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

01.26.08

Software Patents Hinged on Money and Political Influence

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Finance, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Videos at 11:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“That weekend Gates and Noorda met in the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge at San Francisco Airport. Gates barely took time to say hello before he reiterated his interest in a corporate marriage. “There was only one stipulation,” says Noorda, “Gates told me, That DRI thing has to go.”‘ Ballmer confirms this, but says the reason was that it was clear to Microsoft that a merger with Novell would never get government approval if it included the purchase of Microsoft’s only MS-DOS competitor. But when Noorda raised the possibility that Washington might block a merger anyway, Gates replied, according to Noorda: “Don’t worry, we know how to handle the Federal Government.””

Source

Bill Gates was born to a wealthy family of diplomats and lawyers. The fragment above is intended to draw your attention to this fact (or remind you of it). Lobbying has become an incredibly worrisome phenomenon. In the United States alone there is multi-billion-dollar lobbying industry which does a lot of damage to the stability of the system. See this recent video of Larry Lessig who discusses such severe issues which he calls “corruption” [1, 2, 3].

In the past, the lobbying industry worked in the shadows, but newer disclosure rules revealed its extent and impact. As a contextually-related plug, consider the following set of eye-opening quotes:

There are serious dangers in allowing affluent lobbyists and their funding sources to write laws and change rules ‘on behalf’ of everybody else. Even Europe has woken up to realise that this infectious disease has entered Brussels — an issue that was raised by BusinessWeek just a couple of months ago. Based on a new article, here is where software patents come into play:

MEPs on Thursday launched the thorny debate on tightening rules covering the thousands of EU lobbyists in Brussels, with an initial discussion showing deputies in favour of defining the term “lobbyist” as broadly as possible but shying away from the 600-page rulebook that defines and confines lobbyists in the US.

[...]

For his part, Mr Stubb says he is not out to demonise lobbyists, whose activities have come to light recently during the ferocious lobbying on legislation that took place during the development of the chemicals, services and software patent laws.

Some time ago, in the midst of a conversation I was having, I saw the term lobbyist synonymised with “legalised bribery”. The main issue is that prevalence makes this almost acceptable. It’s a case of “everyone else is doing it, so I might as well join in.” Here is an article from Friday:

Tech Group Expands State Lobby Efforts

High-Technology Trade Association Boosts State Lobbying Program With Funding, Personnel

[...]

The group represents about 2,500 companies, including Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Dell Inc., in the software, telecommunications, computers, semiconductor and other sectors. It announced the plans Thursday.

The leader of this pack isn’t of much interest here. It’s more about the scale of this phenomenon, which probably proves to be more powerful than the Internet, i.e. the ‘public voices’.

A few days ago, in Davos, Bill Gates attempted to rename “predatory capitalism” or “extreme capitalism” (as Richard Stallman calls it) “kinder capitalism”. Having seen Microsoft's handling of a charity, this seems like an awful lot of spin. Matt Asay had more to say about this plea for love:

There are other reasons that open source fits Mr. Gates’ call for a “kinder capitalism.” The point is that the open-source revolution Mr. Gates has long fought is the single-best answer for building global (IT) economies, just as it’s doing in Europe right now according to the European Union.

You should try giving away open source as part of your foundation, Mr. Gates. You could undo much of the wrongs you’ve done the world’s IT economy.

As we mentioned the other day, Gates’ charity is sometimes used to battle free open source software. Dumping techniques are being labeled “charity”. But let us get back the main point.

As Larry Lessig states in the video cited above, he may have been chasing the wrong problem for many years. He had all the right answers. Just as it’s accepted by non-monopolies (including older days Gates) that software patents do not make sense, Lessig explains that copyrights and global warming issues are trivialities. These are not being resolved because of greed and the likes of this characteristic.

The issue goes deeper beneath the surface and it needs to be addressed effectively by identifying those who legislated for the USPTO, for starters. As the articles below show, legislation on software patents around the world is still a political question that is overwhelmed and stomped by money. The same goes for the Novell deal and ISO, apparently. These are not purely-technical questions.

Related articles:

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. Links 28/4/2015: More on Debian 8 “Jessie”, Fedora 22 Beta Walkthrough

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft is Attacking Android Like Never Before, Qisda the Latest to Sign Patent Extortion Deal

    More blackmail and propaganda against Android, courtesy of the gentler, kinder, 'new' Microsoft



  3. Caution Needed When Microsoft Copywriters Flood the Media With Microsoft Propaganda

    Media actively subverted by Microsoft-sponsored agents of deception, whose goal is to change what people think of Microsoft and its software, even if by lying (they call it 'marketing')



  4. Gartner Staff That Worked for Microsoft and the Latest Nonsense from Gartner or 'Former' Staff

    Gartner waited until 2015 to declare FOSS fit for databases; another example spotted where Gartner staff comes from Microsoft or vice versa



  5. Links 27/4/2015: Debian 9 Named, Linux 4.1 Reaches RC

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft is Interjecting Itself Into GNU/Linux and Free Software News, Even Events and Foundations

    Microsoft's entryism strategy is proving effective as Microsoft successfully embeds itself inside the idealogical competition, subverting the competition's overall message and diluting the competition's focus on Free software



  7. The Unethical Business of Selling Fear of Free/Libre Software Bugs (Black Duck, Sonatype, and Symantec)

    The spreading of fear of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is now a growth industry, so proprietary opportunists are eager to capitalise on it, even if by distorting the truth



  8. Patients' Data at Risk as NHS Reinforces Its Microsoft/Accenture Stockholm Syndrome

    The worst privacy violator in the world and the firm behind LSE failures are pocketing as much as £0.35 billion of British taxpayers' money to acquire access to very sensitive data of British people



  9. Links 26/4/2015: Debian 8, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha, Mageia 5 RC

    Links for the day



  10. Links 25/4/2015: Debian LTS Plans, Turing Phone Runs Linux

    Links for the day



  11. Who Kills Yahoo? It's Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

    The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what's going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!



  12. EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

    The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay



  13. Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

    A look at the 'new' Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform



  14. Microsoft's Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

    Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn't get its way



  15. Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/4/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 is Out, Debian 8.0 Out Very Soon

    Links for the day



  17. Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

    Links for the day



  18. The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by 'Trolls' (But Not the Biggest Ones)

    The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations' power grab



  19. The Patents Gold Rush Continues

    The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China



  20. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  21. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  22. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  23. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  24. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  25. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  26. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  27. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  28. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  29. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  30. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically


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