In what seems like a worthy punishment, Intel and Microsoft both suffered a major blow at the sight of stagnant sales.
Shares of Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, sank Wednesday after chip maker Intel Corp. said fourth-quarter sales missed already lowered expectations.
Even a music Web site has published an article about the effect of Microsoft’s sharp drop in value.
Rap veteran E-40 is reviewing his stock market options after losing money from shares in software giant Microsoft and his fast food chain Fatburger.
Had it not been for massive buybacks, Microsoft’s shares would be worth a lot less and so would the value of the company (as opposed to its cash reserves that rapidly run out [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).
Cessation and Deflation
According to numerous reports, Microsoft has poured cold water on expansion plans.
Microsoft has put on hold any interest in further expanding its operations in Seattle because of the deteriorating economy, a spokesman said Tuesday.
According to this report, Microsoft will soon shut down some gaming divisions.
Reuters and other outlets have reported recently that both Microsoft and Sony will be closing some of their major gaming divisions in early 2009.
Microsoft has already shut down Ensemble Studios, as we mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Since XBox360 makes a loss per sale, Microsoft is now willing to go as far as suing a bankrupt company.
Microsoft Takes Legal Action Against Woolworths In The UK
It could be called the end of an era, as Woolworths in the United Kingdom has closed it’s doors forever to the public. Amidst the announcement that Woolworths would be shutting down due to bankruptcy, there were the typical “everything must go” sales where the store was practically giving their goods away. Well everyone in the land of the Union Jack must not have got the memo, and Woolworths was left with a ton of overstock, and coincidentally some of that stock happened to be Xbox 360′s. Now Microsoft isn’t just trying to take legal action against Woolworths, or Deliotte who is the administrator of the now defunct retailer, just to crash their party.
This is also covered in:
How low have they sunk? [Clarification 08/01/09: this is in reference to Woolworths]
Some days ago we cited many reports of looming layoffs. There are some newer reports:
Another interesting report today comes from Satyam, which turns out to be a financial fraud.
Satyam Chief Quits, Admits Faking Financial Results
In a resignation letter submitted to Satyam’s board, B. Ramalinga Raju said the company’s balance sheet carries inflated bank and cash balances, non-existent accrued interest, understated liabilities, and overstated credit amounts owed to the company.
Satyam and Microsoft have a tight alliance.
It was almost 10 years ago that Bill Parish wrote: “Microsoft’s perspective is best reflected by Bob Herbold, Chief Operating Officer, to whom the CFO reports. Bob very sincerely replied, “Bill, everyone is doing it.” My response was that Microsoft is a leader and that others are now seeking to emulate these fraudulent practices they have legitimized. Naturally Bob was not pleased by this perspective and that was our final conversation.”
It was around the same time that someone from inside Microsoft had already blown the whistle to highlight financial fraud [1, 2]. █
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Apple spends millions of dollars each year to explain why OS X is the world’s best desktop operating system. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.
TechRepublic blogger Jack Wallen recently posted ten things that he thinks Linux does better than Mac OS X. His list is a welcome antidote to Apple’s (unsurprising) party line: Anything Linux can do, OS X can do better.
The author seems to imply that a community can’t equal “professional” product. I guess the author hasn’t heard of Linux, or Firefox, or WordPress (despite running their site on it). But the post has a point: I think it would be hard for our community, however passionate, to equal the production of the multi-million dollar ad campaigns. Then again, today with a computer, a $300 video camera and originality you can create amazing video content. What’s important is how compelling, original and persuasive your ideas are. I think that’s the basis of open source software and I believe it will work with videos.
So let’s prove the naysayers wrong and come up with original and impressive Linux videos.
- – Bicubic scaling on r3xx/r4xx/r5xx/rs690
- – Support for new asics
- – reduced tearing with Xv
- – lots of bug fixes
Kaffeine was the most used Video Player on KDE 3, however, for KDE 4.x it’s in a pretty early stage, but fear not, the SMPlayer (which is technically a Qt application, not a KDE one) and Dragon Player came to fill this hole.
Why I review two applications that do basely the same? Because Dragon Player is deadly simple, and SMPlayer, while being less simplified, has an amazing feature package.
This is going to be the first free and open source conference in northern Nigeria, a country with more than 100 million people.
Using Linux, I will mostly use KDE 4. I tried it, configured it on several desktops and although it’s not fully completed, it rocks and it’s really impressive. You should give it a try.
Despite Ubuntu continuing to tear up the headlines as the most likely Linux distribution to bring in Windows users from the proprietary OS nightmare, it should be noted that there is a Linux-newbie- friendly world outside of the one created by the Ubuntu distribution.
In this article, I’ll highlight the best of the best. Some of these distributions may be based on Ubuntu code, while others could not be farther from it. No matter what though, in the end, each of them can survive without any help from the Ubuntu community.
Like most RPM-based distributions, I have had a love/hate relationship since the distribution’s days as Mandrake. But packaging choices aside, make no mistake, Mandriva is a distribution to be reckoned with.
For people unfamiliar with it, Mandriva is sort of like a Euro alternative to the now Americanized SuSE Linux distribution. Both are available for sale in boxed form, but Mandriva does very well in the EU ever since Novell took on SuSE as their own product some years back.
Yesterday was a great day. We, the open source group at Jordan University of Science and Technology were holding a Linux installation festival to teach people about FOSS and to show them the path to their freedom. There were four distros: Ubuntu 8.10, openSUSE 11.1, Mandriva, Fedora 10 and PC BSD.
I really enjoyed BIG LINUX and I decided to install it. For all KDE lovers it’s a distro that will give many satisfactions.
Ingres and Red Hat have teamed up to produce an open source software stack for developers who want to use JBoss Studio development tools to build an application that requires a transaction processing database.
On Sunday night, we moved NewsBlaze.com over to a new server. A 5405 dual processor quad core with 4Gb ram, running Red Hat Enterprise 5, over at ThePlanet, if you are geekily inclined. Most things went really well, and there were only a couple of php and apache webserver issues.
So, there you go. An upgrade working as it should. Sure, there were some small niggles to fix, but overall it’s not the nightmare it used to be. I think if the Fedora team continues to work on this, we could see Fedora become on par with Debian/Ubuntu when it comes to upgrades. So, if you have Fedora 9, it looks like a yum upgrade to Fedora 10 could be an easy task.
Bring up the topic of Ubuntu and you’ll receive a mixed response from unexpected corners. No, it’s not the Windows brigade, but the Debian crowd. So just how does Ubuntu differ from Debian to inflame such passion?
Sure, Dell has successfully introduced a few Ubuntu PCs and laptops to the geek crowd. But now it’s time for Dell to disrupt the very PC industry it helped to build.
Remember: Michael Dell himself used Ubuntu Linux on a home PC before Dell (the company) decided to sell Ubuntu systems in mid-2007. Greg Davis, Dell’s new global channel chief, should do the same.
Start using disruptive technology, Greg, to see emerging market opportunities before Dell’s competition.
The appliance includes Subversion, Apache, a fully supported version of Linux and WANdisco’s award-winning multi-site replication technology that allows distributed developers to collaborate at LAN-speed over a WAN, instead of working in silos.
Qnap Systems announced a six-bay (9TB), Intel Atom-based version of its family of “TS” network-attached storage (NAS) devices. The hot-swappable TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS runs Linux on a 1.6GHz Atom N270, and offers RAID 0-6 support, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, an an iSCSI target server.
As I’ve just written on Open Enterprise, the rise of the ultraportable/netbook was one of free software’s biggest successes – and surprises – last year. It was particularly important for getting GNU/Linux into the hands of punters, many of whom were quite happy with it, contrary to the conventional wisdom.
Alongside price and performance, GNU/Linux has another advantage here Because Intel dominates the desktop as completely as Windows does (and largely for the same reason of duopolistic synergy), we tend to forget that Microsoft’s main operating system only runs on Intel. That was not always the case: some years ago, Windows ran on other chips too, but these were dropped as Intel came to dominate, and Microsoft lost interest.
GNU/Linux, by contrast, has been ported to more and more hardware, because hackers were and are intrigued by the challenge of doing so.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced an X86-compatible chipset for ultra-portable laptops. With its Athlon “Neo MV-40″ CPU that resurrects the venerable K8 core, the solderable AMD Yukon chipset could prove interesting for low-cost rugged boards and devices running Linux, though no lifecycle guarantees have been announced.
One of the neatest developments to come along to personal computing has been the netbook. Netbooks are small, ultra portable laptops (weighing in at about two pounds) that give you basic computing with long battery life (five to seven hours!). You can surf the web, send email, type a document, watch youtube videos, etc. And the price tag is pretty neat, too. Netbooks cost anywhere from $250.00 to about $400.00 depending on the amount of memory, size and type of hard drive, and the size of the display.
Now that my work was done I decided to look for an FPS game that would run on my new EEE PC 900. The EEE PC 900 is not a graphics powerhouse so I took a look at the Cube game engine.
THE GROWING MARKET for netbooks is helping drive Linux adoption around the world according to a new report from star-gazers at Forrester.
The report, Netbooks are the third PC form factor, reckons Netbooks have driven adoption of Linux all over the place, except – naturally – in the USA.
“While Linux-based netbooks have not gained much consumer acceptance in the US, their success varies greatly by geographical market. In developing countries, Linux-based Eee PCs have fared better,” said Forrester analyst J P Gownder.
I did a little experiment over the summer. I installed Ubuntu Linux on the family PC and walked away. That’s right! I left them there hanging – no support, whatsoever! Guess what? Not one, I REPEAT, not one said “I want my Windows XP back!’. With Firefox, Pidgin and OpenOffice they were cooking with gas and I neither got food burned nor was short-sheeted.
The Exeda is touted as an “unusual development platform,” and, indeed, we haven’t seen one quite like it. On the software side, the device is said to be supplied with the open source U-boot boot loader, allowing it to boot into Angstrom Linux and the Google-sponsored Android Linux platform, as well as Windows CE 6.0 and Windows Mobile (pictured here). CompuLab says the Exeda includes complete BSPs (board support packages) plus detailed documentation.
Big news in the G1 jailbreak world today. The guys at the xda-developers forum have snagged RC29 and RC7 firmware images. By copying these to a FAT32-formatted SD card, you can flash these already signed images to your G1 and jailbreak your G1.
I’ve made a point to choose games that are at least somewhat recent (if not very recent concerning releases) so that they run a-okay on your computer.
But the trend I like the most is openness. Our industry continues to invest in integration and interoperability. Even those with the most to lose – like Microsoft, Oracle, BEA and SAP – have come around to the inevitability of open architectures and alternative software delivery models. We continue to move toward reusability, components for easy software construction, APIs that really interface, and platforms that accelerate interoperability.
DSS, Inc. has announced that its vxVistA product a Veterans Affairs VistA distribution that is CCHIT certified will now be open source under the Eclipse Public License (clarification: the EPL’ed version will not be CCHIT certified although they will share much of the same code)…
The Stanford University-trained computer scientist is chief executive of Mozilla, maker of the Firefox Web browser, which broke Microsoft’s hold on the market so it couldn’t dominate the Internet the way it does computer operating systems. About 95% of Web surfers used Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in 2004; now 20% use Firefox, and other companies are offering browsers that are smarter and faster than ever before.
Matthew Sacks and Peter Kronowitt discuss how the Moblin project is innovating mobile software development and the future of the mobile device arena.
Peter Kronowitt: As you point out, hundreds of millions of cell phones are sold each year, and the vast majority are proprietary. eMarketer estimates that the number of people using handheld devices to access the Internet will triple by 2012, and more than 20% of all mobile phone subscribers will also use their phones to access the Internet. Also, Linux as a percentage of the total smartphone market is expected to grow. Symbian is moving to open source, but it will take some time for the project and the community to mature. Between Linux, Symbian, the maturity of the software stack, and the pace of open source innovation, it makes sense that open source will continue its fast-paced growth.
Richard Fontana, Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel from Red Hat, joins us for an in-depth interview.
Footbo, the leading football (soccer) social network, announced today that it has selected Kaltura, Inc. (http://www.kaltura.com), developer of the first open source video platform for video management, creation, interaction, and collaboration, for full management of the site’s rich-media content, and for supporting interactive rich media capabilities for its users to upload and comment on video content.
Welcome to 2009! With the new year comes a brand new release of FreeSWITCH. We are pleased to announce that version 1.0.2 is now available. It has been more than five months since the last official release, but the development team and community have been very busy during that time. We’ll first look at the new offerings in 1.0.2 and then we’ll break out the sunglasses and look at the bright future of FreeSWITCH.
Adding a slightly different perspective on what companies need to do to stay afloat, open source software vendor Red Hat’s APJ president, Gery Messer, told BizIT that the biggest challenge this year is to help businesses realise the value of open source.
‘Open source delivers value through the subscription model which enables companies to change their IT spending from CapEx (capital expenditure) to OpEx (operational expenditure).’ Open source also delivers the value of customer – and community – driven innovation, Mr Messer said.
I’d clarify that to say that managers feeling it’s dangerous doesn’t actually make it so — but it does make it so for all intents and purposes in the corporate environment, when it comes to technology implementation decisions. When the higher-up says “I think the closed source software offering is better, because I have these concerns about the open source software alternative,” his or her subordinate (and perhaps more technically inclined) IT worker will eventually reach a point where he or she must either make decisions limited by the manager’s fears or polish his resume. Take it from someone who knows from personal experience.
If you’re looking for a way to take and organize notes, hardcore Linux users will tell you that Vim or Emacs is the only way to go. While they’re both excellent solutions, neither are for the faint of heart. There are plenty of note management options out there — Tomboy and BasKet, for instance — but why not ratchet things up a notch and create a digital journal instead.
The E360 CE server is offered as a free version and includes the GPLd Sheetster™ Web spreadsheet featuring collaboration tools such as real time document collaboration, document chat, and fine-grained role-based security and document sharing.
It is also free. R is an open-source program, and its popularity reflects a shift in the type of software used inside corporations. Open-source software is free for anyone to use and modify. I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Dell make billions of dollars a year selling servers that run the open-source Linux operating system, which competes with Windows from Microsoft. Most Web sites are displayed using an open-source application called Apache, and companies increasingly rely on the open-source MySQL database to store their critical information. Many people view the end results of all this technology via the Firefox Web browser, also open-source software.
This, like Garrett’s earlier points, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Saving jobs and securing activity is not more important than ever if those jobs and that economic activity are inefficient, unnecessary or hinder other important economic activity from taking place. Historically, almost every example of government protectionism has been to protect exactly those types of jobs and economic activity, and the end result is disastrous. Rather than adapting to changes in the market, the protected industry holds onto the past, while those industries in other countries adapt, evolve and improve. In the end, the “protected” industry simply can’t compete, the jobs are lost anyway, and it’s much more difficult for the new industry in those countries to grow and catch up to foreign competitors.
In the initial news about Apple going DRM-free, I saw it reported that Apple would let you convert your existing files to DRM-free. However, what was left out of the reports I saw (though, people in our comments pointed it out) was that Apple wants to charge you $0.30 for the privilege of getting rid of the DRM.
As 2008 has proven – draconian digital restrictions management (DRM) does not stop people from illicitly using computer games. Spore, whose DRM was so bad they got ratings bombed on Amazon.com, was the most pirated game of 2008. The DRM caused hassles for legitimate users and did nothing to stop illicit use. This is always the case. Ever since the beginning of DRM on video games there have been people getting around it. These DRM schemes are not cheap. They are licensed from companies who tell the video game companies that this is the only way to protect their games.
Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day
Digital Tipping Point: Marcelo Marques, visionary security networks entrepreneur 11 (2004)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
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Deed and reward
THERE IS A GOOD REASON for keeping track of characters that attack ODF. Several months ago, Microsoft hired a journalist who had constantly wrestled with ODF in the press. It also hired a BBC executive who had fought against GNU/Linux users in the United Kingdom. These hirings might be coincidental, but it seems unlikely. People who develop a vendetta against Free(dom) software are sometimes asked to “plant” stories for Microsoft [1, 2]. They are obviously assimilated and like-minded (they fit Microsoft’s corporate culture), so may expect to be rewarded somehow. There is nothing fishy about paying someone ‘compensation’ in the form of an weekly paycheck, eh? So they think.
The Burton Group was one of the main forces that fought against ODF. Leading this effort was Peter O’Kelly, whose group relentlessly caused harm to real standards [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. This group will attack anyone, products or business competitors that Microsoft considers as threats to its market dominance.
Well, guess who Microsoft has just hired?
IT market watcher Peter O’Kelly has joined a number of other former industry analysts who’ve taken the Red Pill and joined Microsoft over the past few years.
O’Kelly hinted in his blog post that some of his former IT analyst colleagues also are part of his new collaboration team. O’Kelly didn’t name any names or provide further details on exactly what the new team will do.
However, it’s apparent that he has brought some friends along.
This was the main man responsible for poisoning the minds of journalists and producing pro-Microsoft (and anti-ODF) material, for which he received lucrative consulting contracts from Microsoft. That’s how it typically works. Speaking of journalists, why are none of the English-speaking papers covering the major news from Brazil (re: ODF adoption)? It’s the same with Germany at the moment.
Anyway, to conclude and summarise, the example above shows a potential recipe for disinformation being manufactured, which Microsoft's evangelism presentations further validate:
- Ask an analyst to conduct study proving some hypothesis, then hire the analyst to consult. It’s a form of reward or sponsorship for the study, which does not count as sponsorship. It’s a loophole.
- Ask an analyst to conduct study proving some hypothesis and a year later hire this analyst This arouses less suspicion because people are forgetful and the study has had time to be absorbed and make impact.
- Ask an analyst to embark on a ‘study’ that proves some prescribed hypothesis, then have the analyst charge large amounts of money to obtain a copy of the full report. The company and its allies can then purchase many copies of the report, thus compensating rather than sponsoring.
It’s a simple exercise in money-following. The Burton Group charges a lot of money for its reports, and it’s not alone. Who would be interested in buying the study (sometimes it costs thousands of dollars per copy) and spreading it among CIOs to make a case? This gives plenty of room for strategy (3), not just (1) which for a fact applies here.
Microsoft must have given Peter O’Kelly a lot of money to give those presentations in Redmond (about document standards) after he had published that ‘study’. Lastly, (2) applies here too, according to the news. Options (4) and (5) would probably involve sponsoring the analysts firm or its study somehow, but why do it in such a blunt and obvious way when there are sophisticated tricks and loopholes?
Burton Group: zero credibility. █
“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
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Novell’s chief forker of OpenOffice.org is already obtaining software patents. Actually, we gave many more such examples prior to that. Novell is not opposed to the notion of software patents; in fact, it carries on filing for more of them and then uses them as a selling point [1, 2]. Here are the latest additions:
Construction, manipulation, and comparison of a multidimensional semantic space , patent No. 7,475,008, invented by Delos C. Jensen of Orem, and Stephen R. Carter of Spanish Fork, assigned to Novell, Inc. of Provo.
Communication interface for providing accounting support for print services , patent No. 7,475,031, invented by F. Devon Taylor of Pleasant Grove, Bart Dahneke of Provo, Dale J. Bethers of Pleasant Grove, and Brad P. Christensen of Alpine, assigned to Novell, Inc. of Provo.
What good are these patents anyway? What will Novell do with them?
Some Other Software Patenting News
There are several new reports out there about digital TV companies joining forces (spearheaded by the Coalition to Terminate Financial Abuses of the Television Transmission) to protest against ‘intellectual’ destruction of the digital TVs sector in the US, due to tactlessness in patenting. Vizio lends its voice.
HDTV company Vizio is petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to lower patent fees for digital TVs, claiming they are excessive, unregulated and costing consumers more than $1 billion and counting.
“This is the great untold story of the transition to digital television,” said Amos Snead, spokesman for the Coalition to Terminate Financial Abuses of the Television Transmission, or CUT FATT, which Vizio is backing. “Since 2007, American consumers have been paying more than 20 to 30 times what consumers in Europe and Japan pay in royalties for basically the same technologies.
Earlier on we also mentioned Microsoft newly-found strategy as a patent-hoarding company [1, 2]. Well, Microsoft has just been sued.
Both patents are entitled, “Computer System Security Method and Apparatus for Creating and Using Program Authorization Information Data Structures,” and relate specifically to the technology and manner of use employed by the technology for security software.
Microsoft wanted software patents? It got them. But will it ever learn? Will Novell? █
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Penetration from the inside
WE FORESAW THIS a long time ago [1, 2, 3] only to see it becoming more of a reality over time [1, 2]. EMC deserves a lot of the blame and Ignition Partners may have done the same thing to XenSource.
Virtualisation is important to Microsoft because it can easily determine which operating systems or GNU/Linux distributions gain access to servers. That’s where Novell comes into play [1, 2, 3, 4].
Here is the news about VMware appointing yet another Softie as a leader.
Maybe it’s time for VMware to officially set up shop in Seattle. Today, the virtualization spin out from EMC announced that former Microsoft and Crossgain executive Tod Nielsen is joining the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company as chief operating officer.
He will report directly to former Microsoft vice president and Seattle resident Paul Maritz, who took over the CEO post at VMware in July. In fact, EMC — the majority shareholder of VMware — has been making some very interesting moves in the Seattle area recently.
So the CEO and the COO are both executives from Microsoft. It’s like a military COO [pun] (Coup d’état) to overthrow the previous leadership. XenSource too had had a Microsoft General Manager put in charge of such position [1, 2, 3, 4] before it sold out to Microsoft’s soul mate, Citrix. Surely they’ll become the technical equivalent of "Client States" to Microsoft. it’s a move against GNU/Linux and those who use it. █
“Every time you use Google, you’re using a machine running the Linux kernel.”
–Chris DiBona, Google
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“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”
–Marshall Phelps, Microsoft
A SUBJECT THAT we last covered two days ago is Microsoft’s alignment with software patents as a business strategy. Further to this, let us consider the effect of its intimidation alone on GNU/Linux [via Digital Majority].
Companies also can use their patent portfolios to disrupt competitors and gain revenue from companies that want to use their patented technologies. Microsoft, for example, has made claims that it holds patents for technologies in Linux, which open-source proponents viewed as a tactic to discourage people from using open-source software.
According to this, “Microsoft’s Patent Group oversees nearly 10,000 issued US patents, with more than 17,000 US patents pending, as well as the growing portfolio of more than 30,000 issued and pending patents filed internationally.”
So, whilst axing workforce, they show no signs of cutting down on software patents. Judging by the low standards at the US patent office, many of these patents do a better service at intimidation rather than action. But there are exceptions. Here for example is an incident involving a soft patent that has just had Oprah Winfrey sued. From the more opinionated news summary:
Joe Mullin is back to let us know about the latest patent insanity, starting with a post about a whole bunch of patent infringement lawsuits based on patents held by Scott Harris. You may recall Harris because he was a lawyer for a big law firm, but was quietly filing patents on the side, and then apparently working out deals whereby other companies licensed those patents to be used in infringement lawsuits against big companies — including companies represented by the very same firm Harris worked for.
ow, my critics will be the first to point out that I’m no patent attorney, but reading over the patent, it certainly appears to be a patent on displaying a book online. How is that possibly patentable material?
Worse things have already been patented, and sometimes even used in lawsuits. Here is an example from Boxing Day.
Is This Necessary?
People like Glyn Moody, a mathematician by practice but journalist by trade, denounce the core idea of patents even more broadly. Citing other articles, they show how much damage is caused by what ought to be referred to an “intellectual monopolies”. Here are two new examples:
1. The Once and Future Economy
This is yet another reason why the lock down of knowledge by intellectual monopolies is simply unacceptable in a world that will be predicated on sharing digital stuff, just as we used to share the physical stuff that Nature gave us a few hundred thousand years ago.
2. The (Intellectual Monopoly) Biter Bit
The author of a proposed Chilean law to fight copyright infringement was greeted with the warning message “This copy of Microsoft Office is not genuine” when he was making a presentation about it.
Here is Siemens shipping an hefty bill for intersection of ideas or inspiration. Shouldn’t it be shipping products instead?
Siemens reckoned Seagate had infringed a group of patents it thought it owned concerned with multi-layer hard disk drive sensor technology in GMR (Giant Magneto-Resistive) read heads. Siemens claimed up to $1bn in damages, based on all Seagate hard drives shipping since 2000 using its patented technology. Subsequently this was reduced to $366m, which it calculated as a three per cent royalty on Seagate HDD sales of $12.2bn in the relevant period. The judge then restricted the damages claim to royalties on disk drive sales after November 24 2004, which amounted to $160m.
This is not a soft patent, but nonetheless, such a confrontation shows little innovative value; it’s litigation and bureaucracy. It makes for hostile environments where solicitors are the main benefactors. █
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Don’t give in to Microsoft
THE MYTH OF an invincible, unavoidable and inevitable Microsoft is not justified. There are apparently redundancies to be announced shortly.
In a report today, Goldman Sachs’ Sarah Friar says layoffs at Microsoft are “likely” and would be “good for the shares.”
We wrote about this several days ago and even IDG covers it.
Combine these gloomy prospects with the widespread expectation that Microsoft’s revenues may fall short of expectations for the first quarter since 2000, and there certainly seem to be hard times ahead for the gang from Redmond.
There are also some enlightening comments about Microsoft layoffs. So who would actually be willing to join in? Who would give up on basic principles?
Melvin Calimag, an author who has mostly published Linux-hostile articles (examples in [1, 2]) since his journey to Redmond, is now doing another article about Microsoft’s embrace-and-extend of open source in the Philippines. Their motives ought to be clear [1, 2, 3].
With interoperability as a goal, Microsoft Philippines has forged a deal with a Filipino-owned open source software development house to “jointly build developer tools” and to “enable the creation of more interoperable programs.”
Translation: it needs to run on Windows.
The American software giant’s partnership with Exist Global is the first such deal that Microsoft has formed with an open source company in the Philippines.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft has lately been accelerating its collaboration with the open source industry. The company announced last September the opening in the Philippines of its first interoperability lab in Asia located at the CICT building in Quezon City. It also said it will soon unveil a similar facility at the University of the Philippines.
Under the partnership, Microsoft is providing information including software development kits, technical documentation and other publicly available materials, as well as Microsoft software that will aid Exist develop the data testing and integration tools.
“The importance of strong integration into Visual Studio for the adoption of .Net projects will be paramount. The support and contribution from Microsoft through this partnership will ensure that. There is also strong demand for automated testing being an essential part of automated builds, and provision of a .Net testing project like NFixture will meet that demand,” Damarillo noted.
As we wrote a month ago, seeing Winston Damarillo sell out like this is disappointing, but Dana Blankenhorn tries denying that there is a problem with it.
Unholy, Sparky? Really? The story describes a deal between Winston Demarillo’s Exist Global and Microsoft to “enable the creation of more interoperable programs.”
This ZDNet blog is also feeding Steve Ballmer's friends at Gartner. In the same blog on the same very day, and courtesy of Paula Rooney: “Gartner doles out sobering predictions for open source use in the enterprise for next 5 years.” This group’s lack of integrity didn’t prevent Bob Sutor from referencing this either. It’s important to be aware that Gartner contributes to confusion around the term “open source” — much like Microsoft desires. █
“David Smith commented that Gartner will not bash MS if MS chooses to slip Vista.”
–Jamin Spilzer, Microsoft
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WE WROTE ABOUT this antitrust exhibit several days ago. Now it’s another man’s turn at OLPC News:
The quid pro quo is handled a bit more subtly inside Microsoft – naturally, as they’re quite practiced – and we learn that Microsoft Research already intends to reduce MIT Media Lab funding, but has not done so specifically because they don’t want to “disrupt the negotiations”.
Finally, in case you think I’ve failed to mention it: there is never any talk of “the best technology” or “educating or empowering children” or “customers/governments want Windows” or any such merit-based discussion. Outside of a brief mention of Academic Software offerings – literally the very last thing in the recap and suggested by the OLPC faction – the entire discussion revolves around what benefits Microsoft, what might hurt Google, and exploiting inside information they have on the OLPC project and OLPC people.
What a nice company. █
“My children – in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.”
–Steve Ballmer (on CNN)
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