Microsoft and Apple Play Politics as Defense

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) have decided not to let Motorola (NYSE:MMI) bully them any longer. The two companies have separately complained to the European Union’s antitrust regulator that the Illinois-based company has been overcharging them in several patent cases.

The European Commission will investigate whether Motorola offered higher prices and unfair licensing conditions for its “standard-essential” patents. According to EU rules, companies that hold such patents wrongly have the power to harm competition and must offer licenses at a fair price.

On Monday, Microsoft announced moving its software distribution center from Germany, where Motorola has filed a case against it, to the Netherlands to avoid potential bans on sales of products. Microsoft is worried that a court ruling against it would lead to a ban on the sale of its products, including Windows PCs and Xbox game consoles, in affected countries.

Motorola has alleged Microsoft violated a video technology patent held by the former. Microsoft lawyer deputy general counsel Dave Heiner had earlier said that Motorola “refused to make its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price.”

Apple has had to deactivate its push notification system in its iPhones and iPads for some customers in Germany after similar Motorola accusations against the technology it used.

Microsoft’s complaint also named Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is in the process of acquiring Motorola. Motorola can be asked to pay up to 10 percent of their global turnover in fines if found guilty.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aabha Rathee at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at