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

04.11.09

Microsoft’s Armament Against Free Software and Other Software Patents News

Posted in America, Apple, Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cannon
Quiet armament from a not-so-retired Bill Gates

Summary: A close look at Microsoft’s maneuvers that may compromise Free software later on

WE PREVIOUSLY summarised Microsoft's plan against Free software. It’s about software patents and there is a lot going on in Kirkland (Washington) and Bellevue, however quietly.

Bill Gates’ own patent-trolling firm is called Searete [1, 2]. At this early stage it is harvesting patents, but Gates’ friend and massive patent troll, whom he invests money in, is already using his harvest at Intellectual Ventures to bully companies so that they pay patent tax. That is just the nature of patent trolling.

TechFlash is keeping an eye on Searete. Todd Bishop shows that Bill Gates is still adding patents to the arsenal of his very own patents shell.

The patent applications, made public today, were filed by Searete LLC, which is part of Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue-based invention house and patent company. Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s former chief technology officer, runs Intellectual Ventures and is also named among the inventors on the electromagnetic-engine patent applications.

That suggests the filings resulted from one of Intellectual Ventures’ brainstorming sessions, in which Gates has been known to participate.

Was Bill Gates always such a fan of patents? Probably not. He once wrote: “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.” A complete standstill is perhaps a “Good Thing” when Microsoft enjoys dominance in some key areas.

Microsoft’s playbook for patent extortion (hardcover) is a subject that was covered here before [1, 2, 3], but now comes Matt Asay’s turn.

Novell, as Phelps highlights and which CNET recently noted, is an exception to this rule, having approached Microsoft.

As with Novell, Phelps routinely neglects to mention facts that might cast Microsoft’s IP actions in anything less than a warm and glowing light. For instance, he talks up Microsoft’s generous decision to share 30,000 pages of technical documentation, conveniently forgetting to mention that the action was spurred by its desire to get out from under the European Commission’s antitrust eye. (It didn’t quite work.)

[...]

The cheek Phelps uses here is breathtaking. First of all, he reiterates over and over throughout the book that Microsoft is a regular target for firms claiming Microsoft’s technology violates their IP, suggesting that Microsoft may be the one with an IP problem, not open source, which has almost never been the subject of an IP-infringement lawsuit.

Except those funded (or started, as in TomTom) by Microsoft, of course, as SCO’s failed suit against Novell appears to have been. In other words, this pitch-black Microsoft pot is calling a nearly lily-white kettle black, even as it attempts to smear the kettle with black paint.

This is galling in the extreme.

Ironically, Phelps suggests that the open-source charm offensive was all about providing interoperability to customers, but then declares two pages later that IP license agreements “wouldn’t solve the interoperability problem.” Well, of course not. But then, it’s not really about interoperability. Patents are not critical to interoperability, as Microsoft’s deal with Red Hat demonstrates.

[...]

In other words, the old Microsoft seemed to be doing quite well before Phelps made it an active patent tax collector.

This strategy may have already backfired, but Microsoft does not know what else to try. The business models it grew up in (and ruthless/illegal business practices) no longer work.

TomTom Revisited

The TomTom case is closed, but the FAT case is not. This week’s episode of Linux Outlaws covers the topic.

On this special show, we talk about the Microsoft/TomTom settlement and interview Linux Basement’s Chad Wollenberg on open source in schools.

In other interesting news, somebody points out purely technical reasons to bury FAT.

In addition to being an out-of-date filesystem which Microsoft is suing companies over left and right, FAT has some other serious limitations, one of which is a 4GB file size limit. I’m sure at some point, Bill Gates said “4GB ought to be enough for anybody.” ;) Other filesystems which are similarly limited include HFS and ReiserFS.

Glyn Moody goes further and argues that patents and Free software are a subject to be reassessed and resolved in a sort of preemptive fashion. His conclusion:

So, in my view, the OSI should not give in to this blackmail, but should stand firm on the fundamental principle that software patents are an unmitigated harm for free software. It should reject the current proposed licence, and insist that if the MPEG Working Group wishes to benefit from open source, it should play by open source’s rules.

Miguel and Microsoft Embrace and ‘Extend’ GNU/Linux

The ludicrous series from Miguel de Icaza carries on. Looking at the comments in LinuxToday, one person asks why these people are “in denial over the bits revealed by the TomTom episode.”

When you extend so that they can use the extensions themselves rather easily.. but you can’t use their extensions, that is called helping them even further.

What you want to do is to use a platform that is significantly different, one Monopolysoft can’t leverage nearly as much as they can leverage “dotnet”.

Of course, if the mono folks were truly focused on achieving major migrations away from MSdotnet, that may yield some fruit. I think that is a losing effort or at least is inefficient (unless Microsoft were paying you to do that.. riiight) .. and still helps Microsoft more than if they seriously forked from the “standard” or just used something else.

Are the mono folks going to continue to push silver/moonlight? Do they persist on helping Microsoft? Are they in denial over the bits revealed by the TomTom episode?

Microsoft doesn’t have a chance at reason until after they have lost their monopolies and suffered for a while longer. And the mono folks and Novell just aren’t convincing.

From another comment:

Please go on to give Ms a stronghold in the FLOSS world… I do not a know thing that have been more destructive for FLOSS than Mr. Icaza. His never ending effort to make MS technology dominate in the FLOSS world is just sad to see.

And another comment:

why Miguel has been to boastful of MONO/.NET lately. He’s trying to cover up those who have actually tried Silverlight/.NET and DUMPED it like the POS it is. I tip my hat to MLB.com for seeing at least some light and went to flash.

Others are blaming GNOME for Novell’s Microsoft/Mono fetish, but that’s just wrong.

there are way to many clueless people in
linux.

if u want to not get warts use KDE.

IBM Shame

IBM pretends that its most ridiculous (and offensive) of patents are being re-filed by mistake. Yes, IBM is withdrawing this application and pretends that patent applications just magically grow feet and find their way back into the queue of the USPTO.

IBM should know better, but in many ways, it's part of the problem. The same goes for Apple.

Apple Sued

Apple was once hawkish on patents. So how does it feel to be sued almost every week?

The Taiwanese company Elan Microelectronics has sued Apple, alleging infringement of two of its touch screen patents, an Elan spokesman said Wednesday.

‘Pirate’ Microsoft Found Guilty of ‘Stealing’ Patents

Microsoft lost a case that was mentioned here the other day. Since Microsoft loves accusing others of being “pirates” and “stealing”, what will Microsoft have to say for its defence?

For future reference, here are just a few among hundreds of articles on the subject:

Microsoft might also try to use this to justify taxation of its own competitors, so the idea that Microsoft will learn its lesson by getting punished repeatedly is only one side of this story.

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. White House Intervention Harms Android and Every Software Developer on the Planet

    US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli urges the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to let APIs be covered by copyrights, rendering almost every program a potential copyright violation



  2. Microsoft Lobbying in India Shoots Down or At Least Weakens Free/Libre Software Policy

    Microsoft's covert efforts (lobbying with the help of public partners like NASSCOM) to eliminate an India-leaning software policy in India is finally paying off



  3. Propaganda Mode for UPC Agreement Whilst EPO Increasingly Grants Patents on Software

    In order to make the Unitary Patent a reality (towards a 'no place to hide' patent approach) misleading claims are being made



  4. Patents Are Not Source Code

    Ford is once again misleading regarding Open Source, mischievously associating a patent pledge with Open Source



  5. Links 29/5/2015: ALT Linux 7.0.5, Google I/O 2015

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/5/2015: SourceForge Hijack, RIP Marco Pesenti Gritti

    Links for the day



  7. Censorship on Reddit Has Gotten (Condé) Nasty and Silent, Even Actively Silenced

    Condé Nast has turned Reddit into a platform of censorship after the acquisition



  8. The Supreme Court of the United States Helps Patent Trolls

    In an unforeseen kind of ruling, the same court which slapped down a lot of software patents last year is now legitimising the actions of a patent troll



  9. Patent Lawyers Fight Hard for the Future of Software Patents

    Media that is dominated by patent lawyers and targets an audience of patent lawyers refuses to accept the post-Alice reality



  10. Fortune Glorifies Patent Troll Jay Walker (Patent Utility)

    Jay Walker, a patent troll, creates a Web-based trolling/'licensing' service and the corporate media helps him



  11. Stealing Android's Thunder, Making It All About Apple and Microsoft During Google I/O

    Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google's event where major Android announcements are being made



  12. British Government May be a Step Closer to GNU/Linux (on the Desktops, Not Just Servers)

    The British government stops paying the criminal company that blackmails its members, thereby increasing the possibility of complete escape from proprietary software



  13. Microsoft's Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

    LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft's campaign to turn Android into 'Microsoft Android' using patents-induced pressure/leverage



  14. Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

    UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones



  15. Links 27/5/2015: Fedora 22 is Out, Mandriva Liquidated

    Links for the day



  16. Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

    A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls



  17. Links 26/5/2015: Reviews of Kubuntu 15.04, Linux 4.1 RC5

    Links for the day



  18. Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

    German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff



  19. Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

    A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent 'reform' in the US and who is controlling or shaping it



  20. Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

    OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month's event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft



  21. Microsoft's Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

    British media covers Microsoft's abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK



  22. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

    German press article from April 2015 (with translations)



  23. Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

    Links for the day



  24. Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

    Links for the day



  25. The Patents Production 'Industry' (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

    A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)



  26. Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

    The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology



  27. Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

    Microsoft's digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before



  28. Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

    The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software



  29. Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

    Links for the day



  30. More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli's EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From 'Control Risks'

    The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics


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