According to a report on Monday, Microsoft will be moving its European distribution center to the Netherlands, effectively shutting down its current center in Germany. This is due to a patent dispute with Motorola Mobility Inc. in Germany.
“We would have preferred to keep our European distribution centre in Germany, where it has been for many years. But unfortunately the risk from disruptions from Motorola’s patent litigation is simply too high,” said Thomas Baumgaertner, a Microsoft spokesperson.
The dispute between Microsoft and Motorola Mobility has to do with patents surrounding the H.234 video standard and 802.11 WiFi. Basically, Microsoft is complaining that Motorola are charging exorbitant royalties — reportedly over $22.50 per $1,000 laptop — for use of technologies pertaining to their patents. Apple share the same sentiment, as they have to pay Motorola 2.25% of every iPhone or iPad produced due to a 3G patent held by Motorola. That being said, Microsoft and Apple are both complaining to the EU that these high royalties are not in compliance with FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.)
Motorola claims that they have made Microsoft a “fair offer”, however a compromise is yet to be reached.
In Germany, the patent wars have been raging on for quite some time. Their courts have served as a battlefield for patent disputes in recent times, forcing Samsung to stop selling the Galaxy 10.1 in Germany while also having Apple disable push notification functionality for some users.