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Motorola halts Android device sales in Germany

Microsoft opens fresh patent infringement assault
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Motorola Mobility has stopped sales of its Android smartphones and tablets in Germany after failing to overturn patent-infringement judgments won by Microsoft and Apple.

Motorola has halted Android sales in Germany.

This hammer blow to Motorola's prospects in Germany has now worsened following fresh legal action by Microsoft. Microsoft alleged that Motorola is using Microsoft mapping patents that cover the Google Maps app which ships on Motorola phones, according to InfoWorld. Motorola added Google, which completed its acquisition of Motorola in May, as a defendant in the case.

Regardless of this latest challenge, the initial defeat could trigger Motorola's retreat from the German market following comments made by Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside that he wants the company to focus on high-end smartphone sales in fewer countries.

Motorola's German online sales website is now reduced to displaying only the Motorola Gleam handset that uses proprietary software, and two pending Android-based phones, the Razr i and Razr HD, which customers can register to buy. The site has removed all of its tablet products.

In a statement to AllThingsD, a Motorola spokeswoman said the decline in devices seen by the company in Germany was planned all along. "As we have previously stated, Motorola Mobility is focusing on fewer mobile devices. As a result we have phased out some of our lower tier devices in Europe/Germany."

Commenting on the situation, German patent case analyst Florian Müller told The Guardian: "The company that Google bought for $12.5 billion to protect Android from patent threats cannot even protect itself. It appears that Google as a whole is struggling to keep up with the fast-growing number of Android-related patent infringements identified by courts in the U.S., Europe and Asia."

The latest dispute over mapping patents seems aimed at Microsoft's push to get Motorola to pay a licensing fee when the patents are used with a Motorola Android device. Microsoft already has patents licensing agreements with HTC, LG Electronics Samsung Electronics and most of the Android OEMs. Motorola does not have a licence and continues to infringe, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft has already won three court actions that ban the sale of Motorola devices in Germany for infringing a FAT file system patent, an SMS patent and a patent describing a method for handling communication between a keyboard and an application. A fourth legal challenge was denied in Mannheim, Germany, last week, according to InfoWorld.

For more
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this InfoWorld article
- see this Guardian article
- see this PC Magazine article

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