Judgment day for Android: Apple, Microsoft file lawsuit against Google, Samsung

“This is what Steve Jobs meant when he threatened to go nuclear against Android,” John Koetsier reports for VentureBeat.

“Yesterday, on Halloween, a consortium of companies including Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry filed lawsuits again Android manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, Asustek, and ZTE, as well as other Android manufacturers,” Koetsier reports. “All the lawsuits target Google as well, if only indirectly, and one mentions the company by name, saying its core money-maker, Adwords, violates a 1998 patent.”

“The Google lawsuit cites United States Patent No. 6,098,065, won by Nortel originally, for “matching search terms with relevant advertising.” In other words, this is not just a fight against Android. Rockstar Bidco — and by extension Apple and Microsoft — are firing directly at the very basis of Google’s existence, its very lifeblood, and the source of all the revenue that enables it to build and give away the world’s best or second-best mobile operating system essentially for free: advertising,” Koetsier reports. “It’s genius, really. Why attack your enemy’s toes when you can go straight for the heart?”

“This is likely to be the definitive battle that shapes Android and the future of mobile technology in the U.S. and abroad. Google will likely strike back — every large enterprise has patents that just about every company could be conceivably infringing — and we’ll likely enter a long, protracted, messing, and boring sideshow of legal shenanigans that advance the world of technology not a single bit, but continue to enrich lawyers,” Koetsier opines. “And may, eventually, result in licensing fees on Android that will make the free operating system slightly less free.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Define “slightly.” Android isn’t free currently. At some point the whole charade simply tips over and becomes more costly and troublesome than it’s worth for the handset assemblers to deploy.

Koetsier doesn’t really get it. It’s simple: All of these years of myriad litigation are about Apple protecting their intellectual property from blatant thieves. Apple welcomes competition, but they do ask that competitors compete on their own merits, not with products stolen from Apple.

Related articles:
Apple-led Rockstar consortium sues Google, Samsung, Huawei over Nortel patents – November 1, 2013
Apple v. Samsung judge Koh weighs damages and – more importantly – running royalties – December 19, 2012
Microsoft and Samsung cross-license patents; Samsung to pay Microsoft royalties for Android devices – September 28, 2011
Analyst: HTC settlement worth up to $8 per phone for Apple; serve as model for future deals with Apple patent infringers – November 12, 2012


  1. As far as I know the only relevant patents Google holds are SEPs that are FRAND patents, and as Samsung recently found out, using those as weapons against the competition can get you in extremely hot water. Google is either toast, or it buys it’s way out of this using a corrupt political/legal system.

    1. Zeke, Google holds many non SEPs. I don’t know the details of Google’s patent portfolio, but they absolutely do have non SEPs . Now, whether those non SEPs are relevant to Apple, Microsoft and the rest may be a totally different story.

      1. If Google had any non-SEP, non-FRAND patents that were relevant to Apple and Microsoft it would have used them by now, and it wouldn’t have spent $12B to acquire Motorola Mobility for it’s patents (most of which have now proven to be useless anyway).

      1. And Motorola’s patents are pretty much SEP and useless against Apple as well. Google’s problem is that Apple didn’t copy anybody in producing the basic framework for iOS and the iPhone.

  2. Let point out something very important before any one starts telling you “Don’t do evil”
    Apple sells products that cover some need you may have, a good computer that you don’t want to repair but to use, a phone so good that avery other company is trying to replicate, things like that.
    Google makes you believe you need thing that you really don’t need, that is their business, advertising. Apple has iAds, but its core business and its birth is from actual products and services that you can use.
    Google core business and birth came from making you believe you need something, and they accomplish that spying on you, gaining your trust in their services so they can have more info about you and about what they can sell you.
    Google is a company that sells other’s people products mostly. They have maps, mail, social network and manny other projects because they need to get as much as possible involve in your life so the better they know you, they better they can convince you to buy something you don’t need, kind of how the evil works.
    Lossing google will in fact improve people’s life. just my half cent.

    1. Is Alta Vista still kicking? I’m changing search engines – that’s the only thing I still use google for, and I know they’re still intruding on me everyday in many other ways, but I’m with the RockStars – Rock on brothers and sisters!


        1. I tried duchduckgo.com for a while. Not too impressed with it. Never liked Firefox either (forever updating itself). I recently let go of Chrome as well. Google is finally out of my life….nosy Parker’s! Now I only use Safari. Good enough for anything I need and it is pretty fast.

    2. Your main implication, that advertising “makes you believe you need thing [sic] that you really don’t need” is completely false. At least that’s not the *only* thing it does. It also informs people about new products.

      I say that as someone who *hates* advertising, and Tivos everything to avoid ads (and used multiple VCRs before that). Your statement about ads’ *sole* purpose is simply wrong, however.

      1. Of course they do,
        Typical ad;
        you have this problem.
        Here’s the solution(our product)

        The problem is often a made up one. the trick is to make you believe it is a real problem that needs solving.

  3. Now for a little prejudice of my own:

    While Apple is far from perfect it still is a lot closer than many other big tech. companies. It really is an excellently run company – Did you know they also make some really excellent product too?

    Oh yeah, you do. Forgot where I was for a moment.

  4. I love how everyone is turning this into “Apple and Microsoft” are suing. Rockstar is a completely separate entity and can act of their own free will. They’re an IP licensing company born out of Nortel’s IP licensing division. It was originally formed by a consortium under the name Rockstar Bidco who bought the patents and turned over almost 2,000 of them to the original members. After that completed (recently) they changed their name to Rockstar Consortium, Inc. for sole purpose of licensing and selling the IP as any other company would do.

    1. Errr… no, Michael, that is not the way it works. Apple’s capital contribution to Rockstar was over half of its $4.58 billion cost; you can be absolutely certain that every enforcement action that Rockstar takes is cleared with Apple legal and the major decisions – such as suing Google and Samsung – are approved by Tim Cook himself.

  5. The tech industry is the lifeline for Lawyers and has taken over from divorce lawyers as the primary line of business that lawyers earn their money from. This is becoming silly all this dragging one another to Court. The adage that American society is litigeous is no doubt based on this type of Court dependency.

  6. It’s about fricking time! But as usual the only “winners” will be the “blood sucking-how long can I string this out, so I can retire at 25 with millions?” lawyers. (May they all rot in hell )

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