This issue of patent cannot cease to amaze. It seems like no work is actually being done, unless you count attorneys and bankers. Innovation is hurt, not defended. According to this exclusive article from The Register, an entire decent invention and standard, 802.11n Wi-Fi, might never take off, just because of patent-associated fear.
The IEEE working group developing the 802.11n Wi-Fi is holding urgent meetings this week to discuss a significant threat to the standard from patents held by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Despite requests from the IEEE, CSIRO has failed to promise not to sue anyone for infringement.
It does not get better than this. Here you find another cross-licensing deal, which pretty much means that two companies have piled up stacks of technical paper sheets; but they do not get used, only swapped or filed in a portfolio. It’s akin to the accumulation of nuclear warheads which never truly get used (only dismantles at the end).
“The decision to form a pool was made in order to minimise the risk of patent disputes,” a Samsung spokesman told Reuters.
Yes, just like weapons are supposed to “minimise the risk of disputes” and defend a country (never mind if all they do is simply kill people). Why are these patents being painted and portrayed so positively? Even Microsoft suffers from patent trolls and only a few days ago it got a small & exemplary relief.
Microsoft won its bid to have a patent-infringement lawsuit by creditors of defunct Internet service provider At Home thrown out.
Small and large companies alike are being harassed in this fashion while the court eventually proves that many patents were altogether and all along void or ineffective. Apple is a sufferer too and Cringely opines that their most recent debacle is being ignored for no good reason.
There is both a lot at stake in this case and a very fundamental underlying issue. What’s at stake is about $500 million, which is what Burst feels it is owed by Apple for patent infringement to date.
At the end of the day there is some good news too. Here is a short analysis of the SCO case where an argument is made with regards to patent trolls. The wrath of the open source community is shown to have made any threats to it utterly unworthy. Companies like Blackboard will watch and SCO or think twice before inciting hatred and anger through ineffective litigation, and even insinuation (a la Microsoft).
Due to SCO’s unsuccessful battle, this type of software protection racket will forever be associated with companies in their death throes.
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Novell could take a lesson from Cisco, among others
It is sad to find that Novell has learned no lessons over the years, not even from its own miserable experiences with Microsoft. What would Novell’s founder say if he was alive to watch it? Perhaps the new management is miserable, misinformed, wishfully thinking, or bribed. Rational it definitely is not.
The word “partnership” has a positive connotation, but it has become common knowledge that when one partners with Microsoft, one books a funeral. We have already seen Linspire and Novell betrayed rather badly by Microsoft (it was more deadly in Linspire’s case). Recently, DRM partners of Microsoft were betrayed. Going further into the past you’ll find (old) Novell, Apple, Netscape, Corel and many others who partnered with Microsoft and received nothing in return. Some of them dropped into oblivion and some of them were manipulated or pressured to change course (watch out, XenSource!).
Cisco is another excellent example that shows this pattern. The following new insight explains that Microsoft is all-promises-but-no-action when it comes to Cisco.
Apparently Microsoft has “taken limited steps to share users’ presence and availabilty [sic] information,” for fear of losing its ability to own all of the client.
Someone should tell Chambers that in reality it’s not so easy working with Microsoft.
It was only a couple of months ago that Cisco’s CEO argued that Microsoft screws its partners every time, just like Apple.
If partnering with Microsoft is not a win-win then it must be a win-lose…in Microsoft’s favor of course.
Microsoft’s partnerships with Cisco are probably more complex than this. They are certainly self serving and they indicate that Microsoft has much to fear. The company tries to conquer and control that threat, and even use it to combat other threats (like a Trojan horse, or a proxy).
A few weeks ago, Cisco’s and Microsoft’s CEOs wore big smiles and made some happy faces for the cameras and the press. The two companies are hostile and competitive friends, not foes. There is a resemblance to Novell’s situation. An article published just two months ago comes to show that it’s hard for Microsoft to be a friend of Cisco.
That puts it in direct competition with Microsoft, which is No. 2 with its Live Meeting service. Microsoft’s big push will come in June when it begins producing a host of products, including Microsoft Office Communicator 2007.
You might ask why Microsoft is getting closer to its rival. The following batch of articles can hopefully show you that Microsoft fell behind Cisco in some particular key areas, so it wishes to achieve some proximity (strolling slong enemy territories, so to speak).
Cisco CEO: ‘Microsoft Has Given Us a Three-Year Lead
Microsoft has given us a three-year lead. And we’ve never lost a game when we’ve had a three-year lead… It’s a battle we fully intend to win.
Microsoft’s Worst Nightmare (Nope, Not Google)
The Cisco/Linksys drive into the home follows an absolutely miserable effort by Microsoft, which had a first-mover advantage but blew it in favor of its Xbox gaming play. Maybe Microsoft figured the timing just wasn’t right. In any case, Microsoft angered a lot of digital home integrators who were hoping for some support to break open the market.
Cisco benefits as Microsoft keeps moving the goalposts
Forced between choosing between unified comms vendors, many users are reluctantly opting to use an alternative to Microsoft. Others, it seems, are a lot less disappointed.
The Microsoft partner confessed that Cisco is the preferred option. “Cisco has a better track record of consistency on upgrades. Whereas Microsoft’s new products can be a completely different kettle of fish from the last,” he said.
So, it is established that Microsoft fell behind Cisco. Now, look back at the earlier two references to Cisco being betrayed. Trojan horse? One might suspect so. Can it harm other companies? It certaintly can . Have a look:
Why the world needs openness, not interoperability.
This NAC/NAP lovefest would be laughable if it weren’t such a kick-in-the-teeth to the rest of the industry, enterprise IT, and all Internet users. A Cisco/Microsoft oligopoly stalls implementation, stifles innovation, and makes the network less secure. In this way, Cisco and Microsoft are standing in the way of progress.
Openness replaced by interoperability. Does that ring the Novell/Microsoft bell? Same tactics, two separate companies. Extrapolating from the above, “a Novell/Microsoft oligopoly stalls implementation, stifles innovation, and makes Linux less secure. In this way, Novell and Microsoft are standing in the way of progress.“
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