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 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  2. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  3. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  4. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  5. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  6. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  8. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  9. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  10. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  11. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  12. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  13. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  14. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  18. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  19. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  20. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  21. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  22. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  23. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  24. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  25. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  26. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  27. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  28. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  29. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  30. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    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