SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against three firms involved in the sale and manufacture of Barnes & Noble's Android based Nook tablet.
Microsoft filed a lawsuit with the International Trade Commission and the US District Court for the Western District of Washington fingering Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec, alleging patent infringements in their "Android-based e-reader and tablet devices" marketed under the Barnes & Noble brand.
Although Microsoft is naming the firms behind the popular Nook tablet, it is really taking a shot at Google's Android operating system. Horacio Gutierrez, a man who probably has the longest job title at Microsoft, being the corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing said, "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."
Microsoft is claiming that the three companies named infringe its patents with "a range of functionality embodied in Android devices that are essential to the user experience". Microsoft went into considerable detail by saying the alleged patent infringements include "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".
Gutierrez cited HTC as one of the manufacturers that had licensed Microsoft's technology in its Android smartphones. It is not surprising that Microsoft chose to mention HTC as the firms have always stuck by each other, even though HTC has enjoyed considerable success with its Android smartphones.
Microsoft has repeatedly claimed that Google's Android operating system is not free and that firms have to spend money to customise the operating system. It has also said that one of the big selling points of its Windows Phone 7 operating system is the licensing fee it charges, which it claims protects firms from patent infringement issues.
If, as Microsoft claims, Android infringes its patents, why isn't Microsoft taking on Google directly? While Google is very large firm with significant resources, Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec are large enough to afford some pretty expensive lawyers, too.
It could be that Microsoft is simply using this lawsuit to test the waters, before moving on to other firms. Device manufacturers will be looking on with interest to see how the three defendants in this lawsuit fare against Microsoft. µ
Tabs to more Ctrl and less Win. Such Fn.
Either that or it's a really intense holiday