EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Microsoft Says It Will Continue to Extort Companies That Distribute Linux, Using Software Patents As Usual

    Microsoft's war on Linux, a war which is waged using software patents (for revenue and/or for coercion in bundling deals), is still going on in spite of all the PR tactics from Microsoft and its paid partners



  2. Australia Might be Next to Block Software Patents If Commission's Advice is Followed

    Australian advice against software patents, which can hopefully influence Australian politicians and put an end, once and for all, to all software patents in Australia



  3. [ES] ''Si la Forma de Pensar de la EPO fuese Seguida, Guantánamo Sería Posible en Suelo Alemán.”

    La EPO está todavía bajo fuego, pero mucho de ello pasa detrás de las cortinas y envuelve abogados y/o burócratas



  4. The European Copy-Paste Office (EPO)

    This morning's example (not the first) of how the EPO uses 'social' media



  5. Links 28/4/2016: Fedora 24, EE Goes Open Source

    Links for the day



  6. Amid Referendum “the New European Unitary Patent System is Likely to Collapse Before It Started”

    The Unitary Patent Court (UPC) vision seems like it may be just one month away from its gradual death, depending on British voices amongst other key factors



  7. USTR is Trying to Shame and Bully India Into Introducing Software Patents in India

    Lobbying body of the US (corporations-led) is trying its usual dirty tactics against India's sound policy which excludes software/algorithms from patent scope



  8. No, Visual Studio is NOT Open Source and Xamarin Openwashing is NOT News

    The latest example of Microsoft openwashing, courtesy of confidants of Microsoft and those who got bamboozled by them



  9. Latest Black Duck Puff Pieces a Good Example of Bad Journalism and How Not to Report

    Why the latest "Future of Open Source Survey" -- much like its predecessors -- isn't really a survey but just another churnalism opportunity for the Microsoft-connected Black Duck, which is a proprietary parasite inside the FOSS community



  10. If EPO “Form of Thinking Were to be Followed, Guantanamo on German Soil Would be Possible.”

    The EPO is still under fire, but a lot of it happens behind the scenes and involves lawyers and/or bureaucrats



  11. Links 28/4/2016: Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux, Proxmox VE 4.2

    Links for the day



  12. [ES] La Departura de la Readidad de la EPO Y Su Entrada en la Esféra Industrial China de Propaganda

    La deceptiva trampa del maximálism de patentes, donde se asume que artficialmente aumentando el número de patentes otorgadas traerá el resultado esperado



  13. [ES] Una Fársa de Sistema: ¿Cómo la SIPO, USPTO, y cada vez más la EPO se Convierten en Llenado de Patentes (No Se Requiere Propia Examinación)

    Una crítica al decline en la calidad de patentes en algunas de las más grandes oficinas de patentes del mundo, donde aspiración parece ser neo-liberal en el sentido económico



  14. [ES] Microsoft ‘Asalto con Todo’ Contra Android, Java, y GNU/Linux, Usando la Clásica E.E.E. Táctica de Nuevo

    Otro recordatorio de la realidad que Microsoft está muy activo en el frente E.E.E., not no sólo contra GNU/Linux pero también Android y Java



  15. [ES] Más Rumores y Llamadas Acerca de Prospectos de Microsoft Vaya a Comprar Canonical (Ubuntu con todo y Zapatos)

    Teniendo en cuenta los últimos movimientos de Canonical, algunos expertos piensan que es posible que Shuttleworth elija el dinero a Microsoft sobre principios sino también inste para que esto ocurra



  16. Links 27/4/2016: A Lot About OpenStack, Vivaldi 1.1 Released

    Links for the day



  17. A Farce of a System: How SIPO, USPTO, and Increasingly the EPO Too Turn Into Filing Systems (No Proper Examination/Filtering Required)

    A critique of the declining quality of patents in some of the world's biggest patent offices, where the aspiration seems to be neo-liberal in the economic sense



  18. Microsoft's 'Full Assault' on Android, Java, and GNU/Linux, Using Classic E.E.E. Tactics Again

    Another reminder of the fact that Microsoft is very active on the E.E.E. front, not just against GNU/Linux but also Android and Java



  19. More Rumours and Calls Surrounding Prospects of Microsoft Buying Canonical (Ubuntu and More)

    Taking some of Canonical's recent moves into account, some pundits not only think it's possible for Shuttleworth to choose Microsoft money over principles but also urge for this to happen



  20. [ES] El Nuevo Impulso Finánciado por Microsoft Para Reforzar las Patentes de Software en los EE.UU., Apoyado por los Sospechosos Usuales (La Sagrada Familia) Mientras que Microsoft Cada Vez Más Lucha Como Compañíá Productiva

    Una mirada al esfuérzo de trae una resurgencia de las patentes de software en los Estados Unidos (con un clarísimo rol de Microsoft en él) y la fundación/conf ianza de Microsoften las patentes de software como arma contr Linux/Android porque las ganancias de Windows se están secando y el Windows Phone está al borde del colápso



  21. Links 26/4/2016: Firefox 46.0, Thunderbird's Stewardship

    Links for the day



  22. Links 25/4/2016: Kodi 16.1, OpenStack Summit

    Links for the day



  23. New Microsoft-Funded Push to Make Software Patents Stronger in the US, Backed by the Usual Suspects as Microsoft Increasingly Struggles as a Producing Company

    A look at the effort to bring about a software patents resurgence to the US (with clear Microsoft role in it) and Microsoft's reliance on software patents as a weapon against Linux/Android because Windows profits dry up and Windows Phone is on the verge of collapse



  24. Patents Roundup: Marijuana Patents, Patent Satellites, Patent Trolls, Wars, and Merchants (Notably Lawyers)

    Various strands of news about patents, focused on issues raised in the latter half of last week



  25. The EPO's Departure From Truth and Entrance Into the Realms of Chinese Industrial-Grade Propaganda

    The entrapping delusion of patent maximalism, wherein artificially or superficially increasing the number of granted patents is assumed to be a desirable outcome



  26. [ES] La Fundación de Frontera Electrónica (EFF) Continua su Batalla por la Sanidad de Patentes en los Estados Unidos

    Una mirada a las últimas actividades de la EFF en el área de patentes, donde probablemente habrá mayor énfasis en los daños de las patentes de software y la necesidad de eliminarlas completamente



  27. [ES] La Sociedad Regional de Economía Comprehensiva (RCEP) Amenaza Traer las Patentes de Software a la India

    La amenaza que arrastra otro acuerdo denominado de "comercio" cuyo impacto a favor de los MONOPOLIOS contra los intereses del pueblo de la India y por lo tanto debe ser rechazadas por ellos



  28. [ES] Toma Menos de 10 Votos para 'Ganar' una Elección en la Mini Unión (Minion) de Battistelli

    Una mirada al minúsculo tamaño de la Unión apadrinada por Battistelli, la que parece tener una docena de miembros activos



  29. [ES] Di la Verdad Acerca del Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU., Conseguiras Ser Atacado por la Máquina Propagandistica de Patentes (Disfrazada de Prensa)

    El Sr. Darrell Issa (fotografiado arriba) cae bajo ataque de los proponentes de patentes de software patents, los apologistas de los trolles de patentes (quiénes los financian frecuéntemente), y los máximalistas de patentes porque correctamente insinuó que la (mayoría) de demandantes son como/casi trolles de patentes en los Estados Unidos



  30. Links 24/4/2016: Google Summer of Code 2016, Year of the OpenBSD Desktop

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts