Yesterday Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble, as well as manufacturers Foxconn and Inventec, for patent infringement by the Nook e-reader and the Nook Color tablet, both of which run the Android operating system. The lawsuits were filed in both the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
"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," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate v-p and deputy general counsel for intellectual property & licensing at Microsoft. "HTC, a market leader in Android smartphones, has taken a license under this program. 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."
Microsoft added that the patents in question include "natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the Web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books."
GeekWire wondered how many anti-Android patents Microsoft had "up its sleeve," noting that in reading through the B&N lawsuit, "it would have made sense to see a lot of crossover with the patents cited in Microsoft's suit against Motorola last year for its use of Android. That's not the case. The new lawsuit against B&N cites a completely different slate of patents."
ZDNet suggested this development is significant because Microsoft, which had "previously gone after Android phone makers, are making it clear they are coming after the Android tablet space which is heating up. The Nook and Nook Color readers are basically Android tablets that are aimed at reading e-books.... It is not coincidental that Barnes & Noble is an easy target for Microsoft. The company has been struggling in its competition with Amazon's book-selling business, including the growing e-book space. It is likely that Barnes & Noble was too easy a target for Microsoft to pass up with this suit that is no doubt the first of several."
In one of the more surprising stories relating to Borders Group's
bankruptcy, the city of Pico Rivera, Calif., near Los Angeles, will over
the next six years have to pay monthly at least $10,833.33 and maybe
$33,932.91 on the outstanding lease of a Borders superstore that is one
of the 200 currently being closed, the Whittier Daily News reported.
2003, the town spent $1.6 million in federal grant money to lure
Borders to the Pico Rivera Towne Center, and agreed to subsidize the
store's rent to the tune of $10,833.33 a month. Now that Borders is
leaving, the 15-year lease with the mall developer calls for the city to
pay $33,932.91 a month for the rest of the lease--six years--or until a
new tenant arrives. The City Attorney is reviewing the agreement; some
believe the city need only pay the rent subsidy. In any case, the city hopes to
negotiate with the developer to reduce payments. At the lower amount,
the city could pay the developer up to $780,000; at the higher end, the
possible amount totals more than $2.4 million.
The store has 18,100 square feet of space and has generated about $35,000 a year in sales tax for Pico Rivera.
Gregory Salcido, who championed the effort to bring Borders to Pico
Rivera, said that grant money set aside will cover the Borders costs and
that the situation would have a "negligible effect" on the city and
residents. "We were able to put something aside to attract a first-class
bookstore to Pico Rivera," he said. "We were the only predominantly
Latino community with a national chain bookstore."
The city of Los Angeles is known for many things, but LAist noted that thanks "to an unfortunate reputation as a not-so-literary city, L.A. local bookshops are often and unduly overlooked. But, forget what you might have heard (or haven't heard, for that matter). Our local bookstores are big, small, specific, general, used, new, and all-around unique."
To help remedy the situation, LAist featured a guide to some of the city's best indie bookstores, observing: "Believe it or not, this list is hardly complete. While it might be breaking news to some, many locals know that indie bookshops are essential to L.A.'s unique neighborhoods. Would Los Feliz be complete without Skylight, the Sunset Strip without Book Soup, Boyle Heights without Libros Schmibros? So get out and explore L.A.'s literary hotspots and support our local bookstores in fostering the less publicized, but more compelling culture thrumming at Los Angeles' core."
The Guardian has embarked on a continental lit tour with its New Europe series, which features editors reflecting on the literary scene in their countries. Last week Sebastian Hammelehle of Der Spiegel examined the current German literary landscape.
This week Raphaële Rérolle of Le Monde reflected on French book world: "To understand what literary life in France is like, imagine a pond. A pond that's getting smaller and smaller, with just as many fish in it, so that the water is getting more and more crowded. You can guess what happens: each one has less and less space to evolve, to find food, and even to develop the energy required to discuss ideas. Sales of books continue to be weak in 2011, after a particularly flat year for publishers and bookshops."
Musician Steve Earle, who "might just get away with being cast as Rubeus Hagrid," talked about his reading life in an interview with the Telegraph: "I mainly read nonfiction, and that's probably because I have a huge amount of insecurity about my lack of education and the things I don't know. But I loved the Harry Potter books. When the Potter Phoenix book was released in 2003 I was living with a woman and her 10-year daughter and we went out at midnight to get a new copy. There were kids lined up to buy a f------ book. I thought that was so cool. I know a lot of kids gave up on the Potter books but I read every one.... Another book I really loved was Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter, a historical account of Buddy Bolden's last few years. Fiction is what I read least and then it tends to take the place of drugs. I get addicted and go back to things like Tolkien."
"Because someone had to do it," John Scalzi created an electronic publishing bingo card.
Book art of the day:
Buzzfeed featured a "Written Portraits" project for Dutch Book Week in which Souverein "crafted the faces behind famous biographies. Each bust was created using actual pages from the book about their subject."
Brian Dettmer's "coolest book sculptures" were showcased by the Huffington Post. "My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book's internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception," the artist observed.
Book trailer of the day: Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words by Brian D. McLaren (HarperOne).