July 23, 2011

Microsoft, Again - Part I

Welcome to another aviationally-written post, as Henry Dyer describes it, filled with many subordinate clauses and rhetorical questions! If you read my past few Microsoft posts (here and here), you will know that I dislike Microsoft for a variety of different reasons, but I also have praise for them when it comes to the Xbox and Windows Phone 7 (although it never really, and will never really, catch on). There have been a few interesting developments recently, Windows 8, Microsoft+Android and my recent realization that Steve Ballmer, current CEO of Microsoft, does not understand crap.

So, without further ado, let us begin this 3 part series on Microsoft that I hope you find entertaining and interesting. The first thing I want to talk about is Microsoft+Android. A recent TechCrunch article was talking about Android and Microsoft, as you can imagine, but how, you may be asking, does Google Android (a phone OS) relate to Microsoft? Turns out, Microsoft earns more money annually from Android than their own WP7 (Windows Phone 7) software! How is that even possible?

Patents.

Oh, yes. Those again. The wonderful world of patents never gets old. Take a look at my 9 part series, titled "Copyright, Infringement and Stupidity", and you will know all! That series was written over a 3-week period, in which there were over 10 lawsuits!

Microsoft has sued HTC, Samsung and some other Android hardware makers over infringing some of their patents. As a result, these manufacturers now have to pay Microsoft a fixed price on any handset sold that infringes the patent. For example, HTC pays Microsoft $5 on any of the newer devices sold! That's millions for Microsoft from just that one manufacturer! Imagine the chaos if they get their life sucking claws into Samsung, the biggest Android handset maker. That's just too painful to think about!

The interesting thing here is that Android has been marketed to these hardware manufacturers as a free system. Free in both the price and the code. That approach is no longer working, as Google first want more control over the system, and secondly Microsoft will butt in and steal everything, like they did with the mac. Real innovation Microsoft, real innovation. This means that manufacturers are at the whims of Google and Microsoft, if Microsoft declares a lawsuit. However, what choice do the manufacturers have? WP7? No. Symbian? GOD NO! Some other obscure OS? Well, there is none.

So you see, if Samsung and HTC want to sell devices, they have to agree with Google to get Android, and face a lawsuit with Microsoft to make it legal.

HOWEVER, it's not just Microsoft that wants to destroy Android. Oh no. In the recent Nortel patent bid, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM and some other pointless company all grouped up against Google! Let me repeat that: Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and RIM! Arch enemies, grouping up! Google never stood a chance, and these are important patents! They all want to kill off the Android system!

Apple and RIM have an excuse to not selling as many phones: only they manufacture their phones, but Microsoft has none. Android was popular as it WAS free, so many manufacturers, not just one, built Android devices.

Unless Google start defending their manufacturers, the Android system will soon be dead, to be replaced by WP7 and iOS. Oh, I also forgot to mention that the Blackberry system is already on the road to the graveyard. RIM spent too much on the unwanted Playbook, and lost focus of their main Market: business. Bits of nice advertising on the UK apprentice, but say goodbye to RIM.

So, yeh, Google has to defend manufacturers. That’s my, if slightly confusing, point.

Stay tuned for 2 more intriguing posts on Microsoft, coming out in the next few weeks...