11.28.07

Patent Trolls, Intel and Microsoft Betray the Children

Posted in Africa, Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC, Patents at 6:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using Patents (and Bribery) to Kill a Child’s Dream

The title expresses anger and frustration. This has nothing to do with Novell, but a little bit to do with the screwed up patent system. A story that I’ve been following for the past couple of years has just taken a very bizarre turn of events. On the face of it, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is being sued by a patent troll.

After reading that story I went to look for the Nigerian Patent Office’s website, unfortunately according to the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) directory there’s no such thing. Probing further I found that the Nigerian Industrial Property Offices use a @yahoo.com e-mail address. That was the point where I stopped my search for an online-version of Patent # RD8489 even though I would really liked to take a look at it!

Here is the press release that started the whole mess.

Lagos Analysis Corporation, a United States-based Nigerian-owned company with a subsidiary called LANCOR Management Limited, in Nigeria (LANCOR) announces today that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division holding at Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria against Nicholas Negroponte, One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC) and its enablers in Nigeria.

The closer you look, the more trivial this ‘invention’ looks (prior art). It almost seems like a joke (not the filer’s joke, but a joke that is the irresponsible patent system).

It was only yesterday that we found one good article which highlights the purpose of software patent and shatters to pieces the idea. It’s a case of monopolies against the people.

Patent advocates, large successful businesses, and politicians are so enthusiastic about the patenting of software that it’s hard to accept arguments from people like the FFII and Free Software Foundation who claim that the software industry simply does not need software patents and would be far better off without them. In this article I’ll try to explain why software patents are necessary, and in the sake of fairness I’ll look at the other side of each argument. Here is the “defense of Software Patents”. I report, you decide.

TrollTracker has also just published a good short article from a patent lawyer. It says a lot about the sad state of the US patent system.

Patents cranked out by the millions [with tens of millions of claims] by the USPTO necessarily include a large percentage of clearly invalid or over-broadly-claimed patents, because almost all patents are allowed by a single, young, limited-experience, patent examiner after an average of only 17.9 total patent application examiner processing hours, with only a very limited search of the huge present body of prior art. Thus, many patents simply do not deserve a several million dollar hurdle to even challenge their validity or valid claim scope.

So, what have we here? A broken patent system has not only turned against small and innocent businesses. At the moment, the system is actually used against non-profits. And if you thought the patent system was so bad that it gave trolls the courage to attack humanitarian efforts, you may have not seen anything yet.

In light of the recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the world has begun talking again about the corporate fight against OLPC. There are various facts that the media will not tell you however, so wish to present them here.

How bad were Intel’s and Microsoft’s abuses? Here’s the most recent report:

Intel’s agreement with the OLPC Foundation included a ‘non disparagement’ clause, under which Intel and One Laptop promised not to criticize each other, according to Nicholas Negroponte in the latest article in the Wall Street Journal.

Still Intel tactics have violated that repeatedly to kill OLPC efforts in Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan, India, China and Intel is also still trying to pull those tactics in Mexico, Brazil.

This is simply disgracefull of Intel, scandalous.

But Negroponte has signed an agreement saying that he is not allowed to criticize Intel, so he is not allowed to talk about these shameless tactics even though Intel is the one violating the agreement.

So only independant voices on the Internet can get those messages of truth out about Intels tactics.

In Nigeria, Intel came and donated 3000 laptops to counter OLPC efforts, then sells 17 thousand Classmates to Nigeria at a loss.

Then Microsoft corrupted Nigerian officials with 400 thousand dollars to install Windows XP on those instead of Mandriva Linux.

OLPC will be a very successful project regardless of the outcome. It has exposed some serious problems in the political system (fear of change and liability) and it has taught us a lot more about a couple of vicious monopolies.

The remainder of this post you are urged to read if you are still under the impression that Intel is any better than Microsoft. It seems to be keeping its card closer to its chest, and it’s also destroying criminal evidence (according to repeated claims).

Here is what Bill Gates said about OLPC before he pretended to be fond of the project (he wanted to put Windows on the OLPC).

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates earlier this year told the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum, “Geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you?re not sitting there cranking the thing while you’re trying to type” (see Bill Gates Mocks $100 Laptop).

Mind the fact that he criticised the novelty of the hardware, not the software, so even if he put Windows on it, the words above must always be remembered. Here is another old word about the impact of Intel and Microsoft (mentioned jointly):

One Laptop Per Child – Production Delays Caused By Microsoft, Intel?

[...]

I sincerely hope that no matter what the people who are running the OLPC project decide, that their project will continue and not get bogged down in a play of corporate greed and ambitions.

This actually comes from a Microsoft MVP.

Here is what Negroponte said about Intel before he signed the deal which forced him to shut up (see references above):

Negroponte says Intel should be ‘ashamed of itself’

He is furious that Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett called the One Laptop a gadget. The Negroponte initiative is caught in the middle of a vicious fight between AMD and Intel, he said.

Here’s the take of Intel’s CEO on GNU/Linux (the context being UMPCs):

That software effort does not have the support of Mr. Otellini, who is concerned about incurring Microsoft’s wrath, the executive said The two companies have a long history of tension over who control the hardware and software direction of the “Wintel standard.”

Sam Hiser, displeased with all of this, puts it all quite nicely:

The Gates | Otellini axis directly hurts us deeply. To me, it is a particularly American shame.

Moving on (or back) to Microsoft again, remind yourself of the Mandriva/Nigeria incident:

Wow! I’m impressed, Steve! What have you done for these guys to change their mind like this? It’s pretty clear to me, and it will be clear to everyone. How do you call what you just did Steve, in the place where you live? In my place, they give it various names, I’m sure you know them.

Hey Steve, how do you feel looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning?

Of course, I will keep fighting this one and the next one, and the next one. You have the money, the power, and maybe we have a different sense of ethics you and I, but I believe that hard work, good technology and ethics can win too.

The plot was resolved later on and Mandriva was victorious.

So, even as Microsoft claims superior quality over Linux, they act as if they don’t even buy their own FUD. If they really believed that Windows was superior to Linux, they wouldn’t have to bribe people with “marketing help” to get them to choose Windows.

Intel’s abuses go far beyond the OLPC. AMD carries on complaining, and quite frankly, who can blame it? Consider some of the following articles:

AMD chief condemns Intel ‘abuses’

In 2005, after the Japan Fair Trade Commission found Intel guilty of offering illegal rebates to Japanese PC makers, AMD filed an anti-trust suit against its competitor in the U.S. District Court in Delaware. The case has not been decided.

EC says Intel influenced bids for computer projects

The third type of allegation, however, was new, and sounded like a variety of predatory pricing. “In the context of bids against AMD-based products for strategic customers in the server segment of the market,” the commission press release said, “Intel has offered CPUs on average below cost.”

Video: Henri Richard comes out swinging at Intel during AMD press conference

[AMD's Henri Richard:] “I am sick and tired of being pushed around by a competitor that doesn’t respect the rules of fair and open competition.”

Henri Richard left the company a couple of months. Hee must have been upset about things like the following kickbacks Intel was caught engaging in (and apparently never punished for). With Dell:

An investor lawsuit seeking class-action status accuses Dell Inc. of improper accounting in its relationship with chip giant Intel, according to a media report published Thursday evening.

[...]

The suit alleges that Dell received at times as much as $1 billion a year in “secret and likely illegal” kickbacks in the form of “e-Cap” or “exception to corporate average pricing” payments” from Intel to ensure that Dell used no other chip supplier according to The Journal.

Potentially with Lenovo as well:

Journalists on the title said Lenovo is being paid a “pretty penny” from Intel to use its chips.

Some of these things might be hard to prove because Intel has apparently eliminated some evidence (Microsoft is said to be doing the same thing).

Chairman Craig Barrett, CEO Paul Otellini and sales chief Sean Maloney have appeared on a list of Intel employees thought to have deleted e-mails possibly relevant to AMD’s anti-trust lawsuit against its larger rival. The missing e-mails have thrust a livid state of mind onto AMD’s lawyers who have very serious problems with Intel’s rather lax document retention policy.

[...]

CEO Otellini appears to have been one of these troublesome employees.

Here is the word from AMD:

In an unpublished statement to the U.S. District Court of Delaware, AMD alleges Intel allowed the destruction of evidence in pending antitrust litigation.

Know what companies you buy your hardware and software from. They will always hide behind and defend their ‘precious’ PR image. The truth tends to escape the mainstream press, which is afraid of writing about large advertisers critically. As we saw in the case of the OLPC, deals can be made to gag people ensure they don’t utter the truth, either.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2007/11/28/patent-microsoft-intel-versus-olpc/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 28, 2021



  2. On Gangstalking and Victim-Blaming

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  3. If the Web Can Be Increasingly Replaced (or Complemented) by Gemini and IPFS Etc., Then Large Monopolists Will Try to Dominate Those

    Monopolists and sociopaths won't be clapping and cheering for whatever stands a chance of replacing the Web (or Big Banks); if they ever embrace those replacements, it'll be to dominate and in turn undermine these



  4. Links 28/2/2021: Nitrux 1.3.8 and Kraft 0.96

    Links for the day



  5. Techrights Over 3 Internet Protocols and From the Command Line, Using Either Curl/Wget/Text Editor (Over WWW) or IPFS or Gemini

    A quick demo of how Techrights can be accessed without a browser, either over gemini:// or over http://



  6. The Command Line for Weather and Football Scores, Among Other Stuff

    A lot of stuff can be done from the command line and productivity (not to mention privacy) enhanced by automation and scripting over the Web (or even Gemini, as we shall show in a future video)



  7. You Know Gemini Space is Getting a Lot Bigger When You Need to Implement DDOS Protection

    Techrights is currently working on tools or programs that help detect and respond to DDOS attacks (or abusive over-consumption of pages) over gemini://



  8. The Fall of The Register

    A word of caution about The Register, a British publisher that nowadays does a lot of reputation laundering for Microsoft and Bill Gates (instead of news about actual technology, as opposed to clown computing, big brands, and oligarchs)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 27, 2021



  10. Links 27/2/2021: IPFS 0.8, OnionShare 2.3.1, and New Stuff in KDE

    Links for the day



  11. The Internet After Social Control Media (and Maybe After the World Wide Web Too)

    There seems to be a growing trend of protests and backlash against centralised Internet disservices; there's also growing dissatisfaction over bloat and spyware, which the Web rendered a 'norm'



  12. SCO's Darl McBride is Finished (Bankruptcy)

    Some news about the site and about the long-forgotten SCO, whose infamous old (and sacked) Darl McBride (responsible for decade-long attacks on Linux) loses everything, based on fresh legal documents



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, February 26, 2021



  14. Links 26/2/2021: Wine 6.3, Genode OS Framework 21.02

    Links for the day



  15. Links 26/2/2021: GNU Poke 1.0 is Out and Rocky Linux Leaves Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  16. Microsoft's Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

    In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves



  17. We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety...

    People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?



  18. EPO President Pushes Illegal Software Patents in South America (Over the Telephone With a Misleading New Puff Piece)

    The EPO's "news" section has become worse than a form of distraction (from the EPO's internal rot); it celebrates illegal and unlawful practices, spreading them to other continents



  19. The Free Software Foundation Warns Against Using Twitter

    Richard Stallman said Twitter was OK because it was possible to use it without proprietary software; that's no longer the case, so the Free Software Foundation (FSF) speaks out against it. It speaks about it more than 3 months after the problem became a known one and also an irreversible one (maybe Twitter would have reversed the decision if the media or the FSF actually spoke about it early enough).



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 25, 2021



  21. Stéphane Bortzmeyer Explains Gemini Protocol (February 2021)

    A recent talk from Stéphane Bortzmeyer about Gemini and what it is for (or why)



  22. Links 26/2/2021: Istio 1.7.8 Announced, Blender 2.92, Firebird 3.0 Language Reference, FSF Against Twitter

    Links for the day



  23. Special Thanks to Mogz

    Credit where it's due to Mogz



  24. Modifying WordPress to Include Gemini Links in All Articles (Assuming a Canonical URL Form)

    In order to promote the departure from the World Wide Web (where possible and suitable; sites with text don't typically need Web-like features) one can promote the analogous pages in one's Gemini capsule; we suggest a way of doing so in WordPress (the most widely used CMS)



  25. Links 25/2/2021: RHEL for Open-Source Infrastructure, GNOME 40 Beta, LXPanel 0.10.1

    Links for the day



  26. IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge

    IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge



  27. Techrights Gemini Capsule, Now With Over 35,000 Pages and Files

    Blog posts combined with static (plain text) files are now 36,000+ in number, just for Gemini protocol alone; that number keeps growing as our conversion proceeds and evolves (our software will be released under terms of the AGPLv3)



  28. Eventually, or Hopefully, Many People Will Come Back to What the Web Used to Be (Or Web Alternatives More Like the 'Old' Web)

    With RSS feeds making a comeback and a resurgence of personal blogs we can take back the Web from a cabal of tech/Internet giants and social control media, censored, curated and spied on by oligarchy



  29. If Wikipedia is Controlled by Corporations and Mobs, It Needs to Be 'Cancelled'

    Facts have never truly mattered in social control media sites; it certainly seems as though Wikipedia now suffers the very same issue/deficit, allowing oligarchs and their companies to define what goes on in the world and which people Wikipedia should regard as persona non grata



  30. GNU/Linux Reaffirms Its Status as the Universal and Inter-planetary Operating System

    The operating system made for and by scientists (not business sharks and marketing cults) is winning the battle, and not only in this planet


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts