Microsoft Allegedly an Extortionist. Yikes, the E Word

September 29, 2011

Short honk: Darn. I love Panda. Heck. I think the EC’s anti Google T shirt is no fun at all. Shoot. I think that companies uncomfortable with Google love are all wet. Little surprise that I found “Google On Microsoft’s Android Patent Tactics: It’s Extortion” one of those fascinating “inside baseball” articles with implications for fans of other sports. The main point is that Microsoft has figured out how to slap a toll both on Android phone makers HTC and Samsung. Larry Ellison wants to do the same this with Java, but the legal process is still on going. Microsoft figured out how to put up the toll booth and start collecting cash without making a detour through the legal eagle exhibit at the court house. Google is not too happy with this and, according to the write up, posted this comment:

This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.

Three observations:

  1. Google, if the statement is accurate and not one of those accidental tweets, seems a bit testy.
  2. The use of the word “extort” is interesting. I think “extort” means getting something by threats, hard or soft force, or some other unfair method. If true, Google will have proof. If not true, Google may have to add another legal mambo to its dance card.
  3. I am going to have to do some thinking about how “open source” means “open” and “free” means no money. My assumption was that “open source” was open, not closed, and free meant “no fees.” I just don’t understand how some words can suggest one thing yet invoke quite different  connotations. Imagine trying to learn English as a second language right now.

Net net: Google and Microsoft are not pals. The legal hassles are not likely to go gently into the night.

Stephen E Arnold, September 29, 2011

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