Jul 7, 2011

Android patent wars

As we continue to buy Android phones and devices including tablets, e-book readers and what not (your next fridge could have one hidden in its microprocessors), a very interesting patent battle is taking place between Android device makers (HTC, Samsung et al) and companies like Microsoft, Nokia, Apple etc.

The overwhelming consensus amongst the pundits seems to be that Google missed out on recent Nortel patent auctions and is hence stupid. I think we have to credit them with more intelligence and more strategic thinking. May be they know something we don't...may be they don't care because so many competitors are now developing stakes and interests in Android GROWING and not dying..

M$ has been beating up and signing up small and (some) big vendors into paying money for their Android phones because some M$ patents are 'violated' by every Android device. If they manage to do so, they will get HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS each year in royalties and would be fools to let that revenue stream die off! So they may end up becoming dependent on Android, knowing how well their core revenue stream of OS+Office is collapsing. Same may happen with Nokia who are having trouble selling phones, and hence end up living off old patents like a rich man's lazy son.

Enforcement actions that end up killing products or services are rare in the patent world - licensing deals are common. Even amongst sworn 'enemies' like Intel and AMD.

So Android will live on, grow and perhaps over time even find ways to get rid of patent bottlenecks..

IMHO Google will end up laughing last, because their real goal is not Android (which they give away free anyway) but the dominance it brings in other ways...

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