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Who needs Windows when you have Android?

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  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    I had no idea Microsoft was rolling in so much dough from patent licensing in Android. An estimated $3.4 billion in 2013 alone? If I were them I'd hitch a few wagons (i.e. Office, buy Xamarin) to that horse right now rather than hold back on things because you want to give "Windows 8 Store Apps/Immersive/Microsoft Design Language/Modern UI/Synofsky Hates You" a chance (that idea is sheer speculation of course). Never wrong to have a Plan B...

    Grow Android grow!

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    Bass

    Patent trolling is more of a smash and grab business model for for law firms masquerading as tech companies. It's not long term sustainable for a real technology company because patents don't last very long and are often invalidated in court anyway.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    But that's not what's happening here, right?

    Valid patents, that Android manufacturers recognized and licensed. It's a perfectly fine business, especially since it's not like Microsoft is sitting on these patents without producing anything similar... I can't see where the "trolling" is, in this cases.

    For an example on how NOT to do licensing, look up Motorola.

  • User profile image
    SteveRichter

    $8 per device is not very much. And the patents last for 17 years, correct?  Many windows patents must date back a decade or more, right?

     

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    Even if the patent window is smaller I think Microsoft should go balls-to-the-wall with Android to create a new revenue stream based on applications and services so they can transition from a patent revenue model as that runs dry.

    For Android (and iOS?) Microsoft has a great start with:

    • Xbox client
    • OneNote
    • Lync client
    • Skype
    • SkyDrive
    • Azure's support for Android as part of its mobile offerings.

    I'm sure I'm overlooking some but even with that short list it's promising. In addition to seeing more of Office on Android (and iOS) I really think it would be smart to extend its development toolset to both Android and iOS for the same reason: to embrace and extend these platforms to bring more people into Microsoft's ecosystem. Xamarin has this bit nailed so why not bring them into the Microsoft fold? (Aside from concerns that a certain division might make life hard for the Xamarin folks kind of like they did with DevDiv.) Then there's the IT side of the house where they should continue to provide and improve integration and management tools for all of these devices.

    Get people to need your stuff because it makes their lives that much easier. That's the Microsoft I remember from long ago. I just wish they'd get back to that line of thinking again someday soon. Who knows maybe Windows Blue might just be the start of that effort...

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    fanbaby

    , PaoloM wrote

    But that's not what's happening here, right?

    Valid patents, that Android manufacturers recognized and licensed. It's a perfectly fine business, especially since it's not like Microsoft is sitting on these patents without producing anything similar... I can't see where the "trolling" is, in this cases.

    For an example on how NOT to do licensing, look up Motorola.

    Sure what Microsoft is doing is kosher, after all Microsoft would not do anything illegal. You know, there is a saying: it's kosher but it stinks.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , fanbaby wrote

    *snip*

    You know, there is a saying: it's kosher but it stinks.

    Never heard that one before, but then again, I'm a gentile.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , fanbaby wrote

    Sure what Microsoft is doing is kosher, after all Microsoft would not do anything illegal. You know, there is a saying: it's kosher but it stinks.

    There's nothing stopping Android weaning itself off of Microsoft's patents. In fact, it'd be in their interests to spend up to $3.4bn a year inventing their own ideas, instead of outsourcing their innovation to Microsoft.

    Patents are a two way street. Microsoft wouldn't be charging Android $8 a phone to use its inventions if Android spent more money on inventing ways to not use competitor patents.

  • User profile image
    fanbaby

    @evildictaitor: Care to point us to a patent that makes you as a developer say: "yeah, bravo Microsoft!"?

    I'll even accept the like of slide-to-unlock piece of *&%&$

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , fanbaby wrote

    @evildictaitor: Care to point us to a patent that makes you as a developer say: "yeah, bravo Microsoft!"?

    OK. I'll bite:

    Results obtained using image analysis are correlated to non-spatial information useful for commerce and trade. For example, images of regions of interest of the earth are used to count items (e.g., cars in a store parking lot to predict store revenues), detect events (e.g., unloading of a container ship, or evaluating the completion of a construction project), or quantify items (e.g., the water level in a reservoir, the area of a farming plot):

    http://www.google.com/patents/US8379913?dq=Microsoft&hl=en&sa=X&ei=pcmMUf61KcWHPZO1gaAJ&ved=0CDgQ6AEwATgK

    That's sounds pretty clever to me. It's completely non-obvious that that would be a good way to guesstimate a store's productivity, it's not easy to do (image processing is hard) and it's useful as well.

     

    But in relation to the wider discussion, perhaps we shall just say this. If all of Microsoft's patents aren't very inventive or aren't very useful, why doesn't Android stop paying Microsoft $3.4bn a year by going and inventing their own stuff.

    Either Microsoft is providing Android with $3.4bn a year worth of innovation, or Android should spend $3.4bn a year in inventing their own patents and save money by avoiding paying Microsoft any patent fees.

    Simple.

     

  • User profile image
    fanbaby

    @evildictaitor: Could you please speak in english rather than patentese?

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , fanbaby wrote

    @evildictaitor: Could you please speak in english rather than patentese?

    Ok. I will answer your question.

    By looking at the pictures taken from very high up, we can learn things that might be useful to shop owners and for the people who drive lorries and ships between the shops. We might be able to look at the pictures and count the number of cars in front of a shop. That might tell us how many people are in the shop. Then we might be able to tell how much money the shop is making. We might also be able to look at the pictures and see the lorries and ships on the picture. This might let us work out when the ships and the lorries are going to arrive, and this will help the shop owners know when the things they want to sell are going to arrive.

    We can also look at the pictures taken from high up to see how much water is in the lake and how big a farmer's land is. This will help the farmer know if there is going to be enough water in the lake to water his plants.

    I think this idea is very clever. I don't think I would have been able to work it out. It is also really useful to shop owners and farmers.

    In answer to your question, if all of the clever things that Microsoft made aren't very clever and you cannot do useful things with them, why doesn't Google stop giving Microsoft lots of money and make clever things themselves?

    Either Microsoft is doing all of the clever inventing for Google, and so Google should pay Microsoft for all of the scientists making clever ideas, or Google should spend all of that money making their own clever ideas instead of paying Microsoft for the clever ideas that Microsoft made.

    Simple.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    , evildictait​or wrote

    In answer to your question, if all of the clever things that Microsoft made aren't very clever and you cannot do useful things with them, why doesn't Google stop giving Microsoft lots of money and make clever things themselves?

    And Scholastic is the author of the Harry Potter series? Microsoft didn't make anything because it is not a natural person and can't be listed as an inventor on a patent. This is not being pedantic, it's important to provide correct credit when talking about such things.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    It's also worth noting that Microsoft is licensing a promise not to sue, not any specific list of patents. Microsoft has very little interest in publicizing patents Android might violate, since that would allow Google to work around them. But it's a textbook case of a protection racket.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Bass wrote

    Actually it isn't Microsoft that invented that because is not a natural person and thus can't invent anything. That's actually one of the few redeeming things about patents is they don't allow companies to fully exploit individuals. Something that copyright sorely needs too (and does have for stuff like music/books in some countries, unassignable moral rights).

    The lengths you go to to avoid ever giving Microsoft credit for what it does is beyond belief.

    Yes, inventions are not made by the Microsoft brand, they are made by Microsoft employees. But that's the same as saying the Xbox isn't a great Microsoft invention because it was made by Microsoft employees.

    And we can say the same about any other company. Google didn't invent Android. It was invented by Google employees. Netfix didn't invent Netflix. It was invented by Netflix employees.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    The lengths you go to to avoid ever giving Microsoft credit for what it does is beyond belief.

    Yes, inventions are not made by the Microsoft brand, they are made by Microsoft employees. But that's the same as saying the Xbox isn't a great Microsoft invention because it was made by Microsoft employees.

    And we can say the same about any other company. Google didn't invent Android. It was invented by Google employees. Netfix didn't invent Netflix. It was invented by Netflix employees.

    Don't have much respect for Microsoft, but have respect for Microsoft employees (the engineers). From the way you write you often seem to treat Microsoft as a single entity and rarely if ever celebrate individual accomplishments. But especially with the case of patents you can not separate the inventor from the invention. Using phrases like "Microsoft invented/made this" when referring to a specific patent is an inaccurate placement of credit. In most countries you can't sell or otherwise transfer an author's moral rights to most copyrighted works either..

    There is a lot of people who fought very hard for one little tool we have against total corporate exploitation. So yes, I felt the need to correct you.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @Bass: Regardless of how many cubes an individual has on their desk, the patent office sees the owner of the patent as the company. Most companies have patent agreements with their employees that stipulate that any inventions are the property of the employer. The individual may have their name on the patent, but they don't have any rights to it.

    While it may be cool to know that so-and-so is primarily responsible for such-and-such, ultimately it's meaningless in the patent war.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    All patented inventions I made while working at Microsoft (eh, only four of them) are Microsoft's property. The *paid me* to do exactly that and I got a monetary, one-time, patent award, a black cube for the patent submission and - when the patents are registered in a couple of years - a nice plaque to put on the wall.

    Same thing occurs in any other company. Except for the cubes, and those are cool.

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