US software giant Microsoft filed a complaint with EU antitrust authorities on Wednesday, accusing cellphone maker Motorola Mobility of making patents too expensive and seeking to block sales of Windows PCs, Xbox games consoles and other products.
The move marks a new stage in the long-running and increasingly acrimonious rivalry between Microsoft and Google, which bought Motorola for $12.5 billion last year in the California company’s biggest acquisition to date, according to The New York Times.
US and EU antitrust regulators approved the acquisition last week. EU authorities are already investigating Google for possible abuses of its dominant position in Internet search and advertising. Microsoft is among the complainants in that case.
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Both Microsoft and Apple have been hit by legal proceedings in the US and Europe, with Motorola claiming that their products are using crucial patents it owns without permission, the Associated Press reported.
Microsoft and Apple argue that Motorola is charging too much for the use of the patents, which cover technologies necessary for wireless Internet access or online video streaming.
“In legal proceedings on both sides of the Atlantic, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly,” Dave Heiner, a Microsoft lawyer, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
“Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course,” Heiner said, adding: “Unfortunately, Motorola has refused to makes its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price.”
Microsoft was itself the target of antitrust action for two decades in Europe and the US. EU authorities imposed fines of more than $1.3 billion on the firm for breaching European antitrust rules, Reuters reported.
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