vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

German courts order Microsoft to stop selling Xbox 360

by Mark Tyson on 2 May 2012, 15:59

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Xbox 360, Windows 7, Motorola (NYSE:MSI)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabf2z

Add to My Vault: x

Legal wrangling over patents between Microsoft and, recently acquired by Google, Motorola Mobility have resulted in German courts issuing a court order to cease sales of Xbox 360 and Windows 7.

This most recent escalation of the case does not mean that the Xbox 360 and Windows 7 are going to be taken from retailers shelves right now, even in Germany. Microsoft explained in a response to the latest legal development "Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise."

The core of the legal disagreement lies in Microsoft’s use of the H.264 video codec, patented in 2003, it’s a codec that is very popular in online/downloaded HD video. The promise Microsoft refers to in the above statement is a promise to licence innovations deemed critical to widely-used technologies under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms. Under European competition law these commitments are called FRAND commitments. With this in mind a Seattle court has in turn banned Motorola from enforcing their ban upon Microsoft sales.

 

Crisis hits Xbox 360

Xbox 360 crisis?

 

In their response to the German Court ruling Motorola said “We are pleased that the Mannheim Court found that Microsoft products infringe Motorola Mobility's intellectual property. As a path forward, we remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property.”

Microsoft said Motorola’s terms are prohibitive and it would mean license payments of $4 billion a year for their use of the H.264 codec in their products. Also, in a move predicting the German court favouring Motorola, Microsoft has already relocated a major distribution centre from Germany to Holland. Further developments in the case are expected when the Seattle based court meets again on 7th May and when the German case is heard by the European Commission. Currently in another legal dispute between this pair of companies Microsoft is working to have US imports of Motorola’s Android phones blocked.



HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Hmm, like the article says, this looks suspiciously like Motorola doing “tit for tat” against Microsoft. I've also got to wonder why no one's suggested some form of arbitration - after all, if Microsoft is complaining that Motorola's not licensing under EU's FRAND terms, then surely someone from the EU should surely be well placed to decide if Moto's terms are unfair and/or discriminatory?

Just wish two good tech companies could “grow a pair” and stop acting like a pair of toddlers. :(

US$4bn does sound like a lot of dinero for one lil' ole media license - irrespective of how many 100,000's of Windows7 copies and Xbox's it goes into. Doesn't Apple have some interest in H.264 in which case it'd be interesting to hear their view of this.
Didn't they try taking someone to court before and failed to get anywhere, would be interesting to see if they are charging all the TV manufacturers and broadcasters 4bn per year to use the codec.
crossy
Hmm, like the article says, this looks suspiciously like Motorola doing “tit for tat” against Microsoft. I've also got to wonder why no one's suggested some form of arbitration - after all, if Microsoft is complaining that Motorola's not licensing under EU's FRAND terms, then surely someone from the EU should surely be well placed to decide if Moto's terms are unfair and/or discriminatory?

Just wish two good tech companies could “grow a pair” and stop acting like a pair of toddlers. :(

US$4bn does sound like a lot of dinero for one lil' ole media license - irrespective of how many 100,000's of Windows7 copies and Xbox's it goes into. Doesn't Apple have some interest in H.264 in which case it'd be interesting to hear their view of this.

In arbitration the lawyers don't win, it'll be the lawyers that are advising which route to go down…
I'm thinking that this could have more than a little to do with HTML5.

MPEG LA of which microsoft is a member, control the licensing of h.264 and have threatened that they own patents that the Google owned WebM infringes. (They haven't actually said which patents) Both formats, along with OGG are competing to be the format of choice for HTML5 video, one side saying web formats should be open source while the other is saying that there are patents that ogg and webm infringe and patent trolls are waiting for widespread adoption before they start suing (so what, pick h.264 at least you'll know who'll be billing you? ). IE and Safari only support h.264 ootb (Apple is also a member of MPEG LA) while Chrome is dropping support for h.264.

Maybe if h.264's patents can be made to look a little unstable it will lose to ogg or webm and youtube will be spared a hefty licensing fee?