From: Tom Pilla
Sent: November 17, 2006 8:32 PM
To: Steve Ballmer; Debbie Hill; Dorothy Velth
CC: Mich Mathews; Larry Cohen; John Pnette; Bill Cox; Ari Bixhorn; Kim Stocks; Frank Shaw (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject RE: Biz Value Launch – Pre event Media inteviews
Bloomberg Dina Bass
Despite her lack of deep technical knowledge, Dina has been well versed in Office, Vista and Exchange. She recently met with Criscap, Mike Slavert and Dave Thompson for deep dives. Dina is positive about the releases, but her affinity for controversy/tension means she will reference (in her launch coverage) the barriers we will face. Whether it is the EU, product delays, or competitive threats from Google, Dina tells a complete story.
Worth seeing is also their back-rubbing with John Foley of the muchly-biased Information Week. They really try to set up and arrange the coverage Vista receives. Waggener Edstrom (some background here) is present as well, probably in order to assist the management of perception. The E-mail above was sent to Steve Ballmer, in case it’s not clear.
This revelation arrives at an excellent time as it relates nicely to this week’s news about Microsoft limiting choice a little further. They want the shelves at the computer stores to offer nothing but the DRM-laden Windows Vista, which nobody likes anyway.
No one wants Vista, and stubborn Windows users have demanded XP. While neither Microsoft nor its partners will admit it, Microsoft has abandoned its attempt to kill off XP.
Last June, Microsoft announced that it would no longer be selling XP. Even then. Microsoft had started backing away from its flat statement that XP was history.
“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”
“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”
–Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft
A lot of gullible journalists (e.g. this one) are falling for Microsoft’s latest PR move called “Oxite”, which is an attempt to grab control of open source using its own Web sites, its own proprietary stack, and its own software licences. We wrote about this Microsoft strategy many times before (links at the bottom), so here is just a recent video from a short-sighted, yet intelligent, individual. He explains EEE, which stands for embrace, extend, and extinguish. █
WE last summarised the mischiefs of Waggener Edstrom (Microsoft marketing front) in this post and we also explained why the Gartner Group is a fraud (not in the literal sense). One of our readers has unearthed the following E-mail which shows Microsoft, Gartner and Waggener Edstrom coordinating and managing the perceptions and publications that come out of Gartner.
From page 34 of this set of evidence[PDF] (which comes from the Vista collusion trial [1, 2, 3]), here is an E-mail that Jamin Spilzer, Group Manager at Microsoft, sent to Brad Goldberg, a General Manager[DOC] at Microsoft. Waggener Edstrom was sent a copy.
From: Jamin Spilzer
sent: Sunday, October 15, 2006 9:30 PM
to: Brad Goldberg
CC: Martha Sherman; Lisa Worthington; Laura Dodd (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject: Steveb recap Draft
David Smith commented that Gartner will not bash MS if MS chooses to slip Vista. Steve gave the analysts an explanation of how MS will Measure Vista success. First is market measures such as absolute units (should be bigger), percentage of Install base (small percentage, regardless of ‘success’). Second Steve keyed three audiences he wasts to see adopt Vista: developers, enterprises and consumer word of mouth (a “je ne sais qua”) that reaffirms Windows at the center of computing….
David Smith is one of the participants from Gartner. He is just one among four. They personally met Jamin Spilzer, Brad Goldberg, and Steve Ballmer (all from Microsoft). They agreed not to criticise Windows Vista under the condition named above. Also in attendance was Neil MacDonald (of Gartner), who you can see 'flirting' with Steve Ballmer in this recent video. █
“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. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”
Patents Versus Economics or Patents Versus the Economy?
THIS is a continuing discussion about the patent crisis and what can be done to end it (end the broken system to end the crisis). Digital Majority found this new academic paper which explores the economic effects that patents in general may have, so it’s worth a look.
Today one of the most controversial issues in economic policy is that of patent law. Is a patent just an extension of property rights to the realm of ideas? Or is it an unwarranted interference by the government into the rights of individuals who have purchased goods and services to use them as they see fit? Should the Western system of patents be extended worldwide? Or should we get rid of patents entirely? Is the patent system responsible for modern miracle drugs? Or is it to blame for the millions dying of HIV in Africa? Do patents lead to greater innovation and economic growth? Or do they kill the goose that lays the golden egg?
Even the modern controversy over the current effort of the Free Software Foundation to limit software patents through the General Public License Version 3 finds reflection in the earlier Cornwall experience. Familiar with the negative impact of the Watt patents on innovation, Cornwall mine engineers were reluctant to patent their inventions. From 1781 to 1852 Cornish residents took out a grand total of 15 patents on steam technology—against 994 patents on steam technology in all of England during that period. Will it surprise you to learn that the area with the fewest patents also was the area that contributed the most to the innovation and development of steam technology?
Later in the day, the chief judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over all patent appeals, said that neither Congress nor the executive branch should be actively involved in overhauling intellectual property.
Cisco Vice President Mallun Yen said that the number of patent lawsuits against the company has quadrupled over the past five years. “The patent system overvalues patents, particularly weak ones, and thereby suppresses innovation,” she said.
Yen disagreed with Peter N Detkin, founder and vice chairman of Intellectual Ventures, who attempted to recast the patent debate as one between big players, like Cisco and IBM, against individual inventors.
All panellists agreed, however, that the global patent marketplace had changed considerably since 2002-2003, in particular by the trend that Intellectual Ventures had pioneered by seeking to make the marketplace for patents more liquid. The panellists also agreed that more data about private licensing of intellectual property is necessary to help make the marketplace friction-free.
So Microsoft "pioneered" massive-scale trolling? Where can it pick up the trophy?
OIN is actively seeking to address problems that arise from patent trolls and industrial companies whose business models and
behaviors are antagonistic to Linux and true innovation. If your company is being victimized by any entity seeking to assert its
patent portfolio against Linux, please contact us so that we can aid you in your battle with these dark forces.
Yes, it says “dark forces” and shows an image only to be associated with children’s cartoons. This is so corny that it’s hardly even funny. It also requires the proprietary Flash plug-in. They market this thing as an anti-Microsoft initiative [1, 2].
There is a page in FFII’s Web site which explains why IBM’s approach is flawed. Basically, patent trolls are the key issue, the question of software patentability to be left aside.
Microsoft can ‘proxify’ its patents (hand them over to an aggressor) and harass Linux via a this proxy. There is nothing that OIN can do about it other than to denounce the system or the legitimacy of patents, including its own (Novell, by the way, is among the members of OIN).
It is very surprising that the SFLC supports this initiative  because they should invest their money in building a coalition against software patents, not waste their time trying to “finding prior art” in binary code. █
“The open source community is getting an IP rights tool that will limit distractions created from organizations that like to play the FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt] game,” he said. “We enthusiastically encourage the Linux and open source communities to contribute to Linux Defenders.”
GERMANY JOINS GROWING RANKS OF COUNTRIES ADOPTING ODF
Germany has decided to implement use of ODF. According to the announcement made by the federal government’s IT Council, German federal agencies will be able to receive, read, send and edit ODF documents beginning no later than 2010. Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML), which is the default-format for its Office 2007 productivity suite, remains under review. To date, 16 national and 8 provincial governments have now formally recommended or required the use of ODF by government agencies and with the public.
DUTCH GOVERNMENT’S INSTRUCTIONS ON USE OF OPEN STANDARDS, ODF PUBLISHED
The Dutch government has published instructions in the country’s National Gazette regarding making open standards based procurement the default – a policy which has been in force since 1 April 2008 – now that the European Commission has given its seal of approval. According to the announcement made on November 24, 2008 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, this means in principle that for public purchases of IT worth more than 50,000 euro, the use of open standards such as ODF is now mandatory for government bodies in the public and semi-public sectors (”comply or explain” why not).
Venezuela became the latest country in South America to adopt the Open Document Format (ODF), joining Brazil, Uruguay and several regional governments. Speaking at the 2nd International ODF User Workshop on October 9-10, 2008 in Pretoria, South Africa, Carlos Gonzalez of the National Center of Information Technologies announced that the Venezuelan government had formally adopted ODF as a standard for the “processing, exchange and storage of documents.”
The ODF ecosystem and value proposition continues to expand with IBM and Sun Microsystem’s launch of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) Toolkit Union, which will provide developers an application programming interface (API) for reading, writing and manipulating ODF documents and enable them to easily produce ODF-supporting applications. The open source project is established at http://odftoolkit.org. The founding members Sun and IBM invite and welcome other contributors to join.
NEW GROUP CREATED TO IMPROVE INTEROPERABILITY, CONFORMANCE TO ODF
OASIS, the international open standards consortium which maintains ODF, has formed a new group, the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance (OIC) Committee, to help implementors ensure that the growing number of ODF-compliant applications are able to interoperate and conform to the standard. The OIC Committee will analyze the state of ODF interoperability, make recommendations, compile a corpus of ODF interoperability test documents, and host multi-vendor interoperability demonstrations showcasing products that conform, among other activities. All ODF stakeholders, including commercial and open source publishers of ODF applications, testing and certification labs, people responsible for purchasing ODF-related tools, governments and regulators are invited to join.
Please welcome the following new members: Seosmart GmbH (Germany); Community Development Foundation Jacobabad Sindh (Pakistan); FreeCode AS (Norway); ElanceTalk; ITA – Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (Brazil); SeMarket (Spain); Vdesign (Sweden); olonda s.r.o. (Slovakia); DeltaXML Ltd (UK); Sombra Designer Visual (Brazil); Norwegian UNIX User Group (Norway); Webdesign Internetagentur (Germany); Readypeople (Spain); GoGoShopper (USA); Studenski Internet-Dienste Webdesign (Germany); SEO Beratung kruegers.net (Germany); itexto (Brazil); Master it (The Netherlands); Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (Ghana); SEOdesign sökmotoroptimering (Sweden) and ArcheTech Srl (Italy).
I‘LL be doing an interview with the CEO of OIN following this umbrella’s announcement of an initiative called “Linux Defenders”. Groklaw has the details.
The Open Invention Network, the Software Freedom Law Center, and the Linux Foundation have teamed up to create another tool to defend Linux from patents. It will be hosted by the NYU Peer to Patent folks, where Mark Webbink is now. It is called Linux Defenders, and that would be you, in that they are asking folks to provide prior art to block anyone else from patenting it. Over time, this could be very significant as a protective wall. Essentially, as I understand it, it works like this: Since it costs a prohibitive amount of money to file for patents, the workaround is defensive publication. That results in prior art which can then block patents on that prior art. Brilliant, my dear Watson. No kidding.
An anonymous reader lets us know about a new initiative designed to help shield the open source software community from threats posed by patent trolls. The initiative, called Linux Defenders (the website is slated to go live tomorrow, Dec. 9), is sponsored by a consortium of technology companies including IBM.
This initiative still fails to properly address the issue of patent trolls, the solution to which is only a serious reform or elimination of software patents. Over at TechDirt, Mike explains part of the issue at hand:
[M]any patent holders bring lawsuits on technologies that are pretty far from what’s in the claims — usually hoping that the accused will settle rather than take the issue to court.
This is why even poor patents are difficult to defeat. Having them reexamined is expensive (c.f. Firestar for details [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]).
Glyn Moody said: “Typically, patent trolls don’t have any products, so they are unlikely to be infringing on any of your patents. Isn’t that a problem for the OIN approach?”
The reply from OIN was sincere: “Very clearly there’s not much we can do with regard to patent trolls.”
We will hopefully have some more reassuring answers from the current CEO. One person suggested that we ask:
“You said in an interview to LinuxJournal that “there is clearly not much we can do with regard to patent trolls”. You are also supporting high quality patents. Does OIN’s defensive approach work with a patent troll suing Linux with a portfolio of multiple high quality patents?”
RE: A no-fly zone to protect Linux from patent trolls, where the OIN CEO says: «We’re not anti-patent by any stretch of the imagination. More patents is fine with me, as long as they’re high quality. Quality is the drum we beat.» This is 100% bullshit. If it’s about “quality software patents”, then the OIN is favoring software patents! (But I knew that Linux is suicidal.) OTOH, I personally believe that not only software patents should be voided, but all kind of patents. We’re having too many patents — idiotic and obvious or not —, so that any inventor should probably pay too much just to check if his work can be considered as original or if he has to pay royalties to someone else! This is severely discouraging innovation IMNSHO. Heck, even the straw dispenser at McDonalds has a patent number on its top cover! In the 21st century, one would expect that ideas that could come to a 3-y.o. kid are not covered by patents, but they are.
Intellectual Monopolies in General
The rant above extends dissatisfaction beyond just software; this is not something new and many even consider this point of view rather conventional. One of our readers points to this new article which challenges or at least questions the effects of excessive restriction.
There are plenty of good ideas that we read about every day that will substantially increase the quality of our lives. Imagine for a moment that we find out we can easily harness Solar Energy for our energy requirements. In order to make it technologically feasible, considerable research needs to go into it. This research needs money. I can imagine Oil Companies being very interested in this research. Not in order to further it, but to throttle it. Nothing could be simpler for them, than to talk to one person, buy his or her patent for their latest invention, and let it collect dust on the shelves.
Another example is how major corporations like the RIAA are trying to throttle p2p. The RIAA would be exceedingly happy if the entire Bittorrent technology was scrapped, along with all the good that comes of it. But why go so far? The RIAA claims that even ripping CD’s to your harddisk is illegal. They would be happy if that technology was scrapped as well.
Can the business practices of the 1930s yield useful lessons for executives setting priorities in today’s uncertain and evolving environment? For investments to promote innovation, the answer may be yes. Executives are often told to maintain investment during downturns. It’s easy to question this countercyclical advice, however, in times like the Depression or the present, when the volatility of financial markets (an indicator of uncertainty) reaches historic highs. Is the typical behavior of executives—act cautiously and delay investment projects until confidence returns—the wiser course?
Many companies hesitated to innovate during the 1930s. Consider, for example, patent applications as a proxy for resources devoted to innovation.
Not surprisingly, Linux spearheads the enterprise open source push: nearly half (45.6 percent) of respondents say they’ve deployed Linux. The venerable Apache Web server — which has nearly as much brand currency as Linux itself — is second in Actuate’s tally, in use by about 44 percent of respondents.
In the last major economic downturn, Linux established itself as a widely-accepted enterprise operating system, benefiting a lively ecosystem of vendors such as Red Hat and Novell. The return of tough economic times puts the open source alternative again front and center, this time with focus on databases and higher-level software applications.
Unison Technologies Inc. is offering its Linux-based unified communications software at no charge to small and midsize companies that are willing to share their employees’ eyeballs and attention spans with advertisers.
Universities that receive federal grants and funds should not be teaching “software products” in their courses. They should be teaching software principles. I believe these software principles are best taught through the use of Free Software.
I don’t know when you attended college Karen but the Linux of even two years ago pales in feature and ability to what there is available now…and that in turn will pale in a year’s time. linux is superior to MS windows in so many ways, they are too numerous to mention here…I am weary of enumerating them. Unlike Microsoft who meters their “improvements” and then shovels them to you every five years or so for purchase; Linux releases their improvements upon their completion.
Just as the world’s economies started to tank, Australia’s Governments got themselves into an economic bind by promising to supply public school children with laptops. However, a leading systems integrator has issued a blueprint for an affordable blanket laptop roll out using Linux and netbooks.
“It’s a simple proposition; we’ve prepared an open solution which delivers the best-possible value to education for netbook or laptop roll-outs,” said Con Zymaris, CEO of long-running Linux firm Cybersource.
“Our proposal is to use low-cost netbooks, allocating one per two students, with the students using ‘live’ Linux USB keys to store their operating system, applications and school-work. This results in a major reduction in installation and maintenance complexity, but still allows the students flexibility in how they use their netbooks and applications.”