Motorola devices sparse in Germany amid patent wars

The Google-owned device maker sells only three smartphones and no tablets on its German Web site in the wake of ongoing patent problems.

Motorola Mobility's market in Germany may be shrinking even further.

The company continues to offer few devices via its German Web site as it battles Microsoft over patent issues, according to Foss Patents' Florian Mueller. Mueller has been employed as a paid consultant by Microsoft and Oracle.

A check of Motorola's German Web pages by blog site Areamobile found only three smartphones currently up for sale -- the Razr, the Razr i , and the Gleam HD +.

A search by Mueller turned up the same results, with no other phones or tablets available online for German customers. A link for the Xoom 2 tablet on Motorola's site redirects users to a page that reads: "Devices not available in Germany -- updated devices [to become] available at the end of July."

A representative for Motorola Mobility told Areamobile that the operating system of older Razr phones and Xoom tablets were being "reworked at the moment" and would soon be available again in Germany.

Another representative for Motorola told CNET that "as we have previously stated, Motorola Mobility is focusing on fewer mobile devices. As a result we have phased out some of our lower tier devices in Europe/Germany."

But given the Xoom 2 tablet notice pointing back to July, Mueller believes Motorola is wary of putting those devices back on sale due to patent issues. The Google subsidiary won a single patent issue against Microsoft last week. But that was the first victory following a string of losses.

Last month, a German court ruled that Motorola had violated a Microsoft patent over software keyboards . Another ruling in May also found in favor of Microsoft as did earlier ones in February and March.

Microsoft has tried to offer Motorola the same patent license terms granted to Samsung, HTC, and other companies, Mueller said.

But Motorola has so far been hesitant to agree to those terms. And though Motorola holds only a small market in Germany, Mueller believes it "wouldn't be doing what it's doing if it was an independent company."

Updated 12:15 p.m. PT with response from Motorola.

 

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