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 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  2. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  3. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  4. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  5. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  6. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  7. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  8. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  9. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  10. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation



  11. US Supreme Court Did Not End Apple's Patent Disputes Over Android (Linux), More Cases Imminent

    An overview of some very recent news regarding the highest court in the United States, which has been dealing with cases that can determine the fate of Free/Open Source software in an age of patent uncertainty and patent thickets surrounding mobility



  12. Links 15/1/2017: Switching From OS X to GNU/Linux, Debian 8.7 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Number of New Patent Cases in the US Fell 25% Last Year, Thanks in Part to the Demise of Software Patent Trolls

    Litigation and prosecutions that rely on patents (failure to resolve disputes, e.g. by sharing ideas, out of court) is down very sharply, in part because firms that make nothing at all (just threaten and/or litigate) have been sinking after much-needed reform



  14. America Invents Act Improved Patent Quality, But Right Wingers Threaten to Make It Worse Again

    The past half a decade saw gradual improvement in assessment of patents in the United States, but there is a growing threat and pressure from the patent microcosm to restore patent maximalism and chaos



  15. PTAB -- Not Deterred by Courts -- Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to make progress reforming the patent system by eliminating a lot of patents and setting an example (or new standards) for what is patent-eligible after Alice



  16. EPO Abuses Come Under Fire From Politicians in Luxembourg

    Luxembourg is the latest nation in which concerns about the EPO's serious abuses are brought up not only by the media but also by politicians



  17. Constitutionality as a Barrier and Brexit Barriers to UPC Keep the Whole Pipe Dream Deadlocked

    The UPC is still going nowhere fast, but the demise (or death) of the UPC as we know it must not be taken for granted



  18. Links 14/1/2017: Wine 2.0 RC5 and AryaLinux 2017 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Links 13/1/2017: Linux 4.9.3 and Linux 4.4.42

    Links for the day



  20. Brexit Means No UPC (Unified Patent Court)

    Now that Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson's brother, is officially declared the new minister for intellectual property in the UK everything that Lucy Neville-Rolfe wrote is as solid as paper bag on a rainy London day



  21. Patent Trolls and Software Patents: CloudTrade, Patent Practitioners Density, and Via Licensing

    Software patents armament from a British company, charted concentration of the patent microcosm in the United States, and US-leaning patent trolls that prey on China



  22. Patent Maximalism -- Like Copyright Maximalism -- Relies on Misconceptions and Mass Deception

    The latest examples of discussions about patent scope, courtesy of those looking to benefit financially by pushing such monopolies to the max



  23. Software Patents Still Promoted by IBM and Its Lobbyist (and Former Employee) David Kappos, in Defiance of Much-Needed US Patent Reform

    While the corporate media celebrates IBM as though it's some kind of 'champion' for hoarding patents that it then uses to attack companies which actually grow



  24. Brexit/Trump Effect: Patent Systems With Institutional Corruption and Nepotism

    Rumours about Britain's head of patents (and copyrights etc.) being the brother of the Brexit campaigner and Foreign Minister; meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, rumours suggest that the corrupt judge Rader might be the next head of patents in the United States



  25. Links 11/1/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.1, GitHub's Atom 1.13

    Links for the day



  26. The Patent Microcosm is Already Sucking up to Donald Trump in an Effort to Enrich Itself at Everyone's Expense

    Four new examples of patent maximalists embracing/adopting the pseudo-populist slogan to advance their goals of increasing litigation (which they profit from) and undermining PTAB (which made patents great in the quality sense)



  27. Patent Quality in the United States Can Only be Assessed at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Courts

    The travesty of patent offices in the US and China, where the goal or the accomplishment is measured in terms of the number of patents rather than their quality



  28. Gradual Collapse of Microsoft's Extensive (and External) Patent Trolling Operations

    The President of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC (patent troll) leaves and the founder of Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's largest peripheral patent troll, joins Sherpa Technology



  29. No End to Battistelli's Witch-hunts Against the Media, Against Staff, and Against Politicians

    Rumours about the fate of people who are (or have been) criticising Battistelli's reign of terror at the EPO



  30. Links 10/1/2017: Synfig 1.2, Kodachi Linux 3.7

    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