes them less human. They should not do it. It's not OK to take unfair advantage of people. If they do it, they will pay one way or another.

    If you're sitting at the table with these folk you need to know that if they could harness your immortal soul to power their Beemer they would consider that found money, and ask for the souls of your offspring too so they could get better performance. You're not going to get the better of them. You might think you did for a while, but then the evil terms work their way, and like Novell, they own everything of yours they coveted. They really are the devil, and deals with the devil never pay out in the long term.

  46. JDX Gold badge

    forget who's right and wrong...

    ...it must be pretty interesting working in the midst of this constant war of patents, suits and so on.

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