Monday, July 11, 2011

Patent Wars: Is Android Doomed?

Regarding Apple's recent victory in winning Nortel's coveted patents, Google's former CEO, Eric Schmidt, said, "I’m worried and disappointed that we’ve gotten to this point in the industry,’" and according to some he definitely should be worried, and worried big time.

Some say that the only thing Google can do now is to complain that there was a conspiracy to keep those patents deliberately out of Google's hands, thus making it into a type of anti-trade restriction, which would be illegal. Unfortunately, however, for Google, it really doesn't have much time on its hands as American and Canadian regulatory agencies are expected to approve the deal base on its own rules as early as today.

Google, on the other hand, was apparently very cocky and had arrogantly assumed that it would win any bidding war, as was reflected in some of the very strange bids that it had made. Google's loss, however, is now making a lot of people now question whether or not it will totally derail Android?

I'm not sure of the above, but one thing is for sure: it's now going to be a lot harder going on for anyone who thinks that they can just get an iPhone clone for free. With Microsoft, Oracle and possibly soon even Apple demanding licensing fees from Android OEM's, well making Android devices in the future might just prove to be a little too unappetizing for many OEM's to swallow. This could end up with a lot of Android OEM's abandoning the platform, and end up licensing either Windows Mobile 7 or WebOS instead.

TechChrunch's, MG. Siegler has an excellent post on just how Apple led its winning bid, and on why Google may have just blown its last great chance to defend Android against any future patent claims against it. This leads some to believe that there are at least 10 reasons on why Google will eventually end up trying to buy out RIM. RIM, of course, is one of the winning Nortel bidders, and if they were to buy it it would give Google fair use of the very patents that it just lost.

However, the one thing wrong with the above is the simple assumption that Google can or will be even able to buy RIM in the first place, just as it was assumed it would win the Nortel patents outright. I would also tend to think that Microsoft, Apple and others are now also thinking along the same lines and will try to bid on the beleaguered Canadian company themselves. After losing the Nortel patents, you can bet your last pair of pink-puffy, poky-dotted bloomers that Google will try even harder the next time in any bidding war.

A lot of people also assume, again falsely, that Google is unbeatable, that it is just too big and has just too much money for anyone to go after them. This, of course, is also totally false. For example little-old Apple is actually not only big in and of itself, but it's a far lot bigger and a far lot richer than Google, or anyone else in tech for that matter. Likewise, so is Microsoft.

So, after all is said and done, is the Android platform really doomed?

That is yet to be answered, but it isn't looking all that great at the moment for a platform that was originally built on the very premise of using other people's patents, such as Apple's iPhone multi-touch patents, or Oracle's and Microsoft claimed patents, but, in conclusion, I think MG Siegler summed it up best in his post above, when he stated:

"And if the U.S. and/or Canadian governments don’t now either block this result (which seems unlikely given that they approved the bidders beforehand) or force fairly drastic changes (such as they did in the Novell patent case) — which Google will have to lobby heavily for — Android seems to be in some very serious trouble.

Things didn’t ultimately end well for Le Chiffre, remember."


And that's my 2 cents 4 this cloudy Monday, July 11, 2011

Android logo via: Zazzle

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