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

    Links for the day



  2. 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



  3. 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



  4. '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



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

    New article from Richard Stallman



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  8. 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]



  9. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  12. 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



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

    Links for the day



  14. 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



  15. 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



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

    Links for the day



  17. 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



  18. 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



  19. 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



  20. 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



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

    Links for the day



  22. 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



  23. 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



  24. 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



  25. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  26. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  27. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    Links for the day



  28. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli's Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

    Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli's EPO has become



  29. Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance

    EPO staff at all levels is revolting against the management of the EPO, whose dismissal seems to be only a matter of time



  30. Links 9/12/2014: Greg Kroah-Hartman Interview, Fedora 21 Imminent

    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