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Microsoft says Google is lying in its complaints about patent hoarding

Zach Epstein
August 4th, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Apple sat quiet following Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond’s rant yesterday, as it always does, but Microsoft was not content letting Drummond air his grievances without responding. Drummond on Wednesday penned a post on Google’s blog claiming that Apple, Microsoft and other companies are joining together to “strangle” Android with patent complaints. With all of the patent-related lawsuits against Android partners right now, this certainly seems like a valid complaint. Highlighting a specific example, Drummond wrote that the companies are “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 General Counsel Brad Smith disagreed, however, and he pointed out a gaping hole in Drummond’s argument: “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no,” Smith wrote on Twitter. Microsoft’s Corporate Communications boss Frank X. Shaw followed up Smith’s note by posting an image on Twitter of an email between Brad Smith and Google’s General Counsel Kent Walker where Walker refuses Microsoft’s invitation to bid on Nortel’s patent portfolio alongside Microsoft and other companies. The image of the email and a transcription of its contents can be seen below.

Brad —
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.

I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
— Kent

Read [Smith tweet] Read [Shaw tweet]

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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