So, just what is going on in Germany?
Basically it’s the bout of the century. Bored Billionaires Blasting Brethren in Berlin!
Ok, ok ‒ on a serious note ‒ I’ve read a bit about it and a lot of it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. So here it is in point form.
What’s going on?
In Germany, there is currently a sales ban on Windows 7, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and, most perturbing, the Xbox 360.
Apparently Microsoft has infringed upon the patents (owned by Motorola) that allow them to offer the H.264 video coding and playback.
Microsoft uses a method to play videos that Motorola owns (Intellectual property rights infringed).
The net result
Not much:yet. Motorola cannot enforce the ban until the US courts have considered the matter further (this should be next week sometime). This happened because Microsoft claims that Motorola is abusing its Frand-commitments. A Frand-commitment is “a promise to licence innovations deemed critical to widely-used technologies under ‘fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory’ terms” (FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing).
All Motorola is asking for is fair compensation for use of their intellectual property but, of course, Microsoft will appeal the decision as they claim that Motorola’s ”fair compensation” will cost Microsoft approximately $4bn annually.
Microsoft has moved their distribution center to the Netherlands in the meantime though ‒ just in case things go awry in that neck of the woods.
There is a good chance that nothing will, in fact happen, because, according to PC Mag “If it wants to enforce the injunction right away, Motorola will have to pay a bond, or insurance, of at least 60 million Euros to cover itself during the inevitable appeals process. If Motorola loses down the line, those funds will go to Microsoft for the losses it suffered while its products were off the market.”
This seems to be just the next step in an ongoing battle that has been waged by the tech big guys like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Google, especially since the explosion of mobile computing in the form of phones, laptops, tablets and, unfortunately, gaming consoles. In fact, Motorola might simply being retaliating to Microsoft who, according to Times Magazine “is working to have U.S. imports of Motorola’s Android-based phones blocked.” Other cut-throat corporate conundrums include “Both Microsoft and Apple have challenged the fees Motorola charges on the retail price of products that use its technology, an issue the European Commission is currently investigating.”
“This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web,” a spokesman said.
“Motorola is prohibited from acting on today’s decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola’s broken promise.”
Motorola is currently being taken over by Google ‒ the poster boys of open source and free software.
OK, this is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek take on the situation which is, in fact, quite serious. Especially for us gamers that just want to enjoy what we love and we all know that, should Microsoft be forced to fork out money for use of the patents, those costs will be passed on to us.
For a more serious take on the situation ‒ please visit the sources that I used :