Microsoft and Google have been going at it for a while now and in a recent interview, Google’s Patent counsel Tim Porter gives some low blows when discussing the Microsoft/Android patent situation.
In a recent interview, Porter claims that the only reason Microsoft has been going after Android phone makers is because Microsoft’s mobile phone strategy has failed. Porter also claims that the patent system is broken and is slowing down innovation.
“This is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past, with Linux, for example. When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they’ve built up to get revenue from the success of other companies’ products,” Porter states.
Porter also believes that the entire patent system is flawed. “You can look at the development of the software industry and see a point when (software wasn’t being patented) and it was a period of intense innovation. You didn’t see Microsoft’s first software patent until 1988. By that time it had come out with Word, not to mention DOS. So there’s just no question you can look back and see that innovation happens without patents. It’s also true that since there weren’t patents, there wasn’t software patent litigation.”
Porter also doesn’t think the current patent system makes any sense. “I think the question is whether the current system makes sense. During the period I talked about, software was protected by copyright and other legal protections. There are certainly arguments those are more appropriate.”
Porter also points out that intense patent assertions only delay innovation. “The period of intense patent assertions (against things like the steam engine) resulted in decades-long periods of stagnation. Innovation only took off when the patents expired.”
What do you guys think? Is Microsoft delaying innovation by slamming every Android phone maker with a patent lawsuit?