The [Digital] Heat Is On
Bookstore Barnes & Noble has asked the Department of Justice to investigate Microsoft’s patents related to tablets and smartphones, claiming that the software giant is stifling competition in the mobile device market by “raising rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.” The plea for an investigation comes after Barnes & Noble was sued by Microsoft in March, over alleged use of Microsoft patents in its NOOK e-reader line. Barnes & Noble, which just recently unveiled the competitively-priced $249 NOOK Tablet, is not the first company Microsoft has sued over the use of its patents. Used by the Android operating system, Microsoft claims it now collects licensing fees on over 50% of Android-powered devices.
Barnes & Noble claims that Microsoft charges more to license the specific patents than it does for a license to its entire mobile operating system, Windows Phone. Yet, while all of the patents revolve around the mobile market, Barnes & Noble argues that Microsoft is really trying to defend its dominance in the desktop sector as smartphones and tablets increasingly replace PCs and Android becomes a direct competitor to Windows.
Thank you to staffer Joshua Steinberger for the WSJ link!