Why Google lashed out at Apple and Microsoft over patents: Android is in deep trouble and its top lawyer knows it

“Google’s chief legal counsel’s angry screed on the company’s official blog in which he accuses Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) of waging a hostile, organized, anti-competitive campaign against Android through dubious and bogus patents (adjectives all his) may be remembered as one of the most misguided briefs any high-tech lawyer has ever written,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“Drummond accuses Google’s competitors of overpaying for “bogus” patents. But if Nortel’s 6,000 patents were bogus, why did Google start the bidding at nearly $1 billion and why was it willing to pay nearly the full $4.5 billion they eventually went for?” P.E.D. wonders. “He accuses Microsoft and Apple of ‘get[ting] into bed’ to keep Google from getting access to key patents. But Microsoft says Google turned down its offer to jointly bid for some Novell patents, and it has the e-mail to prove it.”

P.E.D. reports, “Google hasn’t been faring well in the patent courts. Some e-mails turned up last month in Google’s patent infringement dispute with Oracle that show Android developer Andy Rubin recommending that Google license Java and being overruled by Sergey Brin and Larry Page.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The time to pay the piper approaches for the “geniuses” at Google.

As we said back on March 09, 2010, “Google’s going to rue the day they got greedy by deciding to try to work against Apple instead of with them.”



  1. This is a clearly a frustration plea prior to looming failure. This attorney is throwing patent law away and just trying to appeal to some facade of unfairness. He is trying PR instead of practicing the law. No place to turn when you are about to collapse, so people cry of unfairness.

  2. I like the last paragraph in the article:

    As FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller reports, when the judge overseeing the case saw the e-mails, he advised Google’s legal team to settle out of court: “You are going to be on the losing end of this document with Andy Rubin on the stand. … If willful infringement is found, there are profound implications for a permanent injunction. So you better think about that.”

  3. The Apple stock pile of cash is certainly going to come in useful.

    Google’s disingenuous stance is driven by being miffed that they might have to pay for the technology they have plagiarised so freely.

  4. It would’t surprised me if Google were to sack its chief counsel for the embarrassment from the adverse backlash it is receiving. Drummond’s outburst is juvenile, out of order and unprofessional. He should be arguing his case in court and not carrying out a blatant public relations to circumvent the court’s jurisdiction.

      1. Further, it occurs to me that this is not only the official Google company line, it has become their legal mantra and the other phone manufacturers are bleating the same phrases. There is definitely co-ordination in process.

        Is all of this the heavy artillery softening up the defenses for the last ditch attack? Google doesn’t strike me as the type to see the error of their ways, apologize and try to make amends (voluntarily).

        All of this ‘stifling of innovation’, ‘anti-competitive’, ‘monopolistic’ sloganeering is a propaganda media blitz for the benefit of those venal, progressive politicos waiting to get their anti-capitalistic hooks into Apple’s corpulent, juicy carcass.

        I apologize in advance to those who will find my perspective offensive.

  5. Im tired of arguing with Android fanboys about iPhone vs Android. They say Android was bought by Google in 2005, a full 2 years before Apple released the iPhone.

    As if Apple started developing the iPhone in late 2006

    1. Ha ha! Yeah, it’s true — Android does go back that far. And back then, it was a ripoff of Blackberry! Once the iPhone was released, Google went back to the drawing board and turned their Blackberry ripoff into an iPhone ripoff.

      You want to see Android fanboys, visit Slashdot. It’s like travelling to an alternate universe, where there’s nothing about the iPhone that wasn’t completely obvious, and all the innovation comes from Android.


      1. Bingo:

        Being part of the /. crowd, myself. The Android people want to hack and tinker and spend all day getting stuff to work the way they want. That’s all great, but they don’t represent normal consumers, no matter how much they think they do.

      2. I checked it out and I think you’re right about the fanboys; the posting is very teen boyish and very fanatical without moderation – facts. Here is an example,

        Google turn up at the acutions, bidding in joke numbers as their bids.
        MS, Apple & Oracle knowing that individually they won’t be able to beat google team up against them.
        Google stops bidding after pi, it’s work there having been done
        The Axis of Evil win the patents

        Google now claim that the purchase of the patents for nearly 5 times their estimated value is purely for anti-competitive purposes which triggers the DOJ to investigate the deal and potentially invalidate all the patents, or force fair licencing or lead to a reform of the patent structure.

        Google convinces it’s competitors to spend 4.5 billion to reform the patent system to something a bit more sane.

  6. Sergey Brin and Larry Page operate Google, under this motto,
    “Why would we pay for suff? It’s on the internet – it’s free!”

    But I’m not sure that the manifesto of some teenagers’ fallacious rationales of IP theft is a good way to run a multi-billion dollar corporation.

    I have a feeling that we’re about to find out.

      1. Page is worse. They are all ruthless and, frankly, bought into their own grand delusions brought to by their image agencies. This whole notion that the Ph.D. student founders were Goody Two-Shoes while Mr. Schmidt was the necessary evil is just a myth and image construct.

        Google is a manipulative, conniving ad agency, don’t let silly slogans fool you into thinking they’re mostly naive. Rot is at their core.


  7. Andy Rubin: “Guys, as lead Android Developer, I highly recommend we license some code from Oracle.”

    Sergey Brin (speaking in Vulcan): “Nobody questions us nerds! We license from no one, especially from small penis Ellison. Be gone with you and go see what Apple’s up to!”

    Larry Page (speaking in Klingon): “I can’t believe I’m CEO. See! There is hope for all us socially awkward freaks everywhere. What does CEO stand for again?

  8. Us Apple fanboys really need to thank Bill Gates and Microsoft for Google’s Android woes. In fact, the way MS stole the Mac GUI and created Windows taught Steve Jobs and Apple a very valuable lesson–protect your technology.

    Decades later Apple is using that knowledge decades to patent the hell out of iOS, build a $75B war chest, and hire the best lawyers to make sure no one can successfully steal their IP again.

    1. Well, sadly, it would appear that Google boys have picked up a trick or a few from MS/Mr. Gates as well, particularly the art of photocopy machines for R&D, monopoly abuses, cry wolf when reality bites, fight on the backs of FUD army (or the delusional Open champions) and the blatant IP ripoffs. There are a few more tricks left that they are itching to get into, namely the innovation through litigation, and Ballmer’s dev kit.

    2. “to make sure no one can successfully steal their IP again”

      Well, since Fandroid phones are as common as cockroaches at the local phone stores, I don’t think Apple got out in front on this one.

  9. I think it’s kind of ironic that Google now calls the very same Nortel patents it was bidding for as bogus. I don’t think they would be saying that if they had won the bid on them. Of Course Google is to cheap to bid very high. They think they have some special privileges that they shouldn’t have to license anything to make money off of everything. That’s going to change, I guarantee it!

    1. Google wanted them to keep from being sued by Apple, Microsoft, and other companies that are afraid of Androids growth. They would not use them against others as Apple and Microsoft would. They would not have to use them, you only do that when you realize that what you have to offer sucks compared to the competition. It’s a last ditch effort, and Android is nowhere near at the last ditch efforts stage. Apple is evil and wants to slow down innovation. They don’t like giving the people what they want, they like giving the people what THEY want. (read that last part twice. It will make sense)

  10. Ancient lawyers’ aphorism: If the facts are on your side, pound the facts; if the law is on your side, pound the law; if both the facts and the law are against you, pound the table.

    1. Larry Ellison is a friend of Steve Jobs and has sat on the Apple Board (1997-2005) and wants nothing else more than a hunk of Google’s guts dripping from his sword.

  11. How Google Thinks the World Should Work:

    Google : “All material including patents should be free. How would that work? Well you put Ads next to your patents and engineering drawings. When people copy your patents they have to look at your ads…. EVERYTHING should be free, shoes, cars, food… just glue ads to everything… AND if you don’t put ads on your product, we HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE IT AND PUT ADS ON IT OURSELVES!”.

    (my ribbing of Google isn’t entirely baseless, Google digitized artists, writers etc works to sell ads without giving compensation. They were sued numerous times)

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