Motorola is apparently willing to consider adopting Windows Phone, despite the patent battles between it and Microsoft.
Motorola is apparently willing to consider the merits of
Microsoft's Windows Phone, despite the well-publicized
patent issues between the two companies.
"I would have to consider whether defocusing from Android to
Windows will be the right thing for us to do," Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said
during a speech at the Oppenheimer Technology & Communications Conference
in Boston, according
to the Inquirer, "but if the capabilities on Windows are such that [it] is
the right thing for us, I think we will consider it."
That willingness might come as a surprise to anyone
following the patent wars currently gripping the tech industry, where for the
past year Microsoft and Motorola have been more than happy to fire
intellectual-property lawsuits against one another. Microsoft launched its
first salvo in October 2010, alleging that Motorola's Android smartphones
violated nine patents.
"The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality
embodied in Motorola's Android smartphone devices that are essential to the
smartphone user experience," Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's corporate vice
president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual property and Licensing,
said at the time.
Motorola shot back with a legal broadside alleging
infringement of 16 patents by Microsoft's PC and Server software, Windows
mobile software, and Xbox products. The case is still winding its way through
Even as Microsoft began to lock horns with Motorola, it
pursued a stark strategy with manufacturers of Android devices such as
smartphones and tablets: pay royalties, or face a patent-infringement lawsuit.
Some companies have chosen to take Option A. In
April 2010, HTC announced that it had agreed to pay Microsoft in exchange for
the use of "patented technology" in its Android-powered smartphones. In the
wake of that, Microsoft entered into similar agreements with a host of smaller
startups that produce Android devices.
But other companies, including Motorola,
have decided to fight back. Barnes & Noble, whose Nook e-reader uses
Android, filed a countersuit against Microsoft after the latter sued it for
The bookseller's counterclaim, filed April 25 with
the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle,
described Microsoft as repeatedly arguing that its patent portfolio would
"entirely preclude the use of Android Operating System by the Nook," and mentions
that both HTC and Amazon have entered into patent-licensing deals with Redmond.
Yet despite those ongoing patent issues, and its clear
reliance on Android as part of its business model, Motorola seems willing to at
least consider Windows Phone.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.