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Google, Microsoft War On Mobile Patents Rages

Google talks up a "hostile, organized campaign against Android." But who's won over mobile developers?
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If your product can't kill Android's success with the phone-buying public, can your patents? Microsoft seems to hope so. But Google's had enough and is hitting the court of public opinion. As InformationWeek.com's Thomas Claburn reports, Google SVP and chief legal officer David Drummond Wednesday called the current patent spats "a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and other companies, waged through bogus patents." Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith responded on Twitter by saying, "Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no."

Oracle, of course, has gone after Google over Java technology it acquired from Sun. Apple has gone after Android handset makers HTC and Samsung--a battle in which Google may come to HTC's aid. Claburn shares some intriguing analysis of what the patent war means to phone users. Not all the market-watchers think Apple has crushed the field for good. And that's good news if you want a smartphone marketplace with several viable leaders.

Microsoft certainly has not charmed mobile developers: A new survey of 2,000+ developers asked who will dominate enterprise mobile? About 44% of developers say Apple, 44% say Google--but only 7% say Windows Phone 7. What about RIM?

As InformationWeek Contributing Editor Jim Rapoza commented upon the survey results: "It seems to make sense when you think about it. But when I meet with any business user, including those from what one would think are cutting edge companies, the odds are around 70% that their phone will be a Blackberry. Also, as the article points out, the growth of HTML 5 could make what mobile platform one developer [is] for a moot argument."

In other big IT news today, the White House will name a former Microsoft exec, Steven VanRoekel, to replace Vivek Kundra as federal CIO. Kundra leaves his successor with a long to-do list. As InformationWeek.com's J. Nicholas Hoover recently explained, Kundra had the vision but his replacement will need speed.

Laurianne McLaughlin is editor-in-chief for InformationWeek.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lmclaughlin.

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