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. Links 22/7/2016: Wine 1.9.15, KaOS 2016.07 ISO

    Links for the day



  2. Haar Mentioned as Likely Site of Appeal Boards as Their Eradication or Marginalisation Envisioned by UPC Proponent Benoît Battistelli

    Not only the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) is under severe attack and possibly in mortal danger; the increasingly understaffed Boards of Appeal too are coming under attack and may (according to rumours) be sent to Haar, a good distance away from Munich and the airport (half an hour drive), not to mention lack of facilities for visitors from overseas



  3. EPO Attaché Albert Keyack Viewed as Somewhat of a Mole, Reporting From the US Embassy in Brazil Until Shortly Before the Temer Coup

    Public responses to the role played by Albert Keyack on behalf of the United States inside the European [sic] Patent Office



  4. EPO Insiders Explain Why the EPO's Examination Quality Rapidly Declines and Will Get Even Worse Because of Willy Minnoye

    Public comments from anonymous insiders serve to highlight a growing crisis inside the European Patent Office (EPO), where experienced/senior examiners are walking away and leaving an irreplaceable bunch of seats (due to high experience demands)



  5. Patents Roundup: BlackBerry, Huawei, PTAB, GAO, Aggressive Universities With Patents, and Software Patents in Europe

    Various bits and pieces of news regarding patents and their fast-changing nature in the United States nowadays



  6. Glimpse at Patent Systems Across the World: Better Quality Control at the USPTO Post-America Invents Act (2011), Unlike the EPO Post-Battistelli (2010)

    While the EPO reportedly strives to eliminate pendency and appeal windows altogether (rubberstamping being optimal performance as per the yardstick du jour), the USPTO introduces changes that would strengthen the system and shield innovation, not protect the business model of serial litigants



  7. Blockstream Has No Patents, But Pledges Not to Sue Using Patents

    Blockstream says that it comes in peace when it comes to software patents, which triggers speculations about coming Blockchain patent wars



  8. Links 21/7/2016: Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Beta

    Links for the day



  9. Links 21/7/2016: An Honorary Degree for Alan Cox, Looks Back at DebConf16

    Links for the day



  10. EPO USA: Under Battistelli, the 'European' Patent Office Emulates All the Mistakes of the USPTO

    Conservative Benoît Battistelli is trying to impose on the European Patent Office various truly misguided policies and he viciously attacks anyone or anything that stands in his way, including his formal overseers



  11. Links 19/7/2016: ARM and Opera Buyout

    Links for the day



  12. Large Corporations' Software Patenting Pursuits Carry on in Spite of Patent Trolls That Threaten Small Companies the Most

    With unconvincing excuses such as OIN, large corporations including IBM continue to promote software patents in the United States, even when public officials and USPTO officials work towards ending those



  13. Battistelli Has Implemented De Facto EPO Coup to Remove Oversight, Give Himself Total Power, and Allegedly Give UPC Gifts (Loot) to French Officials

    Benoît Battistelli's agenda at the EPO is anything but beneficial to the EPO and suspicions that Battistelli's overall agenda is transitioning to the UPC to further his goals grow feet



  14. EPO Social [sic] Report is a Big Pile of Lies That Responsible Journalists Must Ignore

    A reminder of where the EPO stands on social issues and why the latest so-called 'social' report is nothing but paid-for propaganda for Battistelli's political ambitions



  15. Links 18/7/2016: Vista 10 a Failure, FreeType 2.7

    Links for the day



  16. Exploiting Perceived Emergencies/Disasters, Suspending the Rule of Law, and Suspending Judges: How Erdoğan is Like Battistelli, Except the Coup

    Pretexts for crackdown on law-abiding people or figureheads who are remote and independent the hallmark not only of Erdoğan but also the EPO's President, Benoit Battistelli



  17. The Impotence of Gene Quinn

    Attacking the enforcer of Alice v CLS because it's doing harm to his source of income, which makes him angry



  18. After the FTI Consulting-EPO Reputation Laundering Deal's Expansion in Germany Süddeutsche Zeitung 'Forgets' That the EPO Even Exists

    Relative apathy if not complete silence regarding the EPO at Süddeutsche Zeitung following reports of FTI Consulting's deal expansion (media positioning in Germany), with hundreds of thousands of Euros (EPO budget) thrown at the controversial task



  19. Benoît Battistelli and Persistratos

    Reminds you of someone?



  20. Whistleblower Protection Desperately Needed at the European Patent Office

    EPO scandals are not publicly accessible or known to many people and not many such scandals are known at all because people are afraid of Battistelli's Fabius Maximus strategies



  21. Microsoft and Its Patent Minions at Nokia Still Have Patent Stacking Ambitions Against Android/Linux OEMs

    Weaponisation of European companies for the sake of artificial elevation of prices (patent taxes) a growing issue for Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and those behind it are circulating money among themselves not for betterment of products but for the crippling of FOSS contenders



  22. [ES] ¿Que si la EPO Bajo Battistelli Se Arruina Sin Posibilidad de Reparación Como la UPC?

    La última evidencia alrededor del hundimiénto de la reputación de la Epo y su calidad de trabajo, así como la caída del sistema que Battistelli trata forzadamente de imponer (una carrera al fondo)



  23. [ES] La EPO de Battistelli, Quién Quiebra la Ley, Subvierte el Curso de la Justicia y Rechaza Obedecer las Ordenes de la Corte Dice lo Impensable en Medio de los Actos de Terror

    Los terribles ataques hace un dia en Francia están siéndo explotados por el caradura de Benoît Battistelli para comedia negra o un verdaderamente absurda afirmación en la sección de “noticias” de la EPO



  24. [ES] La EPO de Battistelli Continúa Cortejando a Officiales de Países Pequeños y su Propaganda de Beneficiar a las “PYMEs de Aquellos Países”

    El caradura de Benoît Battistelli prosigue desfilando en los países pequeños que tienen delegados al Consejo Administrativo (CA) y los explota para propaganda barata, no sólo para que lo apoyen en las reuniónes del CA



  25. Links 17/7/2016: Lithuanian Police Switches to GNU/Linux, Blockchain on LinuxONE

    Links for the day



  26. This is Why Benoît Battistelli Has 0% Approval Rating Among 'His' Staff at the EPO

    The EPO expresses solidarity regarding (mostly) French people but does so only in English as the real purpose is to manipulate the media and justify the EPO's sheer abuses and unprecedented oppression against staff



  27. Law Professors Try to Put an End to Patent Trolls So Patent Trolls-Funded IAM 'Magazine' Complains

    Many professors suggest a method of stopping patent trolls (restrictions on venue shifting), so patent trolls-funded propaganda sites and think tanks strike back and distract even further, putting forth a wish list or a 'reform' that's designed to give them more money and incredibly protectionist power



  28. The Importance of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and High-Quality Patents (Not Software Patents)

    Strong patents rather than strong patent enforcement (i.e. ease of legal abuse) help discern the difference between successful economies and self-destructive economies



  29. With 'Friends' Like IBM and Its 'Open' Invention Network We Legitimise Software Patents Rather Than End Them

    Another reminder of where IBM stands on patent policy and what this means to those who rely on IBM for sheltering of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) or small businesses (SMEs) in a post-Alice era



  30. Links 15/7/2016: Microsoft Playing Dirty, GNOME Maps Problems

    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