Redmond, Washington, 1 October 2010
In a desperate move to save it’s dying Windows Mobile operating system line, Microsoft is suing Motorola for its Android smartphones and Microsoft said they own the intellectual property rights for these technologies:
- Synchronizing email, calendars, and contacts.
- Scheduling meetings
- Notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.
I’m no lawyer, but I believe that these are not invented by Microsoft. The first and last items of the above list are present in other mobile devices long before there is Android and probably not invented by Microsoft. The only probable item is scheduling meetings — which may as well be part of their Exchange software feature set.
As I recall, synchronizing email, calendars, and contacts are brought first to the masses by the original PalmOS device in 1996 before Microsoft even have a viable PDA operating system. Even before that in 1993 Apple’s Newton has a PIM (Personal Information Management) application that synchronizes calendar data to a desktop computer.
I’ve tinkered with PalmOS (the original PalmOS version 3.5) programming and applications can find out about changes in signal strength and battery power. Although the signal strength part was an API extension by a PalmOS licensee since GSM Radio was not part of the core OS feature set. At that time the leading Smartphone was Handspring Treo — PocketPC smartphones are too bulky and has a very short battery life.
It looks like Microsoft is degrading itself into a patent troll. They ran out of innovative ideas and thus decided to go low-brow? Perhaps they’re inspired by NTP, Inc, a patent troll who sued RIM for Blackberry’s push e-mail feature. They probably think “Hey, the Windows Mobile division is sinking, let’s sue other company to make up for the divisions’ losses.” This is a very sad state of affairs.