Posts Tagged ‘david drummond google’

Google: Buying Motorola is “Pro-Competitive” [Transcript]

August 15th, 2011 08:16 admin View Comments

android_army_150x150.jpgEditor’s note: This morning news broke that Google has acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The move is a fork for Google in that it is getting into the device business on a large scale for the first time in its history. The big discussion is surrounds the fact that part of Google’s acquisition of Motorola is to “defend Android” from patent lawsuits from the likes of Microsoft, Apple and others. Motorola has 17,000 mobile patents with another 7,500 pending. Google hopes to use those patents to protect Android and the entire ecosystem, including other Android original equipment manufacturers outside of Motorola, against attacks.

The below transcript is the highlights from the conference call that Google and Motorola held this morning after the announcement. Questions from analysts and financial companies have been stripped so as to show the answers to pertinent issues from Google and Motorola.

Larry Page – Google CEO

Opening Remarks

I’m very excited to announce that we have entered into an agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility this morning, an agreement that has been unanimously approved by both Boards. I believe the combination of the two companies is going to create tremendous shareholder value, drive great user experiences and accelerate innovation.

In May 2005 I met Andy Rubin for the first time. Andy had a crazy vision for the mobile industry. He wanted to align the standards across the mobile industry and the Internet. Andy felt that it was inefficient for each hardware manufacturer to have developed software constantly. Andy had a vision for an open-source platform that would accelerate the pace of innovation in the industry and deliver compelling user experiences.

That was just six years ago and Android is now one of the leading platforms in the industry. Andy has grown tremendously — or Android, I should say, has grown tremendously since its launch in November of 2007. More than 150 million Android devices have been activated worldwide through a network of 39 manufacturers, 231 carriers in 123 countries. And there’s more than 550,000 Android devices are lit up every day, that’s just amazing progress.

Turning our attention to Motorola Mobility, they have an amazing track record of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and the development of intellectual property, which helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today.

Motorola’s innovation in the mobile space has led to a number of industry milestones, including the introduction of the world’s first portable cell phone nearly 30 years ago and the StarTAC, the smallest and lightest phone on earth at the time of the launch.

Not long after the launch after Android Motorola Mobility had a new CEO and he got together with Andy and they shared a vision for the mobile industry. Sanjay made a big bet; he bet big on Android as the sole operating system across all of Motorola’s smartphone and tablet devices. That bet has seen him transform Motorola Mobility into one of the leading Android smartphone developers in the world.

It’s no secret that Web usage is increasingly shifting to mobile devices, a trend I expect to continue. With mobility continuing to take center stage in the computing revolution, the combination with Motorola is an extremely important event in Google’s continuing evolution that will drive a lot of improvements in our ability to deliver great user experiences.

Motorola Mobility has a great team with experience in developing solutions for mobile computing and for the home devices market. I’m impressed by the transformation of Motorola Mobility that the team there has initiated. I think they have an exciting product roadmap, a strong vision for the future and are poised for growth.

I think there’s an opportunity to accelerate innovation in the home business by working together with the cable and telco industry as we go through a transition to Internet protocol. Motorola also has a strong patent portfolio which will help protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing our work with all of them on an equal basis to deliver outstanding user experiences. We built Android as an open-source platform and it will stay that way. We’ve committed to that since the formation of the Open Handset Alliance nearly four years ago. Our plan is that Motorola will remain a licensee of Android.

Having spoken to some of the key partners of the Android ecosystem, they share our enthusiasm for this combination. I’m really excited about the acquisition and the possibilities it opens up for the Android ecosystem. My intention is to work closely with the Motorola teams and let Sanjay and his management team drive the business, that way we can supercharge both the Android ecosystem as well as the Motorola business.

David Drummond – Google Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

On Patents

We’ve been saying for some time that we intend to protect the Android ecosystem; it’s under threat from some companies who are looking to use patents (technical difficulty).

And so I think while I’m not prepared to talk about specific strategies, we think that combining with Motorola and having that kind of a patent portfolio, which Sanjay can talk about in a moment, to protect the ecosystem is a good thing.

Sanjay Jha – Motorola Mobility Chairman & CEO

On Patents

Thanks, David. Just talking about the patent portfolio that we have here at Motorola Mobility, we have over 17,000 issued patents worldwide, we have on top of that over 7,500 patent applications in process. We have tremendous strength not only in wireless standards but also wireless non-essential patents which are the patents which are required to deliver competitive products in the marketplace. And as a result of the combination of these patents we believe we’ll be able to provide much better support to the businesses at Motorola Mobility as well as support the Android ecosystem.

Andy Rubin – Google Senior Vice President of Mobile (Android Founder)

On Ecosystem

I spoke yesterday to I think it was the top five Android licensees and they all showed very enthusiastic support for the deal. Android obviously was born as an open platform; it doesn’t make sense for it to be a single OEM. We want to go as wide as possible and obviously all of our existing OEM partners help make it what it is today.

Larry Page

On Ecosystem

I’m really excited about this deal and I think while there are competencies there that aren’t core to us so, we’re also — as I mentioned, we’re operating — we’ll plan to operate Motorola Mobility as a separate business so that they have competency there.

And I’m really excited about protecting and supporting the Android ecosystem. And I think that their patent on Android two and a half years ago has really paid off and there’s evidence from their success in the smartphone space.

And we really believe that Motorola Mobility has tremendous opportunity for growth and will really create a lot of value in the future.

And we really believe in the plans of the Motorola team, Sanjay and their vision for the future and really expect them to be successful. So I think this is a really unique opportunity and one that I’m tremendously excited about.

David Drummond

On Ecosystem

Sure, this is David. Look, I think that we’ve seen some very aggressive licensing demands in the Android ecosystem and we think this is a result of having the patent portfolio we’ll be able to make sure that Android remains open and vibrant and the kind of platform that lots of companies can (technical difficulty).

Andy Rubin

On Motorola and Ecosystem

Thank you. Look, I mean, Motorola existed as one of the really, really early licensees of Android, they were a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance. After this transaction nothing changes, they’re going to be a separate business and it’s business as usual for Android. So I see it as basically protecting the ecosystem and extending it as well.

David Drummond

On Regulatory Concerns

Sure, this is David. On the first question, this is a transaction obviously given its size that will require regulatory approval and a number — certainly in the United States, certainly in Europe and possibly some other jurisdictions.

We’re quite confident that this will be approved. We believe very strongly this is a pro-competitive transaction and there are lots of reasons for that. But a couple of them — Android has clearly added competition, innovation, increased user choice. We think that protecting that ecosystem is pro-competitive almost by definition.

This is not a horizontal transaction. Google has not materially been in the handset business, so we think there are — so this certainly doesn’t draw those kinds of concerns and we certainly think this is a very competitive transaction.

In terms of the — you mentioned terms of the agreement. I think we’ll be filing the agreement between Motorola and Google’s public filings. We’ll have the details of the agreement in those filings and those will be forthcoming shortly.

Andy Rubin

On Nexus Device Strategy and Ecosystem

Sure, and to add to Larry’s points, we have this strategy where we have the Nexus program and we have this lead device strategy.

That strategy has worked quite well to help focus the team. What we do is we select each — around Christmas time of each year we select a manufacturer that we work very closely with to release a device in that time frame.

That includes also semiconductor companies and all the components that go in the device. And essentially the teams huddle together in one building, they jointly work on these development efforts, they go on for 12 — nine to 12 months and ultimately at the holiday season or right before it devices pop out that are based on the this effort.

We don’t expect that to change at all. The acquisition is going to be run as a separate business; they will be part of that bidding process and part of that lead development process. And obviously Android remains open to other partners to use as they are today.

David Drummond

On Patent Defending

I think we’ve said for some time that we need to build our patent portfolio to make sure that Android and other businesses can be successful. So we will continue to do that.

Larry Page

Closing Remarks

Yes, absolutely. Thanks, Patrick. I think one thing I’d say is that we are really excited about this whole business and working with the Motorola team and all the employees and all the hard work there that’s gone on over the years. And we at Google are very excited about this and I think the Motorola Mobility folks are as well and there’s tremendous opportunity here.

Android is growing like crazy; we think that will benefit all partners in the Android ecosystem including Motorola. And we’re very excited about those opportunities going forward. It really allows us to supercharge the whole Android ecosystem.

They made a great bet on Android that was really successful and that’s made them the leading Android smartphone maker and we really believe that Motorola Mobility is poised for tremendous growth. And furthermore I’d say that the leading — they’re a leading home devices maker, that’s also a big opportunity. And we’re working with them and the industry to really accelerate innovation.

So with that I want to thank everyone for joining us on such short notice and thank all of the employees at Motorola Mobility and at Google for all of their hard work and for all of you for spending time with us this morning.

Source: Google: Buying Motorola is “Pro-Competitive” [Transcript]

Google Claims Apple, Microsoft Are Waging A Patent War On Android

August 5th, 2011 08:12 admin View Comments

Sad Android Bot

Google has finally voiced their “official” opinion about the ongoing patent suits that are targeting Android, directly or indirectly.  We had earlier seen comments on this from Google officials, but this is the first time that they have come out in the open and written a blog post on the Official Google Blog devoted exclusively to the ongoing slugfest.

The post titled “When Patents Attack Android” is written by David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer who claims that companies like Microsoft, Apple and Oracle are trying to cripple the Android ecosystem by what he calls “getting into bed with each other”. He goes on to raise a stink about how over valued these patents have become citing the example of Nortel’s patent portfolio which was sold at $4.5 billion, nearly five times its estimated value. He also echoed Schmidt’s statement, which accused Google’s rivals of taking the route of patent litigation rather than innovation to fight competition. An excerpt from the post states:

“A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a “tax†for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices.”

He has also accused Apple and Microsoft are seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; in an attempt to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android, which it gives it for free.

It indicates how vulnerable Google is on the patent front presently. They were caught off-guard when these patent wars started to erupt and now that they realise the seriousness of the situation, it might very well be too late for them. InterDigital’s 8,800 patents are up for grabs and Apple and Google are actively trying to acquire this patent stash.

Apple is in a very strong position in terms of cash, and Google would definitely have to get in bed with one or more of its competitors to keep Apple from acquiring these patents. So unless it chooses to take a high moral ground (to protest against the present patent system) and not bid for the patents at all, it would have to do exactly what Drummord condems in the post, team up to keep others away. Hypocrisy right?

Moreover it wasn’t like Google was never invited to be a part of the winning group of Novell’s patents at all. Two Microsoft execs revealed on Twitter that Google themselves declined an invitation to bid jointly with Microsoft for Novell’s patents.

Tweet 1

Tweet 2

Attached with one of those tweets was an email from Google’s SVP Kent Walker to Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith, which read:

“Brad –

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.

I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

– Kent”

For what reasons Google denied the invitation isn’t known, but this coupled the Nortel patent loss cost Google a lot, which left them with no option but to seek public support, through the blog.

Interestingly, Google has remained silent on the parallel patent wars going on between developers and firms like Lodsys and Kotool. This is in contrast to what is going on at the Apple front, where Apple has taken a firm stance against these patent trolls and backed their developers.

So it seems Google believes in voicing their opinions and taking a stance only when they are directly under threat, rather than actually giving support to these developers whose efforts are in fact what has Google has piggy backed on since long to promote Android.

The most important thing to take away from the post – Google is publicly acknowledging that Android’s existence is in jeopardy if the patent scene doesn’t change.

What do you think? Please share your views in the comment section below.

[via Google Blog, Image Source:Technologizer]

Source: Google Claims Apple, Microsoft Are Waging A Patent War On Android

Google Accuses Competitors of Abusing Patents Against Android

August 4th, 2011 08:48 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes “Bloomberg reports that Google has accused Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle of waging a ‘hostile, organized campaign’ against Android by purchasing patents to keep them out of Google’s hands and to make it more expensive for handset makers to use Android. ‘We thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it,’ writes David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer . Android’s success has resulted in a ‘hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.’” Microsoft has responded, saying they offered to bid jointly with Google on the Nortel patents, but Google refused. Some think Google is being hypocritical with their stance on patents changing now that Android appears to infringe on a bunch.

Source: Google Accuses Competitors of Abusing Patents Against Android

Italian Court Convicts Google Execs for Hosting Illegal Video

February 24th, 2010 02:28 admin View Comments

gAn Italian court in Milan has just convicted three Google executives of criminal charges. The court found them liable for an online video that they did not appear it, film, or have any role in posting, and which the company promptly removed when complaints about it were raised. The Italian court, however, still held them responsible for the video and sentenced them to suspended six-month sentences. Experts say the case sets a dangerous precedent, and could dramatically restrict online content in Italy.

Thousands of people post videos each hour on YouTube and Google Video, and various court cases have questioned whether Google, which owns YouTube, is liable for every video that infringes on someone’s copyright or is deemed offensive to its viewers. Google has argued that it’s only liable if offensive material stays up on its site despite complaints against it, and says that if the company takes complained-about videos down, it has no legal liability–like the rules it faces under U.S. law. Italy apparently disagrees.

The case pertains to a video that was posted to Google Video in 2006 showing four youths in Turin bulling a 17-year old who suffers either from Down Syndrome or autism (reports vary). The video received 12,000 views before the Italian police brought it to Google’s notice. The company immediately took it down, and Google then helped the cops find the person who uploaded it, resulting in the identification (and school expulsion) of the four bullies. But the Google executives, who include David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president and chief legal officer, and George Reyes, Google’s former chief financial officer, were charged and convicted for criminal defamation and a failure to protect the privacy of the bullied teen.

Google plans to appeal the conviction but worries that it sets a bad legal precedent–none of the accused directly handled the video, and the video had been removed after Google received complaints; however, the prosecutors claim that Google should never have allowed the video to be posted in the first place [Mashable].

In a post on its corporate blog, Google wrote that this conviction attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built, and argued that the person who uploaded the offensive video was responsible for its content. The company declared: If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist, and many of the economic, social, political and technological benefits it brings could disappear [The Official Google Blog].

Internet analysts say the Italy conviction implies that Google must start pre-screening all videos uploaded to YouTube before allowing them to go live–or at least it must start doing so in Italy if the convinction stands. That site sees more than 20 hours of video being posted every minute worldwide, which would make the screening process if not entirely impossible, then extremely cumbersome and expensive.

This isn’t the first time Italy has cracked down severely on a tech company. Its tax authorities have demanded that eBay should hand over information about its customers relating to goods sold on the site between 2004 and 2007; Yahoo was fined €12,000 last year after Milan’s public prosecutor demanded information about private emails sent by suspected criminals; and the Italian interior ministry has required Facebook to hand over personal information about users who created groups said to “glorify” Mafia bosses, and again last October over a group said to promote the violent death of Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister [Guardian].

Image: Flickr/Manfrys

Source: Italian Court Convicts Google Execs for Hosting Illegal Video