09.05.08

Gentle Introduction to AT&T, Patents Deform Lobbyist

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Google, HP, Microsoft, Patents at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here is a photo that vividly illustrates AT&T’s stance on patents. As pointed out yesterday, AT&T seems to be threatening its critics, so maybe it’s time to set the record straight and show what AT&T is all about.

Let us have a quick walk through some of AT&T’s activities over the past year or so.

“They typically escape unpunished because of their relationships with the government.”To give the gist of it, AT&T censors the Web on behalf of the government [1], throttles or blocks traffic [11, 16], discriminates against Free software [3], slams Google [2], polices the Internet [15], fakes openness [14], attacks net neutrality [6], promotes closed networks [12], locks down closed-source phones, threatens people [8], collaborates with Microsoft on dodgy television technology [4, 5] and with Apple on on controversial [7] bundling [9], which is banned in some countries.

As pointed out yesterday, Comcast, which was funded by Microsoft and has existing deals with Microsoft, is no better. American homes are encouraged to steer away from such abusive companies that break the law in many ways. They typically escape unpunished because of their relationships with the government. The same goes for Microsoft, which is believed to be deep in securities fraud.

Another company which is close to Microsoft is Hewlett-Packard [1, 2, 3]. The Stop Software Patents group has just warned that Hewlett-Packard’s former head is now liaising with McCain and advising him on patents, which she’s a strong lobbyist for.

But the fact is. A company that wants to invest in patent lawyers can expand the number of patents it holds as it likes. Just reallocate resources to the legal department. And HP under Carly Fiorina did that, increased the number of patents it applied for dramatically. But does it mean more innovation?

[...]

I recently noticed that SUN Microsystems announced to abandon its patent inflation strategy as over-patenting was not worth the investment. It is difficult to assess the strategic value of a mine field and you don’t find good data how much profit is generated by patents, which patents generate profit or benefit for the company and which are not worth the investment. In most companies investments in patents follow a rule of thumb. Large holders seek profit with patent portfolios like hunters with a shotgun aim for a flock of birds.

Patent laws are a political thing by their very nature [1, 2], so in order to stop software patents, it is important to know who is who.
___
[1] AT&T admits it censored other bands

It looks like Pearl Jam isn’t the only band that has had its politically charged comments bleeped from concerts streamed from AT&T’s Blue Room Web site.

[...]

AT&T quickly apologized for the incident and blamed the company that handles the Webcasting for performances on Blue Room.

[2] AT&T slams Google over open-access wireless proposal

AT&T has asked Capitol Hill not to enable an open nationwide wireless spectrum, claiming that Google’s lobbying of such a network is a bid by the search giant to obtain broadband airwaves at bargain-basement prices.

[3] AT&T IPTV now coming to your PC

AT&T announced Thursday that its U-verse Internet Protocol television service will now allow subscribers to watch live programming on their PCs.

[...]

Access to the new OnTheGo service is limited to computers running the Windows XP operating system with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

[4] AT&T Resumes Rollout for Cable TV

But because the software, provided largely by Microsoft Corp., has never been deployed on such a large scale, assorted glitches have forced AT&T to repeatedly delay and scale back the service rollout even though the required network upgrade remains on pace.

[5] Microsoft blamed for AT&T TV hiccups

Microsoft has a spotty history on the gogglebox. In 1997 it spent about $425m to purchase WebTV Networks but failed to make the much-hyped phenomenon a success.

[6] How AT&T chewed up, and spat out Net Neutrality

In an interview with Business Week in October 2005, Whitacre said he thought taking over BellSouth would be rejected by the FCC. He also made another memorable comment that began the process which culminated in the FCC’s approval in December.

[7] Customers can sue AT&T, after all

A federal court in San Francisco has decided that AT&T’s wireless contract is “unconscionable”.

[8] IPhone Unlock Delayed After AT&T’s ‘Friendly Advice

Fear of litigation has led to an indefinite delay in the planned Saturday release of software to unlock Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

John McLaughlin, founder of Uniquephones, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said Saturday that he received a phone call about 3 a.m. Saturday local time from a man claiming to be from O’Melveny & Myers LLP, an international law firm, calling on behalf of AT&T. The firm has worked with Apple in the past.

The man informed McLaughlin that if he posted the unlock code, he could be sued for copyright infringement and for dissemination of Apple’s intellectual property (IP).

[9] iPhone Freed From AT&T, Twice

The company will be selling licenses to the hack, minimum quantity 500, at a price not yet announced. These hacks are much bigger news for those outside America. Expect to see an industry spring up to meet European (and Asian?) demand for freed iPhones.

[10] AT&T Welcomes Programmers for All Phones Except the iPhone

I’m still trying to understand why Apple would go to such extremes to keep people from writing programs that run on the iPhone.

[11] AT&T takes another step towards filtered network with investment in Vobile

AT&T announced earlier this year that was planning to introduce content filtering of some sort for all video passing across its network. Exactly what AT&T was thinking remained unclear: would the company truly attempt to reassemble the fragments of peer-to-peer transmissions, then extract video from all sorts of different codecs, then attempt to match it-in real time-to some database of copyrighted works? Would such a thing even be possible?

[12] Hey, AT&T, What’s the Value of a Closed Network Again?

Closed networks, its proponents maintain, offer a trade-off. Individuals or outside developers can’t make any changes or improvements to it. But since the network and its applications are controlled at a single source, individuals are supposed to get an easier experince in which they don’t have to think about the network, just what they’re doing on it. Trust the network.

[13] When Networks Collide: AT&T suddenly doesn’t like Apple so much.

What I believe is troubling the relationship between AT&T and Apple is the upcoming auction for 700-MHz wireless spectrum and AT&T’s discovery that — as I have predicted for weeks — Apple will be joining Google in bidding. AT&T thought its five-year “exclusive” iPhone agreement with Apple would have precluded such a bid, but that just shows how poorly Randall Stephenson understood Steve Jobs. Steve always hurts his friends to see how much they really love him, so AT&T probably should have expected this kind of corporate body blow.

[14] How to Jump on the Open Access Bandwagon By Doing Absolutely Nothing

Earlier this morning, the interweb was aflutter with various reports that AT&T had, in the words of a USA Today article, “flung open its network” to any and all devices. Problem was, this revelation was based solely on the aforementioned article, and the assumption many had (and still seem to have) was that AT&T had in fact changed its network policy in some way. As many have noticed, nothing in fact has changed, other than the fact that AT&T got a healthy dose of positive press out of the misrepresentation.

[15] Should AT&T police the Internet?

A decade after the government said that AT&T and other service providers don’t have to police their networks for pirated content, the telecommunications giant is voluntarily looking for ways to play traffic cop.

[16] AT&T and Other I.S.P.’s May Be Getting Ready to Filter

For the last 15 years, Internet service providers have acted – to use an old cliche – as wide-open information super-highways, letting data flow uninterrupted and unimpeded between users and the Internet.

But I.S.P.’s may be about to embrace a new metaphor: traffic cop.

At a small panel discussion about digital piracy at NBC’s booth on the Consumer Electronics Show floor, representatives from NBC, Microsoft, several digital filtering companies and the telecom giant AT&T said discussed whether the time was right to start filtering for copyrighted content at the network level.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 19, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 19, 2021



  2. Links 20/1/2021: WireGuard for pfSense and New US President

    Links for the day



  3. Links 19/1/2021: Krita 4.4.2 Released and JingOS Hype

    Links for the day



  4. Team UPC Keeps Pretending That UPCA Can Still be Resurrected (Even Without the UK, Which is Strictly a Requirement)

    The latest distortion of facts regarding the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (UPCA) as seen from the lens of people who seek to profit from such distortion



  5. 'Ethical Source' is Not Ethical and Not a Movement But a Misguided Self-Serving PR Stunt

    Something which is neither enforceable nor ethical is being promoted by profoundly unethical media in the pockets of large corporations



  6. InteLeaks – Part XXI: Intel Seeking Advice From a Bunch of Clowns (Harbor 'Research')

    A firm called Harbor 'Research' is making dubious recommendations to Intel; as shown in the above video, there's also an obsession with buzzwords (typically suggestive of a lack of technical grasp/understanding)



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 18, 2021



  8. The US Election Was Not Rigged, But the Nomination Process Was (Undermined to Maintain Control by Oligarchy)

    Cheating/driving the left out of the Democratic Party seems like a longstanding tradition and we know who stands to gain from it; moreover, problems remain in the voting process because it's controlled by secret code of companies like Microsoft (in spite of the openwashing)



  9. InteLeaks – Part XX: Redacted (for Names Only) Release of Intel File About Developer eXperience (DX) Meddling in GNU/Linux

    Today (or tonight) we release the first 'phase' of InteLeaks in a sensibly redacted form; coming up next is a surprise from Team Microsoft



  10. Sites in Bed With the EPO and UPC 'Covering' the 'News' Without Mentioning Any of the Overt Abuses

    It is rather sad that blogs like IP Kat have turned into proponents of abusive EPO management and Team UPC increasingly resorts to lying using pseudonyms (to avert criticism and accountability); much of the rebuttal or response that’s hinged on reality/facts can only be found in comments, which are still subjected to a face-saving moderation process (conducted by Team UPC)



  11. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part IV: Stories From the Depths of the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    To reduce or alleviate suspicions and a potential of mistrust the FSF needs to become more transparent and liberate information (such as the real reason Bradley Kuhn left, as noted in the previous part)



  12. Links 18/1/2021: GNU Radio 3.9, Wikipedia at 20

    Links for the day



  13. InteLeaks – Part XIX: Intel's Web 'Experts' Seen as Microsoft Champions Dealing With the Platform Microsoft is Looking to Destroy

    Things aren't rosy at Intel because the hires aren't suitable for the job of documenting and/or presenting GNU/Linux-centric products (whose target audience is Free software developers)



  14. Adding Images as Characters to the Daily Bulletins of Techrights

    Our daily bulletins now have inside them coarse graphics, depicted using characters alone, and the tool used to generate them announced a new release earlier today; we showcase some of its features (in a new video)



  15. Links 18/1/2021: Weekly Summaries and Linux 5.11 RC4

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 17, 2021



  17. The Oligarchs' Parties Will Never Choose the Side of Software Freedom Because Free Software Cannot Bribe Officials

    The tough reality is that next week's (or this coming week's, depending on what Sunday counts as) inauguration ceremony is partly symbolic as all the same and important issues remain largely untouched, for corporations control almost everything of significance



  18. COVID-19 Has Actually Helped Software Freedom Due to Financial and 'Spare Time' Factors

    Developers and users are increasingly exploring what the Free software world has to offer; this is actually measurable and it contradicts claims to the contrary



  19. Future Plans and Using Videos to Complement Text

    Remarks on recent and impending site changes; We are not replacing text with video, we're just trying to enhance the presentation a bit, especially where visuals help make a point or where browsing through Web sites (or leaks) is more suitable than static, linear presentation



  20. InteLeaks – Part XVIII: Intel Does Not Know How to Properly Do Research and It Seems Apparent Unscientific Methods Are Used to Justify Poor Documentation

    There appears to be a severe crisis at Intel; they cannot recruit scientists (or those whom they recruited are walking away) and as a result the company produces bad products with poor documentation (or highly defective chipsets that top-notch marketing cannot compensate for); in this video we walk through some examples of how studies are being conducted (as already noted in Part XVII)



  21. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part III: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Seems More Like a Victim of Destabilisation Campaigns

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF), which turns 36 later this year, is looking to raise money that helps support the GNU Project, soon 38 years old and likely the most important Free software project to exist (ever)



  22. Links 17/1/2021: EasyOS on Raspberry Pi and GNU libsigsegv 2.13

    Links for the day



  23. InteLeaks – Part XVII: The High Cost of Microsoft Windows Users in GNU/Linux Development Teams

    A look inside Intel explains what holds back the technical team, which bemoans the lesser technical people getting in the way and not even using the product that they are writing about



  24. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 16, 2021



  25. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part II: Why Bradley Kuhn Left the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    The founder of the FSF is still at the FSF (albeit not publicly) and the person who lobbied to oust him has basically been 'banished' by the founder



  26. Links 16/1/2021: LibreOffice 7.1 Release Candidate, Zeroshell 3.9.5, FreeBSD Report, and GhostBSD 21.01.15

    Links for the day



  27. Free Speech on the Web Not Respected by Companies That Used to Support Software Freedom

    Mozilla does not have to make its Web browser about politics; it can just make an excellent piece of software that is neutral about the Web pages that it renders, based on the user's personal preferences



  28. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part I: We Are Under Attack by Corporations and Their Salaried Facilitators

    The corporate takeover (taking over the Commons, produced by volunteers who are motivated by altruism) is a subject we must speak about and somehow tackle; this series will highlight uncomfortable or difficult truths



  29. InteLeaks – Part XVI: Intel Cannot Do Command Line, Even When It's Vastly Simpler and More Suitable for Development

    The Developer eXperience (DX) team at Intel seems to be full of Microsoft drones instead of developers and/or mildly technical people; this has not only harmed the quality of documentation but also upset staff, alienating people who actually understand what developers need (more than buzzwords like "DX")



  30. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 15, 2021


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

Recent Posts