back to article Microsoft and Google ink SECRET TREATY to end all their patent wars

Google and Microsoft have inked a secret deal in which all patent disputes between the mammoth companies will be abandoned. The exact terms of the agreement – as in, who gets what – were not disclosed. Your guess is as good as ours. "Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues," the companies …

  1. Mikel

    Aw shucks

    Spurious claims that Microsoft was going to slaughter Android with patents are tossed in the bin.

    I hope Google was wise enough to include all of Microsoft's proxies and puppets in the deal.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Aw shucks

      As far as I can see, Microsoft never tried to slaughter Android, heck they were making more money off of patent licensing to Android manufacturers than they were making selling their own phones. Why would they want to kill a cash cow?

      1. Chika

        Re: Aw shucks

        Why would they want to kill a cash cow?

        For the burger meat, probably.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Aw shucks

        >Why would they want to kill a cash cow?

        Good question, but that seems to be exactly what they've been doing with Windows in recent years...

      3. YY

        Re: Aw shucks

        Cause that's what they do. It's in their DNA. They hate and kill everything not M$ and even they kill after acquire a company: Nokia?

        They're evil and should be destroyed!

  2. Grikath

    "hundreds of patents"

    Well... Given that we're talking US patents here, we're probably lucky we can still breathe. Although that would most likely be due to some IP lawyer somewhere having a rare attack of "common sense"™, and possibly having advised against enforcing the "method to extract oxygen from air /using a permeable membrane /while operating a /mobile device ** " patent as "ill-advised and likely to impact the potential customer base". Alledgedly.

    ** other options may apply™

  3. Charles Manning

    Dear Microsoft

    Dear Microsoft

    I will consider that you and Google have fully kissed and made up when you openly withdraw your allegations on the patents.

    You claimed that software I and others wrote violated your patents. Are you big enough to withdraw your accusations?

    To you that might seem like a cool sneaky little bit of business shenanigans - a nice little jostle between you and a competitor.

    To the people involved in developing this software, it is a slap in the face. You say we are cheats that "steal" your ideas and are incapable of coming up with good ideas - that we must instead resort to stealing your ideas to be able to do anything useful.

    So how about an apology to all the people with skin in this game? We can then consider this matter closed.

    Yours Sincerely

    Charles

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Dear Microsoft

      I will consider that you and Google have fully kissed and made up when you openly withdraw your allegations on the patents.

      Can't see that happening because it would mean writing them down in the books which might piss off shareholders. Better to take some undisclosed amount of cash and or goodwill now and let the useless patents expire quietly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Microsoft

      We're saaaawwy.

      Pwease accept a huggy wuggy as a token of our sincere apowagies.

      -Micwosoft

      Gimme a break. Microsoft have discovered they can buy hipster clothes and put them on balding and greying old men.

      But they havent figured out where to buy class and soul from.

  4. ammabamma
    Big Brother

    Microsoft was at war with Google: Microsoft had always been at war with Google

    Microsoft was at war with Apple: Microsoft had always been at war with Apple. Microsoft was not after all at war with Google. Microsoft was at war with Apple. Google was an ally.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, that pretty much declares Apple as their main threat..

    Google's Android and Microsoft Windows - it all suggests people are far more worried about Cupertino than they let on.

    I suspect part of that must have come from the fact that the OSX App Store now even offers LibreOffice for free. Oops.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, that pretty much declares Apple as their main threat..

      Apple and Microsoft have had a patent cross licensing agreement for ages, so they haven't been a threat for them in ages. Apple hasn't ever sued Google over Android, they've only had the well-publicized issues with Samsung and a small scuffle with Motorola. It wasn't stuff in generic Android Apple had a problem with, but stuff that Samsung had added to it or changed in it (see that famous 137 or whatever page document from the trial)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, that pretty much declares Apple as their main threat..

      >OSX App Store now even offers LibreOffice for free. Oops.

      Collabora offer it - but to push their paid for, albeit cheap, version of the suite which attempts to make it enterprise friendly - it isn't and MS rolls on unabated. Holding up widely trialed and failed projects is bad for FLOSS - point at ubiquitous kernels, Apache and other staggering successes - every time you mention Libre Office a penguin dies.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the beginning of a cosy cartel forming between Apple, Google and Microsoft ?

    1. MacroRodent

      Probably

      Is this the beginning of a cosy cartel forming between Apple, Google and Microsoft ?

      Probably. The same way you never see major car manufacturers wage patent war on each other. Another way to put it is the industry is maturing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can't see the point of Apple joining those two, there's no benefit for them. I think Google and Microsoft have joined up exactly because they have found Apple hard to fight on their own, and their (lack of) ethics and attitude towards the end user seem to be very compatible.

      1. Simon Taylor 1

        their (lack of) ethics and attitude towards the end user

        Are you talking about Apple?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apple has already "joined" Microsoft long ago, in the sense of having patent cross licensing agreements with them for ages.

        But yeah, maybe now that Microsoft's brave new Windows 10 direction is to collect and monetize user details like Google they know they'll be tromping on a lot of Google data collection patents. In addition, worries about Android infringing on Microsoft patents have lessened since Microsoft appears to be mostly giving up on phones.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    It's even been said that Microsoft earns more money from Android than it does its own Windows Mobile operating system

    No need to suggest it: Microsoft stopped charging for the licences leaving it with the costs of development, documentation and distribution and no revenue.

    My guess is that any of the relevant patents, FAT springs to mind, only have a few years of life left and Google easily has enough cash to run things through all the courts, so continuing the battle promises diminishing returns. Nadella seems to have understood that if you can't beat 'em, you should join 'em and it's easier to get Office installed on phones when you're not trying to sue the manufacturers.

    1. MacroRodent
      Holmes

      VFAT extortion still alive?

      My guess is that any of the relevant patents, FAT springs to mind, only have a few years of life left

      Shouldn't that have been expired by now? The European patent info for EP0618540 B1 says

      Application number EP19940105169

      Publication date Dec 12, 2001

      Filing date Mar 31, 1994

      Priority date Apr 1, 1993

      (link: http://www.google.com/patents/EP0618540B1?cl=en&hl=en)

      and in Europe, patents are supposed to run for 20 years after filing date (not granting date, as used to be the case in USA).

      But possibly there is some obscure rule that keeps it alive :-(.

      1. Indolent Wretch

        Re: VFAT extortion still alive?

        >> But possibly there is some obscure rule that keeps it alive

        Money and power are rarely obscure

      2. Jagged

        Re: VFAT extortion still alive?

        Probably the fact that we "respect" other countries patent laws.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: VFAT extortion still alive?

        Shouldn't that have been expired by now? The European patent info for EP0618540 B1 says

        Thanks for the lookup. It may indeed have already expired in Europe, though enforceability of software patents here is doubtful

        But MS has launched most of its actions in the US because not only do the courts look more favourably on ludicrous patents, but they can also be used effectively to hinder entrance to the global market. But even there the clock is ticking and, outside of East Texas, opinion about frivolous patents is changing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft claimed over 200 patents infringed by Android. Everyone always talks about VFAT, but there's no way that was the major one. If it was, Android would have simply dropped VFAT support and used ext3 or something, and had an Android phone plugged in a PC act like a USB storage device with a virtual FAT (not VFAT) partition that provided a driver for the ext3 filesystem.

      Especially now that Android phones are starting to drop SD card slots, they really have no need at all for VFAT.

      1. MacroRodent

        Android has always used a native Linux file system for its internal storage, but it has had to support VFAT for SD cards.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Why? What stops them from saying "the filesystem on your SD card is not supported" if you plug one in formatted in VFAT and offering to reformat it? The arguments I always heard from Android fans about why SD cards were great wasn't because they were using SD cards for moving files around between PCs or cameras, but to supplement what the phone came with. If the SD card always lives in your phone, why does it have to use a VFAT format?

          1. Mikel

            The SD card standard requires VFAT

            Stupid but true: Microsoft got the Secure Digital group to write their ridiculously poor and long obsolete dual-filename disk format into the standard. They do that as much as they can. So you can't call it SD if it doesn't have it. Many makers are calling it "flash" now or something.

  8. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    The lawyers must be fuming

    no steady income from a years long patent battle to look forward to.

    1. Mikel

      Re: The lawyers must be fuming

      Why? They are salaried. They don't have to give back the Bigger, the kids' braces, the condo in San José.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. auburnman

    This is just Microsoft's endgame play in the Android section of the 'Linux uses our patents' scam. They have already shat all over the smaller players, forcing them to fold and accept licencing agreements under secret terms (some players may have called Microsoft's bluff on court action but agreed to token payments in lieu of fighting a huge court battle).

    Now that that's sewn up they come to (secret again) terms with Google; MS can't push them around, but other than rhetoric they haven't directly attacked Google yet - so Google currently has no incentive to fight MS. My money is on this agreement simply establishing that MS won't go after Google, so long as Google keeps it's nose out of the licencing racket.

  11. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    so...

    is this the first step in replacing "Don't be evil" with "MUWHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so...

      First step? Where have you been?

  12. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Oracle

    So what does Oracle, owner and destroyer of Java, think of this? Anyone checked the height of Larry's fountain at HQ?

  13. Pig Dog Bay
    Mushroom

    M.A.D.

    Looks like Google's acquisition of Motorola for its patents has paid off, Google is now a fully paid up member of the Patent Nuke Club

  14. Mr Dogshit
    Headmaster

    "to ink" is not a verb.

    Never has been.

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