Recently Google, Microsoft, Apple, and other tech heavy-hitters joined in on a bidding war, quite literally, for over 6000 patents from Nortel Networks and Novell in which Google lost out big time. Since then Google has been buying patents as fast as it can from the likes of IBM creating war between the biggest tech companies. This war joined the “little people” of the world when the execs of Microsoft and Google took it to – where else? – social media.
That’s right, boys and girls, big corporations are just like us. They, too, fight over the internet.
The fighting words began when David Drummond, Google senior vice president, had a bit of a venting session on Google’s official blog. He went on in his rant to say that Microsoft and Apple had long been enemies and were now so riled up in their hatred of Google that they have joined teams, so to speak. He even went as far as to say that the two giants bought the Nortel patents and others from Novell “to make sure Google didn’t get them.”
After this attack Microsoft’s general counsel tweeted “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.” Microsoft’s lead corporate communications posted a letter from Google’s general counsel rejecting an offer that Microsoft sent out to bid on the Novell patents to corroborate the first response.
Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, then tweeted “Free advice for David Drummond – next time check with Kent Walker before you blog. :).” David Drummond then responded in another post saying, among other things “It’s not surprising that Microsoft would want to divert attention by pushing a false ‘gotcha!’ while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised…. 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.”
Drummond also wrote that the fact that the Department of Justice is trying to make Microsoft sell the patents “only reaffirms our point. Our competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales.”
The argument sounds like that of two teenage girls who, fighting over the same boy, took the squabble to Facebook to avoid real confrontation. While this war for patents wages on and the race for tech success is run, these media titans will continue to fight pettily over social media. One would think that those running these billion-dollar companies would be intelligent enough and mature enough to at least argue in person.