updated 09:45 am EST, Tue November 8, 2011
Google chair has no plans for Android royalties
Google chairman Eric Schmidt in a Korean media event promised that Android would stay free to license. In spite of pressure for patent licenses from Microsoft and Oracle, partners wouldn't be charged directly by Google as Microsoft does with Windows Phone. He didn't say, however, whether Google would provide any help to companies being made to pay higher royalties in patent disputes that touch on Android itself, not their specific software additions.
The executive went on to make a rare direct attack against Microsoft, accusing the Windows developer of effectively lying about every Android device requiring a Microsoft patent license. He interpreted Microosf'ts strategy as a shakedown campaign, where it threatens their businesses unless they pay a patent license without question.
"Microsoft is not telling the truth on this issue, and they are using tactics to scare people because they are scared of the success of Android," Schmidt said.
While Microsoft has always asserted that its patents are legitimate, it only started challenging companies on them in April 2010, after Windows Phone was a known quantity and Android was becoming large. Its strategy has also been accused of being cynical, counting on fiscal and legal clout that makes it difficult to challenge the legitimacy of the patents outside of just a few companies, such as Motorola. Microsoft is also widely reported as offering 'discounts' to companies that also sell Windows Phones, mimicking its 1990s-era strategy of charging for both Windows and non-Windows PCs.
Schmidt in the interim repeated his common claims that Google wouldn't interfere with Android through the Motorola deal, arguing that it would be run "sufficiently independently" to keep the platform open. It's not clear how long this will last, as Schmidt himself has said Google wants Motorola's hardware. Unofficial expectations are that Motorola will become the official Nexus phone wing and ship Google-influenced, stock Android devices. [via Wall Street Journal]