Microsoft Sues Barnes & Noble Over Patent-Infringing Android Devices
Today, Microsoft published a press release stating that legal action had been taken against the three companies mentioned above for "patent infringement by their Android-based e-reader and tablet devices that are marketed under the Barnes & Noble brand." Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property & Licensing, put it this way: "The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights. To facilitate that we have established an industry-wide patent licensing program for Android device manufacturers."
Here's what's interesting. Look at that statement. It's really, really clear that Microsoft is upset with Android, not Barnes & Noble. So why not go after Google directly? Maybe because it's more profitable to do it this way. Microsoft is already receiving funds from HTC through a license program, and they're clearly trying to extract funds from B&N in a similar fashion. Apparently, Microsoft has "tried" for over a year to reach a deal, and now the decision has been made to throw down a lawsuit.
According to Microsoft, the patents at issue cover a range of functionality embodied in Android devices that are essential to the user experience, including: natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books.
The outcome should be quite interesting, and we're still curious to see if Microsoft ever goes after the root of their problem, Google. What company will fall victim to a lawsuit next? As always, only time will tell how it'll shake out.