Microsoft is full of surprises these days.
“Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues,” Redmond has said in a joint statement with Google. “As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility.”
This is pretty amazing. After five years of playing the “sue you sue me blues,” Microsoft and Google have agreed to shake hands and settle their dispute amicably. Although it’s certain that some money is exchanging hands in the process — an appeals court in July ruled against Motorola in a case Google was defending — no terms of the agreement have been released.
What we do know is that the two companies have agreed to work together on a host of patent issues, which is a surprising turn around. Even more surprising is that Redmond has agreed with Google to work against non-practicing entities (NPEs) or trolls, companies that seek to license patents without making products of their own. In the past, Microsoft has joined forces with Apple and others to form trolling companies.
The patent disputes between the two companies are rather complicated and largely revolve around Motorola, which Google owned for a while. The case against Motorola mainly involves ActiveSync, a feature that allows users to sync calendars on phones and desktops. At one point, Microsoft obtained an order that blocked the feature on phones being imported into the U.S., but has said that the order has never been enforced by customs officials.
This agreement comes at a time when Microsoft has been easing its stance against rival operating systems and has been creating apps for its Office suite, under the name Microsoft Office Mobile, to run on both Android and iOS devices.