Microsoft Targets Android to Prepare for Windows Phone 7
A much more practical reason, noted IDC analyst Al Hilwa, is that Microsoft is on the verge of launching Windows Phone 7 this month. "Android was a great gift to the industry, but lawsuits like this are beginning to throw doubts on its provenance," Hilwa wrote in a note to eWEEK.What Microsoft really wants is to impede and impinge Android, which this year passed Windows Mobile in smartphone market share. ComScore said Android grew its U.S. smartphone market share from 12 percent to 17 percent in the three-month period ending in July, vaulting over Microsoft's Windows Mobile, which has 11.8 percent. Android is activated on 200,000 devices per day, and there are more than 60 handsets running the open-source platform. Microsoft wants to plant a protective stake in the ground for its Windows Phone 7 launch. Oracle, too, sued over Android, though without smartphones to sell, the database software giant targeted Google for its use of Java technology in building Android. That use is questionable to be sure, with Google doing an end run around the Java construct to build its own platform. But Oracle just wants a piece of the red-hot Android action, not prevent phone makers from selling devices. Interestingly, while Google released Android under the open-source model of free, it now seems phone makers and eventually Google itself will pay millions of dollars to use the OS. File this under "when free isn't really free." "Patents are the way of tech today, whether we like it or not," Hilwa added. "Companies regularly engage in licensing discussions and deals with their partners and competitors, who are often the same. These lawsuits come up when there is a breakdown in the discussions."
"Microsoft is of course launching Windows Phone 7 for which it charges handset makers some dollars. The lawsuits around Android make the point that device licenses for the technology stack may be viewed as inexpensive when measured against the legal fees that might be incurred. What does Microsoft really want?"