This is kinda weird. Microsoft is suing Barnes & Noble as well as the manufacturers of the Nook Color (Foxconn and Inventec) because they claim Android violates their IP. I’m guessing this is a test case for them, and if it goes well, they’ll go over bigger fishes, maybe even Google themselves. Here’s the official statements from MS:
“The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights. To facilitate that we have established an industry-wide patent licensing program for Android device manufacturers. Other vendors, including HTC, a market leader in Android smartphones, have taken a license under this program, and we have tried for over a year to reach licensing agreements with Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec. Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations and fulfill our responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year to bring great software products and services to market.”
There’s a rundown of the patents claimed over here. If Microsoft continues down this path and sues other manufacturers, it could potentially hurt the company’s partnership with device builders for the WP7 platform.