Brian S. Hall's post on Google failing to innovate pretty much sums up how I feel. I couldn't agree more with his assessment of what Google has become and the sinister business model they're trying to execute:
Warning: some language in his post isn't fit for work. However, I think the general idea that Google buys and copies -and no longer innovates, is bang on. I've been very critical of Google in the past year or so. From where I stand, It's like their corporate culture developed in a self righteous bubble devoid of morality: Zero respect for intellectual property unless it's theirs; zero respect for content rights unless they created it and; continuous double-speak in an effort to look like a victim or good-guy, while doing everything it can to undermine anybody who doesn't subscribe to their lowest-common-denominator world view.
If you disagree with my assessment, that's cool, but either way, pay attention to the mountain of lawsuits against Google and its Android OS -49 and counting. They're in a lot of trouble and they created it themselves. I predict that Android will become very expensive to license once Google settles with Oracle, Apple, Microsoft and others. And regardless of how many copies of Android are out there, depending on the damages awarded or injunctions imposed, it might go the way of the dodo bird.
Google's recent behaviour with the Nortel patent auction is very telling. They start the bidding just shy of US $1b, are offered to join a consortium with Apple and Microsoft but refuse, and then when they lose the auction, they complain that everyone is banding together in a conspiracy to destroy Android. The simple truth remains, however: Google wanted those patents for themselves and were not interested in cross-licensing any intellectual property. If that sounds familiar, it's because the same thing happened when Google decided to copy Java and not pay licensing to Sun (now Oracle). Just days ago, evidence was presented in the Oracle vs. Google suit that Google executives made it clear to Larry Page and Sergey Brin that Android indeed infringed on Java IP and that they should license it. Google chose not to, and now they're being sued by a company much larger, with deeper pockets and a massive patent portfolio. I can't feel sorry for anyone who pokes a dog with a stick and complains when they get bit. I use that analogy because to me, it feels like Google is acting like a child.
When your unwillingness to share, results in you losing the thing you wanted, don't complain to the world that it's unfair.
In the end, there's only one reason Google wanted Nortel's patents to themselves: They know Android infringes on valid and original patents held by their competitors. Google doesn't have a deep patent war chest as it's a young company. It needed those patents to defend itself and now they're owned by the people already suing them.
I hope Google reaps what it sews and faces facts. You can't rip off people's ideas and give them away for the purpose of creating a platform for your products and services. As software developers, we feel exactly where Oracle, Apple and Microsoft are coming from. The patent system is not perfect and needs reform. However, it's obvious that it's still required because companies like Google are actively copying their competitors, refusing to pay licensing fees and making a profit in doing so.
What's happening to Google is not a case of open vs. closed systems, or patent trolls, or conspiracies. It's about companies who actually produce original ideas, products, and services being entitled to protect their investment and get paid for their hard work. Google needs a reality check and I think it's coming. Soon.