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. The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

    The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism<



  2. CBS Hires Even More Microsoft Staff to Cover Microsoft Matters

    CBS continues to be infested with Microsoft staff past and present (this time Dave Johnson) and the bias in output is quite revealing



  3. Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

    Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around



  4. Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

    More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux



  5. Quick Mention: Novell and SUSE Passed to Microsoft's 'Partner of the Year', Microsoft Focus

    Novell is changing hands again, and falling into the hands of even more Microsoft-friendly actors



  6. Links 16/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC5, KDE Frameworks 5.2.0

    Links for the day



  7. Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Patent Office (EPO): Part II

    Part II of our look into the EPO appointment of Željko Topić and other matters showing the dubious integrity of the EPO



  8. Links 14/9/2014: Android-based Watches Earn Optimism

    Links for the day



  9. Links 14/9/2014: Eucalyptus Devoured

    Links for the day



  10. Links 11/9/2014: Linux Toilet Project, Linux-Based Wheelchair Project

    Links for the day



  11. Links 10/9/2014: Brian Stevens in Google, Ubuntu 14.10 Expectations

    Links for the day



  12. Links 9/9/2014: Hating/Loving Linux, Android Aplenty

    Links for the day



  13. Links 8/9/2014: Linux 3.17 RC 4, Switzerland Welcoming Snowden

    Links for the day



  14. Suspicion of High-Level Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO): Part I

    The European Patent Office (EPO) Vice-President has a background of corruption and his appointment to the EPO too is believed to be reliant on systemic corruption



  15. Links 6/9/2014: Core OS at DigitalOcean, Women in Xorg

    Links for the day



  16. Software Patents 'Quality' Debated in Courts, Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll Still a Chronic Liar

    Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's and Bill Gates' largest patent proxy, continues to spread lies about its motivations, claiming that patent assessment is among the goals when in fact only the courts and patent offices do this



  17. New Article Explains How Bill Gates Prevents Schools From Moving to GNU/Linux and Free Software

    A new article from Al Jazeera provides details about the role of so-called 'charities' of billionaires inside school systems



  18. Microsoft Sued for Large-scale Copyright Abuses

    Microsoft reveals its disregard for copyright law which it loves so much to wield as a weapon against its competition and clients



  19. Links 5/9/2014: New WordPress, Systemd Debate Continues

    Links for the day



  20. 'Embrace and Extend' at Microsoft: The New Generation

    Some of the latest examples of Microsoft's predatory acts against Free software and against competition in general, disguised as acts of friendliness



  21. Bill Gates' God Complex: Common Core a One-Man Campaign of Greed and Control

    The push for Common Core is overwhelmingly dominated by Bill Gates, who intimidates and even resorts to retribution against critics while bribing those who help him accomplish the goal of privatised (for his private profit) indoctrination in US schools



  22. Bill Gates Investments Harm the World, Not Improve the World, Based on New Exclusive Piece of Investigative Journalism at The Nation

    The Gates Foundation's profiteering efforts and lack of ethics outlined in a new report that many sites around the Web find fascinating and mostly irrefutable



  23. Links 3/9/2014: Android Gadgets, New Tails OS

    Links for the day



  24. Linus Torvalds DebConf Talk

    Torvalds' latest talk which got media attention earlier this month



  25. Microsoft Should Not be Considered Too Big to Jail

    Microsoft continues to use dumping as a strategy which revolves around starving the competition, not beating the competition



  26. Pro-Software Patents Voices Finally Acknowledge the Demise of Software Patents in the United States

    A milestone is reached as even the most zealous supporters of patents on algorithms (or computer-implemented inventions, or software patents) are admitting that the era of software patents may be over



  27. New Lies About Microsoft 'Privacy' and New FUD Against the GPL Comes From 'Former' Microsoft Staff at Black Duck

    More AstroTurfing by sites that are run by Microsoft MVPs and firms which were created by people from Microsoft



  28. Links 2/9/2014: GNU/Linux in BBC, Calls Against systemd

    Links for the day



  29. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  30. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)


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