A timely Android reality check – but if there aren’t price elasticity-related consequences (e.g., device manufacturer licensing fees driving Android device prices significantly higher than iOS device prices), Google still ultimately wins, even if both Microsoft and Oracle generate more directly Android-related revenue than Google does
Of course, there are differences between the strategies of Oracle and Microsoft. Oracle, which acquired the Java patents that it claims Google is infringing when it bought Sun last year, is merely looking to tap that patent portfolio for more income.
"They see this as a revenue stream," Goldberg said. "They want to see Android do well and make millions off it."
While Microsoft is happy enough to skim money from each Android sale, it's really trying to create uncertainty among device makers in order to better position Windows Phone 7. For more than a year, Microsoft has argued that Android isn't really free. Clearly, one of the costs, Microsoft believes, are patent licensing fees.