the free operating system that is android, is actually not so free, well not for manufacturers who wish to install it anyway. A string of patent infringement law suits are being used to create a “cost” for the Operating System (OS) which will create a charge that will artificially drive up the cost per Android, tablet and smartphone. According to citi group analysts, Microsoft is rumoured to receive $5 per android handset from HTC for patent infringement, while Microsoft is seeking higher licensing costs from other device manufacturers and there is more patent litigation coming over the next few years in this space against almost every single player in it.
The big questions that arise is how well is the patenting system working for us as consumers and for innovation in business overall. The argument that copyright restrictions limit companies ability to innovate has been put forward by Harvard Business School and there is some validity there. Apple has entered the suing game a while ago, with its lawsuits against manufacturers who use android as a way to defend its business model and control over the value chain.
The battle for mobile is undoubtedly critical, and neither side is going to give way based on what is best for consumers – high levels of innovation.