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

10.24.08

Horacio Gutierrez’s Latest Threat Against GNU/Linux Was Seeded by Microsoft

Posted in Asia, Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

WELL, it’s rather fascinating how Microsoft controls not only the press; it tames or gains influence over many blogs too. It’s sometimes paid for.

Several days ago we mentioned how Paul Krill offered a platform (IDG) for Microsoft FUD just days after a Microsoft mouthpiece had done the very same thing (in CNET). Timing was suspicious because for a low-key person to have similar coverages coincide like this is a tad unnatural. It was probably intended to invoke fear, spread misinformation, and confuse the public. By changing perceptions around open source, Microsoft wants to have GNU/Linux abolished in favour of Windows, even as an underlying platform for Free software.

Some of these recent events seem not to have happened as spontaneously as an innocent observer might imagine. Microsoft appears to have been contacting journalists for its carefully-crafted messages to be spread and absorbed (Novell does this too). They are said to have approached even a loud critic (of the patent system and Microsoft) such as Mike Masnick. He is at least the only person who speaks out about it in public when he says something along the lines of “I’m not interested in Microsoft’s imaginary property people, but it’s them who came to me.”

Indeed, Masnick has just published a relatively detailed post about it.

Last week, Microsoft was kind enough to invite me to sit down, one-on-one with Horacio Gutierrez, the company’s VP and Deputy General Counsel in charge of intellectual property and licensing. As you might imagine, given my views on the patent system in general, and Microsoft’s gradual embrace of the patent system specifically, he and I disagreed on a fair amount. We agreed that the patent system should be focused on encouraging innovation. We agreed that there were abuses of the system. From there, our views pretty much diverged, though the conversation was fun and lively.

Gutierrez began the conversation by focusing on all of the “benefits” that Microsoft sees to the patent system, which focused on all of the licensing deals that the company has done. He positioned it by noting that the patent portfolio allows the Microsoft to get into deeper business relationships with other entities. Specifically, he noted that in many cases what began as a patent licensing discussion eventually leads to a much more complete business relationship that increases interoperability. He cited deals with both Sun and Novell as examples of this.

Yes, Novell. It’s always mentioned there as Microsoft’s justification and reason for all GNU/Linux vendors to pay Microsoft for unnamed software patents. Further down in it says:

In discussing all of this with Gutierrez, I brought up the company’s continual FUD campaign, where it goes to the press to wave that pointy stick around, in announcing that Linux violates over 200 Microsoft patents. Gutierrez noted that he was among the Microsoft execs who had made those statements, and he stood by them, claiming that Richard Stallman agrees, and falling back on his earlier claim of all complex products violating some patents, which is why he says they just want Linux vendors to work out some sort of patent licensing agreement. That, of course, doesn’t answer the question of why Microsoft keeps screaming about patent infringement, but never bothers to show what patents anyone infringes on.

What was the purpose of all this? It appears as though Microsoft is determined to plaster its FUD all over the Web and have people talk about Linux in the context of patents, “mixed source”, and “piracy”. The existence in fear, confusion, uncertainty and doubt serves Microsoft very well. In the South African press, Microsoft’s latest provocations begged for the article “Microsoft Makes Mockery of Interoperability.”

Microsoft needs to get rid of its chief IP lawyer and its patent strategy if it wants further efforts at interoperability to be taken seriously by open source vendors and users.

In at least two interviews with IT publications this week, Horacio Gutierrez reaffirmed that the company intends to try and force open source companies to sign patent licensing deals or face lawsuits.

[...]

The intellectual property that is trying Gutierrez’s patience is not any line of copyrighted code, nor any trademark or trade secret. It’s a bunch of patents that Microsoft claims it owns. In the bizarro-world that is US patent law, companies can get government-granted monopolies on procedures that are taught to programmers at high school as if they were some sort of valuable asset.

The article above states that Microsoft needs to sack Horacio Gutierrez, but Gutierrez merely represents Microsoft’s strategy as whole. Again, it’s Microsoft itself that sent him out to spread all that FUD, and Masnick’s experience is one that others can probably attest to. Paul Krill tried to grill him on patents, without any success; instead, he gave Gutierrez|Microsoft the podium they craved. IDG threw this article all over its extensive network of domains, probably for mass effect.

“IDG threw this article all over its extensive network of domains, probably for mass effect.”It becomes increasingly probable that Microsoft bets on becoming another SCO (with higher success rates in terms of ‘indemnification’); its other chief lawyers and patent people, such as Marshall Phelps, seem to suggest so too. Over the weekend we will cover Microsoft’s financial situation and show the evident decline, which requires urgent change of strategy and a return to price-fixing era, as opposed to dumping techniques.

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

We already wrote, on numerous occasions in fact, about Microsoft breaking the law in India and South Africa, amassing patents in countries that quite explicitly forbid software patents. They rely on back doors and rule-bending. Despite rumours about Marshall Phelps, he might still be fully engaged with Microsoft, in terms of professional capacity. He seems familiar with the company’s patent strategy and also, according to this new post, he predicts that Microsoft’s patents arsenal might grow by a factor of 5 within just a couple of years.

Microsoft to have 50,000 patents within two years, Phelps reveals

[...]

The company’s filing strategy is based on two key points, he explained. The first is that it needs protection in what it believes to be its key markets: the US, Europe, Japan and the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, among others. The second is that it has to have a presence in countries that have a software manufacturing capability; that means the same countries as above, but also others such as Taiwan. Europe, Phelps said, likes to think that it is different because it says it does not grant software patents “but they can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”.

Whenever he says “protection”, what he actually means to say is “intellectual monopoly.” For some companies it is difficult to think of competing without some sort of a God-gifted monopoly, as it the company earned some Holy Right to preserve its business and not let competition ever grow. But to paraphrase a friend, business is an opportunity, not a right. Investment is a risk, not a guarantee.

“Protection” in this context means a fence and a barrier in the face of superior or more cost-effective technology. Microsoft is better at coping with competition when it’s able to crush it or to buy it. With GNU/Linux it’s a little more complicated, so lawyers step in and try to manipulate the law.

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

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 22/12/2014: GNU/Linux at Sky News, Another Tizen Camera

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: November 30th, 2014 – December 20th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  3. Links 21/12/2014: China and Linux, GNOME Shell 3.15.3

    Links for the day



  4. The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

    The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games



  5. Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

    Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming



  6. Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft's Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

    A look at some of Microsoft's latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business



  7. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  8. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  9. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  10. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  11. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  12. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  13. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  14. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  15. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  16. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  18. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  19. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  20. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  21. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  22. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  23. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  24. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  25. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  26. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  27. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  28. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  29. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  30. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface


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