CyberTech Rambler

August 4, 2011

The Truth? PR stunt ? or sour grape? (updated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:03 pm

Google blogs that others, particularly Microsoft and Apple, are using patents to attack Android. We all know that Microsoft is doing it openly. With Apple, it is involves with mobile lawsuits that appears more to be targeting anything except IPhone, but it would be fair to characterize the target as Android given the low share of mobile OSes which are not iOS or Android.

Interestingly, Microsoft’s reply choose to carefully address only one of two Google’s attack, i.e., the Nortel Novell [Update 20110805: Three bloggers/authors noticed that this is actually about Novell, not Nortel. One of them, Mary Jo Foley, tweeted that we are more interested in the Nortel sales. Novell is water under the bridge] patent sales. May be twitter’s 140 characters forced a single tweet to cover one attack, but surely our friend at Microsoft can spare the time for a second tweet?

[Update 20110805: Due to my misreading of Microsoft’ tweet, I thought Google waas invited to join the Nortel consortium. So the point below, about Google knowing beforehand that it cannot  win the auction, is invalid. Sorry]

Since Google was invited to join the consortium to bid for the patent, I am sure it knows that it cannot win the auction. Microsoft alone has more money to spend than Google. Add Apple in the mix and Google simply has no chance. One way of looking at it is Google’s strategy is to drive up the cost  for the consortium, then go the antitrust route  to pick it apart by making sure they did not get what they are hoping for, i.e., a potent weapon against any competitor, especially Google.

Equally valid is the Google feels that the consortium is too powerful and DoJ will definitely steps in to amend the deal. If this is the  case, Google joining the consortium does not make sense for Google. At the minimum, that guarantees DoJ will steps in. The formation of the consortium immediate makes Google’s “pre-approval” worthless. To salvage something from this “pre-approval” and the whole bidding process, Google’s best option is to be the second highest bidder. That way, in the unlikely event the consortium falls through, the patents are likely to be offered to it.

So, what is the truth according to the myopic view of one CTRambler? It is a mix of the truth and a PR stunt by a sour grape (Google).

The fact that DoJ chooses to look into the Nortel purchase says that Google’s worry is not unfounded. While DoJ’s decision to alter Novell’s patent deal does not set a precedence, it might be a glimpse into the opinion of the opaque world of regulation.

It’s definitely a PR thing. No company writes a blog post without first consulting PR.

Sour grape? Possibly.

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