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

07.17.09

Why the Melco-Microsoft Deal is a Form of Racketeering

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Band on the snow

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Summary: A deeper look at Melco’s deal with Microsoft

IN some ways, the Melco sellout resembles the Brother Industries sellout. Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley wrote about this deal almost gleefully and also suggested that OEMs might be next to sign (i.e. sell out to Microsoft). Does she know anything that others do not? The short story as she tells it goes like this:

On July 15, Microsoft signed a patent-coverage deal with Melco Holdings, the Japanese-based parent company of Buffalo Inc. and Buffalo Group. Buffalo makes network-attached storage (NAS) and routers, including the LinkStation and AirStation products.

It has hardly been covered by the mainstream press so far, and surely not properly. The press is busier covering products that do not exist (e.g. Vista 7). What makes this patent agreement unique is that no patents are specified, no amounts of money are disclosed, but above all, Linux is not even owned by Melco Holdings, yet it has no qualm about injuring its producers for personal convenience. It is usually to be expected from mere exploiters (‘proprietarisers’) of Linux such as TiVo or ACCESS.

“There might be more (unannounced) such deals — ones that rely on this Melco/Microsoft press release to justify the racketeering and suppress Linux adoption.”To put in perspective what Microsoft is doing here, it is a form of racketeering, which makes one wonder if the RICO ACT (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) becomes applicable. What Microsoft is saying goes along the lines of “we have a big gun here and you don’t want us to pull it out on you, so why don’t you pay us some money and we’ll leave you alone permanently?”

Microsoft is also assisted by accomplice front groups (e.g. Jonathan Zuck), who are fraudulently pretending that small businesses [1, 2, 3] want to pass laws that illegalise GNU/Linux or tax it out of the European market. That, unlike the RICO ACT, is something that the European Commission needs to be informed about. To say more about the nature of these dealings, consider this new comment from LinuxToday: “All of these deals are being done in secret. It needs to stop so that we can this BS about Patents that Microsoft keeps using resolved- one way or another.

There might be more (unannounced) such deals — ones that rely on this Melco/Microsoft press release to justify the racketeering and suppress Linux adoption. As Microsoft's earnings fall 32% (partly due to GNU/Linux) Microsoft hopes to make up for it by claiming ownership of Linux and making a cash cow out of it, using software patents. It’s like another SCO and people should report this abuse, at least to the extent possible. It is the latest example in a long series where Microsoft operates more like the mafia than a respectable company.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game. On the other side, if Microsoft is concerned about its intellectual property, there is no one in the free software community that wants to violate anyone’s IP. Disclose the patents and we’ll fix the code. Alternatively, move on.”

Mark Shuttleworth

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

3 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    July 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Gravatar

    “The press is busier covering products that do not exist (e.g. Vista 7).”
    Do not exist? Well, Windows 7 certainly do exist, but is not released yet.
    Can you use a better example?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It exists in the same sense that Chrome OS exists. It is not a finished product. Until it’s on the shelves, it is either a prototype or testing entity. Promises can be made (and voided) about release dates, traits, and features.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    Correct, that is why I said it is not released yet.

What Else is New


  1. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  2. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries



  3. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  4. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  5. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  6. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day



  7. Weaponising Russophobia Against One's Critics

    Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years



  8. When the EPO is Run by Politicians It's Expected to Be Aggressive and Corrupt Like Purely Political Establishments

    António 'Photo Op' Campinos will have marked his one-year anniversary in July; he has failed to demonstrate morality, respect for the law, understanding of the sciences, leadership by example and even the most basic honesty (he lies a lot)



  9. Links 16/6/2019: Tmax OS and New Features for KDE.org

    Links for the day



  10. Stuffed/Stacked Panels Sent Back Packing After One-Sided Patent Hearings That Will Convince Nobody, Just Preach to the Choir

    Almost a week ago the 'world tour' of patent lobbyists in US Senate finally ended; it was an utterly ridiculous case study in panel stacking and bribery (attempts to buy laws)



  11. 2019 H1: American Software Patents Are as Worthless as They Were Last Year and Still Susceptible to Invalidation

    With a fortnight left before the second half of the year it seems evident that software patents aren't coming back; the courts have not changed their position at all



  12. As European Patent Office Management Covers up Collapse in Patent Quality Don't Expect UPC to Ever Kick Off

    It would be madness to allow EPO-granted patents to become 'unitary' (bypassing sovereignty of nations that actually still value patent quality); it seems clear that rogue EPO management has, in effect, not only doomed UPC ambitions but also European Patents (or their perceived legitimacy, presumption of validity)



  13. António Campinos -- Unlike His Father -- Engages in Imperialism (Using Invalid Patents)

    Despite some similarities to his father (not positive similarities), António Campinos is actively engaged in imperialistic agenda that defies even European law; the EPO not only illegally grants patents but also urges other patent offices to do the same



  14. António Campinos Takes EPO Waste and Corruption to Unprecedented Levels and Scale

    The “B” word (billions) is thrown around at Europe’s second-largest institution because a mischievous former EUIPO chief (not Archambeau) is ‘partying’ with about half of the EPO’s all-time savings, which are supposed to be reserved for pensions and other vital programmes, not presidential palaces and gambling



  15. Links 15/6/2019: Astra Linux in Russia, FreeBSD 11.3 RC

    Links for the day



  16. Code of Conduct Explained: Partial Transcript - August 10th, 2018 - Episode 80, The Truth About Southeast Linuxfest

    "Ask Noah" and the debate on how a 'Code of Conduct' is forcibly imposed on events



  17. Links 14/6/2019: Xfce-Related Releases, PHP 7.4.0 Alpha

    Links for the day



  18. The EPO is a Patent Troll's Wet Dream

    The makers of software and games in Europe will have to spend a lot of money just keeping patent trolls off their backs — a fact that seems to never bother EPO management because it profits from it



  19. EPO Spreading Patent Extremists' Ideology to the Whole World, Now to South Korea

    The EPO’s footprint around the world's patent systems is an exceptionally dangerous one; The EPO amplifies the most zealous voices of the patents and litigation ‘industry’ while totally ignoring the views and interests of the European public, rendering the EPO an ‘agent of corporate occupation’



  20. Guest Post: Notes on Free Speech, and a Line in the Sand

    We received this anonymous letter and have published it as a follow-up to "Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF"



  21. Links 13/6/2019: CERN Dumps Microsoft, GIMP 2.10.12 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Links 12/6/2019: Mesa 19.1.0, KDE neon 5.16, Endless OS 3.6.0 and BackBox Linux 6

    Links for the day



  23. Leaked Financial 'Study' Document Shows EPO Management and Mercer Engaging in an Elaborate “Hoax”

    How the European Patent Office (EPO) lies to its own staff to harm that staff; thankfully, the staff isn't easily fooled and this whole affair will merely obliterate any remnants of "benefit of the doubt" the President thus far enjoyed



  24. Measuring Patent Quality and Employer Quality in Europe

    Comparing the once-famous and respected EPO to today's joke of an office, which grants loads of bogus patents on just about anything including fruit and mathematics



  25. Granting More Fundamentally Wrong Patents Will Mean Reduced Certainty, Not Increased Certainty

    Law firms that are accustomed to making money from low-quality and abstract patents try to overcome barriers by bribing politicians; this will backfire because they show sheer disregard for the patent system's integrity and merely lower the legal certainty associated with granted (by greedy offices) patents



  26. Links 11/6/2019: Wine 4.10, Plasma 5.16

    Links for the day



  27. Chapter 10: Moving Forward -- Getting the Best Results From Open Source With Your Monopoly

    “the gradual shift in public consciousness from their branding towards our own, is the next best thing to owning them outright.”



  28. Chapter 9: Ownership Through Branding -- Change the Names, and Change the World

    The goal for those fighting against Open source, against the true openness (let's call it the yet unexploited opportunities) of Open source, has to be first to figuratively own the Linux brand, then literally own or destroy the brand, then to move the public awareness of the Linux brand to something like Azure, or whatever IBM is going to do with Red Hat.



  29. Links 10/6/2019: VLC 3.0.7, KDE Future Plans

    Links for the day



  30. Patent Quality Continues to Slip in Europe and We Know Who Will Profit From That (and Distract From It)

    The corporate media and large companies don't speak about it (like Red Hat did before entering a relationship with IBM), but Europe is being littered and saturated with a lot of bogus software patents -- abstract patents that European courts would almost certainly throw out; this utter failure of the media to do journalism gets exploited by the "big litigation" lobby and EPO management that's granting loads of invalid European Patents (whose invalidation goes underreported or unreported in the media)


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