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

04.30.08

Apple’s Latest Software Patent Headaches, Disregard for Standards

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, KDE, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenOffice, Patents, Windows, Xandros at 12:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Hey, Steve [Jobs], just because you broke into Xerox’s store before I did and took the TV doesn’t mean I can’t go in later and steal the stereo.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

For a company that possibly shelters software patents and also accumulates them at a high pace, the following report seems like a begged-for punishment. Apple should really know better.

During the first four months of 2008, Apple was named as a defendant in eight patent infringement lawsuits, up from five during the same period in 2007. Only one such lawsuit was filed during the first four months of 2006, on behalf of Burst.com. Apple settled that lawsuit for $10 million last November. The first four months of 2005 also brought just one patent lawsuit against Apple. In 2004, three patent lawsuits were filed against Apple from January through the end of April.

Microsoft, by the way, finds itself in a similar situation. They all ought to just join ESP and put an end to software patents once and for all, but that’s a Utopian suggestion. In reality, on balance, Apple and Microsoft have a lot to earn in this status quo of intellectual monopolies because they are both monopolies in separate areas of technology.

“Among those that suffer from Apple’s stance on software patents you also have GNU/Linux.”Has it not been proven yet that, other than exclusion of Free software, patents on algorithms are not economically or practically viable? Bear in mind that Apple is no friend of open source (relevant articles are appended at the bottom), so it has little incentive for demanding and actually bringing change. DRM, which is a wonderful tool and excuse for platform lock-in, is an excellent analogous case.

In a public relations stunt last year, Apple publicly protested against DRM (keeping up appearances, shifting blame to music labels). It probably ought to do the same to address software patents and the troll epidemic, or else it will carry on suffering [1, 2, 3].

Among those that suffer from Apple’s stance on software patents you also have GNU/Linux. Take for example this rant from KDE, or even Compiz-Fusion. Apple patents prevent them from implementing or at least ‘safely’ incorporate features into GNU/Linux desktops.

To make matters worse, there is also Apple’s stance on standards. It would be frank enough to state that, as far as standards are concerned, Apple has never truly been better than Microsoft and not much as changed.

Apple’s incompatible filesystem

[...]

What I don’t get is why didn’t they just stick with a standard UNIX-like file system? Wouldn’t this have: (a) made less work and (b) ensured UNIX compatibility?

Or is that my answer? Did Apple not want UNIX compatibility? On a number of occasions (and with a number of devices), I have had to deal with incompatibilities on the part of Apple. And the more I deal with it, the more I start feeling like Apple is like Windows back in the 90s — when I was struggling to get any given version of Windows to talk with Linux. Ultimately, I won that battle. But the OS X battle seems to be one that might be more of a challenge, and that is disturbing.

Only days ago we mentioned Steve Jobs' snub of Linux. At the bottom of this post you’ll find evidence suggesting that Wozniak wouldn’t have been more receptive than Jobs. In addition, Apple supports OOXML and Microsoft used this as a marketing tool to change people’s minds and discriminate against ODF. To give another recent example which involves BT and/or Asustek, this bundle of an OOXML Trojan horse isn’t helping.

BT bundles MS Office with Linux laptop

[...]

This week’s award for the Most Astutely Selected Software Bundle goes to BT after the teleco tried to hook potential purchasers of Asus’ Linux-running Eee PC 900 by offering to ship it with a copy of Microsoft Office.

BT is offering the 20GB 900 for £335.99, but if anyone out there is willing to buy it for £422.34, the telco will include a copy of Office Home and Student in the box.

So now you can have Linux along with some anti-Linux poison. What a bundle. Lovely! Curious minds might speculate that the Linux-powered Eee, which uses OpenOffice.org, has urged Microsoft to offer BT some discounts so that an OpenOffice.org-incompatible/hostile product (Office 2007) should be seen as enticing.

Incidentally, the following old article came up the other day and it’s centered around the misconception that Microsoft cared for standards in the past.

Serendipity No. 4: Desperately Seeking Standards

Corporate user’s reluctance to deviate from a hardware path once it is established carved a deep trench through which flows Microsoft’s seemingly endless supply of revenue. Despite the fact that DOS, and its follow-ups, Windows 1.0 and 2.0, were genuinely inept and insulting products, even by the standards of the day, Microsoft was always granted another chance to get it right.

No matter how awful, DOS running on a PC clone was the anointed “standard,” regarded as so sacrosanct that it hardly mattered what sort of grief people were forced to put up with to use it, how long a product was delivered after it was promised, or whether it even worked as advertised when it arrived on the market. Microsoft may wish to take credit for instituting an OS standard, but history suggests that this occurred despite their best efforts, not because of them.

[...]

As Paul Saffo of the Institute of the Future suggests, this explains why Microsoft is “a company that is desperately resisting change.” According to Saffo, Microsoft is attempting to “hang onto what it’s got: making the operating system important even though we’re moving into a world where the OS becomes steadily less important…. [e]verything it’s doing is going into that. It is a classic case of a change-hating company; it is desperately trying to retard change.”

It’s all quite interesting in retrospect.

Older articles of relevance:

There is a cost for not being a good Open Source citizen and that cost is loss of goodwill in the community. That loss is more expensive in the long run than Apple realizes.

In the speech predicting how Apple would expand its market share, Jobs showed a slide with Safari dominating almost a quarter of the market–a market shared only with a single other browser, Internet Explorer.

Lilly says he doesn’t believe that this was an omission or simplification, but instead an indication that Jobs is hoping to steal people who use Firefox and other smaller browsers in order to run a “duopoly” with Redmond.

In an interview with eWeek, Woz said that there are always people who want things to be free and the open-source movement starts with those sort of people.

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 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  2. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  3. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  4. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  5. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  6. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  7. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  8. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  9. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  10. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  11. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  12. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  13. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  14. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  15. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  16. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  17. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  18. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  19. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  20. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  21. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  22. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  23. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  25. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  26. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  27. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  28. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  29. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  30. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    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