Microsoft v. Android: now B&N Nook gets software patent lawsuit

Steve Ballmer (Der Tommy @ Picasaweb)
By Richi Jennings. March 22, 2011.

Microsoft (MSFT) is suing more Android device makers: now it's Barnes & Noble (BKS) with it's partners Foxconn (PINK:FXCNF) and Inventec (TPE:2356). Steve Ballmer's gang doesn't like B&N's Nook e-reader, so has slapped them with a software patent lawsuit. But still no lawsuit for Google (GOOG). In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wax incredulous.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention CompassionPit: Chat with people who won't judge you...

Grant Gross gets us going:

Microsoft alleges that Android ... infringes several of its patents. ... The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington ... against bookseller Barnes & Noble ... device manufacturers Foxconn International Holdings and Inventec.


Accompanying the lawsuit is a complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission ... to ban imports into the U.S. of devices that infringe [Microsoft's] patents.

  Gavin Clarke has more detail:

The action comes almost a year after ... HTC agreed to pay Microsoft royalties for devices it sells running ... Android.


If past experience is an indicator ... the companies will settle by agreeing to pay Microsoft royalties rather than risk a potentially drawn out and expensive ... litigation dispute.

So what does Microsoft's Horacio Gutierrez have to say for himself?

[The] actions focus on the patent infringement by the Nook e-reader and the Nook Color tablet ... bringing to 25 the total number of Microsoft patents in litigation for infringement by Android ... devices.


Microsoft is not a company that pursues litigation lightly ... [but] we simply cannot ignore infringement of this scope and scale. ... We are protecting our investments on behalf of our customers, partners and shareholders – just as other companies do.


The patents we asserted today protect innovations that:

  • Give people easy ways to navigate through information ...  with tabs;
  • Enable display of a webpage’s content before the background image is received; ...
  • Allow apps to superimpose download status on top of the ... content;
  • Permit users to easily select text in a document and adjust that selection; and ...
  • The ability to annotate text.

  Florian Müller is even-handed:

Five patents may not seem to be a huge number ... but Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec will certainly be aware of the list of 23 patents asserted by Microsoft against Motorola.


If Barnes & Noble refused to pay ... it's actually a matter of fairness that Microsoft enforces its patents because otherwise those who respect Microsoft's rights would be at a competitive disadvantage.


I would personally prefer for no such patents to be granted in the first place -- but ... there must be a level playing field. ... Everyone in a given market has to pay royalties or, alternatively, no one.

Meanwhile, MG Siegler rants, "Microsoft Has Become A Joke":

If you’ll excuse my bluntness, it’s all a bunch of bull****. ... The whole thing is laughable. And everyone knows that except ... Microsoft. The company ... [is] quickly losing the hearts and minds of just about everyone that doesn’t work in Redmond.


“Easily select text”? “Navigate through information”? ... It reads like a joke, but it’s not. Next up, Microsoft is going to sue over the ability to ... breathe. ... This is the future of Microsoft, people. ... This needs to be stopped. Microsoft is threatening innovation across a range of industries.


Now we’re on to licensing fees 2.0: patents. How long until Microsoft is making more money on patent licensing than from their mobile unit? ... Maybe they already are.


And Finally...

CompassionPit: Chat with people who won't judge you

[hat tip: lilestdale]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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