The patent fight between Microsoft and Google/Motorola has just taken a step up, and it's not looking good for the search engine giant with the German courts looking likely to rule in Microsoft's favour, potentially banning Google Maps throughout the country.
Google is being accused of infringing one of Microsoft's European patents – a "computer system for identifying local resources and methods" – issued in 1996.
An outright ban would include Google Maps on mobile phones and browsers in Germany. This would mean Google banning German IP addresses from accessing the software, as well as altering the Chrome browser for German users.
Auf Wiedersehen, Maps!
With around 4 million people in Germany using this service, a decision in Microsoft's favour would be a huge loss for Google.
The more likely alternative would be for Google to pay Microsoft royalties to license its patent.
The final decision will be made in the next couple of months but if Germany does kiss goodbye to Google Maps, it will be one of the biggest patent penalties of recent years.
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