On Wednesday, Google’s chief legal officer SVP Dave Drummond wrote a scathing blog post accusing Apple and Microsoft of ganging up against the company on patent matters. Google recently lost a bid for a valuable portfolio of patents from Nortel after being out-bid by a coalition of tech companies including Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion. That action has prompted scrutiny from the Justice Department.
“Android is on fire,” Drummond wrote. “. . .But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”
Drummond said that Google is looking for ways to strengthen its patent portfolio. The company recently bought more than 1,000 patents from IBM and is also said to be in the market for over 8,000 patents from InterDigital. Bidding for the InterDigital patents could hit astronomical levels, however, with rumors that Apple and Samsung are also looking at the patents.
“Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone,” Drummond wrote.
In response to Google’s post, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said on his Twitter feed that the company offered to bid with Google on the Nortel patents, but was turned down. Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s head of communications, backed him up within minutes, posting an e-mail message between Smith and Walker that appeared to prove Smith’s assertion:
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.
“Free advice for David Drummond – next time check with Kent Walker before you blog,” Shaw tweeted.