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Google and Microsoft at Each Other's Throats

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Looks like partisan bickering has spread from D.C. to the tech sector.

When we last left Google and Microsoft, the two tech giants were bickering over the recent acquisition of Novell and Nortell's old smartphone-related patents. In a public post on the company's official blog, Google's David Drummond complained that Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle were aiming to hinder Android development via "bogus patents." In a dual set of tweets, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and Microsoft Head of Communications Frank Shaw countered that their company offered to let Google in on the deal, but Mountain View declined.

Ding. Fight's over. Done and done.

But like Roddy Piper in They Live, Google's not going to let a double knockout keep it down. Drummond rose from the pavement swinging, and added an update to the original post:

"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. Microsoft's objective has been to keep from Google and Android device-makers any patents that might be used to defend against their attacks. A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners. Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android -- and having us pay for the privilege -- must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn't fall for it.

Ultimately, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened, forcing Microsoft to sell the patents it bought and demanding that the winning group (Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, EMC) give a license to the open-source community, changes the DoJ said were 'necessary to protect competition and innovation in the open source software community.' This only reaffirms our point: Our competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales."

Again, Drummond's diatribe would hold water if Google wasn't buying up patents by the thousands. What sense is blaming the other side for something that you yourself also do? Yes, tech patents hinder innovation across the board and consumers would deeply benefit from an even playing field. But Google cannot play the "innocent" card in this fight.

As such, Shaw reiterated his point and responded to Drummond's update with a new set of tweets:

In the end, neither side wins. Both look petty in their arguments -- Google more so.

And users continue to suffer as more and more technologies are held under lock and key.

(See also: Google Slugs Apple, Microsoft Finishes the Fight and Apple's Headed for a Fall, Says Former Exec)

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