Apple and Microsoft -- two of the older tech giants -- have consistently faced tough competition from relative newcomer, Google; now it seems they've formed a temporary alliance to hit Google where it hurts -- search.
Several lawsuits were filed last week against Google, HTC, Samsung and many others led by the unlikely friendship of Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft and Sony -- collectively known as the Rockstar Consortium. The plaintiffs' claim against Google and its partners is over seven patents that use Internet terms to help direct advertising. This basically amounts to Google's entire core business model and, if successful, the suit would be a tough one for the king of search to slough off.
Patent wars are becoming an increasingly big deal as big companies buy up patents to both stomp out competition and help the company take exclusive control of future market niches. Typically, these lawsuits result in either a dismissal or a monetary reward for the injured party. With this suit, though, it's hard to imagine how Google would be able to continue to function if it had to whether such a blow.
This suit comes after a bidding war over patents held by Nortel, sold off in 2011. In the end, Google's bid topped $4.4 billion -- just narrowly losing to the Rockstar group at $4.5 billion. After losing out on Nortel, Google went on to pick up Motorola's chest of patents for $12.5 billion.
It's much too early to figure which way this case will go, but things don't look great for Google and friends.