Microsoft sues Motorola over Android phones

The suit highlights one advantage Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has over open source rivals

Microsoft filed patent infringement complaints against Motorola and its Android phones in the International Trade Commission and U.S. federal court Friday, indicating that the software giant may hope to use its strong patent position as one way to set its mobile software apart from the competition.

Microsoft said that Motorola's Android phones infringe nine patents, including some that would appear to threaten most smartphone platforms. Android is the open source OS built by Microsoft rival Google.

The patents appear to include some related to Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which syncs e-mail, calendar and contacts between a mobile phone and a software-based computer program, according to a blog post written by Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel at Microsoft.

Other patents involve technology that displays signal strength and battery power on phones.

The suits shouldn't come as a surprise. Earlier this year, HTC announced it had licensed Microsoft patents relevant to its Android phones. The companies did not disclose what kinds of technologies the patents covered. At the time, Microsoft said it was in discussions with other phone makers using Android.

Motorola did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the suits.

The first phones running Microsoft's revamped mobile phone software are scheduled to appear this month. The company has said that one benefit of using its Windows Phone 7 software, compared to some of the free OSes like Android or Symbian, is that it has a broad patent portfolio and can protect handset makers from threats.

"Microsoft indemnifies its Windows Phone 7 licensees against patent infringement claims," the company said recently. "We stand behind our product, and step up to our responsibility to clear the necessary IP rights."

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Motorolaopen sourceconsumer electronicsintellectual propertyMicrosoftPhoneslegalpatentsmartphonessoftware

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?