Microsoft: Motorola, Google trying to kill web videos

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Microsoft has filed a formal competition complaint with the European Commission against Motorola Mobility and Google because it says the companies are trying to use its patents to kill video as we know it on smartphones, tablets and on any web-connected device.

In a blog post, Microsoft claims that Motorola and its soon-to-be owner Google are using patents it has in web video to demand unreasonable royalty fees.

Motorola is trying to block sales of some Microsoft products due to some patents regarding web videos. Certain patents in various areas have been committed to agreed-upon standards which have to be licensed via “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms” (FRAND). This came about because standards bodies and the European Commission determined that some technologies are just too essential for innovation and growth to be mired in lawsuits and large patent fees.

Microsoft says that Google and Motorola are not doing that.

Unfortunately, Motorola has refused to make its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price. For a $1,000 laptop, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft pay a royalty of $22.50 for its 50 patents on the video standard, called H.264. As it turns out, there are at least 2,300 other patents needed to implement this standard. They are available from a group of 29 companies that came together to offer their H.264 patents to the industry on FRAND terms. Microsoft’s patent royalty to this group on that $1,000 laptop?

Two cents.

Microsoft hints that it believes these patent fees are aimed at crippling the competition – or at least, to extract a hefty licensing fee. It’s tough to ever really feel sorry for Microsoft for being picked on but if what it is saying is true, this is just a bad situation all around.

As a fan of true innovation and competition, let’s hope that Google really did buy Motorola for more than just patents.

[Via Microsoft, image via Shutterstock, Hubskaya Volha]

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft complaining about royalties????  How much money a year do they make off royalties they charge android manufacturers?

    • http://twitter.com/WaltFrench Walt French

      Even better: how much money do they make on patents that they promised to license to all comers at fair terms (as Moto has), versus patents that they explicitly said, they hold the exclusive right to determine a price?

      It’s one thing to say “this is my work and maybe you can license it” versus “I’ve pledged to all that they can use it on terms you’ll find reasonable.”

  • http://twitter.com/UgglyUI UgglyUI

    So MS happily charge android oems extortionate amounts, but don’t want to pay up for licences themselves? Stay classy M$.

  • http://twitter.com/UgglyUI UgglyUI

    So MS happily charge android oems extortionate amounts, but don’t want to pay up for licences themselves? Stay classy M$.

    • Marin Perez

      That is a great point except the ones MS are charging are probably not the essential FRAND patents. Still scumbaggy but it’s even worse for companies to use FRAND stuff for a ton of litigation.

  • Superior Android

    $22.50 is 2.25% of $1,000.  Microsoft is charging $5 & $10 for Android Smartphones that range in prices from $99 to $199 so MS gets 

    $5.05050505050505 (5%) & 10.1010101010101 (10%) off $99 Android phones

    AND

    $2.512562814070352 (5%)  &  5.025125628140704 (10%) off $199 Android phones.

    and all these numbers are smaller than the $2.25% Google/MMI is asking for !!

    and apple,, they REFUSE to license ANYTHING to Android manufacturers.

    FUK you MS & Apple !!

  • papilexo

    I agree with Superior Android when it benefits MS they want to complain like little B@#$% but there making a killing on Android handsets. So pay up MS pay Up.. Greedy Suckers….

  • Gregory C Newman

    The internet is supposed to be an international medium of communication therefore the nations of the world must come up with a  royalty free video technology that is the same where ever you go on the planet Earth. For instance HTML is used to make web pages and from what I understand a person or company does not have to pay anybody any royalties to use HTML to make a web page. Now what must be done is the governments of the earth must get Royalry free universal internet protocals to display low resolution, DVD resolution and high def resolution video on the internet. to stop this kind of arguments and PATENT BATTLES between companies over internet protocals to show video on the internet. if I were Microsoft I would make the video soft ware to put
    video low def. and dvd quality and high def video on the web and offer it free to everyone and end this right now and forever.because this effects the whole internet experience for all nations  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001543071869 Elatia Grimshaw

    Greed will be the death of the Internet.

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