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Google is encouraged that the U.S. Department of Justice is intervening in the case, Drummond said, including changing the terms of the Novell deal and making the Novell patents subject to a GNU General Public License. The DOJ also is closely examining the Nortel patent sale.
That blog brought a Twitter response from Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, who said: "Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no."
Drummond updated his blog on Thursday, calling Smith's response an effort to "divert attention by pushing a false 'gotcha!' while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised."
Drummond said Google turned down Microsoft's offer because the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant's objective "has been to keep from Google and Android device-makers any patents that might be used to defend against their attacks." A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license, Drummond argued, "would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners."
"Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android -- and having us pay for the privilege -- must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn't fall for it," Drummond said.
That prompted a series of Twitter responses from Frank Shaw, head of Microsoft corporate communications, who said Google turned down the opportunity to bid on the Novell patents "because they wanted to buy something that they could use to assert against someone else."
"So partnering with others & reducing patent liability across [the] industry is not something they wanted to help to do," Shaw said.
So far Apple has stayed out of the fray. An Apple spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment on the dispute.