That's the key question here and the answer is, probably no one.
Android was a Linux, backed by Google. Their problems weren't with the operating system. In theory a mobile Internet client should be no different than a desktop Linux. But every aspect of the design for any “smart phone” – from how it takes calls, to the user interface, to the way apps interact – is covered by literally hundreds of patents.
Some are held by giant companies which use them to pry open markets.
Some are held by “development companies” like Interdigital, who research, invent and patent things for a living. (Interdigital invented one of the first digital encoding schemes, TDMA, back in the day.)
Others are held by trolls like Lodsys, law firms that pick up minor claims at the patent office, expand them into grand conspiracies, then hold up every company in the mobile ecosystem for big gobs of cash.
You can't invent a way around these patents. If the present patent-and-copyright regime were in place at the dawn of the PC age, I'm sure we'd all still be driving IBMs with twin floppies.
Software patents are bad law for two main reasons.
They give lawyers an excuse to file their own private taxes on any innovator, slowing innovation, eventually slowing it to a crawl. Meanwhile nations without such court-created regimes, like China, are free to innovate all they want and run rings around us.
- You can't invent your way around these patents, unlike drug patents, which specify compounds, or device patents, which are published so rivals can improve them. Patents granted on concepts don't have to show an actual invention. They don't have to publish the code. Which means you can't do the same thing, or something similar, in some other way. You can't patent a new mousetrap if someone has already patented the trapping of mice. You have an absolute monopoly on an entire industry that last for 20 years or more.