Google announced the existence of a new program known as PAX today, which apparently stands for Android Networked Cross-License Agreement (someone should tell Google how acronyms work). PAX is intended to reduce litigation between Android device makers by granting royalty-free licenses to any Android-related patents held by its members to all other members.
Google, Samsung, LG, HTC, Foxconn, HMD Global, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview are the founding members, which Google claims collectively control over 230,000 patents globally. Membership in PAX is free and open to any company in the business of making Android stuff. There's no obligation for Android OEMs to join, either. Read More
Odds are that your phone has some Qualcomm silicon in it, and even if it doesn't the baseband processor (modem) probably includes some technology licensed from Qualcomm. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now says that the way Qualcomm manages those patents amounts to anti-competitive behavior, and it's taking the company to court over it. Read More
Though Samsung's Note7 is now officially off shelves, the headaches are not yet over. Beyond the continued, embarrassing efforts to keep the phones off of planes and the expected loss of over $3 billion, Samsung will now be dealing with legal troubles related to the Note7 as well. Consumers in the United States and South Korea have just announced their intent to file class action lawsuits. Read More
Back in June, Qualcomm filed a patent complaint in China against Chinese phone manufacturer Meizu. They had claimed that Meizu used several of Qualcomm's patents related to 3G and 4G communications without licensing them. Qualcomm claimed they tried to enter negotiations with Meizu before taking legal action, but were not able to reach an agreement. Read More
WhatsApp is hugely popular in Brazil where mobile subscribers pay high rates for cellular calls and messaging. WhatsApp isn't getting as much use today as a Brazilian judge has ordered the country's five wireless providers to block access to the service. Unlike past blackouts, this one does not include an end date—it's intended to continue until WhatsApp complies with a court order to turn over information. However, it says the requested information doesn't exist. Read More
Here's a bit of a blast from the past. A federal judge has decided that Amazon was in the wrong when it billed parents for in-app purchases made by their kids on its Appstore platform. Both Apple and Google settled this case with the Federal Trade Commission two years ago, but Amazon wanted its day in court. It didn't go so well. Read More
Google and Microsoft, while not outright enemies, have been engaged in a number of public slap-fights over the years. After all: they're competitors, and Google competes with Microsoft in three areas where the company's fortunes have sharply declined (smartphones, the browser wars) or never really got off the ground to begin with (search).
Microsoft has even been engaged in lawsuits against Android and, under threat of legal action, extracted (and may continue to extract) royalties from companies that make Android devices. Microsoft also helped lead the charge in what was likely the impetus that eventually caused the European Commission to file antitrust charges against Google last week. Read More
Today, the EU filed antitrust charges against Google related to the Android mobile operating system. The internet is absolutely alight - both for and against the allegations the European Commission has levied at our favorite search company that also makes our favorite mobile operating system. The key complaints boil down to three core ideas.
- Google requires manufacturers to bundle Google Chrome and Google Search, and set Google as the default search provider on their devices if they are GMS (Google Mobile Services) partners. This, allegedly, reduces competition for apps that perform similar or identical functions.
- Google does not allow manufacturers to both be GMS partners and produce incompatible "forks" of Android on other, non-GMS devices.
Telecom operators in Brazil have been working for months to undermine the legality of WhatsApp, and now a judge in Sao Paulo has apparently agreed with the arguments. Starting at 9PM ET this evening, WhatsApp was blocked in Brazil, and will continue to be blocked for 48 hours. Mobile operators have said they will enforce the block (probably while high fiving each other). What will happen in 48 hours is unclear, but you can bet Facebook has multiple planeloads of lawyers on their way to Brazil. WhatsApp founder Jan Koum is certainly not amused. Read More