Microsoft’s Communications boss Frank X. Shaw on Thursday responded to an update posted by Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, which was written in response to Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith’s response to Drummond’s initial claim that Microsoft and Apple were playing dirty with patents. Catch all that? Here’s the gist of it: Google’s David Drummond wrote on Wednesday that Microsoft, Apple and others were “banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the ‘CPTN’ group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the ‘Rockstar’ group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them.” Microsoft’s Frank X. Shaw and Brad Smith each responded on Twitter, saying that Google was invited to the patent party but the company declined the invitation. On Thursday, Drummond updated his original post on the Google blog, stating that Microsoft and Apple’s invitation was disingenuous. Had Google joined the group that purchased the patents, Drummond explained, the joint acquisition would have “eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners.”
Microsoft’s Shaw then shot back on Twitter, saying that Drummond is a liar and Google didn’t joint the group because it wanted the patents all to itself (of course Google’s bids in the Nortel patent auction were seemingly intended to merely drive up the price of the portfolio; it bid $Pi billion at one point). The bottom line is it’s all ridiculous, and each company is out to protect its own interests as can only be expected. It would be great if tech giants could fire all their patent attorneys and build innovative products without having to weave through an obstacle course of patents, but that will never happen under the current system. In the meantime, companies will keep suing each other and in the end, everyone — including end users — loses.