Microsoft and Google are having a nasty public spat over the purchase of Nortel Wireless and Novell patents.
Weeks earlier, a consortium that included Microsoft, Apple, and RIM (all Android competitors) won a bid against Google for the Nortel patents. The consortium outbid Google by over $1 billion.
Now, Google is complaining that the consortium intends to use these patents to strangle the growth of the Android in an unfair and anti-competitive way.
The "Android's success has yielded...a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents," said Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond in a blog post.
Specifically, Drummond said Microsoft wanted to prevent Google from getting the patents and make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android.
Now, Microsoft has fired back. Frank X. Shaw, lead corporate communications for Microsoft, tweeted an email that Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, sent to Microsoft in response to Microsoft's invitation to Google to join the bid.
"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," wrote Walker.
Shaw said Google turned down the offer to join the consortium in order to use the patents to assert against the parties in the smartphone industry.
In response to Shaw, Drummond said:
"A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners. Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android - and having us pay for the privilege - must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn't fall for it."
So goes the latest chapter in the public war of words between Google and Microsoft, with both parties claiming that the other is dishonest and dishonorable.
One thing is certain, however.
The language between the two companies went from a friendly "we're open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future" to a hostile "it's not surprising that Microsoft would want to divert attention by pushing a false 'gotcha!'"