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

04.30.09

Microsoft Interoperability Crushed by the TomTom Case

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Office Suites, OIN, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, TomTom at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crushed building

Summary: Microsoft slammed for using software patents against interoperability, the OIN responds too late

THIS new report from Asia says that Harish Pillay put an end to Microsoft’s “interoperability” nonsense by bringing up an example where Microsoft strives for exactly the opposite.

A Microsoft panel discussion with two members of the open source community changed course when attention was swung to patent issues raised by a member of the audience.

During a Microsoft interoperability event Tuesday, Harish Pillay, president of the Linux Users’ Group (Singapore), asked if Microsoft would make its software patents available to the open source community.

Pillay asked if Microsoft would release its patents to the Open Invention Network (OIN), in line with its pledge toward interoperability.

The OIN, whose founders include IBM, Novell and Red Hat, acquires patents, licensing them royalty-free to companies that agree not to assert their own patents against Linux or open source applications.

As Shane emphasised two years ago, Microsoft was invited to join the OIN, but unsurprisingly it declined. The same goes for ODF.

“Interoperability” is hostile towards open standards like ODF, which Microsoft now pretends to support in order to prevent defection away from Microsoft Office.

OFFICE 2007 SP2 – ODF Support

[...]

On a related note, Ive noticed with the podcasts I listen to that OGG is becoming the download of choice when offered with MP3. Another good sign that its now users who are demanding open standard file formats? We have already seen a similar “battle” between XVID and DIVX.

Regardless of what packages you use, its seems to me its getting harder for companies to force you down the route of their own proprietary formats.

As one person pointed out yesterday, “Ministry of Interior, Slovakia not accepting documents in ODF format and violating standards required by the law. Should we call the police?” That’s the type of thing Microsoft would be delighted about. Slovakia said it had chosen ODF, but Microsoft’s shenanigans still have impact.

Going back to the OIN, its people responded a little too late and it’s good that someone calls them out:

Oi, OIN: What Took So Long?

[...]

Right, so it seems that OIN won’t be doing anything directly, other than getting the relevant patents posted the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website associated with the Linux Defenders portal.

Isn’t this a rather roundabout way of doing things? I can’t help feeling that this could have been done rather quicker: after all, if it’s just a matter of posting the relevant patents for people to examine and poke holes in, why wasn’t it done as soon as Microsoft attacked TomTom? Did we really need to wait for TomTom to join OIN, and for the latter to pass the message down the chain a few weeks later?

Saul Goode adds: “Peer-to-Patent does good things for bad reasons. OIN does bad things for good reasons.” SFLC is in no state of despair, but it does ask:

If We Can’t End Software Patents Tomorrow, What Should We Do In the Meantime?

As we’ve talked about in our recent podcasts, and as I mentioned in various blog posts, software patents (i.e., patents that read on software) are a major threat to software freedom. Due to this constant threat, the primary goal of the Software Freedom community must be an end to all software patents worldwide. “Patent reform” will never be enough. The hard part, though, given that abolishing the software patent system is such a long and tough war, is what to do in the meantime about software patents that stand in the way of immediate advancement of software freedom.

It is abundantly clear that Microsoft wants to use software patents as part of its new business model. It tried entering the hardware business several times and failed pretty badly.

One must hit Microsoft where it makes a real difference: not market share but margins. ISVs can do so too. A lot of people still think that Microsoft will lose grip only when its market share declines, but it’s a convenient fallacy. What Microsoft fears a lot is real competition that affects pricing and forcibly leads to dumping or illegal kickbacks. That’s why it introduces software patents, which are directed squarely at low-priced competition.

As Mike Masnick has just reminded his readers, “Patents Do Not Equal Innovation.” Patents are simply government-granted monopolies; as such, they increase (or can be equated to) monopoly.

Once Again: Patents Do Not Equal Innovation

The real reason for the decline in patenting may actually be buried at the bottom of the article: companies are realizing that patents aren’t particularly cost effective, and they’re cutting back, focusing on actual innovation rather than throwing money away on the patent system.

Let’s spread a new slogan: more patents = more monopolies.

“It was Edison who said “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. That may have been true a hundred years ago. These days it’s “0.01% inspiration, 99.99% perspiration”, and the inspiration is the easy part. As a project manager, I have never had trouble finding people with crazy ideas. I have trouble finding people who can execute. IOW, “innovation” is way oversold. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applied to products like MS Word or Open office.”

Linus Torvalds

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. NotZed said,

    April 30, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Gravatar

    Although I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, i’m not sure that ZDNet article really supports the conclusions you state (not uncommon for you I know). It was raised, but that was about it.

    However, I found this part of that article particularly disturbing:

    “Another panelist[sic], Michael Cheng, PHP User Group owner, rated Microsoft’s efforts at interoperability an eight-over-10. Cheng said he is happy with Microsoft working with Zen on its server products, as well as Microsoft’s Expression Web product supporting PHP. ”

    8/10 is a pretty bloody good score, and is not one that M$ deserves for interoperability in any way shape or form for anything – just ask Sun about their version of Java. I guess that was more than 80% interoperable, but that is still worthless. Maybe they deserve an 8 for FUD and the start of the EEE process for yet another one of their direct competitors.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Although I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, i’m not sure that ZDNet article really supports the conclusions you state (not uncommon for you I know). It was raised, but that was about it.

    I use a string of articles here, not just one.

    “…Cheng said he is happy with Microsoft working with Zen on its server products, as well as Microsoft’s Expression Web product supporting PHP. ”

    That article probably means “Zend” and not “Zen”. They are buddies of Microsoft (with a deal) and they are not PHP per se.

    Zend says that 95% deploy PHP on GNU/Linux. It said so a month ago and needless to say, some company ain’t happy about it.

What Else is New


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

    New article from Richard Stallman



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  4. 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]



  5. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  8. 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



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

    Links for the day



  10. 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



  11. 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



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

    Links for the day



  13. 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



  14. 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



  15. 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



  16. 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



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

    Links for the day



  18. 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



  19. 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



  20. 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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



  24. 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



  25. 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



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

    Links for the day



  27. EPO Staff Protests Today and Protested Last Week, Targeting Corruption in the Institution

    PO staff is demonstrating against abuse by the management of the EPO, today we well as in prior days



  28. Links 7/12/2014: New Linux Release, Marines and Prisoners on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  29. EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli's Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations

    Battistelli’s Nixon moment and the evasive nature of his approach towards external delegations that are troubled by his behaviour



  30. CBS Brushing Aside and Away Microsoft's History of Blackmail and Bribes Against Linux

    Putting in context some of the poor reporting (or whitewash) regarding Microsoft's bribe (disguised as "partnership") to Barnes & Noble


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