Microsoft’s Patent Suit Aims To Impede Android

Microsoft’s patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola over Google Android smartphones is the latest bid to slow Android’s roll in the market

When Microsoft filed its patent infringement suit versus Motorola on 1 October, it joined Apple and Oracle in their attack against Google’s Android operating system, which has come on strong in the latter half of 2010.

Microsoft claimed Motorola’s Android smartphones violated nine software patents related to synchronising email, calendars and contacts; scheduling meetings; and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.


Motorola makes the popular Motorola Droid, Droid X and Droid 2 Android handsets, which leverage Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync for messaging synchronisation, among other popular technologies that stretch back several years.

A Google spokesperson told eWEEK about the new suit:

“We are disappointed that Microsoft prefers to compete over old patents rather than new products. Sweeping software patent claims like these threaten innovation. While we are not a party to this lawsuit, we stand behind the Android platform and the partners who have helped us to develop it.”

Microsoft’s suit echoes what Apple did with HTC back in March. Instead of suing Google to hinder or halt Android, Apple sued HTC, maker of popular Android phones such as the Droid Incredible and HTC Evo 4G. Apple claimed that HTC violated 20 of its patents surrounding the iPhone’s interface, architecture and hardware.

Interestingly, Microsoft could have followed Apple in suing HTC, but it instead struck an intellectual property deal in which HTC is paying to use Microsoft smartphone software in its Android handsets.

Clearly, no such deal could be reached with Motorola. Perhaps Microsoft chose not to pursue one. Why is that?


Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling suggested Microsoft is engaging in a bit of old-fashioned payback for Motorola abandoning the Windows Mobile platform, which is hemorrhaging market share.

Also, Android relies on Linux kernel v2.6 for core system services, and Microsoft hasn’t been shy about its disdain for Linux, or its penchant for suing over it.