The Android system involves perhaps one million pieces of code that were more or less new with that system. Do any of them violate someone's patent? The Google folks don't know--they don't take the time to check such things as they develop a product--they simply hope their lawyers can take care of any problems that develop. So now Microsoft can squeeze money out of a lot of companies using Android, saying: for all you know, you are in violation of one of our 18,000 patents; to avoid the hassle of checking and/or fighting it out legally, pay up. And they do. This has become almost traditional: IBM used to do it a lot. Not encouraging innovation; more like stifling it.
Microsoft may once again be the evil empire. h/t Instapundit.
My son e-mails in response to this: "Don't hate the player. It's not microsoft's fault, they're just taking full advantage of a really dumb system." He and I have talked before about how the patent system does not seem able to keep up with new technology.