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. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  2. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  3. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  4. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  5. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  6. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  7. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  8. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  9. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  10. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  11. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  12. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  13. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  14. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  15. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  16. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  17. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  18. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  19. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  20. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  21. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  22. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  24. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  25. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  26. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  27. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  28. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  29. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day



  30. Lawyers' Propaganda About Software Patents and a New AstroTurf Entity Called Innovation Alliance

    Patent propaganda and deception from patent lawyers (among other parasites such as patent trolls) continues to flood the Web, intersecting with reports that prove them totally wrong


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