Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) may be forced to reveal confidential financial information at trial

There are apprehensions in some quarters that the face-off between Microsoft Corporation(NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Motorola Mobility over a patents trial could reveal financial information about the two companies, that they would want kept hidden.

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The trial in a Seattle federal court, will determine the amount of royalty that Google will get from Microsoft for license to Motorola's patents. When Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, it had also acquired a vast library of communications patents.

The amount of royalty will also determine what kind of bargaining power Google will have with other rivals in the smartphone segment, in terms of licensing deals.

Both Apple and Microsoft have gone to court against Google and its partners such as Samsung which use the Android operating system.

So far as Apple is concerned, Google's Android is a copy of its iOS operating system while Microsoft contends that it holds patents which cover a number of features on Android.

Motorola had sought up to $4 billion a year for its wireless and video patents, while Microsoft argues its rival deserves just over $1 million a year. A federal judge in Wisconsin last week threw out a similar case brought by Apple against Google just before trial, a Reuters report said.

During the run-up to the trial in Seattle, both Microsoft and Google asked U.S. District Judge James Robart to keep secret a range of financial details about the two companies, including licensing deals and sales revenue projections. Google requested that Robart clear the courtroom when witnesses discuss those details.

Robart had rejected the request on Monday.

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