Apple may still be staying out of the fray, but it looks like we now have a full-on back and forth between Google and Microsoft, following the former's blog post yesterday that alleged a "hostile, organized campaign" against Android on the part of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and others. The latest word comes once again from Google's SVP and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, who has updated his original post with a response to what he calls Microsoft's "false gotcha." As you'll recall from late yesterday, Microsoft brought up the fact that it had offered Google the opportunity to bid jointly with it on the Novell patents, and that Google turned it down. According to Drummond, however, such a joint acquisition would have "eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners," and that it "didn't fall for it." He further goes on to note that the Justice Department's eventual intervention in the acquisition -- which required the winning group to provide a license to the open source community -- only backed up Google's case, and reaffirmed its original point that its "competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales." Still no response from Microsoft on that, but we'd recommend staying tuned.

Update: Well, once again, Frank Shaw, lead corporate communications for Microsoft, has taken to Twitter to tell Redmond's side of the story. In several tweets he reiterates that Google rebuffed Microsoft's offer to tag team the patent-bidding process and claims that El Goog wanted Novell's IP all to itself -- so that it could sue others instead of using the portfolio to reduce patent-liability for all. We don't know if that was Google's true intention, but we do enjoy seeing these two tech titans duke it out in a public forum. Keep it up, guys.

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Google addresses Microsoft's 'patent attack' response, says it didn't fall for its offer (update: Microsoft responds, again)