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


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

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

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. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  2. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  3. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  4. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  5. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  6. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  7. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  8. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  9. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  10. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  11. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  12. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  13. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  14. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  15. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  16. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  17. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  18. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  19. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  20. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  21. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  22. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  23. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  24. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  25. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  26. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  27. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  28. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  29. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  30. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions


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


Recent Posts