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Microsoft asks ITC to compel Google in Barnes & Noble suit

updated 07:55 pm EST, Thu November 10, 2011

Microsoft wants to know Android scope in BN case

Another discovered document in Barnes & Noble's antitrust claims against Microsoft made to the Department of Justice has found that Microsoft is trying to build a defense by making Google provide details of its strategy. A motion to compel, dated October 4 but only found Thursday, would ask to get Google's vital business analysis for Android, including how it saw Microsoft's patent licensing scheme hurting Android, its current abilities as a PC platform, and how it saw Microsoft-made platforms like Windows Phone. Since Google led the Android Open Source Project, it would have to have opinions on Microsoft's impact, the motion read.

The Windows developer went on to accuse Google of being insincere in how it portrayed competition. It claimed that Google CEO Larry Page's view that Android's "position is getting stronger" in spite of patent disputes was proof that Microsoft's anti-Android lawsuit campaign wasn't damaging the ecosystem. It went on to suggest that Google was helping Barnes & Noble defend against Microsoft's lawsuit, making it hard to justify refusing to hand over data, according to Microsoft.

The request was supposedly limited by an act of "good-faith," where the request would get information from key Google executives. Page, mobile VP Andy Rubin, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, and mid-tier leaders such as Chris Barton, Patrick Brady, John Lagerling, and Lan Roche, all of whom directly coordinate with outside firms in spurring Android support.

It's not clear what response if any the ITC has had to Microsoft's request. A June briefing from the Office of Unfair Import Investigations had determined that Barnes & Noble's initial defense hadn't met the baseline needed for claiming abuse of patents. Barnes & Noble's newer complaint may have addressed the issues, but it could still face steep odds.

Barne & Noble believes Microsoft is not only trying to profit from products it hasn't invented but that it's charging a disproportionately large amount because the Nook and Nook Color are superficially closer to computers than mobile devices. Microsoft has insisted that Android is inherently subject to Microsoft patents, although only Motorola has been willing to risk the court costs and possible ban to directly challenge the legitimacy of what Microsoft says. [via Florian Mueller]




by MacNN Staff

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