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

01.18.09

Why Microsoft Wants to Put .NET/Mono in Devices

Posted in Antitrust, DRM, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell & Miguel de Icaza help Microsoft

SOME people may be wondering why Microsoft’s partners want Mono in LiMo and why Miguel de Icaza is so keen on putting Mono inside Android [1, 2]. Microsoft Windows CE/Mobile is not doing well in this area, so the company wants its Intellectual Monopolies to ‘infect’ competitors’ devices. Today we’ll show evidence from Microsoft, in the form of E-mails that came through antitrust litigation.

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

In today’s evidence, Microsoft discusses the failure of Windows CE and the last resort — a need to “license” from competing operating systems, as we shall show at the bottom.

In a world or a nation where software patents are seen as legitimate, ownership need not be physical alone, so there is wiggling room. How to do all that? Formats, programs (like codecs) and .NET, even DRM.

As a timely plug from the news, Ryan Paul is boosting Mono again. It’s ‘infecting’ iPhone and Wii, two devices that Microsoft is very much afraid of.

According to Novell’s lead Mono developer, Miguel de Icaza, several applications in Apple’s App Store are powered by Mono. This might come as a bit of a surprise to those familiar with Apple’s highly restrictive application inclusion policies, because the company strictly prohibits developers from using interpreted languages and third-party runtime environments—a constraint that largely rules out technologies like .NET and Java.

Many comments appear in the accompanying OS News pointer. Mono is very controversial for various reasons.

Arstechnica reports that Mono, an open source implementation of .NET runtime, is bringing Microsoft’s development technologies to some unexpected places, including the iPhone, Android, and the Wii.

Mono continues to evolve and sneak into areas that are legal minefields, by admission from the most stubborn defenders of Mono, such as Dan O’Brian. From Heise:

Version 2.2 of Mono, the open source alternative to Microsoft’s .NET framework, is now available.

Evidence of Microsoft’s plans for Mono/.NET we have covered using antitrust material before (E-mails from inside Microsoft). But today we move on and look at Comes vs. Microsoft Exhibit px07010 [PDF], which we translated entirely by hand (it’s too poorly scanned). We address this reverse chronologically, just like in the exhibit.

In this “Highly Confidential” set of E-mails from 2001, Microsoft’s Alex Limberis writes:

  • Customer visit evidence that 50% plus is Linux
  • CE’s POR market data pointing to only less than 10% market share
  • Support from MSTV agreeing we need to support all OSes

He is talking about set-top boxes. For context, Alex Limberis was “Director of Wireless, Broadband and Consumer Electronics” at Microsoft between 2000 and 2004.

Microsoft’s Amir Majidimehr, who left Microsoft a year ago, writes:

In Korea, clearly the format is dragging the OS in. But elsewhere in the world, where we having nothing close to 90% (or even 90%) marketshare, the OS is selected first.

Microsoft wants to control the format (or API) and it uses Korea as an example. Just watch the Korea/ActiveX situation [1, 2, 3].

I think the situation is rather simple (although the decision is not). When we asked for permission to take our format everywhere 2.5 years ago, no one blinked. JimAll himself said it was just fine to go on embedded Linux. Of course, this was at a time when people though we brought no compelling value.

Control the format, control the minds.

Now, contrast this with the situation in Korea where WMT has a 90% share. Last time I was there, I think they said they have something like a dozen WinCE stb wins, all because of WMT. You better not say anything about supporting Linux or the ESG guys escort you out to the airport!

Eureka moment:

So, the story at both extremes is very clear. When we had no value, we could be everywhere. And where we have ultimate value, then we must be on our own platform. The question is, when do you make the switch?

Integration and dependency:

[Alex Limberis] To be a format means render everywhere. The key to OS success is to create the value proposition from a compelling combination of ease of use, time to market and features of which WM, IE, real time kernel, IP stack, etc. etc. is part of the package.

Kind of like .NET versus Mono… and Moonlight with Microsoft’s proprietary codecs. To quote further:

With nearly zero design wins for video, and strong threat of MPEG-4, I would say this is no time to be picky. We must establish our base as we have done with audio. The stronger we become, the more value we can provide to the other assets of the company. We need to be the “icing on the cake and not the cake itself” when it comes to WinCE! This is not what happened PocketPC.

Linux-powered devices like TiVo are then mentioned:

[Alex Limberis] In the case of audio, we were not facing a “thick” os. The CE team never felt threatened by the OS as it were running on RIO. They are threatened by the OS running on a Moto, Replay TV, Ti Vo etc. that could support our format. This is our internal challenge.

Then it’s back to media formats and their power as a “standard” (which is controlled by Microsoft through bundling or added value… even software patents).

I always come back to; we are FM radio, or NTSC TV we must render on everything regardless of what shape, form or OS choice the gizmo is made from. CE must win on the total value of proposition of ease of use and integration of technologies including WM. In total power cost to deploy.

Linux and the GPL are mentioned as an “issue” (because Microsoft hates them both, of course).

His expressed sentiment seems to be the blocker for us moving forward and not the Linux GPL issue.

Here is why Mono may merely be a path towards Windows and Visual Studio in the long term:

I don’t know what other argument to make other than we must have 100% of the nodes available to us to be a successful format, and no matter how you slice, dice, justify and segment CE doesn’t have anywhere near 100%. Then we get into the belief that having WM in account helps move them to a Win OS in the future.

It then moves on to .NET:

The .net argument doesn’t cut it. Doesn’t .net need to run on everything also?

Here is a key part which is very telling:

2. As I mentioned on the call, WMT is one of the main distinguishing features of WinCE. To offer it on Linux (starting with STBs and then extending to other devices as well) robs us of our competitive edge.
3. While you mentioned that you will start by offering only the codecs and Udl on Linux today, I am very worried that a year from now, you will need to bow to customer demand and offer WMP and DRM as well at that stage. And by that time, the horse may have bolted too far for us to lock the gates.
4. There was mention of OEMs such as Pace, Moto, Nokia moving to Linux today. It is true that many OEMs are playing around with Linux today (since it is the easiest for developers to kick tires on)….however, most of the same OEMs mentioned above are moving to a WinCE platform as we discuss this. And the move in most cases has been driven by their need for WMT – if you take that away, we lose the battle before it begins.

We understand the need for DMD to proliferate the format … however, if it is at the expense of our embedded OSs, I fear that it can hurt us in the long run. Especially when you consider that part of enabling the .NET vision is to embed our OSs in devices of all forms going forward – hence our apprehension.

Here is the bit about “we must license onto the competing OSes” in order to compensate for Windows’ failure in this space.

I guess the net of it from DMD’s perspective is only 6% of the world is going to be CE based we must license onto the competing OSes.

So there. They want to pollute the competition with their own technology. They see this as a gaining strategy.

“As many of you may know, we’ve actually kind of broadened the product portfolio of Visual Studio, targeting all the way from the low end with students and hobbyists, kind of competitive in that Linux space, making sure that every developer has a copy of .NET and is trained in writing .NET solutions. [...] I think it will really help us in our competition with open source.”

Eric Rudder, Senior Vice President, Microsoft


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px07010, as text


From: Alex Limberis
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 9:25 PM
To: Amir Majidimehr; Will Poole; Kurt Buecheler
Subject: RE: STB ms data

I want to paint a clear picture for us. If you really do add value by holding on for MS OS’s then we shouldn’t sell ourselves short.

Question to Will. How much data do we need to make the point?

We have

  • Customer visit evidence that 50% plus is Linux
  • CE’s POR market data pointing to only less than 10% market share
  • Support from MSTV agreeing we need to support all OSes

—– Original Message ——
From: Amir Majidimehr
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 3:34PM
To: Alex Limberis; Will Poole; Kurt Buecheler
Subject: RE: STB ms data

In Korea, clearly the format is dragging the OS in. But elsewhere in the world, where we having nothing close to 90% (or even 90%) marketshare, the OS is selected first.

Amir

—– Original Message ——
From: Alex Limberis
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 11:17 PM
To: Amir Majidimehr; Will Poole; Kurt Buecheler
Subject: RE: STB ms data

I want to both quantify the positive, i.e. the Korean example as well as the current situation appearing in other markets where it seems the OS/processor decision was made first and the format is made second. Do we have more concrete data, i.e. where is the 90% WMT share? Other comment in line

—– Original Message ——
From: Amir Majidimehr
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 11:04PM
To: Alex Limberis; Will Poole; Kurt Buecheler
Subject: RE: STB ms data

I think the situation is rather simple (although the decision is not). When we asked for permission to take our format everywhere 2.5 years ago, no one blinked. JimAll himself said it was just fine to go on embedded Linux. Of course, this was at a time when people


though we brought no compelling value.

Now, contrast this with the situation in Korea where WMT has a 90% share. Last time I was there, I think they said they have something like a dozen WinCE stb wins, all because of WMT. You better not say anything about supporting Linux or the ESG guys escort you out to the airport!

So, the story at both extremes is very clear. When we had no value, we could be everywhere. And where we have ultimate value, then we must be on our own platform. The question is, when do you make the switch?

[Alex Limberis] To be a format means render everywhere. The key to OS success is to create the value proposition from a compelling combination of ease of use, time to market and features of which WM, IE, real time kernel, IP stack, etc. etc. is part of the package.

With nearly zero design wins for video, and strong threat of MPEG-4, I would say this is no time to be picky. We must establish our base as we have done with audio. The stronger we become, the more value we can provide to the other assets of the company. We need to be the “icing on the cake and not the cake itself” when it comes to WinCE! This is not what happened PocketPC.

[Alex Limberis] In the case of audio, we were not facing a “thick” os. The CE team never felt threatened by the OS as it were running on RIO. They are threatened by the OS running on a Moto, Replay TV, Ti Vo etc. that could support our format. This is our internal challenge.

Amir

—– Original Message ——
From: Alex Limberis
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 10:32 PM
To: Will Poole; Kurt Buecheler; Amir Majidimehr
Subject: RE: STB ms data

If WMT is the Holy grail, then I’d hate to take it away from them, and we should feel damn proud that we have created such a compelling value that they will switch OSes just to get WMT. Great job all, we have won!

However, I’m not convinced that our position is that strong.
I always come back to; we are FM radio, or NTSC TV we must render on everything regardless of what shape, form or OS choice the gizmo is made from. CE must win on the total value of proposition of ease of use and integration of technologies including WM. In total power cost to deploy.

His expressed sentiment seems to be the blocker for us moving forward and not the Linux GPL issue. I don’t know what other argument to make other than we must have 100% of the nodes available to us to be a successful format, and no matter how you slice, dice, justify and segment CE doesn’t have anywhere near 100%. Then we get into the belief that having WM in account helps move them to a Win OS in the future. I believe that, but he doesn’t.

Second, he has what I believe is the misunderstanding of the value of the OS vs. format. He believes they will pick the format and then figure out what OS is needed to support the format. Where, I believe that the OS is critical to the box decision. Motorola chose the PowerPC based on the fact that they own part of the processor and then created a box with compelling applications.

The .net argument doesn’t cut it. Doesn’t .net need to run on everything also?


Thoughts, before I jump on them?

—– Original Message ——
From: Srivats Srinivasan
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 5:14 PM
To: Alex Limberis
Cc: Takeshi Numoto
Subject: RE: STB ms data

Alex -

thanks for inviting us on the call today. First to answer your question below – this is IDC 2001 data and while WinCE share is shown as fairly small (Linux is even smaller)… and we expect the WinCE share to grow faster now that we’re actually putting resources behind this effort at our end.

Based on the conversation then, we have a few concerns that we need to discuss/address -
1. based on the feedback that we’ve got from customers, the most likely scenario appeas to be that the NetOp or Telco makes a format decision and then dictates to the OEM what box to build to meet those needs, i.e. the OS decision is minor and is not a casual factor in the process.
2. As I mentioned on the call, WMT is one of the main distinguishing features of WinCE. To offer it on Linux (starting with STBs and then extending to other devices as well) robs us of our competitive edge.
3. While you mentioned that you will start by offering only the codecs and Udl on Linux today, I am very worried that a year from now, you will need to bow to customer demand and offer WMP and DRM as well at that stage. And by that time, the horse may have bolted too far for us to lock the gates.
4. There was mention of OEMs such as Pace, Moto, Nokia moving to Linux today. It is true that many OEMs are playing around with Linux today (since it is the easiest for developers to kick tires on)….however, most of the same OEMs mentioned above are moving to a WinCE platform as we discuss this. And the move in most cases has been driven by their need for WMT – if you take that away, we lose the battle before it begins.

We understand the need for DMD to proliferate the format … however, if it is at the expense of our embedded OSs, I fear that it can hurt us in the long run. Especially when you consider that part of enabling the .NET vision is to embed our OSs in devices of all forms going forward – hence our apprehension.

—– Original Message ——
From: Alex Limberis
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 1:19 PM
To: Srivats Srinivasan; Phil Corman; Den Polling
Subject: RE: STB ms data

Thanks, what was the source of this data? I guess the net of it from DMD’s perspective is only 6% of the world is going to be CE based we must license onto the competing OSes.


—– Original Message ——
From: Srivats Srinivasan
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 11:17 AM
To: Alex Limberis, Phil Corman; Den Polling
Subject: STB ms data

Srivats Srinivasan
EAPG
x53975


[end of appendix]

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

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. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  2. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  3. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  4. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  5. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  6. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  7. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  8. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  9. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  10. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  11. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  12. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  13. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  14. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  15. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  16. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  17. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  18. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  19. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  20. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence



  21. Turkey Subjected to the European Patent Convention (EPC) But Benoît Battistelli is Not?

    The ‘constitutional crisis’ at the European Patent Office in the context of Turkey, which has signed "the EPC and as such recognises the competence and the decisions of the institutions which have been introduced in the convention."



  22. Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

    Links for the day



  23. Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

    Links for the day



  24. Personal Audio LLC and Patent Troll Jim Logan Demonstrate the Harms of Software Patents and Why They Must Never Spread to Europe

    Jim Logan of Personal Audio (a notorious Texas-based patent troll) is still fighting with his bogus patent, having already caused enormous damage with a single software patent that should never have been granted in the first place (due to prior art, not just Alice)



  25. The Patent Microcosm Hopes That the Originators of Software Patents Will Undermine the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

    Now that the actions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which have been consistently upheld by the CAFC in precedential decisions, are suddenly being questioned the patent microcosm gets all giddy and tries to undermine PTAB (again)



  26. That Time When the Administrative Council Helped Battistelli Crush Oversight (Audit Committee) and What ILO Said About It a Month Ago

    Things are becoming ever more troublesome at the EPO as the Administrative Council enjoys inaction from the International Labour Organization (ILO), in spite of its role in destroying much-needed oversight at the behest of Battistelli



  27. The EPO's Administrative Council Keeps Postponing Debate About Grounds for Firing the President

    A recollection of events prior to the latest Administrative Council meeting, where Benoît Battistelli's failings and accountability for failing to correct them never even came up



  28. A Surge of Staff Complaints About the European Patent Office Drowns the System, Disservice to Justice Noted

    Self-explanatory graphs about the state of the justice [sic] system which is prejudiced towards/against EPO workers, based on internal reports



  29. Links 16/8/2016: White House Urged by EFF on FOSS, Go 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Links 15/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC2, Glimpses at OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

    Links for the day


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