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

02.22.08

A Quick Look at More Reactions to Microsoft’s Taxoperability

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Quick summary, for completeness and diversity of minds

Glyn Moody’s take reflects on the important fact that Microsoft is setting some convenient new precedence, having made some arrangements with the European Commision and gained membership in the OSI (it’s part of the “Open Source” family, who can ever deny this?).

Note, by the way, that Microsoft has effected the marvellous sleight of hand that it – not the OSI, not the Linux Foundation, but *Microsoft* – is setting up an Open Source Interoperability Initiative.

In some ways, the most amazing paragraph in the whole announcement is not the protestations of undying love for openness, but the following:

The interoperability principles and actions announced today reflect the changed legal landscape for Microsoft and the IT industry. They are an important step forward for the company in its ongoing efforts to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations outlined in the September 2007 judgment of the European Court of First Instance (CFI).

This is certainly true, as shown by the fact that Microsoft is effectively applying the agreement with the EU to most of its product range…

Mark Taylor’s take very much concurs with our very old (and by no means antiquated) observation that Microsoft seeks to redefine everything, including what “Open Source” means, how it works, what its ‘obligations’ are and so forth. You can read all about it here.

The 20th February 2008 was one of those ‘Microsoft moments’, when suddenly, the world changed. Just like when they ‘got’ the network (and we got NT), or they ‘got’ the Internet (and we got ‘Internet Explorer’). This time they ‘got’ Open Source and Open Standards and the company is about to make another of their legendary radical transformations… or so they would like you to believe.

[...]

So you can have your ‘Open Source’ software if you really insist… just so long as you pay a royalty to Microsoft for every copy that gets shipped. It’s great if all those ‘non-commercial’ people want to develop software for Microsoft and their ring-fenced group of ‘authorised’ ‘Open Source’ partners. They generously promise that they wont even sue their unpaid workforce.

Mark Taylor also makes a few comments which add balance to an article about the EU’s response.

But Mark Taylor from the Open Source Consortium said the Microsoft announcement is “smoke and mirrors.”

“Microsoft is saying it will give access to open APIs, however, but there are terms,” said Taylor. “It’s the same old story. Patent protection applies, and people can use the APIs commercially as long as they pay Microsoft a royalty. They are trying to enclose open commons by trying to apply their business model, which is all about owning technology, to open source.”

A reader of ours, Sunsonica, sent us a direct link to the Statement by Thomas Vinje of the European Committee for Ineroperable Systems (ECIS) [PDF]. In a variety of contexts we have already mentioned Thomas Vinje’s work in the past few months [1, 2, 3, 4]. He is hopefully making use of some resources that we have make available for understanding the problem at hand.

Here is the official statement from the EU:

The European Commission takes note of today’s announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high market share software products. This announcement does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past.

Red Hat’s response is quite a blast. It’s presented as a press release:

Commit to interoperability with open source: Instead of offering a patent license for its protocol information on the basis of licensing arrangements it knows are incompatible with the GPL – the world’s most widely used open source software license – Microsoft should extend its Open Specification Promise to all of the interoperability information that it is announcing today will be made available.

Microsoft expected the world to embrace its ‘opening up’ with open arms, or so it wishes to press to believe. Judging by the bits above, it’s hard to say that Microsoft’s latest ‘big announcement’ (a colossal and huge pile of nothing) meant so much to very many people. Microsoft’s target audience might just be those people attending the BRM next week (“look! We’re open!!!”), which is the subject of the next post.

Gutmann, Peter and Steve Ballmer

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

2 Comments

  1. Skeptic said,

    February 22, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Richard Stallman long ago predicted the redefinition of “open source”. E.g., As Eben Moglen observed,

    “What Microsoft did to ‘Open Source’ was what Stallman always said could be done to it: first you take the politics out, and when the veal has been bleached absolutely white, you can cover it with any sauce you like. And that’s what Microsoft did, and ‘Open Source’ became the sauce on top of Microsoft proprietarianism. And once that process has been completed they have to go after the next vocabulary.”

    (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/20/eben_moglen_on_microsoft_novell/page2.html )

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 22, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m back to using the term Free software (since last year). Also watch this from the news:

    Philippines open source bill gets Sun’s support

    Familiar battle lines are being drawn over pending legslation mandating free and open source (FOSS) software for government and educational use in the Philippines.

    While Microsoft and the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) are opposing the controversial free and open source software (FOSS) act (House Bill 1716) filed in the Philippine Congress, Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to support the bill.

    http://www.itworldcanada.com/a/News/1f4e1e17-e6e8-4193-a0de-846d815f2c62.html

    That’s why Microsoft hates FOSS (it wants to redefine ‘open source’) and Sun does not. That’s why I worry about Microsoft, not about IBM, Sun and Google.

What Else is New


  1. Rumours About Dismissal of Benoît Battistelli and New Letter From Union Syndicale Federale Blasting Battistelli's Behaviour

    hings have been heating up since the dismissal of staff representatives at the European Patent Office (EPO) and some even spread rumours about withdrawal/dismissal of the EPO's President



  2. VirnetX Case Against Apple Shows Not the Problem With Patent Trolls But With Software Patents

    What the media really ought to be talking about after the high-profile VirnetX case, rather than obsess about the status of Apple or patent trolls in the Eastern District of Texas



  3. Diápositivas de Nueva Charla Explican la Connección Entre la Corte De Patentes Unitarias (UPC) y Patentes de Software

    Benjamín Henrion habló el pasado Domingo acerca de las patentes de software europeas -una presentación que habla de la Corte Unitaria de Patentes, por la que la OEP aboga sin cesar y que es lo que significa para las patentes de software.



  4. Las Políticas de Microsoft Alienan Incluso a los Hinchas Más Acérrimos de Microsoft, Incluyendo Pro-Microsoft Web Sites

    El agresivo comportamiento de Microsoft y su BAJA CALIDAD DE PRODUCTOS dejan algunos de sus últimos restos de ´hinchas´ descorazonados y molestos.



  5. Links 6/2/2016: CoreOS Rocket 1.0, Scientific Linux 7.2

    Links for the day



  6. Maybe It's Time for Class Action Lawsuits Against Microsoft for Forced Vista 10 'Upgrades', Which Were Definitely No Accident

    The sheer arrogance of Microsoft, which silently changes the operating system on people's computers (without their consent), makes lawsuits imperative, not just a possibility



  7. Readers' Article: A Strange Conspiracy of Silence in the German Media (Part II)

    Željko Topić's allegedly dark background, which includes a suicide, a retreat of potential witnesses, German funds in Topić's private bank account and several more interesting bits



  8. Links 5/2/2016: Wine 1.9.3, Slackware 14.2 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  9. Links 4/2/2016: Red Hat Upgraded, Ubuntu Tablet

    Links for the day



  10. The Siege Continues: Patent Lawyers Want More Patents, Including Software Patents, In Spite of Alice

    Lawyers who make money from patent disputes make rather apparent their aspirations, which include patent saturation even in domains that are patents-exempt



  11. European Patent Office Pretends It's Business as Usual and Prepares New Vanity Pieces

    The PR strategy of the EPO, whose destructive patent strategy continues unabated (for now), latches onto Colombia and strives to manufacture mythology wherein the public, patent examiners and patent applicants are all very happy with the EPO



  12. The 'International' Trade Commission Imposes/Reinforces Software Patents to Establish Another Embargo

    The International [sic] Trade Commission is meddling in competition and allowing a US giant, Cisco in this case, to potentially block rivals (no imports from abroad) using software patents



  13. Readers' Article: A Strange Conspiracy of Silence in the German Media (Part I)

    The views of some of our readers regarding reluctance in the German media to challenge the EPO's violations of German law, probably because Germany benefits from being a host nation of the EPO



  14. Benoît Battistelli's EPO: From Show Trials and Mock Trials to a Self-Aggrandising Propaganda Event Later Today in Rijswijk

    A headsup from a reader regarding today's highly misleading event in Rijswijk (e.g. to mislead the media or seed positive media coverage in the Netherlands) and how it was set up



  15. Caricature of the Day: EPO President

    New caricature about Benoît Battistelli, his bodyguards, and the assault on free speech at the European Patent Office



  16. Company Known as European Patent Office Provides Tips on How to Patent Software in Europe

    The European Patent Office (EPO) uses its attendance at CeBIT, which is a corporate expo, to promote software patents in spite of the European Patent Convention (EPC)



  17. Links 3/2/2016: Dell GNU/Linux Laptop, Wine 1.8.1

    Links for the day



  18. The Most Detailed Explanation (Yet) of What's Wrong With the EPO

    The EPO's insistence that it remains above the law is not only coming under fire by the media but is also being challenged based on people who are familiar with the applicability of law to international organisations



  19. Angry Trolls: Rovi (of Angry Birds Fame) Helps Microsoft's Largest Anti-Linux Patent Troll, Intellectual Ventures (Corrected)

    nce known as a game maker and later made notorious for mass surveillance on gamers, Rovi now liaises with the world's largest patent troll



  20. Patent Invalidation Statistics and Cost of Patent Litigation (Even If Bogus) Show That Patent Scope and Examination Standards a Problem in Europe, Not Just the US

    Far too many bogus patents (patents that should not be granted in the first place) and spurious patent lawsuits that end up in favour of the defendant serve to show the external cost (or externality) when it comes to low-quality patent systems that strive to grant a lot of patents irrespective of merit



  21. Es Oficial: Por Medio de Entrismo, Microsoft Ha Convertido a la Pro-Linux Nokia en un Parásito de Patentes Anti-Linux

    Microsoft ha convertido a Nokia en un troll de patentes que ahora ataca a Linux y Android.



  22. Richard Stallman: Patentes Europeas de Software Regresan con la Corte Unitaria de Patentes (UPC)

    Debates acerca de la UPC estan siendo peleados por profesionales de software (entidades prácticantes) y elementos PARÁSITICOS como los abogados de patentes.



  23. SUEPO (EPO Staff Union) Appears to Have Launched a New and Improved Web Site After Attempts to Crush ('Decapitate') SUEPO

    SUEPO, the largest staff union of the European Patent Office, shows signs of strength rather than signs of weakness amidst attacks on the staff and a lot of media coverage, political interventions, and much more



  24. Links 2/2/2016: Chimpbox Quad Core, UNICEF Supports FOSS

    Links for the day



  25. Münchner Merkur Explains That EPO Staff is Defecting to SUEPO, Even The Council Distrusts Battistelli Now

    Press report from Munich, highlighting the crisis of leadership at the EPO, where the President is increasingly viewed as a villain



  26. Microsoft's Policies Alienate Even Microsoft's Biggest Fans, Including Pro-Microsoft Web Sites

    Microsoft's aggressive behaviour and low-quality products leave even some of its last remaining 'fans' disheartened and upset



  27. Slides of New Talk Which Explains the Connection Between the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Software Patents

    Benjamin Henrion's Sunday talk about European software patents -- a presentation which speaks of the Unitary Patent Court that the EPO lobbies for and what it means to software patents



  28. UEFI is Bricking PCs, Yet Again

    A few remarks about a new defect which is starting to attract media attention this morning, serving to highlight the lesser-discussed dangers of UEFI/EFI



  29. Under Battistelli's Regime the European Patent Office is Rapidly Rotting

    Technical problems, patent maximalism (in a desperate effort to artificially elevate patent-related figures) and other serious issues observed inside the European Patent Office (EPO)



  30. It's Official: By Means of Entryism, Microsoft Has Turned a Pro-Linux Nokia Into an Anti-Linux Patent Parasite

    Microsoft has made a sort of patent troll out of Nokia and Nokia now attacks Linux and Android


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