Microsoft sued Motorola this week, claiming its Droid line of Android phone violated intellectual property of the company in Redmond. Researchers discovered that many Android apps that collect location data are sending it to advertisers. Twelve countries were added to the Android Market, doubling its reach.


Microsoft filed a patent infringement suit against Motorola, contending that the Droid line of Android phones violates a number of Microsoft patents. In April, the company in Redmond signed a license agreement with HTC, another Android handset maker, which protects the maker from similar litigation. Motorola and HTC are the two largest Android handset makers; most likely Samsung might be the next target for Microsoft, given the popularity of their Galaxy S line of phones.

Researchers uncovered proof that Android apps are routinely sending user location data to advertisers. Two universities together with Intel Labs tested 30 Android apps at random and discovered that half of them were furnishing not only location data but user’s phone numbers. When an app is installed, Android warns the user that information will be accessed, but the apps do not indicate they will supply the information to third parties.

The Android Market doubled the global reach of paid apps, as Google announced that it will support paid apps in a dozen new countries. Before a country is accepted, Android phone owners there see only free apps in the store. But once a country is added, local residents can access all paid apps. The new markets should improve app sales significantly.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

  1. I guess this should be considered as a serious offence. Selling customers personal details. I own a Droid and I cant believe that Motorolla has done this. I love the phone and the OS. Is there any news if its the OS or the Phone Manufacturer.

  2. This is one of the most dangerous pitfalls in an unregulated application trading environment. Not having a fully developed moderation process to ensure security is a serious defect in the Android platform. If these dangers are not addressed and become more commonly known, the platform will suffer as people will stop downloading apps… resulting in a significant drop in potential growth for this OS.

    Clay Perreault


Comments have been disabled for this post