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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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 29/9/2020: Fedora 33 Beta, Krita 4.4.0 Beta 2, Stellarium 0.20.3 and Mesa 20.2 Released; 20 Million Downloads From the LVFS

    Links for the day



  2. Another Day of ZDNet Being ZDNet, Calling Windows “Linux” (to Confuse People and Help Microsoft Sell Vista 10)

    Microsoft propaganda site ZDNet is keeping up with the tradition of presenting Windows as "Linux" and promoting Windows even in the "Linux" section of the site



  3. [Meme] It's Crazy Not to Eliminate Lame Words That Might Offend Somebody

    If the word “stupid” offends you, then maybe programming isn’t for you, in the same sense that submitting patches with Git over E-mail shouldn't be hard if/when you can develop decent code with sanity checks



  4. IBM Fought for 'Master Race' and Now It's Banning the Word 'Master'

    A lot of the current push to ban the word "master" came from Red Hat (soon IBM, helped by Intel and Microsoft for the most part); we take a hard look at IBM's history to better understand the incredible double standards and what the real motivations might be



  5. IBM's Founder, Mr. Watson (Yes, That Watson), Had “Very Keen Sense of Public Relations”

    "Watson" is a lot more offensive than those supposedly offensive words IBM is working to purge; think about those hundreds of Red Hat workers who are black and were never told about ethnic purges of blacks facilitated by IBM (their new boss)



  6. Under IBM's Leadership Red Hat Becomes a SPAM Marketing Operation, Sending Mass Mails Without Authorisation and Making It Impossible to Unsubscribe

    Red Hat seems incapable of respecting people's inboxes; it subscribes people to things which they never ever subscribed to and makes it impossible to unsubscribe; what has Red Hat become or succumbed to?



  7. EFF: Sitting on a Massive Pile of Money and Members Are Less Than a Third of the Revenue

    As part of our series which explores non-profits turning against their goals (sometimes in pursuit of money, even if that means sellout) we take a good look at the EFF in this age of unprecedented consolidation of wealth and power



  8. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, September 28, 2020



  9. [Meme] Running Public (or Private) Interest Groups for Profit

    The Linux Foundation is picking up some more ‘surveillance capitalism’ money, in the name of… ‘helping’ Linux?



  10. The Concept of Martyrdom in Free Software and the Threat of Demonisation in the Media

    Leaders or figureheads of public interest advocacy are being dismissed as crazy and rude whilst corporations that maim and kill millions of people are spun as "professional" and even "altruistic"; don't fall for it



  11. More Money Does Not Necessarily Mean More Stable Organisations

    The corporate takeover of Free software (privatising the Commons) is a real problem that nobody in the media seems to be talking about, partly because this media is itself corporate and hence part of (participant in) the 'coup'



  12. EPO Management Looks for New and 'Innovative' Ways to Exploit Scientists and Distract From EPO Corruption

    EPO management is desperate for puff pieces, having just produced some greenwashing nonsense (about a dozen press items about this non-event) and now a bunch of self-promotional videos



  13. Before the New York Times Did a Number on Donald Trump It Changed Bill Gates' Tune

    When you speak strictly through a spokesperson it often means you're lying and/or hiding something; the Gates enigma remains unsolved more than a year later



  14. Links 28/9/2020: Linux 5.9 RC7, Review of Linuxfx 10.6, OpenSSH 8.4

    Links for the day



  15. Speaking Through Spokespeople is a Sign of Weakness, Such as Non-Denying and False Denials (or: Bill Gates Never Denied His Connections to MIT Through Jeffrey Epstein)

    Big liars lie shamelessly; the biggest liars lie through proxies and today we examine the evasive tactics of Bill Gates and his associates (who were closely connected to Jeffrey Epstein but refuse to even talk about that, except indirectly)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 27, 2020



  17. Accounting for Debconf 19 Travel... in 2020

    A deeper look or analysis of Debian expenditures, which grew more than twicefold for travel last year



  18. Don't Let Microsoft Make 'Open Source' Synonymous With Proprietary Monopoly GitHub

    Now that the OSI works for Microsoft instead of Open Source (no, GitHub isn’t Open Source; it’s inherently against Open Source) we need to understand the modus operandi and learn from old mistakes



  19. Links 27/9/2020: Puppy Linux 9.5, Nitrux 1.3.3

    Links for the day



  20. Public Relations and Tolerance Stunts Are Very, Very Cheap

    It's 2020 and people are asked to focus on superficial aspects of corporations rather than anything of substance (like the effects on society at large, notably exploitation and long-term harm)



  21. Open to Everything

    It always starts with good intentions...



  22. The OSI's President Apparently Does Not Know That His Own Employer (Salesforce) Works for ICE

    The hypocrisy (or double standard) of the OSI’s President is astounding; taking salaries paid in part by ICE budget (Salesforce works for ICE and similarly evil agencies) while protesting in a proprietary software platform of Microsoft (GitHub) about ICE (all this whilst actively participating in it regardless)



  23. [Meme] Communist Tactics

    To Microsoft, Linux is communism until Microsoft controls it (and then runs over it to crush it, the typical modus operandi)



  24. OSI President: Most or Half of the OSI's Money (Even Individual Donors' Money) Goes to a Microsoft-Led Initiative

    The OSI has turned from advocate of "Open Source" (a disingenuous attempt to set aside Free/libre software) to advocate of Microsoft and GitHub in just 3 years (since taking Microsoft's money/bribes)



  25. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 26, 2020



  26. The 24/7 'Tech' Worker (Babysitter of User-hostile Computing) and 'Expensive' Programmer

    The rights of workers are being reduced to nothing (many in their older years made redundant), even in an occupation that is indirectly responsible for automating and thus deprecating jobs in many other occupations



  27. Why Techrights is Totally Unexcited About the New Owner of Linux Journal

    Linux Journal might soon become an anti-Linux site (veiled hostility) if Slashdot's editorial preferences are anything to go by (Slashdot has just seized control of Linux Journal)



  28. The Cheapening of the Programmer is a Threat to Human Rights of All Computer Users

    From the era of computer experts (down to the low level of computing with transistors), mathematicians, physics gurus and respected technicians we've come to orders-following, user-apathetic engineers who are overworked, grossly underpaid, and way too fearful of raising ethical concerns (voicing disagreement can result in prompt dismissal, followed by perpetual unemployment) and this ensures digital oppression without checks and balances



  29. Links 26/9/2020: Wine 5.18, FreeBSD 12.2-BETA3 and Debian 10.6 Released

    Links for the day



  30. 'Appeal to Novelty' as a Lever for Proprietary Software Monopolies, Bloat (Planned Obsolescence) and More Surveillance

    Novelty is generally fine, but in many cases products are developed iteratively (not cumulatively) not to advance society or to objectively improve services, only to increase control over people (because emergent ‘freemium’-like business models nowadays revolve around addiction and subjugation, e.g. ‘brain-farming’ and manipulation of minds)


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