Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageMicrosoft and Google agree to settle long-running patent dispute

By James Walker     Oct 1, 2015 in Technology
Two of Silicon Valley's largest companies have agree to put an end to legal battles that have lasted years. Microsoft and Google opted not to reveal exact details of the deal which settles patent disputes over smartphones and games consoles.
Bloomberg reports that legal proceedings have been ongoing for the past five years. Both companies have been seeking royalties from each other as compensation for alleged patent infringement.
Google sought royalties from Microsoft's Xbox division while Microsoft wanted Google to cough up for the use of some connectivity features in smartphones built by Motorola Mobility. In 2010, Microsoft targeted the then-independent firm as one of several companies accused of using aspects of its technology without due recognition. The case was acquired by Google when it later bought Motorola Mobility, although it has since sold it on to Lenovo.
As Microsoft started legal proceedings against Motorola, the latter began demanding $4 billion a year in royalties from the Xbox as the games console apparently used some patented core technologies. Microsoft pointed out that Motorola was breaching agreements surrounding the fair use of patents on fundamental elements of technology, a view upheld by an appeal's court.
Since then, Google and Microsoft have been taking each other to appeals courts after every new decision, preventing the case from making any real headway. Eighteen lawsuits have been active between Google and Microsoft in the past five years.
However, the pair seem to have had a change of heart as the companies have now put the past behind them on undisclosed terms and publicly looked towards the future. A short joint statement published yesterday read: "Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues. As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility."
They pledged to work together with other companies including Amazon and Netflix to create a new royalty-free technology designed to make video compression more efficient and allow for faster downloads. Microsoft and Google have said they will "collaborate" on certain future patent matters and "anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers."
Analysts have praised the move, which seems to represent a new era of friendliness under the new reigns of respective Microsoft and Google CEOs Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai. Microsoft and Google are both more proactively working with third-parties to create new digital experiences and enrich the lives of their users.
This became particularly evident when Apple CEO Tim Cook invited the Microsoft Office team on-stage during the company's iPad Pro reveal last month, saying Office is one of the most important apps on iOS. Apple has said it intends to work with the new more open Microsoft again in the future.
It's unknown how much "collaboration" between Google and Microsoft will come of this week's settlement. Microsoft has become very proactive in making sure all of its core services are available on Google's Android with full-featured versions of Office, OneDrive, Outlook, OneNote, Office Lens and more all readily available on the platform.
In return, Google has contributed almost nothing to Windows 8, Windows Phone and, to date, Windows 10. The only app it maintains in the Windows Store is a simple version of the Google app that provides a basic portal to the search engine's homepage. It is thought that Windows devices could become more popular if more official apps were available so Microsoft may be eager to get Google developing apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Play Music and Google Drive after the work it has put into making high-quality apps for the Play Store.
Although the details of the collaboration haven't been revealed, Google and Microsoft do agree that patent-licensing companies should be firmly controlled. In recent years, firms who patent product designs but never build them have become a growing menace to the companies who independently create similar products but then have to pay royalties to a ghost firm that never reveals a finished device.
The pair are campaigning to ensure the European Union's new patent court will have powers to prevent these sort of incidents. "Patent trolls" are becoming increasingly prevalent in the US.
More about Microsoft, Google, Patent, Lawsuit, Motorola
 
Latest News
Top News