We're almost over this whole Google/Microsoft catfight that's been happening. Almost. While good theater, it's not really solving any problems nor addressing them and it makes both companies look bad. Of course we'll start the blame with Google, who's original missive was more PR than anything and most agree, poorly planned.
Last night, Microsoft seemingly pulled the rug from underneath Google by noting they offered the search company a role in the Novell patent purchase. Google turned them down and didn't bother revealing any of this info in the original post, which was deceptive at best.
We'll save the rest for the break...
Google responded by saying yes, they did turn the offer because it was a trap:
"It's not surprising that Microsoft would want to divert attention by pushing a false "gotcha!" while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised. If you think about it, it's obvious why we turned down Microsoft’s offer.."
It then goes on to state, in essence, that Google wanted all of the bogus patents for themselves or for no one to have them. Since a consortium would have not indemnified their partners against further lawsuits (Google doesn't offer its partners such protection), such a venture would have been futile.
Just a short while ago, Microsoft's lead of corporate communications for Microsoft, Frank X. Shaw, just Tweeted a short and concise series of responses:
Hello again David Drummond. This is going to take a few tweets, so here we go. Let’s look at what Google does not dispute in their reply.
We offered Google the opportunity to bid with us to buy the Novell patents; they said no.
Why? BECAUSE they wanted to buy something that they could use to assert against someone else.
SO partnering with others & reducing patent liability across industry is not something they wanted to help do
The last part is reportedly the real motivation here for this consortium: they bought up the patents to prevent smaller companies from buying them and suing the Apples, Microsofts and Googles of the world i.e. real patent trolling. Google had a different goal: to buy all the patents to leverage itself against MS and Apple. It didn't get its way and so is literally complaining to the world about it, trying to garner sympathy. Sympathy for a billion dollar company who has gained nearly 50% of the mobile OS market in 3 years by undercutting the entire industry.
Our favorite part is where Google's Drummond ends with
"Our competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales."
Yet Google is the one who is undermining the entire industry by giving their OS away for free. As Brandon Watson notes
"Taking a product that costs something in one place and giving it away in another used to have a name - dumping".
So hearing Google talking about "balancing the scales" is a bit ironic. The counter argument is that Apple and Microsoft are trying to level the playing field by making Android cost something to license, as opposed to making other people's IP free to the OEMs.
Sigh. Anyways, hopefully these two will make this fight more private as it is a little distracting...