All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

04 Jun 12 Nokia: Android phones have major patent issues

“Both companies have their own intellectual property rights portfolios and strategies and operate independently.”

He also said that some Android devices had “significant (intellectual property) infringement issues” relating to Nokia’s patents.

Google, in a formal complaint to the European Commission, said Microsoft and Nokia had transferred 1,200 patents to MOSAID, a so-called “patent troll” which makes money by taking legal action over patent infringements.

Nokia and Microsoft cooperate on smartphones that compete with Google’s Android devices. The Finnish phone maker shifted from its own Symbian software in favor of Microsoft Windows in February 2011.

Google’s accusations highlight current cut-throat competition in the mobile phone business where companies, including Nokia, are fighting to assert intellectual property rights over wireless technologies.

Nokia’s patents have become valuable and stable assets for the company, particularly at a time when falling handset sales and a loss of market share threaten its future.

Nokia has already sued Android device makers HTC and ViewSonic for infringing its patents and is expected to go after others.

Nokia already earns 500 million euros ($618.22 million) a year from its patent royalties in key areas of mobile telephony and some analysts have said a more determined application of its patent rights could boost its income by hundreds more millions of euros a year.

Microsoft said earlier that Google’s complaint about antitrust in the smartphone industry was a “desperate tactic” from a company that controls more than 95 per cent of mobile search and advertising.

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14 May 12 10 Ways To Stifle Tech Competition

(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

The funny thing about the tech industry is that everyone talks about competition but no one wants to compete, at least not on a level playing field.

Today’s tech giants are fine with competing on their own terms, terms that give them an advantage. They’re not so keen to participate in a fair fight.

Usually, tech companies rely on the legal system to insulate themselves from competition. When Apple sued HTC two years ago, then-CEO Steve Jobs condemned HTC for infringing Apple’s patents. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,” he said.

Microsoft said as much protesting the European Commission’s 2004 finding that the company had abused its PC industry dominance. As a remedy, the European Commission required that Microsoft disclose its interface documentation to allow non-Microsoft servers to work with PCs.

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Microsoft objected to this requirement. “[T]he compulsory license will allow competitors to replicate Microsoft’s technologies such that their products would be indistinguishable from Microsoft’s products in important respects,” the company said. “This outcome will largely eliminate incentives for these companies to develop alternative or better technologies–precisely the opposite of what competition law is intended to achieve.”

Occasionally, a company will acknowledge wanting to avoid competition. ATT CEO Randall Stephenson, for example, recently suggested that Google and Mozilla object, knowing that their browsers can’t compete on Windows RT devices without access to those APIs.

Harvey Anderson, general counsel for Mozilla, said Mozilla isn’t presently pursuing the issue with the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department. “We will continue to evaluate and see if that will be the appropriate mechanism to get the resolution that we seek,” he said in an emailed statement.

2. Apple’s iOS
Apple has not been shy about using patents and copyrights to limit competitors. But it also relies on contracts to constrain developers and makers of peripherals that interface with Apple products. In some circumstances, Apple couples contracts with technological barriers. Apple’s rules prevent the use of writable, executable memory pages, except for its own Safari browser. Apple, in other words, is imposing the same kind of restriction as Microsoft is in Windows RT to preclude the possibility of JIT compilers, which are essential for the operation of modern browsers.

Mozilla is less bothered by Apple’s barriers, presumably due to its traditional focus on desktop browsing. “The similarities to iOS don’t justify an outcome on Windows that deprives users of choice, reduces competition, and hurts innovation,” Mozilla’s counsel Anderson said. “The difference here is that Microsoft is using its Windows monopoly power in the OS market to exclude competition in the browser market. Microsoft also published commitments to users, industry, and software developers … that in essence said Microsoft would design Windows to allow choice and provide a level playing field for third-party applications like the browser. These factors create a situation that is materially different than iOS.”

Perhaps, but the situation is not so materially different that we have Firefox or Chrome for iOS.

3. Google’s Chrome OS
How do you avoid competing with other browser makers? Make an operating system with a built-in browser. Chrome OS supports only Google’s Chrome browser. That’s the way it was made. When Microsoft tried that, the European Commission forced Microsoft to stop bundling its operating system and browser. But Google has gotten away with it, largely because so few people are using Chrome OS devices. Why worry that the playing field isn’t level if Google’s team is the only one that showed up for the game?

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25 Apr 12 Microsoft, Pegatron Ink Patent Deal for Android, Chrome Devices

Microsoft has inked a patent licensing deal with Pegatron that covers Android- and Chrome-based devices.

The agreement means Pegatron can utilize technology covered by Microsoft patents for its Android- and Chrome-based e-readers, smartphones, and tablets.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Pegatron and proud of the continued success of our Android licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group, said in a statement. “With this agreement, Microsoft has now licensed four of the top five Taiwanese ODMs.”

Taiwan-based Pegatron manufactures its own products, but is also a supplier for well-known tech firms, like Apple.

Microsoft has previously signed patent licensing deals with companies like HTC, Samsung, Suanta, Copal Electronics, Wistron, and LG.

When the LG deal was announced in January, Gutierrez said that 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. were covered under Microsoft’s patent portfolio.

Microsoft holds patents relating to navigation and how websites display content; technology used on the Android and Chrome platforms.

Earlier this week, Microsoft and Facebook agreed to a deal that will see Microsoft license or sell many of the patents it picked up from AOL to Facebook for $550 million in cash.

Patent battles have made a number of headlines in recent years, as some of the top tech companies – from Apple and Samsung to Motorola and Microsoft – have gone after one another for patent infringement. Microsoft is currently battling Barnes Noble for violating its patents with its Nook line of e-readers. BN responded by accusing Microsoft of patent abuse, but an International Trade Commission (ITC) judge in January threw out Barnes Noble’s antitrust claims against Redmond.

In February, however, Microsoft filed a formal complaint with the European Commission accusing Google and Motorola Mobility of patent abuse, which eventually resulted in an EU investigation.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

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05 Jan 12 Google relegates Chrome home page after spam criticism

The sponsored blog postings were commissioned by Essence Digital, a
London-based digital marketing agency. Google said it had never approved the
campaign and that only one of the sponsored blog postings improved the
Chrome home page’s PageRank.

“Google have consistently avoided paid postings to promote their products,
because in their view these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the
best interests of users,” Essence Digital said, apologising for the
sponsored postings.

According to Search
Engine Land, a leading blog
about the web search industry, Google’s
self-punishment has had a dramatic effect. The Chrome home page is now
ranked as low as 73rd in a search for “browser”, for example. It was
previously ranked second in searches for the term.

The strict action comes as Google is under regulatory scrutiny by the European
Commission for allegedly using its dominance of web search to promote
secondary products.

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