Xbox users around the world can now rest easy and without fear that Google will take away their video-streaming. The Mountain View giant has called a truce and dropped some of its patent claims against Microsoft.
The patent in question, H.264, was scooped up by Google when it bought Motorola back in 2011. Microsoft wanted to license two standards essential to the patent for Xbox streaming but not on Google’s terms.
As AllThingsD points out, this kind of nit-picking patent war madness is exactly what Google’s recent settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is meant to prevent. As part of the settlement, Google agreed that it would license any patents that were a public standard to willing participants.
In this case, things worked themselves out but it should be noted that the provisions of the FTC settlement don’t make it clear what’s meant to happen with existing cases. Google is clearly unwilling to drop all of its cases however. It’s still going after Microsoft in a case over a patent that is not an industry standard.
While Google’s decision to drop this particular case seems like a much-needed dose of common sense, it’s worth bearing in mind, to turn a cliche, that it’s just a drop in the vast, ugly patent war ocean.