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Yesterday, Google finally took its Android patent battle to the streets in a blog post by chief legal officer David Drummond that named Apple and Microsoft as co-conspirators. Microsoft’s response, which came in the form of just two tweets last night, is sort of hilarious.
The first came from Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith, who tweeted: “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”
Then there was the coup de grace from Microsoft head of communications Frank Shaw, who posted an image of an e-mail conversation between Smith and Kent Walker, SVP and general counsel at Google. It reads:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.
I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
We’ve asked Google for further comment on what Microsoft’s response means for its initial charges and will update when we hear back.
In his blog post yesterday, Drummond complained of a “hostile, organized campaign against Android” from Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and others using “bogus patents.” But Microsoft’s revelation makes Google less sympathetic as a victim, since it seems more likely that Google is angry it couldn’t get its hands on the same patents as its competitors. Drummond also failed to bring up the fact that Google snapped up more than 1,000 IBM patents last week to protect Android.
But while Google may not be the angel it’s making itself out to be, the company does have a lot of patent worries when it comes to Android. Microsoft has already made a pretty penny from its “patent agreement” with HTC, wherein the manufacturer pays Microsoft a fee for every Android phone it sells in the US. The software giant has landed similar deals with Itronix and other Android phone makers. Apple also recently scored a patent win against HTC’s Android phones, which could spell doom for other Android manufacturers.