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

02.10.09

Impressed by OpenOffice, Bill Gates Schemes to Use Software Patents Against It

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenOffice, Patents at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates (when Microsoft was smaller)

THE sheer hypocrisy rears its ugly head. Bill Gates applied to Open/StarOffice the same strategy (and hypocrisy) that he applies to GNU/Linux. Having realised that Microsoft faces competitive pressure from more affordable products, he reaches out for his software patents cabinet. It’s a complete change compared to the company’s philosophy as reflected in the quote above. Nowadays, as Microsoft’s Marshall Phelps points it, “other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio.”

Eric Rudder, a manager whose role we witnessed in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], brings up the following article from CNET to inform Bill Gates:

Software maker Star Division said today that it is offering the latest version of its desktop application suite for free download off its corporate Web site.

StarOffice 5.0 Personal Edition is a productivity package which runs on Windows 95, 98, NT, Solaris, Linux, O/S 2, and Java, and consists of word processing, spreadsheet, graphic design, presentation, database front-end, HTML editing, mail, event calendar, and formula editing applications.

Here is the reply from Gates, as seen in Exhibit px04023 (1998) [PDF]. This was sent to Jon DeVann, Steven Sinofsky, and Bill Neukom, with a carbon copy going to John Mason.

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Monday, December 07 1998 8:28 PM
To: Jon DeVann; Steven Sinofsky; Bill Neukom (LCA)
Cc: John Mason (LCA)
Subject: FW: free desktop suite from star

Importance: Low

Attorney client privileged

An Interesting development…

At some point we will have to consider the patents they violate.

I am unclear of what their business strategy is with the free version. It is a good product developed by a surprisingly lean team of people.

What led to this patent fetish after denouncing patents when Microsoft was a small company? And again, Gates used the same strategy against GNU/Linux, as other memos from Comes vs Microsoft have shown. It continues to this date because Steve Ballmer says the darnest things, e.g. “People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”

This is merely the tip of the Comes vs Microsoft iceberg. It’s an unexplored treasure trove which appeared only briefly before Microsoft paid a fortune to make it vanish (in 2007). There’s plenty more where that came from.

The exhibit is added below, in full.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px04023, as text


From: Bill Gates
Sent: Monday, December 07 1998 8:28 PM
To: Jon DeVann; Steven Sinofsky; Bill Neukom (LCA)
Cc: John Mason (LCA)
Subject: FW: free desktop suite from star

Importance: Low

Attorney client privileged

An Interesting development…

At some point we will have to consider the patents they violate.

I am unclear of what their business strategy is with the free version. It is a good product developed by a surprisingly lean team of people.

—Original Message—

From: Eric Rudder
Sent: Monday, December 07 1998 1:55 PM
To: Bill Gates
Subject: free desktop suite from star

Subject: free desktop suite from star

Star offers desktop suite for free
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0%2C4%2C29599%2C00.HTML?DD.NE.TX.FS2.1207

it’s scary the corel’s code is potentially in play too … if i were oracle or sun, i’d think abt either supporting star, or picking up a snapshot of corel really cheaply, and offering at an insanely low price.

-eric

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

2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    February 10, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Gravatar

    Looks like he failed to use patents against OO and had to play format and patent games with OOXML. Their previous failure does not bode well for their current efforts but their failure to gain traction with OOXML makes this a moot point. The best and most natural thing that can happen is for people to use ODF instead of M$’s disfunctional non standards.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Gravatar

    They actually signed a related patent deal with Sun and in May 2007 they threatened OOo in public, using mythical software patents they refuse to specify.

What Else is New


  1. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  2. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  3. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  4. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  5. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  6. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  7. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  8. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  9. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  10. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  11. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  12. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  13. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  15. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  16. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  18. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  19. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  20. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  21. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  22. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  23. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  24. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  25. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  26. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  27. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  28. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day



  29. Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

    Links for the day



  30. Finance Watch (Watching What's Not Being Watched): Economic Warfare/Class Injustice

    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