Microsoft tackles Android via Motorola suit

Microsoft has taken aim at Google’s Android OS, filing a lawsuit against Motorola accusing it of nine patent infringements.
The case is the latest in a series of patent suits in the mobile handset and OS sector, and the third against Android, the fastest-growing cellphone platform.
In a filing with the International Trade Commission on Friday, Microsoft said the patents in Motorola’s Android phones included software for email and calendar sync and notifying changes in signal strength or battery power.
“The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience,” Microsoft said in a statement.
In other Android patent cases, Apple has sued Taiwanese handset firm HTC, and Oracle has accused Google of using its Java software without authorization.
But, in the highest-profile handset intellectual property case, Nokia and Apple have filed a series of claims against each other in the US and the UK alleging patent violations.
Patent litigation is hardly unusual in IT or telecoms, and legal action is often a routine tool to get to a cross-licensing agreement. However, the volume of mobile OS cases underlines the importance of the sector for software and handset heavyweights.
The Microsoft action comes just over a week ahead of the launch of Windows Phone 7, its latest attempt at a mobile platform.
Separately, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has revealed that as a result of the Apple suit against HTC, Microsoft now earns license fees from the Taiwanese firm for each Android device sold.