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Software Patents: “I Nuke You, You Nuke Me, Let’s Call It Even”

Posted in Patents at 11:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The headline is intended to describe an almost-contradictory scenario. Companies are claiming that there are benefits in the current patent system, but as the following ought to prove, this isn’t a zero-sum game.

Patent lawsuits have long been used as a competitive weapon in many industries. Telecom is now getting their fair share. Vonage suffered a series of patent lawsuits from competitors last year, and now Verizon is suing Cox Communications on similar grounds.

Who benefits from all this mess? Lawyers, of course. The customers receive worse products and programmers waste their time reviewing and reading instead of actually developing. If they are lucky, they can sleep well at night knowing that every large program intersects with a few others which have patents to protect algorithms.

Another interesting item is this one which asks whether the media properly informs people about the serious problems at hand.

It’s been common knowledge that, generally, as a subject becomes more esoteric, the public relies more greatly on mainstream press coverage to formulate opinions. The recent media coverage of the U.S. patent system has caught the attention of scholars, practitioners and entrepreneurs, where commentators have increasingly referenced media coverage that casts the patent system in a negative light (e.g., “bad” patents, opportunistic litigation, etc.). While some suggest that the coverage accurately reflects fundamental systemic problems, others believe that some media accounts are inaccurate, or at least overstate problems in the system.

Thanks to Digital Majority for those links.

Microsoft Proceeds to Attacking ODF-boasting Lotus

Posted in Formats, FUD, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 11:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aggression is a virtue?

ODF formatA few days ago, there were miserable attempts by Microsoft to show that IBM and Google support OOXML. These claims were soon rubbished, leading prudent observers to realising that Microsoft can reach lower than the bottom of the barrel in its deceptive propaganda war against ODF. It hasn’t ended there. Microsoft moved on to mocking IBM’s Lotus. Here is IBM’s announcement: (one among several)

Lotus Symphony is a suite of software tools for creating text, spreadsheet and presentation documents — the most frequently used desktop tools — based on OpenOffice code. It supports the OpenDocument format (ODF), Microsoft Office and Lotus SmartSuite formats.

Now watch what Microsoft does.

It’s Lotusphere in Orlando, Fla,, and Microsoft just can’t resist playing spoiler to IBM announcements—software-as-a-service offerings for SMBs, new forthcoming Domino and Notes features, and software collaboration agreement with SAP.

This happens to sound familiar. When Sony launched the PlayStation 3 in various parts of the world, Microsoft’s management did not stand still. It actively tried to sabotage those parties rather than let its rivals do their thing. Could it not resist such malice which led some PlayStation fans to crying? Examples of such incidents include stories from France, England and Australia. At the moment, Microsoft also infiltrated Linux users groups, based on a report from earlier this week.

Microsoft Grabs Anything and Everything Away from Rivals

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers, Virtualisation, Xen at 11:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer rides SUSELast month we showed and explained how Oracle tried to 'steal' pieces of software which MySQL relied on. Essentially, Oracle tried to strip its rival naked instead of improving its own products. It also threatened to pull a MySQL ripoff at one stage (a la “Unbreakable Linux”). Predatory? For sure. But that’s just the way of Larry Ellison. This was actually very similar to Microsoft’s strategy against Red Hat. Microsoft uses Novell to fight both VMWare and Red Hat. It’s all about Novell and Microsoft with the goal of leaving Red Hat and others out in the cold.

A couple of days ago we saw Microsoft getting closer to the new XenSource, which is no more. It is now a Microsoft partner known as Citrix. On the face of it, Microsoft continues to scoop up companies on its path to hurt rivals. The latest acquisition is Calista, which follows what seems like a by-proxy acquisition of XenSource.

Microsoft Unveils Virtualization Strategy; To Acquire Calista Technologies; Lookout, VMware

In short, the company intends to make a company-wide push to accelerate the adoption of virtualization. As part of the strategy, the company is acquiring San Jose-based Calista Technologies, a startup with technology targeted at improving end-user experience for virtualized desktops and applications

Generally, on a separate note, this trend where you see large companies merely devouring small rivals will lead to nothing but oligarchy. Later on, when the nation worries about a recession (which it does at the moment), here’s a way of telling them why.

The respondents feared getting lost in the shuffle as big companies like Google and Microsoft buy smaller companies in their dueling efforts to control the lion’s share of Internet advertising.

This pretty much applies to other sectors of technology as well. Intel and Oracle are no exception. One could argue that Novell is now part of Microsoft. As Matt Asay puts it, Novell is a vassal.

Is Microsoft ‘Pulling a Netscape’ on Flash, Firefox, VMWare?

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Virtualisation, Windows at 10:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad Silverlight

If you are new to the great dangers of Silverlight, then you are advised to read some of our writings from earlier this month, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. The European Commission currently investigates Microsoft’s plan to hijack the Web using proprietary .NET technology that is embedded in Web browsers. Microsoft will play innocent, but the company knows far too well what it strives to accomplish by this. It will achieve growth by spreading such proprietary software through its own Web properties and partners. It’s happening as we speak.

What’s even more disturbing than Microsoft’s plan to increase its control and widen its grip on the Web is news about the force-feeding (push comes to shove) of Internet Explorer 7. What’s new in Mary Jo Foley’s coverage of this is the addition of Silverlight as part of Windows update, which is of course automatic.

There are still two more weeks until Microsoft pushes its latest Internet Explorer 7 update to corporate users via its Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) patch mechanism.

But this week — specifically on January 22 — Microsoft will make its Adobe-Flash-alternative Silverlight available via WSUS, as well as via Microsoft Update (MU). In order to have Silverlight 1.0 pushed to users, admins will need to select it; it will be an optional, not automatic, download.

“The point to make here is that Microsoft is doing it again. What about Adobe and Flash?”Ponder this: can Mozilla, Apple and Opera push their latest Web browsers via automatic updates of an operating system? Can they have their browsers preinstalled? Will OEM’s be permitted to remove Internet Explorer? Can they? Will they be allowed to add additional browsers? Mind Microsoft’s older deals with OEMs (leaked documents) which reveal exclusionary contracts that discriminate against rival browsers, notably Netscape.

The point to make here is that Microsoft is doing it again. What about Adobe and Flash? Can they have the plug-in preinstalled? Can Flash be obtained using automatic updates of Windows? Of course not. That’s how it all begins. Since we mentioned Citrix and XenSource a couple of days ago, it’s worth adding that Microsoft intends to use similar tricks (prebundling) to fight VMWare. We will return to virtualisation in the next post.

The Pro-Software Patents Lobbyists Come to London

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 10:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. [...] some large company will patent some obvious thing [...] take as much of our profits as they want.”

Bill Gates

Owing to the fact that software patents are not legal in the United Kingdom, Brits can conveniently ignore all (or most) of Microsoft’s drivel regarding Linux. This could, however, change if Microsoft can successfully change the law. Apparently, we have already seen the company changing laws in France and blackmailing the Danish authorities to legalise software patents. Never underestimate the power of the “Microsoft ecosystem”. The OOXML fiasco is a good reminder of this because Microsoft has used its business partners, who share a financial agenda, in order to promote OOXML. In Sweden’s case, this resulted in a form of bribery, too. We were last reminded of this just 3 days ago.

Here is something to watch out for. It’s part of a recurring pattern in Britain where businesses try to lobby in favour of software patents for their own selfish interests. See how they describe their ambition:

From the lawyers point of view: “Many American businesses are adept at using software patents to their advantage”.

Remember how Microsoft used to view software patents before it became large. A USPTO-style philosophy mustn’t invade other countries just because of its size merits.

Related articles:

What Does the Microsoft Patent Deal Mean to Sanyo Mobile?

Posted in Asia, Deals, Kyocera Mita, Microsoft, Patents at 9:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s patent deal with Kyocera Mita goes back to November 2007. It involves Linux. As far as Novell goes, there is only a insignificant connection between Novell and Kyocera Mita, but the two are committed to equally-appalling deals. Kyocera has just snatched the mobile phone unit of Sanyo, so it might be worth looking into Sanyo’s products in the future. It would be interesting to see if there can be royalties involved, by association. We have already seen that as it happened when Xandros acquired Scalix.

From Associated Press here is the article covering this major transaction:

Sanyo Electric Co. said Monday it will sell its troubled mobile phone operations to Kyocera Corp.

The two electronics companies have said the value of the business to be transferred is about $375 million, or 40 billion yen. Including debt the deal — set for completion April 1 — is worth about 50 billion yen although a final transaction price has yet to be agreed.


Under Monday’s agreement, about 2,000 employees in Sanyo’s mobile phone operation will be transferred to Kyocera, which will continue to use the Sanyo brand on handsets at home and overseas.


Kyocera has close ties with telecommunications company KDDI Corp.

This would be bad news if and only if Sanyo mobile phones were/are running Linux.

Quick Mention: Amberwave Works to Establish Patent Reform

Posted in IBM, Patents at 9:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Who owns my polio vaccine? The people! Could you patent the sun?”

Jonas Salk

An entity called Amberwave is now walking the path toward bringing change. There is little or no reason to be optimistic, but Digital Majority has pointers to a couple of interesting articles. Here is the first: AmberWave finds peace fighting tech giants over patent laws

This is designed to make trolling less valuable. AmberWave says it downplays the value of truly innovative patents, which make up only a small part of the final product in terms of dollars but contribute a huge amount in terms of innovation.

Another one is this: Valley tech powers prepare to renew push for patent reform

The issue is reform of the nation’s patent laws, the first overhaul in 50 years. At stake is the use of intellectual property, which is the currency of companies across Silicon Valley. More patents are granted here than anywhere else in the nation.

As usual, even Big Blue is no angel and Slashdot has it caught for another disgraceful ‘innovation’.

IBM Patents Pricing Motorists Off Highways


Self-professed patent reformer IBM snagged a patent Tuesday for the Variable Rate Toll System, which covers the rather anti-egalitarian scheme of pricing motorists off of the roads by raising tolls as congestion increases

Sometimes you can’t cure a system until it’s too ill — to the point of no return.

Microsoft et al Caught Trolling — Lying About IBM and OOXML

Posted in Deception, FUD, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 1:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates

Well, well…

The usual suspects are at it again. Mary, when will you stop? The last time we complained about your blogging was only yesterday. Don’t we just expect more such gossip and spew?

Mary Jo Foley wishes to pass a word from the grapevine, but as Rob Wier shows, this isn’t anything but wishful thinking and trolling. They try to tell you what to think.

It is hard to resolve the pecking order of posters in the Microsoft blogger echo chamber. So let’s just remark that all the usual suspects assisted in this one: Doug Mahugh, Stephen McGibbon, Oliver Bell, Gray Knowlton, etc. Mix together, shake, repeat, turn the crank and presto! Out comes news.


By analogy to patent trolls, what we’re seeing here is the behavior of a standards troll — defining a conformance clause so vague that everything in the world is considered to support it, and then searching through competitor’s web sites in hopes of finding some place where they stumbled into supporting it, and then trying to extract some advantage from it.

The point should be to look for examples of where OOXML is supported to the highest degree, to point out the best examples of high-fidelity interchange that your standard allowed. You would think that with so many people at Microsoft with “interoperability” in their job titles, that this would be obvious. I guess not. But don’t be sad. You can always count on “supportadmin3″ to cheer you up!!!

If you spot people talking about OOXML support from IBM, then just point them at Rob Weir’s blog. The endless pattern of deception needs to end. It’s tiresome and we have seen this for over a year. The Web is getting filled with disinformation that Microsoft sponsors.

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