At Least One Judge Ruled it is Okay To Target Android Market for Destruction
In a recent ZD Net article, it was mentioned that an Administrative Law Judge ruled, in effect, that Microsoft’s recent actions of suing Barnes and Noble over software patent infringement, regarding B&N’s “Nook,” is perfectly legal: “the mere fact that Microsoft is targeting Android for destruction is insufficient to establish an antitrust violation, let alone patent misuse.”
Is it Anti-trust if Microsoft Destroys the Android Market?
For such practices to be truly monopolistic, it would have to be shown that Microsoft’s actions create an unfair advantage and, in effect, prevent adequate competition in the marketplace.
If Nook, Verizon and others who base their products on the Android operating system are the only real competition, then Microsoft’s actions could be deemed monopolistic.
Is Apple a Microsoft Competitor, or a Silent Partner in a Subtle Monopoly?
However, since Apple’s iOS is in play, then Microsoft’s destruction of the Android market would not truly be an anti-trust/monopoly action; or… would it?
Is Apple truly “competition” for Microsoft? Remember, Microsoft, in the past, actually assisted Apple and Steve Jobs in remaining viable and solvent; which is clear from quotes in an iPadsHouse.com article: “…in truth, [Jobs and Gates] have been friends for many years… and [Gates] paid $150 million to Apple [to help it survive].” In that same article , the author quotes Steve Jobs himself stating that Jobs would like to see the death of the Android market: “ Before he died, Steve Jobs said ‘I’m going to destroy Android’.”
The fact that both Microsoft and Apple desire to destroy the Android market; and the other facts listed above; lead one believe that Microsoft and Apple truly are partners and, as such, could be looked upon, for purposes of anti-trust challenges, as a single monopolistic entity, exerting undue influence upon the market and stifling competition. As well, if they successfully kill the Android market, their actions could lead to price-fixing and/or unjust price increases (gouging), due to the fact of severely-limited competition. In other words, if Microsoft is the only player in the market (assuming Apple is in collusion with Microsoft), then such a market exclusivity would allow them to charge exorbitant prices for their products.
Microsoft’s Actions would affect much more than just Barnes and Noble
Despite no overt indication that Microsoft is colluding with Apple; in future challenges, the court may rule that Microsoft’s actions are, indeed, monopolistic or, conversely, that the “Nook” and other Android devices may be excluded from patent challenges. Otherwise, Barnes & Noble may want to consider a licensing agreement, much like the previously-similar case of the RIM (Blackberry) patent infringement settlement.
Still, if Microsoft wins this or similar challenges going forward, thousands, possibly millions of consumers would be severely affected, if Microsoft and Apple are allowed to destroy the Android market! In a still-troubled economy, the “innocent bystanders” (consumers) who bought affordable Android phones and tablets, with the understanding that such items would be viable and supported going forward, would now be left with worthless doorstops. So there are larger issues to consider, since Android is becoming such a large and prevalent presence in the marketplace (and many businesses and consumers depend upon it). Any such victory by Microsoft would potentially adversely affect the overall economy, not just one company or a few users.