It's hard to imagine Microsoft and Apple teaming up for anything but that's exactly what Google has accused them of doing in order to stop Android's growth.
Chief legal officer David Drummond outright accused Apple and Microsoft of teaming up with each other and other tech firms to halt Android's success. In a blog post, he said the two companies along with Research in Motion, Oracle and EMC bought up more than a 1,000 patents from Norvell and because they are frightened of Android's growth.
"I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades. Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other's throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what's going on," Drummond said. He went on to describe Android's success and said it's garnered a competitive environment, which has led to great devices for the consumer.
"Android's success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents."
Microsoft has responded swiftly and promptly. The company's Vice President of Corporate Communications for Microsoft, Frank Shaw tweeted a picture an email from Google's Kent Walker to Microsoft's Brad Smith which indicated Microsoft offered Google a chance to bid with the group and Google didn't want to.
"Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no," Smith said in his own tweet.
In the alleged email, Walker wrote to Smith:
"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."
Google has not responded to this response.
In Drummond's original email, he said Apple and Microsoft's move is to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android. He says a smartphone could include 250,000 patent claims, which could then be taxed. This would drive up the price on Android. He said this strategy also drives up the price of the patents.
"The winning $4.5 billion for Nortel's patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion," Drummond said.
Drummond said it has appreciated the Department of Justice's efforts in forcing the group to license the Nortel patents on fair terms. He also said the DOJ is looking to see if Apple and Microsoft acquired the patents for anti-competitive means.
He also mentioned the company's own efforts to acquire patents. Recently, Google acquired 1,000 or so patents from IBM.
Back in early June, Apple, Microsoft, and RIM pooled $4.5 billion to buy the patents. Google said it had made a $900 million offer in April. Walker said the company was looking to buy up the patents as a disincentive for some people to sue Android. However, Google was out-bid by the above consortium.