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Barnes & Noble asked DoJ for Microsoft investigation

Posted: , by Scott H.

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Barnes & Noble asked DoJ for Microsoft investigation
As recently as July Barnes & Noble has asked for the Department of Justice to investigate Microsoft for anti-trust behavior. Barnes & Noble claims that Microsoft bullies smaller companies with threats of lawsuits over “frivolous” patents, making the cost of entry into the portable device market prohibitively expensive.

In addition to doubting the validity of many of the patents that Microsoft is asserting against them, Barnes & Noble says that by asking for exorbitant licensing fees Microsoft effectively bars smaller players from being able to compete against large companies like Samsung and Nokia, which can afford to those licensing deals. The result says Barnes & Noble, is a market where large companies are entrenched favorites and smaller companies cannot compete against them.

The Justice Department is paying close attention to the situation, as a raft of recent patent lawsuits has embroiled the mobile industry.  Many larger manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, and Motorola are seeking injunctions to prevent products from selling, while Microsoft has taken the tact of trying to collect royalties on every handset sold.

It is thought that the Justice Department is most concerned with attempts to block products from shipping, but if Microsoft is charging fees so high that they prevent newcomers from entering the market it is likely that they will review Microsoft’s actions as well.

In April the Justice Department forced Microsoft to give up patents it had acquired as part of a joint buyout of Novell Inc.  Microsoft instead had to license those patents, while Apple and other joint buyers had to promise they would not assert them in anti-competitive ways.

source: The Wall Street Journal

21 Comments
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posted on 09 Nov 2011, 12:13 1

1. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


First. So the DoJ can wag their balls in the AT&Tmobile deal, but they can't do something about Microsoft collecting payments from OEMs who infringe upon their patents?

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 12:36 3

3. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


You are the only person on this site who ever says "first" I find that funny... don't really know why.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 22:10 1

19. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


The only answer I can give is because I'M THE MIZ...AND I'M....AWESOME!!!

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 14:17 1

7. snowgator (Posts: 3233; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


I am kinda lost on your post, Miz- are you:
-For or against the DOJ going after AT&T and the merger?
-For or against the DOJ going after Microsoft?

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 14:45 1

9. remixfa (Posts: 13933; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


he is against anything that impedes apple. so im pretty sure he is for microsoft's lawsuits as being against them would also hurt apple's massive suites.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 22:10 1

20. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Thank you remixfa for trying to inaccurately give my answer as it is far more than you think.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 22:11

21. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


I am just giving my $.02 into the fold.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 12:27 7

2. Whateverman (Posts: 3224; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Even more proof that the patent system in this country needs some kind of overhaul. And proof that its not just Apple also.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 14:46 3

10. remixfa (Posts: 13933; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the difference is MS wants money for people using its patents.. that is the whole point of patents, to get paid for your work. Apple wants to ban anyone that they think is a threat to their sales potential.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 15:23 2

12. remixfa (Posts: 13933; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


but dont get me wrong.. i completely agree that this thing needs a MAJOR overhaul. The cell industry is highlighting every major issue that needs fixed. like a bunch of spoiled children flinging their poo at each other.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 16:50 1

13. Whateverman (Posts: 3224; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Yeah, at least M$ is allowing use of their IPs. Apple wouldn't even consider it. Maybe with Tim Cook at the helm all that will change.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 20:57 1

17. snowgator (Posts: 3233; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Okay, anytime you can get the "flinging poo" visual into a post and make it work, you really, really deserve post of the day... Laughed my poo out...

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 18:30

15. ardent1 (Posts: 1997; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


This is more about MicroSoft's behavior rather than patents per se. Recall MS' behavior to Netscape -- does anyone here remember the browser Netscape?

MS has a LONG history of anti-competitive actions whereas Apple has a LONG history of protecting its design patents.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 12:41 3

4. downphoenix (Posts: 2357; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


I love how Microsoft is still being targetted heavily and Apple's getting off scot free.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 18:32

16. ardent1 (Posts: 1997; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Apple is mostly about defending its design patents as well as utility patents. You don't see MicroSoft waging war over design patents because MicroSoft doesn't engage in aestethics at a level like Apple.

You may hate Apple all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that Apple stresses aesthetics in its designs.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 14:14 1

6. snowgator (Posts: 3233; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


I am fairly sure the validity of the patents are proven, as can be asserted due to all the other manufacturers that are working out liscensing deals with Microsoft including the ones with deep enough pockets to fight them. However, the charge of forcing smaller companies to a competitive disadvantage through these fees is a new one, and I can see Barnes and Noble being concerned. As Borders Books went out of existence nationwide, B&N must see these e-readers and their new Tablet as the only way to stay competitive due to the near death blow the electronic age is giving to books and magazines. Amazon is already under selling them, then throw the threat of Microsoft bearing down on them for using Android and I understand the worry.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 14:28 2

8. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


TSK TSK TSK.....

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 15:18 1

11. lubba (Posts: 1310; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


I dont know what means to patent something or the point of placing a patent when some one like barnes and noble or google is cying foul. then everyone can just use everyone elses idea right based on barns and google?

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 21:36 1

18. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)


I think the point being made is that software patents are so broad that 1) everyone runs afoul of them (Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc., have all had to pay out huge fees on patents), 2) many of them aren't valid, but that isn't known until someone takes them to court (i.e. there isn't a separate review system), and 3) as a result it's almost impossible for smaller players to enter the market.

I won't say any one company is right or wrong, but Barnes & Noble is raising a legitimate issue, even if Microsoft isn't the only "bad guy" in this case.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 18:17

14. SuperEd (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


i love the comment. Barnes and Google. So true. Time to pay the piper Google. It can only last so long.

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