Google + Motorola = iPad Killer

The world is still all a-flutter over the Google/Motorola deal.  Reuters wrote a piece the other day (yesterday, which was also the start of the new school year for my kids so time has been tight as I get them geared up), and I’d like to throw my hat into the discussion ring on it.  Let’s start with a quote:

Google’s move was widely seen as a response to its loss in the auction of 6,000 Nortel patents to a group led by Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Research in Motion, which fetched an unprecedented $4.5 billion in July.

At the risk of beating the poor horse completely into the ground, I still don’t think Google wanted those patents.  THEY WOULD HAVE THEM IF THEY DID.  Money was not an option.  No, I think that Google wanted to run up the price on the patents to jump-start the “Patent Arms Race”, and watch while everyone else bought into it but them.   I think they had plans to buy Motorola all along, and that they have plans to build an actual product.  Further, I think that product will be the tablet that beats the iPad.

I’ll pause while that sinks in.

Part of me thinks that because of another article I read about who can beat Apple at the tablet game.  They didn’t mention Google, so I’m doing it for them.  (I’m nice that way.) If anyone can beat Apple at anything, it’s Google. I said it and I’m glad.

Back to the original article, I don’t think the race is likely to be over so quickly, and certainly not because of Google’s purchase, be it for patents or product development.  (Yes, I do like commas, why do you ask?) I still think the Nortel Patent price was artificially inflated by Google, but I don’t think the prices will come back down automatically.  The war is not only not over, it’s just begun, IMHO*.

Because of the Patent Troll problem and because of the flaws in the patent system, you have to build your stable of patents and everyone who can, will.  Maybe things will go back to normal?  Time, and the InterDigital sale and Eastman Kodak auction.  But either way, I think Google snookered everyone.  They got a decent base of patents, that they can call upon for defensive purposes if needed, for a fraction of the Nortel prices.  And, they have hardware capability now too.  Giddyup.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

*In My Humble Opinion

Advertisements

Nortel buyers, are you angry yet?

So today should be fun!   The whole world (ok, the small slice of it that follows patents) will be weighing in on Google’s recently announced purchase.  Not liking to be left out even though I have a lot of work to do, I feel compelled to add in my 50 cents.  In no particular order, save that the list is actually ordered because I like numbers rather than bullets, are my comments:

1.  What did I tell you?  If Google had wanted the Nortel patents they’d have won the auction.  They had the money, and they had this up their sleeve the whole time.

2.  Then, Google puts out the whiney-baby, “feel sorry for us” article wherein I likened them to a dude that tried to play my friend (note to playah: knock it off, or she’ll knock it off for you).  Well played, Big G.  Throw everyone off the “we’re about to buy Motorola” scent.

3.  How mad is the consortium that bought Nortel’s patents right about now?  Big G ran up the bidding and forced you all to (over)pay a ton of money.  That sent reverberations throughout the industry and forever changed the valuation of every company on the planet with a portfolio.  InterDigital, anyone?  Man, those guys had to be ecstatic!  Here’s a hint, Southern style:  when they bid pi?  You done been had.

4.  Quote from the Wired.com article:

“Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” Page wrote.

Again, nicely played.  So, instead of spending $4.5B on a patent portfolio alone, they are now a hardware manufacturer as well.  See how that works?  INTELLECTUAL VENTURES, I’m looking at you.

I like consistency and this purchase meets that criteria.  While recognizing that patents are required to operate in the smartphone space, broken system or not, Google chose to buy a hardware company.  Any patents Motorola has now transfer to Google so they have gotten into the manufacturing business and now hold patents that they can use to defend themselves, all in one foul swoop.  They are behaving in a way that is consistent with the message they have been putting out.  I like that.

Larry Page, for the win.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

Fark farks a troll

In celebration, a haiku:

Farked with the wrong guy / had your hat handed to you / buh bye, Gooseberry!

So this brings me to what a twittered about.  Tweeted.  Whatever.  Although it’s only been a couple of recent victories, wherein attorneys were sanctioned and a troll was put in it’s place, there’s an undercurrent of “the times, they are a-changin'” in Patent Troll Land.  I’m too lazy to go look up actual stats, (read:  I want someone else to do my research because these kids don’t feed themselves, you know)  but my gut is telling me that some of it has to do with these guys.  As an aside, don’t you hate it when bloggers do that?  Hyperlink a few key words like “this is cool” without telling you what is cool so you are forced to click the link?  I don’t do that, because I rock.  “These guys” = Article One Partners.

This is such a brilliant concept…what these guys do is further upstream than patent defense aggregators.  Or downstream.  I spent a lot of years in the oil business but still can’t tell you if the gas station is up or downstream.  The point is that Article One has gone to the lowest common denominator of the patent troll:  THE PATENT ITSELF.

If you can prove that prior art exists, then the troll’s case is DOA.  And the super cool thing about the way A1 does this that they are playing off the oldest known fact about geeks:  they will do anything just to say they did it.  (Or for a free t-shirt, not that that has ever appealed to me.)  Patent nerds and techies live to solve problems using their black magic ways.  The fact that A1 pays them is icing on the cake.  These people doing the work are doing it because they love it.  They love to root for the underdog, to take down the Big Bad Troll.  It’s inbred in them in exactly the same way that a sense of fashion is not inbred in me.

No, this is not what happened in the Fark case, but because they knew the patent was bogus it allowed them to stand up and say “No thankyouverymuch to your lawsuit there, pal.”  My point is that I think what Article One is doing is a very clever and low-cost way to fight the troll problem.  You can hope for sanctions against law firms that take on these cases and you can hope that patent reform will someday be a reality, and actually, you know, be reform and not just political posturing like everything else that  comes out of D.C.  There’s nothing wrong with fighting the battle on a few fronts while the overall war rages.  Kudos to Article One for it’s brilliant use of crowdsourcing and making it a sustainable business model for good.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

Google, honey, we need to talk…

Reading through this article on Google’s blog, I have to laugh at their title reference to the NPR bit that aired last week.  They’re talking about patents related to Android, of course. That, the nation’s heat wave, and the embarrassment that is our nation’s inability to balance a budget is all there is to talk about, really.

Here’s the quote that gets me:

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them.

Google, if you were my friend’s boyfriend I’d label you a playah and tell her to dump you like a sack of concrete.  You have money and could have won that bid if you’d wanted to.  You chose to let those patents go and now expect us to believe that you’re mad about it? Please.

And I don’t think I buy this either:

Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.

So, wait.  Apple doesn’t build new features or devices?  I may have been born at night but it wasn’t last night.  Not buying it.  Ditto Microsoft.  They may not be “Charlie Sheen Winning” at their new features and devices, but they are not foregoing all innovation in favor of litigation.  That’s just cooky-talk.

No, I think Google is trying to illustrate absurdity by being absurd.  I see what you’re saying and I think that ultimately, the system can’t continue to function as it is:  you’re 100% right about that.  But lets don’t go spouting off a bunch of nonsense in your blog that no one really believes.  Just come out and say “The patent system is broken and we don’t like it.”  Then come up with viable solutions instead of whining that someone beat you out on the Nortel patents and people are litigating instead of innovating.  Those things make you look stupid.

Just sayin’,

IPTT