European Union flags

The gloves just came off at Google: the company has just filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft and Nokia. Its gripe accuses the two Windows Phone partners of playing dirty pool through handing 1,200 wireless-related patents to Mosaid, a Canadian firm which spends most of its time suing the industry over WiFi rather than making products. Microsoft and Nokia are allegedly hiking the prices of devices by "creating patent trolls" that bypass deals preventing them from suing directly, possibly steering a few companies towards picking Windows Phone instead of Android.

Google argues that it's launching the complaint as an early defensive measure. Neither Microsoft nor Nokia has responded, although there's a degree of irony to the action: the complaints assert that Nokia is jeopardizing standards-based patents, but Google's recent acquisition Motorola has itself come under EU scrutiny for possibly abusing standards with its lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft. Either way, it's clear Google is concerned that Microsoft's Android patent licensing campaign might lose its decorum in the near future.

Update: Nokia's decided to have its say, in an email to Reuters:

"Though we have not yet seen the complaint, Google's suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on intellectual property rights is wrong. Both companies have their own IPR portfolios and strategies and operate independently."