Sunday, July 05, 2009

Microsoft and Google's Android

Back in 2007, Ed Burnette was addressing whether Microsoft loved or hated Google's Android. In that context, he got into the concept of a "fork," which is relevant to IP discussions:

Furthermore, Android does not have a line of code in common with Sun’s Java ME. Being a derivative of or improvement upon an earlier version is one of the prerequisites of a fork. And besides, he says that “it’s [Android's] not really Java”. How can something that is not Java be a fork of Java? It can’t. You don’t hear him calling Microsoft .NET a fork of Java, even though under his logic maybe it should be.

Burnette got into a bit of sarcasm, which IPBiz must mention:

“If Android, as it’s currently defined, is successful then Java will no longer be consistently implemented at a fundamental level. … Java ME is a standard that has a wealth of functionality and is supported by dozens of vendors, but it’s implemented inconsistently across mobile devices.”

(emphasis mine) I wonder if saying two completely contradictory things in the same article is some kind of requirement for being a successful analyst. That way, at least half of what you say will come true.

Burnette's conclusion is along the lines that Microsoft hates Android, and he writes:
Android represents an incredibly positive new injection of resources and excitement into the Java, Linux, and open source communities.

Two years later, there is some traction with Android-->

Chris Thompson wrote on The Big Money: According to Bloomberg, both Acer and Asutek plan to introduce new, low-cost netbooks that run on Android. Although Acer will also produce a Windows-based netbook, the Android model will be less expensive, presumably because Acer won't have to lease the operating system.

But note also-->

Daniel Eran Dilger in an article Did Microsoft kill Android at Mobile World Congress 2009? wrote:

Microsoft has also issued broad, unspecified patent threats against Linux designed to kill interest among any developers who might lack the resources to survive a patent war with the company. Had Microsoft been only interested in protecting its intellectual property, it would have clearly cited infringements so the community could fix them. Microsoft wanted to simply silence Linux as a competitive threat.

The issue isn't free software-->

In 2001, Steve Ballmer referred to Linux as a “cancer,” specifically citing its open source license as the most troubling part. Software that allows manufacturers to customize it themselves anyway they choose is more threatening to Microsoft than software offered for free.

The power is in the licensing [and market power], not in the patent-->

That’s because Microsoft’s power comes from its software licensing deals which force manufacturers to use its software in very specific ways and prevents them from freely adding their own modifications. Microsoft pressures its licensees to include its own software components and stops them from making deals with competitors, a strategy it has used to push Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Live Search when competing alternatives were both more mature and more popular.

The proprietary control Microsoft exerts over its Windows PC licensees has allowed the company to increasingly bind them tighter with new Microsoft offerings, raising competitive barriers so high that the company can now freely raise prices and drop features as it did when rolling out Windows Vista in a series of artificially-limited editions designed to squeeze more revenue from the maturing PC market. Their only available alternative was to beg for the privilege to continue to sell Windows XP.

See the IPBiz post

Google v. Microsoft: Android/Windows, Google/Bing

Also, if the stuff about Microsoft .NET Compact Framework and regular .NET sounds familiar, it should...


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