Yesterday, Microsoft initiated another underhanded anticompetitive practice to try to recover from their failing performance in the Smartphone industry. They've signed a patent agreement with HTC where license fees are paid to Microsoft when HTC uses Google's Open Source Android OS operating system, no doubt to lend favourable terms to their preferred partners, and to 'validate' their patent claims. Today, HTC announced they'll have a Windows 7 mobile phone by year end, no doubt part of their PR agreement with Microsoft. Apple has also sued HTC, specifically over features of Android.
Smartphones are expected to have gigantic growth in the next few years, eventually completely eclipsing today's personal computers. Unlike the hobbyist roots of PCs, the mobile industry has been highly controlled, with carriers making it difficult to use anything but a small selection of handsets and software. Legal actions like this will further impedes real competition and progress, consistent features, and through higher prices that may shut some out of the market.
Open source has always been a huge background competitive force, the basis for iPhone, Android and Palm devices, and something Microsoft has always been uncomfortable with. Today's technical community is huge, many are open source proponents.
A "blank" handset, sold by multiple manufacturers, and the ability to boot Open Source Android off microSD cards would avoid Microsoft and Apple's traps, and return control to the individual for a diverse and flourishing market. There should be enough Android users today to connect with an appropriate hardware company, with an initial order of hundreds of thousands of handsets for a specific date.
Blikied on April 28, 2010
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