Barnes & Noble calls on feds to probe Microsoft’s patent warpath

It is no secret that Microsoft is on a warpath. The company has garnered Android patent licensing deals from major industry tech players like HTC, Samsung and ViewSonic, just to name a few, and has chosen to sue those that resist, such as Barnes & Noble. The book seller, which recently announced its second Android tablet, has sent a letter to the Justice Department’s chief counsel for competition policy Gene Kimmelman that calls on the U.S. government to probe Microsoft over monopoly concerns. “Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices,” Barnes & Noble said in the letter. “Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.” Read on for more.

The Redmond-based company reportedly makes $444 million annually from Android royalties, which is estimated to be at least three times the revenue it makes from its own Windows Phone operating system. “All modern operating systems include many patented technologies,” Microsoft said recently. “Microsoft has taken licenses to patents for Windows and we make our patents available on reasonable terms for other operating systems, like Android. We would be pleased to extend a license to Barnes & Noble.”

Barnes & Noble told Bloomberg that Microsoft was asking it to pay the same fees that it charges companies who license its Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft’s case against Barnes & Noble is scheduled to be heard beginning in February 2012.

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