As the venerable book seller Barns & Noble has launched a letter to Gene Kimmelman, the DoJ’s chief counsel of competition policy, arguing that by demanding patent royalties for Android devices, “Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.” Ouch, say it ain’t so as would the Redmond Washington giant really do something like this?
Guess what started this he said she said was our friends at Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble back in the March time frame by claiming that the company’s NOOK and NOOK Color tablets infringe on five Microsoft owned user interface patents. It appears this little love quarrel came about after the two companies failed to see eye to eye on license terms for patents which Microsoft says are infringed upon by the Android OS which Nook uses. Even given there is a growing list of Android vendors which have included big names such as HTC, Samsung, and Amazon, which have agreed to license Microsoft’s patents. The book worms at Barnes & Noble however stood stead fast and refused by claiming that the license would restrict its ability to upgrade the software on its tablets.
To further this argument, the retailer also claims that the fees Microsoft had demanded were equal to or greater than those it demanded for an entire operating system, yes Windows Phone. Even though the patents in questioned only covered what was described as “trivial and non-essential design elements” of the Android user interface. They even went on to also note that there was only a single patent common to the five patents which were being sued over and the six that Microsoft was offering to license.
Well if you add them up, it would appear these direct and indirect assaults on Android are being described by Barnes & Noble as an attempt to maintain Microsoft’s desktop monopoly from the threat posed by the free Android operating system. As if its free its for me right as the letter goes on to state that smartphones and tablets will increasingly replace PCs, thus diminishing the value of Microsoft’s desktop operating system, and that ultimately Android and Chrome will become direct competitors for Windows.
So if averaged together, just maybe it’s that Microsoft is attempting to save its lead OS position by driving Android into the ground (not like it hasn’t said something of the like)? Well we will have to wait for the show to start as it looks like the trial between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft is due to start in February 2012. Let’s get the popcorn ready as it will be a good one…