Microsoft Calls Out Google Fallacy on Patent Bid

In response to claims from Google that Microsoft conspired to bid on Novell’s patent trove to keep those patents away from Google, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel, and Frank Shaw, the company’s Head of Communications, both pointed out that Microsoft had proactively reached out to Google in an attempt to jointly bid on the patents, only to be rejected by Google.

In a blog post, David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, claimed that his company was a victim of bullying tactics in which Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle were all conspiring to “strangle” Google’s Android platform through the use of “bogus” patents and a broken patent system that no longer encouraged innovation.

This reporter wrote a lengthy opinion piece debunking those claims and Mr. Drummond’s efforts to play victim. Microsoft had its own debunking to do, and the company did so in somewhat mocking fashion.

First, General Counsel Brad Smith tweeted, “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”

Then, Frank Shaw, Head of Communications for Big Redmond, tweeted, “Free advice for David Drummond – next time check with Kent Walker before you blog. :)”

Free Advice
Microsoft Offers Google Free Advice
(Image Courtesy of iStockPhoto

The Kent Walker he referred to would be Senior Vice President & General Counsel, the other corporate officer that deals with legal stuff for the search giant. Mr. Shaw added a screenshot of an e-mail from Kent Walker to Microsoft’s Brad Smith where he apologized for being slow to respond to Microsoft’s offer of partnering on the Novell patents, and declined that offer.

Brad —

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.

I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

— Kent

In other words, on at least one of Mr. Drummond’s claims of victimhood, that Microsoft had conspired to keep Novell’s patents out of Google’s hands so that they could be used to “strangle” Android is precisely balderdash.