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BLOG: Microsoft joins ranks of those believing the government is conspiring against them

Ms Smith (via Network World) | July 16, 2013
Microsoft has joined the ranks of those who believe the government is out to get them, claiming that U.S. Customs is “conspiring” with Google in “secret” meetings to allow “banned” Motorola phones into the USA.

Microsoft vs U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Microsoft has joined the ranks of those who think the government is out to get them, or at least "conspiring" against them. Moreover, Microsoft alleges that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been having "secret" meeting with Google about continuing to import "banned" phones made by Google's Motorola Mobility unit.

In May 2012, after concluding that "Motorola Mobility devices infringed a Microsoft patent for a way mobile phones synchronize calendar events with other computers," the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington issued the import ban. Bloomberg reported the Microsoft filed a lawsuit claiming the "order isn't being enforced."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who oversees CBP, is also named in the complaint that was filed in Washington on July 5. It states, "CBP has repeatedly allowed Motorola to evade that order based on secret presentations that CBP has refused to share with Microsoft."

Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard added, "Customs has a clear responsibility to carry out ITC decisions, which are reached after a full trial and rigorous legal review. Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions."

CBP may not be overly concerned as the agency would rather "focus their efforts on terrorism," according to patent lawyer Robert Stoll of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Washington. "The issues related to intellectual property is not their concern." Conversely, Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency loves to get involved with IP disputes; since June 2010, the feds have "seized more than 1,700 domains that allegedly breached intellectual property rights." Wired reported that "Operation in Our Sites" [pdf] have averaged about "50 seizures a month" for the last three years.

Although Microsoft believes that all Android smartphones are affected by the ban, Google believes the ban should only apply to some Motorola Mobility Android phones. In fact, Google said shut up and stop complaining . . . OK, not exactly. Google spokesman Matt Kallman told Reuters, "U.S. Customs appropriately rejected Microsoft's effort to broaden its patent claims to block Americans from using a wide range of legitimate calendar functions, like scheduling meetings, on their mobile phones."

Former ITC chairman Deanna Tanner Okun added that U.S. Customs may not have the expertise to handle high tech patent disputes. "Problems have increased. The system is outdated. They're using practices and procedures that are 20 years old."

Microsoft slashed prices to dump excess Surface RT tablets
Meanwhile, Microsoft slashed $150 off the Surface RT price tag yesterday, so the 32GB tablet now costs $349.00 and the 64GB tablet costs $449.00. If you are wondering why you would purchase a Surface tablet when so many people reportedly hate the device, then perhaps you might want one if you're a big fan of Scotty [video] from Star Trek and peripheral devices?


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