Microsoft, Oracle and Apple team up to kill Android

Google’s chief legal officer has accused proprietary software outfits Apple and Microsoft of teaming up in an attempt to kill off the more open source Android.

David Drummond, who is also Google’s senior vice-president let rip in his bog this morning, must have been all the latte’s yesterday, claiming that Apple and Microsoft were conspiring to push up the prices of Android smartphones and tablets using bogus patents.

He claimed that this was part of a “hostile, organised campaign” to “strangle” Android, which Google has given to the world+dog for free.

Drummond implied that Microsoft and Apple were getting “into bed together” to stifle Android’s success. More than 550,000 Android devices were being activated worldwide every day through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers.

While this competition was yielding “cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers” the proprietary companies were pooing themselves and were using injuctions on bogus patents, to kill off competition which they could not beat in the marketplace.

Drummond pointed out that Vole and Jobs’ Mob recently bought thousands of Novell and Nortel’s old patents and were using them to demand a $US15 licensing fee for every Android device.

He claimed this would make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android than Windows Mobile.

He said that patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.

Drummond said that a smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims. Competitors want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices by imposing a tax on the software.

He hinted that this was an “anti-competitive strategy” although it is not clear if Google is planning to drag Apple, Oracle and Vole into court over the matter. The three could claim they are just defending their patents and it would be hard for Google to prove otherwise.

Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith said that he asked Google to bid jointly with it on the Novell patents and they said no.

However Kimberlee Weatherall, an Australian intellectual property lawyer, blogger and academic, warned AP that “the breadth of monopoly Apple is claiming” over some fairly basic smartphone features was “breathtaking”.