It is only because Google owns Motorola. Not because Hoogle wants to protect its partners.
Summary of the link Ian offers:
Microsoft is suing Motorola over patent theft and trying to add Google to the list of defendents...
Patent infringement claim #1 is: "over-the-Internet geotagging" which MS created 3 years before Google existed and is enforceable for 3 more years from today.
Microsoft clearly wants to end this whole Motorola dispute quickly. If Motorola had not been acquired by Google, I'm almost 100% sure it would have taken a royalty-bearing license by now. There's no reason why an independent Motorola Mobility would have forever refused to do what Samsung, HTC, LG and many others elected to do. But with Google in charge, Motorola can't do anymore what would be best for Motorola itself. ...
At today's hearing, Dr. Matthias Zigann, the judge presiding over this lawsuit, asked the parties about their willingness to settle. Microsoft's counsel said that this whole "theater" could be cut short if Motorola simply accepted to take a license to his client's patents. But Motorola did not give any indication that it is prepared to do so. ...
Google cannot win this patent dispute with Microsoft, but it doesn't want to take a license. And if it loses this lawsuit, then Google Maps may become unavailable in Germany next spring as collateral damage of Google's unwillingness to address Android's massive, court-validated patent infringement issues.
I'm looking forward to the day that NPR news, unlike this morning, lists Windows Phone as a market presence -- today it was "iPhone, Android, and Blackberry", where the topic was the future of the Blackberry. Why they didn't mention Windows Phone I cannot say, but it was disappointing.
So Androids are banned from Germany? Wow. Windows Phone should grab the user base!
You can still buy Samsung, HTC, and other Android phones, they already paid the license off the court. Judging from how quickly everyone else signed the license, the license is expected to be quite cheap.
The patents are annoying, that's why we don't have turn by turn navigation in WP7 while the code is fully capable of doing it by calling another method within the program. But at least you know they didn't violate the patent.
Both Google and Apple are spending more money on patent peckker waving shenanigans (mostly related to mobile) then technological development. I would remind you that it's relatively uncontroversial to call these companies technology companies. That is, companies that produce and develop technology. But you wouldn't know if you read their quarterly expenditures, unless they are producing some really awesome technology for court rooms or something.
Some people think this is great, because their "fav" company is wins some case, right? But in reality all tech companies these days get sued and sue other tech companies, all of them. Your "fav" might be Microsoft and I can't easily point you to patent cases where Microsoft lost pretty badly. What I am saying is it works both ways. So they win sometimes, lose sometimes. Over time, it averages, they aren't really winning much of anything.
But that's ignoring the fact that playing the patent game costs money. So you also need to factor the billions of dollars of unrecoverable expenses of playing the legal game. This is not money being transferred between technology companies as the result of a suit. This is money that is permanently lost to technical development, and if you survey the tech industry, this is a big sum of money, perhaps enough to hire hundreds of thousands of software engineers and other technologists. But instead it's going to lawyers and other people involved with the legal process.
Sometimes I wish I got a law degree instead of an engineering degree. It just seems like a safer, easier way to get rich, and you don't have to do silly "benevolent" things like help human social or technological progress to get there.
What does this patent have to do with hardware? It basically covers the gist of Google Maps. Can Microsoft directly file suit against Google, for their maps site? Or is the licensing easier to figure out when you have a count of physical gizmos?
There has to be literally thousands of patents inside a typical smart phone. As a rights holder you couldn't ask for anything more than a couple of hundredths of a penny per patent / device, and expect someone to pay-up.