Friday, October 01, 2010

Will threat of litigation slow down Android?

It started with Apple suing HTC over Android phones that it makes. Next Oracle dropped a bomb against Google directly over the Dalvik core of the Android OS. Now Microsoft is suing former WinMo partner, Motorola, over Android-related intellectual property disputes in phones they make.

Our action today merely seeks to ensure respect for our intellectual property rights infringed by Android devices; and judging by the recent actions by Apple and Oracle, we are not alone in this respect.

One by one the high profile Android lawsuits have been coming in. The nature of the software license does not protect phone makers from legal claims like patent infringement. It's regrettably clear that most of the established giants of tech are fighting Android not only competitively, but also in the court room.

Microsoft is even playing this card to their advantage in their sales PR. They claim the cost of a windows 7 mobile license covers the OEM from being sued, that they 'stand behind their product.'

Will these lawsuits have the effect of slowing Android adoption with carriers and handset makers? Ultimately it looks like companies successful with the platform are vulnerable to being sued by a number of interested parties. So far the biggest names in tech.

Many argue software patents in general are bogus and I can't help but agree. Regardless, the big boys are going to resort to using the court and patent law to effect economic and market outcomes.

Android growth is soaring at the moment. According to Eric Schmidt, Google is activating approximately 200,000 units a day. App Development is going strong and there's a lot of developer enthusiasm and activity. Word is that even Amazon is going to roll out an Android App Store of its own.

We will see if these lawsuits effect any of that momentum.

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