Android plans need protection in AT&T-T-Mobile antitrust case

by Kristen Nicole

Android may be the top OS in the US and beyond, but its runaway success has conjured all sorts of competition, legal matters and business deals. Google now finds itself fighting to protect its plans for Android in the upcoming antitrust trial against AT&T and T-Mobile. The Android operator has turned over competitively-sensitive documents to the Justice Department in the investigation of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, revealing product development and launch plans related to Android. The information is important in the antitrust case, but Google filed a motion in a Washington federal court yesterday evening requesting a judge for prior disclosure in hopes of keeping the content (which also includes customer information) confidential.

It’s just another pain point in the rather mixed-up world of mobile technology, and Google may not be the only one seeking such protection in the high-profile merger case, scheduled for trial in February. Motorola, which is currently undergoing its own merger process through its acquisition by Google, may also want to protect its confidential documents in this matter, and Samsung, another Android manufacturer, would likely want to keep sensitive content confidential as well.

Microsoft goes through Samsung to get to Android

But even as Android participants have vested interests in the AT&T and T-Mobile merger case, they also face the wrath of Android competitors. Microsoft’s been hot on the heels of Android device manufacturers, landing Samsung in its latest licensing deal. The Korean handset maker will pay royalties for every Android device it sells, and will further collaborate on Windows Phone devices. Joining HTC and others, Samsung too has been sucked into another litigation case, fighting Microsoft on one end and Apple on the other.

Samsung’s been taking steps to diversify its mobile strategy beyond just Android, and this new licensing deal with Microsoft will only hasten that plan. As part of the deal, Samsung’s committed to building future Windows Phone devices and collaborate on marketing the OS. The news comes shortly after Samsung revealed the Omnia W, its latest Windows Phone 7 handset running Mango.