A few days ago we saw Microsoft successfully invading the OSI. This came a couple of weeks after Steve Ballmer had said that he wants all open source to happen on top Windows (with no planned support for other platforms).
Mind the following bits of news. Microsoft now independently says that it plans many small acquisitions and Steve Ballmer has just saed that Microsoft will buy open source companies.
“We will do some buying of companies that are built around open-source products,” Ballmer said during an onstage interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
They have already (virtually) snatched XenSource for half a billion dollars, using the Citrix proxy. They had put some Microsoft execs inside XenSource before that acquisition was made. Also mind the following new article:
Dan Kusnetzky: If we look at Citrix’s portfolio, every single piece, service or product offering is matched by something Microsoft is pushing now. That, in essence, means that Microsoft is trying to acquire the business Over 800,000 High Quality Domains Available For Your Business. Click Here. that Citrix has and slowly remove Citrix from the limelight and off to the sidelines. … needed a broader strategy, one that wasn’t focused solely on access mechanisms. The acquisition of XenSource gives them a broader story.
“We have already seen how Novell was used by Microsoft to affect the GPL, patent FUD, virtualisation, and OOXML.”Microsoft cannot compete, so it buys out the competition. This is classic abuse of monopoly power through elimination of rivals (Linux primarily). Proxy strategies are evasive and the FTC won’t spot them, either. Instead of producing software to rival threats, Microsoft wants to acquire the threats and then never have to compete against them. It was months ago that a Microsoft executive admitted that Microsoft does not usually develop software; it buys it instead.
So, what have we here at the end of the day? Someone that fears virtualisation, which is a disruptive trend by all means, snatched XenSource (by proxy), made a deal with a company that brings open source software to Windows, and paid Zend to optimise PHP for Windows (at the expense of Linux, i.e. discrimination by acquisition).
This is all happening just days after the Microsoft ‘Trojan horse’ entered the Open Source Initiative (OSI) with its own self-serving licences (and quite possibly, Microsoft board members to join and influence the OSI). We have already seen how Novell was used by Microsoft to affect the GPL, patent FUD, virtualisation, and OOXML.
What will it be now that OSI has surrendered to Microsoft? And why is Bruce Perens keeping so quiet on this issue (I did raise the question in his site yesterday, but he never uttered a word)?
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Sam has some interesting details about another possible patent troll in the making. It has links with Microsoft.
IP Innovations is not the first company of its kind which has Microsoft ex-employees – Nathan Myhrvold, for many years a senior Microsoft employee, runs an outfit called Intellectual Ventures, a company devoted to buying potentially profitable patents.
Recall Acacia’s own ties with Microsoft and be aware of the ongoing research at Groklaw. There could be more than a single “next SCO”.
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“We suspect that we have seen many of these proxies before, e.g. in OOXML, in GPL, and in XenSource.”Several months ago we speculated that while Microsoft has legal and moral commitments to Novell (although no side has promised not to sue), Microsoft could use another proxy to launch patent attacks on Novell. We suspect that we have seen many of these proxies before, e.g. in OOXML, in GPL, and in XenSource. SCO is a classic example that no-one can forget.
Is Acacia a proxy in Microsoft’s chess set as well? The issue is still being researched and we finally have some more prominent people coming to some conclusions, or at least assertions that are backed by strong evidence.
Have a look at this new article where Microsoft is said to be playing puppets again.
This time though, while Ballmer slinks away to try to con … convince people that Microsoft Unified Communications somehow offers people more than what Cisco’s VOIP (voice over IP) been offering customers for years, a patent attack finally launches at Linux. Specifically, IP Innovation, a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies Group, has filed a patent infringement claim against Linux distributors Novell and Red Hat.
So was it just timing, or was it something more? Let’s take a look at the players.
In another new article, Microsoft is again being compared to SCO and Novell’s role does not escape a mention.
It is almost a year since Microsoft struck its controversial intellectual property deal with Novell, and almost five months since the company claimed that various pieces of unspecified open source software are chock-full of Microsoft patent infringements, but when it comes down to the question of exactly what IP Microsoft is talking about, we are still none the wiser.
Without any kind of substantive claims to back up these statements, this is pretty much the dictionary definition of FUD. Fear, uncertainty and doubt.
The same kind of blathering that drove The SCO Group into the ground.
There is a lot of evidence that shows SCO’s ties with Microsoft, but not as much that shows the connection between the trailblazer patent troll and Microsoft. Time will tell how strong an evidence (if not conviction) can be gather to solve this riddle once and for all. As far as Novell goes, it remains to be discovered just how much in terms of personal benefits Novell executives received after tactlessly signing the submissive deal with Microsoft.
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Free Software Magazine has published an article that explains why patents — poor patents in particular — are doing great harm to innovation.
Whether or not hardware patents in the past have encouraged invention, it seems clear that software patents today are harming innovation and progress. Obvious and overly broad patents are being used to either prevent competition or as a way for patent trolls that produce nothing valuable to extract rents from companies that do. Maddeningly, they’re not even needed for their stated purpose. Progress in the software arts does not depend on granting such an extreme form of intellectual monopoly. Let’s throw the damn things out.
Acacia/IP Innovation say it best:
Acacia/IP Innovation has gone on the record as saying that it’s not trying to kill open source: it just wants to suck anyone and everyone dry of cash,
So here we have a system that was designed to either defend monopolies or to allow a few companies pull money from other businesses, much like ‘intellectual leeches’. Here is a press release that its publisher takes pride it. It’s an item which shows that Microsoft is indeed part of the problem, which was mentioned a couple of days ago.
Destruction is all around us. One needn’t look further than a week ago to find (at least) two more high-profile examples:
Research In Motion (RIM) has reached an agreement with Eatoni Ergonomics, a little-known developer of predictive text input software for mobile devices, who claimed the Canadian company’s BlackBerry incorporated technology it had no right to use.
Internet phone company Vonage Holdings settled a patent lawsuit filed by Klausner Technologies, the privately held company specializing in voice-messaging technology said Thursday. Klausner said it granted Vonage a patent license related to voice messaging. It did not disclose any financial terms of the settlement.
Who actually benefits from this, other than the solicitors?
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Head over to Bob’s blog and read his extensive analysis, which includes some lesser-restrained bits of information such as:
There were so many things fundamentally wrong with how OOXML entered the standards process, was propped up and pushed forward, and just never seemed to go away even in the face of withering analysis and criticism, that it is now clear that things have to change. Rather than dwell on that, though, let’s use it as an example that we should ensure never gets repeated.
However, there are also inconsistencies, unbalanced influence, and a glaring lack of transparency in some other important efforts. While preserving the necessary autonomy of organizations, we can nevertheless work together to identify the models by which they can improve the service they provide to their constituents.
Bob talks about “ensure[ing it] never gets repeated,” but as we’ve learned over the years, as long as Microsoft prevails and gets away with the corruption we have all witnessed, nothing will change and these patterns will have things be repeated. The good news, however, is that the developments in Europe (the Commissions’s ruling) is apparently having the desired effect on lawmakers in the United States. Here is the very latest about extending the Microsoft oversight.
A group of state attorneys general urged a federal judge to extend court oversight of Microsoft Corp., saying they continue to have concerns over the state of competition in the personal computer software marketplace.
The states include California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts and Minnesota, as well as the District of Columbia.
Almost every aspect of the oversight of Microsoft is due to expire in November, after five years of the company having to regularly appear before Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s court and account for its activities.
The states, known as the California Group, opposed the original consent decree between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice and several other state antitrust authorities in 2002.
The decree didn’t go far enough to curb Microsoft’s anticompetitive behavior, the group said.
Let us hope that all the manipulations, to which Novell, Xandros, Linspire and others are all tied through lavish deals, will never be repeated. A structural remedy, as proposed on several occasions by Miss Neelie Kroes, might be needed.
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With some technical leadership and executive leadership missing, Linspire continues to lose its way. GPLv3-licensed software is out of the question and the latest release, which Shane mentioned last week, shows signs of weakness. It has just received a bad review from Linux.com.
Linspire is one of the few non-free distros available. As a single-CD distro, Linspire has a huge uphill battle against commercial DVD distros. Linspire 6.0 won’t win many converts, except perhaps for companies frightened by the recent patent infringnment claims against Linux vendors whose priority is a distro that offers Microsoft’s patent promises.
Do not forget that Linspire used to spread Linux FUD along with Microsoft. Having probably received payoffs from the sellout and even criticised Ubuntu’s stance, Kevin Carmony dares to ask not only for forgiveness, but also for a place in Ubuntu. Canonical would be foolish (or misinformed, or forgetful) to accept him after he not only fed on their codebase, but also slammed them implicitly (and immorally).
Update: it is a pleasure to find that progress is being by Linspire defectors (mainly people from the forums, who were put off by the deal with Microsoft). They build their own distribution. A milestone has just been reached.
KlikIt Linux is based on Kubuntu 7.04, taking advantages of many of its best features, and then adds its own touches such as many multimedia options that are either built in or available with a couple of clicks from the desktop, making it fun to interact with just like the KlikIt community.
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