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10.10.08

Who’s Afraid of MicrISOsoft? The European Commission

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, IBM, ISO, Law, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MicrISOft

“[A]mazing that corruption is excepted by the entire developed world. Stunning that it has met with resistance only with some developing nations and maybe the European Union. What should have been an overwhelming anger by all nations. The notion that developed nation are immune to corruption is bogus. Microsoft did it in full view, without any hesitation. Microsoft should be nailed for this.”

Ashok Pai

NOW THAT speculations about further abuse in Europe continue to seem more reasonable, the European Commission (EC) is said to be investigating. As the financial turmoil shows, there is always need for good policing and regulation, so the EC has a responsibility to show that those who do the crime will also do the time.

The latest news from Norway got covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4], but IDG has just circulated this article and threw it to the mix. Here is its summary:

Over half of Norway’s ISO body, Standard Norway, have resigned over the country’s approval for OOXML, citing Microsoft influence.

[sarcasm] But hey! If most of those standards ‘experts’ from Norway quit in protest, it must be just bias. They must be Rabid™ ‘Haters®’ (bad labels [1, 2]) of Microsoft, right?[/sarcasm]

Never mind the truth and never mind the fact that ISO has officially been grabbed by Microsoft. As Rob Weir put it the other day, “Microsoft’s representation has swelled so it now comprises 20-50% of any given meeting. And that does not count those additional “independent” companies and contractors that are employed by Microsoft to create OOXML convertors or to consult with on OOXML matters. [...] I think you’ll find no other case in SC34 attendance records of a single company sending more than a single representative. Everyone else in the world sends one person. IBM once sent two people. Microsoft sends ten or a dozen.”

Where on Earth of 'the press' and why is it still shying away from such a distasteful disaster? Other curious minds want to know.

the company has existed since the early 90s using pure anti-competitive tactics and nothing more and with their IBM handed monopoly position, they have thrived. MS-OOXML was 100% a reaction to ODF, their tactics to use ECMA and the fasttrack mechanism 100% a reaction to ODF, and the stuffing of the ISO committees to get MS-OOXML passed through the fasttrack process still 100% a reaction to ODF. And now, they are stuffing more committees so they can take over ISO’s ODF control.

And the tech press is more concerned with iPhone SDK licensing issues while all this has been going on. We know who still owns the press these days.

In addition to the sheer abuse of this process, there are also those infamous legal traps in OOXML, as recently reaffirmed by attorney Brendan Scott. Another fairly comprehensive analysis has just been posted by Andre, who writes:

The main sponsor behind OOXML, the Microsoft Corporation, assured the European Commission that they would chose a RF model for their future Office format.1 However, their public affairs representatives repeatedly casted doubt whether their chosen patent license model would enable implementations under the GNU GPL and forcefully lobbied domestic and oversees legislators against open standards. The intense struggle has two levels. On one layer the question is RAND or RF as appropriate licensing conditions, on a second layer the attempt was to redefine the terminology of “open standards” to become RAND compatible. A “success” of the lobbying effort was the ITU-T definition of “open standards” drafted by a patent attorney working group which made the limbo for RAND licensing conditions. As an effect all international standards would become “open standards”. It comes at no surprise that vendors are sceptical about the honesty of the Microsoft patent schemes and are suspicious about hidden agendas.

There is an unconfirmed rumour now that the Commission might not investigate the ISO scandals because they are too afraid to intervene in an international organisation. IBM is said to be pushing to ensure the case is concluded.

“IBM is said to be pushing to ensure the case is concluded.”Dangerous here is the fact that the court system is very expensive for anyone else to pursue, as the UKUUG has already found out [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

In the United States, someone has said that there is case law concerning committee stuffing or vote rigging (Comcast was caught stuffing it up and it's far from the first time for Microsoft), but if the commission wants to carry out a complete or at least comprehensive probe, a lot of traveling will be involved, e.g. to 'puppet nations'.

flickr:2401273308

Two months ago we showed how ISO members were prepared to nominate Microsoft itself for the maintainable of so-called interoperability. As it turns out now, the already-Microsoft-stacked SC34 is now set to elect some more people. This one is a recipe for further abuse and more committee stuffing. From the page:

In accordance Resolution 8 of the SC 34 Jeju plenary meeting, Working Group 5 has been established. SC 34 members are invited to nominate their experts to participate in this Working Group. Please send a list of participants showing names, affiliations and e-mail addresses to the SC 34 Secretariat by 2008-11-15. The information received will be forwarded to the WG 5 Convener for creation of a mailing list.

Further down it shows that Microsoft (and its cronies) are bound to decide on the creation of a committee that handles ODF.

Resolution 8: Establishment of Working Group 5

SC 34 establishes Working Group 5 as follows:

Title: Document Interoperability

Terms of Reference: Develop principles of, and guidelines for, interoperability among documents represented using heterogeneous ISO/IEC document file formats. The initial work includes preparation of the Technical Report on ISO/IEC 26300 – ISO/IEC 29500 translation.

SC 34 instructs its Secretariat to issue a call for participation to the SC 34 members and to request ISO and IEC to publicise the existence of WG 5 to encourage participation from all who are eligible.

The room for abuse there is amazing. No wonder ISO is dead.

“I have lost my sleep and peace of mind for last two months over these distasteful activities by Microsoft.”

Professor Deepak Phatak

Patent Holders and Trolls Get More Aggressive, Vengeful

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oriskany ship sinks
USPTO: sinking faster than the economy

Microsoft

The following recent article contains a rough count of Microsoft’s patents, whose quality can be very low based on the context in which it’s presented: the ‘Page Up’ and ‘Page Down’ patent.

One example is the company’s patent on a mouse wheel that can scroll up and down; another is its patent on double-clicking buttons. The company received its 5,000th patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2006, and is currently approaching the 10,000 mark.

Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's adjunct patent troll, has more than twice that number. Nathan Myhrvold seems to be planning a "tissue paper" (patents) crusade in countries and companies that may grow at Microsoft’s expense. There are attempts to deceive lawmakers to permit this to happen.

This is an Invention?

Anything that can percolate past the USPTO’s defuncts filters seem to be pursued nowadays. Here is a new example:

TeleCommunication Systems, a provider of wireless communications solutions, Wednesday announced the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued patent number 7,428,510 for “Prepaid Short Messaging.”

Shooting the Messenger

When companies (ab)use their ‘right’ to ‘own’ knowledge, they somehow believe that nobody will criticise them for it. Here is an example of a vindictive company that threatens to sue a publisher for merely mentioning a patent case.

Then Earthcomber amended the lawsuit, adding TechCrunch as a defendant. Earthcomber President Jim Brady said in a phone interview today that TechCrunch was added because it has a product co-branded with Loopt, called Loopt tc, that infringes on Earthcomber’s patent. He said the lawsuit against TechCrunch had nothing to do with the negative blog posting about his company, and that he called TechCrunch to find out if it was going to continue promoting the product, but he never got through to Arrington.

Here is the original post in question, which now bears a disclosure at the bottom. [via Digital Majority]

The suit claims that Loopt has infringed an Earthcomber patent, filed in June 2003 and issued in July 2006, that outlines “a system and method for locating and notifying a user of a person, place or thing having attributes matching the user’s stated preferences.”

Shame on Earthcomber. It’s bad enough that they harass competitors using their USPTO-stamped toilet paper; harassing innocent bloggers as well is clearly a step too far.

Quick Mention: Novell’s Value Approaches $1.4B, Stock Falls Nearer to $4

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The turbulence in Wall Street is not so bad today, but Novell is already down 4.31% to $4.22. Its market cap sank to 1.46 billion and Microsoft too seems to have reached its lowest value in about 10 years, despite massive buybacks, a rumoured spendings freeze and looming debt. Community distributions of Free software seem unaffected, if not poised to capitalise on the storm. Yesterday, for example, Sabayon’s Joost Ruis wrote: “Our team is growing stronger and everybody is working hard to get things in shape.”

It’s always amusing to look back at what respectable ‘analysts’ have said.

“In January [2008], Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert predicted the buyback when she raised her rating on Novell stock from hold to buy and jacked her price target 50 cents to $7.50.”

NetworkWorld on 'Über' analyst Katherine Egbert

“Talk is cheap. Show me the code.”

Linus Torvalds

Novell Hires a Dose of Microsoft-obedient Analyst

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Google, Microsoft, Novell, OpenDocument, OSI at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up.”

Internal Microsoft document

For background, we must return to an old discussion about 'Über' analysts and oracles, whose word of mouth is grossly overrated by the mainstream press and therefore affects people’s minds as well (public perception). To kick off this post, here is an article from last year about the San Jose Mercury, which was grabbed by Bill Gates through funds (it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The article also presents some good portions about analysts:

The story, headlined “New study shows analysts getting favors,” reported on conflicts of interest among Wall Street investment firms. The article presented the findings of a study that found that “the more a company’s earnings slipped below analysts’ consensus forecasts, the more favors the company’s executives showered on the analysts covering it—especially at big investment firms.”

The (dis)integrity of analysts and their role in industry is truly intriguing and we’ll continue to explore that.

This brings us to some minor news. Burton Group, the firm behind Microsoft’s anti-Google and anti-ODF ‘studies’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24], has just ‘passed’ someone to Novell.

Amie brings great experience to Novell. Before joining us she ran worldwide PR for Burton Group, a leading IT analyst firm with a large and well-respected security/identity practice.

Burton Group? “Well-respected” practice? As in, selling studies in exchange for lucrative consulting contracts? There are some Burton Group ‘genes’ inside Novell now, not just more Microsoft 'genes'.

Speaking of analysts/consultants, whatever comes from Redmonk ought to be taken with a level of caution, apprehension, and suspicion. According to this post from a couple of days ago, this open source analyst firm has Microsoft as a client and we recently explained how Microsoft uses money to spread the impression that it plays ball with ‘open source’. Bruce Perens wrote about it last week in relation to Microsoft's latest open source scam (Windows-restricted ‘open source’). Microsoft hasn’t ended this charade, which is becoming a norm. Say hello to Microsoft’s so-called “Open-Source SDK.”

The SDK only works on Windows (what did you expect?).

The OSI should really start policing the Open Source ‘brand’ more properly. The news feeds for ‘open source’ are already littered with fakers, which dilute the impact and power of “open source”. At the end of the day, such a dilution serves Microsoft well for the same reason that killing ISO has helped Microsoft dismiss standards and have the whole process collapse.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document

Links 10/10/2008: Mandriva 2009 Released, Wikipedia Consolidates on Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Embedded

Laptops

AmaroK

Ubuntu

Coming Talks

F/OSS

Healthcare

Unix

Finance

Firefox

Wikia

FSFE

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Andrew Pitonyak, author and computer scientist 04 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 9th, 2008 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 9th, 2008 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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