* Microsoft moves European distribution to the Netherlands
* Says move is due to German patent dispute with Motorola
* Decision comes ahead of April 17 court decision
MUNICH/AMSTERDAM, April 2 Microsoft is
moving its European software distribution to the Netherlands
from Germany after being caught up in patent disputes with
mobile phone and tablet maker Motorola Mobility Inc.
"We would have preferred to keep our European distribution
centre in Germany, where it has been for many years. But
unfortunately the risk from disruptions from Motorola's patent
litigation is simply too high," Microsoft spokesman Thomas
Baumgaertner said on Monday.
He said the move was already in progress. So far, the U.S.
software maker's distribution has been handled out of Germany by
Bertelsmann's services unit Arvato.
The news comes ahead of a German court decision expected on
April 17 in a suit brought against Microsoft by Motorola, which
is being bought by Google, for allegedly infringing a
video technology patent.
In a worst case scenario the court could ban Microsoft from
distributing some of its biggest products such as Windows 7 from
Germany, thus affecting sales in other countries supplied by the
Germany has in recent months become a major battleground in
the global patent war between makers of mobile phones, tablet
computer devices and their operating software in a market worth
billions of dollars.
German courts, among others, forced Korea's Samsung
Electronics to stop selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablet
in the country and told Apple Inc to de-activate "push"
notification features for some customers in Germany.
In the upcoming decision, a regional court in Mannheim,
Germany, is expected to decide whether Microsoft violated an
agreement with Motorola by using certain video-compression
software in products including Windows 7 and the Xbox 360
German patent expert and blogger Florian Mueller said Dutch
courts do not hand down sales bans in patent disputes as readily
as German ones do.
"Instead, the courts evaluate whether an injunction is fair
and reasonable," he said.