In this corner, that corner: Microsoft vs. Google, Apple vs. Proview, T-Mobile vs. Verizon

Today we’re rounding up developments on the countless battles in the technology world.

• The Microsoft-Google lovefest — OK, hatefest — continues, this time in Europe, where Microsoft has filed a formal complaint against Motorola Mobility, the hardware maker Google is buying. Microsoft accuses Motorola of charging too much for patent royalties. “We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products,” writes Dave Heiner, general counsel for Microsoft, in a blog post this morning titled “Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web.” According to the Associated Press, the patents in question include those related to streaming video online, and both Apple and Microsoft are battling Motorola over them.

By the way, Microsoft has patent deals with most major makers of Android-based devices except for Motorola. Last month, the software giant boasted that it is collecting royalties from 70 percent of Android manufacturers. (See Battles galore: Google vs. (insert party here), plus other tech fights.)

Also in the past week, Microsoft has gone after Google over privacy, joining the chorus of critics after the discovery that Google was bypassing privacy settings in Apple’s Safari Web browser. Microsoft said over the weekend that Google was doing something similar with the Internet Explorer browser. (See On Google, browsers, privacy and trust.)

• Now we turn from patents to trademarks. Apple and Proview Technology, the Chinese company that owns the trademark to the iPad name and has succeeded in getting the popular tablets pulled from store shelves in a couple of Chinese cities because of it, duked it out in court today. The stakes are higher: Proview wants iPad sales banned in Shanghai, which Reuters says is home to three of the country’s five Apple stores. A lawyer for Apple quoted by Reuters said “Proview has no product, no markets, no customers and no suppliers,” and that the Chinese company has not produced a tablet in years. Proview, which is seeking a ban on iPad exports out of China — that would mean all iPads — has said it is willing to settle with Apple. For its part, the Cupertino company has said it bought the trademark rights from Proview years ago.

• T-Mobile has asked the U.S. government to block Verizon Wireless’ $3.9 billion purchase of wireless spectrum, saying it would be anti-competitive. Verizon plans to buy unused airwaves from cable companies Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks, a move that would hurt smaller wireless carriers such as T-Mobile, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s because Comcast’s spectrum purchase, along with the failure of AT&T’s proposed purchase of T-Mobile, leaves the nation’s No. 4 wireless carrier with fewer choices for upgrading its network. Public-interest groups also oppose the Verizon spectrum purchase.

“To ‘supersize’ Verizon Wireless with additional spectrum … so that the largest wireless operator can better promote the services of the largest incumbent cable operators directly undermines the pro-competitive policies of the 1996 Act and is thus contrary to the public interest,” said a coalition of nine consumer groups including Public Knowledge and Media Access Project in a brief filed yesterday with the Federal Communications Commission.

In addition, politicians such as Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., have questioned the coziness of the relationship between supposed rivals Verizon and Comcast, which also recently entered into a shared-marketing agreement.



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