updated 04:00 pm EDT, Thu August 11, 2011
Motorola may trigger inter-Android patent war
Motoorla chief Sanjay Jha during the same Oppenheimer conference where he opened the possibility to Windows Phone also hinted at the company possibly turning on other Android phone makers in patent disputes. Restating earlier observations that Motorola has a large patent collection, he suggested that Motorola could not just use this to fend off attacks but to launch some of its own. It could create a "meaningful difference" relative to other Android companies in its ability to skim royalties, Jha said.
Intellectual property would be crucial to "differentiation" among Android designers, he added.
A chance exists that Motorola would level its patents against non-Android companies, although most of the non-Android phone and OS designers are already involved in mutual patent disputes. Fellow Android makers haven't engaged in patent fights with each other, in part because of the common OS roots but also out of an understanding that it might be against their mutual self interest.
Motorola has been slipping behind among Android designers as HTC and Samsung take over. It may be keen to slow its fellow Android supporters down by increasing their royalty rates.
Google hasn't commented but may well object to inter-Android patent disputes as dragging down the entire platform.