Microsoft’s big week…phones and lawsuits

It’s been a pretty good week, PR wise, for the company that calls Redmond, Washington it’s home. Indeed, it has. First, Microsoft showed off its own tablet family, based on Windows 8, then they show off Windows Phone 8 at the Windows Phone Summit and Motorola offers a settlement in its on going legal battles with Microsoft.

We’ve already discussed the Surface tablet, here, so I won’t rehash that.

I would like to talk, briefly, though, about that legal issue and then the phone.

Motorola is suing Microsoft over critical parts of the H264 video codec.  The patents in question are a fundamental part of H264 and Moto had agreed, early on, with the standards body that they would license the patents in a fair and equitable manner.  Well, Microsoft brought about a suit against Moto regarding syncing technology used in the companies Android products. This upset Moto who then sued over the H264 stuff. They wanted an injunction against the XBOX 360 and other relief. Congress critters along with companies like Apple wrote the ITC on behalf of Microsoft, imploring them NOT to ban imports of the console. Yes, Apple was aiding Microsoft here, as they have products that use H264 as well.  Fast forward to now, and Moto wants to settle and not have their products held up either. They have offered 33 cents per Android device to Microsoft and cut what they wanted from Microsoft to fifty cents (down from 2.24 percent of revenue per device family.) No one expects Microsoft to accept this, but it is a step forward and only adds to Microsoft’s perceived ‘wins’ for the week.

Microsoft unveiled the next version of its smartphone operating system, Windows Phone 8.  The new version shares much of its underpinnings with its desktop overlords.  So much so that there is a ‘shared core’ and many apps can be ported to Win phone 8 with only ‘minor’ changes. Visually, what they showed was similar to Win Phone 7.5 except for the home screen. The tiles are customizable now.

Other features highlighted include NFC which allows for wireless sharing of data, files, credit card information and more.

The OS supports more screen resolutions now and better processors. It is a pretty decent step forward.

Microsoft did confirm that existing phones will NOT get an upgrade to the new OS. Instead, they get a point release update that gives them some, but not all of the new features.

I’m glad I have waited, I knew there was a reason.

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