Microsoft at CES

Microsoft on Wednesday filed an official complaint against Motorola Mobility with the European Commission. The Redmond-based firm is accusing Motorola Mobility of attempting to block sales of Microsoft's products in an effort to promote its own goods.

"Earlier today, Microsoft filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Motorola Mobility. We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products," Microsoft's Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Standards & Antitrust Group, Dave Heiner said. "[Its] offense? These products enable people to view videos on the Web and to connect wirelessly to the Internet using industry standards." Heiner argued that a number of companies, including Motorola Mobility, agreed years ago to license patents under reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing terms (FRAND). However, Heiner said Motorola has now "broken that promise" and that, ultimately, Motorola Mobility could kill video on the web.

"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 in a blog post Wednesday. "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."

Microsoft said it is willing to pay Motorola Mobility fair and reasonable licensing fees, but currently believes that the firm is charging far too much. Motorola, for example, is asking for $22.50 for each $1,000 laptop powered by Microsoft's Windows operating system that supports the H.264 video codec, which Motorola Mobility owns 50 patents for. That fee doubles for notebooks that cost $2,000. Microsoft, by contrast, says that it charges its partners a royalty between $0.02 and $0.20.

The Redmond-based company believes Motorola Mobility's exorbitant fees could ultimately lead to the death of video on the web, and Heiner calls on Google, which was recently granted permission to purchase Motorola Mobility, to prevent that from happening. "Google: Please don't kill video on the Web," he said.

[via Microsoft]