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

02.23.10

Microsoft’s Deal With Amazon is Extortion and Should Get Reported

Posted in Fraud, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Al Capone mugshot and Steve Ballmer

Summary: Analysis of the patent deal with Amazon and why it is a breach of some laws and should therefore be reported to authorities or regulators

IN THE previous post about Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft we called for a boycott. Some people in Slashdot have independently made similar calls. In this longer post we shall look at some reactions to the news and then analyse a little further.

Glyn Moody, a journalist and author, says “shame on you” to Amazon’s founder, president, and chief executive officer:

Microsoft has consistently refused to give any details of its absurd FUD about GNU/Linux infringing on its patents, which is not surprising, since they are likely to be completely bogus and/or trivial. So Amazon is showing real pusillanimity in making this unnecessary deal. Shame on you, Jeff.

SJVN starts his post as follows:

What was Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, thinking?

As we explained earlier, Jeff surrounded himself by Microsoft employees who joined his management. Brian Valentine, formerly of Microsoft, is now an SVP at Amazon. There are many more like him who jumped over from Microsoft to Amazon, so it’s a bit like Yahoo! being seized from the inside.

Now they create precedence for charging GNU/Linux hosts and DCs, as well as e-readers. In response to this, said one person: “Let’s see….tell me again why Microsoft news is not relevant for Linux?”

We get asked that question quite a lot here at Boycott Novell. People hopefully realise that the truth is elusive and they hopefully understand why Microsoft is so unique. To ask the above question is to discourage people from looking at what really matters a lot and what requires constant scrutiny.

Basically, what we have in our hands right now is Amazon’s participation in racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. These previous posts explain why this qualifies as racketeering. This involves servers too, so it’s definitely not about FAT like some people are trying to suggest (this deal is unique and very different compared to TomTom’s for example).

“Microsoft knowingly breaks the law and simply perceives itself as above the law.”Microsoft tried getting around signing of deals with Red Hat and instead it is approaching their customers (Amazon mostly uses RHEL), which are stuffed with unethical individuals who couldn’t care less about Free(dom) software. Microsoft surprised Amazon when it came up with statements that were probably intended to be secret (protected by an NDA). This is some really nasty back-door dealing and as a former Microsoft lawyer explained some days ago, the company is sometimes intimidating and retaliating. Microsoft knowingly breaks the law and simply perceives itself as above the law. Steve Ballmer, for instance, needs to be arrested (not that rich people are ever apprehended, just look at Dick Cheney). Many people are not aware of this because of endless PR, including the ongoing scams of the Gates Foundation. It’s impossible to explain this in a minute or two (the concision constraints).

Microsoft blogs are of course serving their own delusion and are justifying Microsoft’s side in subtle ways. Microsoft has put a lot of PR effort into patent propaganda, so they probably believe their own spin and lies. They are controlling the message and telling the public how to think and how to feel about it.

Microsoft booster Ina Fried is delighted about this extortion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] because it’s beneficial to the company she promotes. That same rubbish (it’s a blog post) from that PR person has reached ZDNet as “news”, where there is the one-sided promotion with quotes from Microsoft and no criticism whatsoever. People should not blindly accept such bias. “Microsoft licenses Linux to Amazon” is what our reader called it after reading this poor article (promotional, no criticism whatsoever of Microsoft’s racketeering) and he added: “This has to be illegal, MS is making some sort of property claims, else they are engaged in an extortion racket.”

It is an extortion racket indeed. In previous posts we showed why. It must have been made possible in part due to those former Microsoft employees (including vice presidents) who entered Amazon. Should the industry ostracise those Microsoft employees who seem to promote Microsoft’s interests almost everywhere they go?

Here is the coverage from Microsoft booster Richard Waters (he has a long history even bashing Microsoft’s competitors in the Financial Times):

Some big Asian tech companies – including Samsung and LG Electronics – have already reached similar deals to license the Microsoft patents, which the software company claims cover IP that has been copied in Linux. But the Amazon arrangement looks far more significant given Amazon’s massive data-centres.

Servers, eh? Maybe a lot of Red Hat. What does Red Hat have to say about this? Should it not be made part of this decision? Can a client of Red Hat decide on ‘Red Hat’s behalf’ that Red Hat requires a licence from Microsoft? This has got to be some kind of fraud. Here is the coverage from IDG:

Among them, the agreement will shield Amazon from patent litigation against its Kindle e-reader, which includes some open-source software components, and against its use of Linux-based servers, Microsoft said.

Why quote Microsoft’s spin? Wording like “shield Amazon” are nothing but deception (like calling patents “protection” and nuclear missiles “defence”). This is not balanced reporting because the supposition is that Microsoft is not breaking the law and is doing something acceptable. Well, it’s not.

TechDirt, which is immune to the gullibility of the mainstream press, asks: “Amazon Has To Pay Microsoft To Use Linux?”

While since it’s a straight cross-licensing deal, it doesn’t sound like any money changed hands, but effectively Amazon had to “pay” by licensing its own patents. It does seem pretty problematic, doesn’t it, when a company has to “pay” Microsoft (whether in cash or via licenses to its own patents) just to use Linux? Perhaps it’s time to redefine the “Microsoft tax.”

The first comment says: “Where are those anti-trust guys?? Perhaps it’s time to abolish the Microsoft tax…”

Another anonymous commenter says: “Yeah, if you are compatible with FAT you infringe. It seems that Microsoft does not like interoperability.

“How much do they want for each use of Linux – $699 ?”

US regulators may seem like a lost cause [1, 2], but we urge readers to write to their members of parliament or regulators; what Microsoft does here is extortion and just because Microsoft executives wear suits does not make their offences any less criminal than those of a shoplifter or a drug dealer; in fact, the damage that Microsoft’s ruthlessness causes to society is orders of magnitude greater. It’s called “white-collar crime” which sometimes can be “organised crime” (involving more than one party, or an accomplice in collusion).

“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

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 17/11/2019: Slax Beta and Arch Conf 2019 Report





  2. Understanding Thierry Breton: The “Cost-Killer” Tries to Tame the National Debt

    The oligarchic policy of Thierry Breton at Bercy



  3. Reactions to Last Week's Thierry Breton Hearing

    Nobody is particularly impressed by Thierry Breton except those who know little about him (and he contributes to this lack of knowledge by obstructing, omitting, and misleading)



  4. The Open Invention Network Has Become a Guard Dog of (Some) Patent Trolls and It Misrepresents Us Under the Guise of 'Open Source'

    The Open Invention Network (OIN), in collaboration with Fraunhöfer, is promoting software patents and all sorts of other nonsense as part of ‘open’ standards in a new paper sponsored by the EU and edited by the former EPO Chief Economist Nikolaus Thumm (not Battistelli's choice); this is another reminder of the fact that OIN misrepresents Free/Open Source software (FOSS) developers and their interests



  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 16, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 16, 2019



  6. Unitary Patent is Dead Partly Because the EPO Demonstrated That EPC is Being Routinely Violated, Illegal Patents Granted

    Some elements of Team UPC have given up, whereas others try to push the lie that Unitary Patent/Unified Patent Court (UPC) is not an EU thing and that therefore everything is fine



  7. USPTO Rewards Microsoft for Corruption at ISO by Teaching People Proprietary OOXML and Promoting Its Use

    The world's most important patent office promotes Microsoft lock-in, revealing not only corporate bias but also highlighting ways in which Microsoft crimes continue to pay off



  8. No, Startpage is Not Dutch Anymore

    Startpage is still clinging onto perceptions rather than truths; it means that Startpage isn't just betraying privacy but it's also dishonest and untrustworthy



  9. Understanding Thierry Breton: Chirac's Entrepreneurial “Joker”

    Minister in charge of the public treasury was not a career politician but an “entrepreneur” with a proven track-record as a financial wizard and “cost-killer”



  10. Links 16/11/2019: New Debian Release, Wine staging 4.20

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 15, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, November 15, 2019



  12. Microsoft Doesn't Love Linux, It Just Buys Linux

    Microsoft's takeover or abduction of its opposition's voice isn't an act of love but an act of occupation, a hostile colonisation that enables digital pillage and plunder



  13. Koch's Reply to EPO Through ILO and Techrights' Interpretation of Koch v EPO Documents Help Show That ILO-AT is Played by EPO Management

    Sending cases back and forth, without the complainant being involved, means that justice is in eternal ‘limbo’ and thus the abusive management of the European Patent Office (EPO) — first Team Battistelli and now Team Campinos — can get away with anything the bullies do (no judgment of substance being delivered)



  14. EPO Running ILO's Tribunal (ILO-AT) 'in a Loop' to Perpetually Delay and Drain the EPO's Complainants (Aggrieved Staff) Out of Money

    ILO’s Administrative Tribunal — a court for aggrieved EPO staff and other international organisations’ staff (usually known as ILO-AT for short) — is a major farce; when “time is money” and lawyers charge as much as 400 euros an hour the EPO’s management can exploit/misuse its cash reserves to also game justice and buy legal outcomes



  15. ILO is Not Functioning and ILO-AT Helps the Abusive Management of the European Patent Office

    It is becoming increasingly clear, based for example on Koch v EPO, that ILO-AT is where a lot of money will be spent on lawyers and rarely will that result in real justice (but it certainly helps EPO management pretend that staff has safeguards)



  16. Links 16/11/2019: Wine 4.20, Picolibc 1.1

    Links for the day



  17. Understanding Thierry Breton: Moral Responsibility for “a Capitalism That Kills”?

    "...France Télécom which had previously been defined by an ethos of public service, by egalitarian working conditions and by a sense of universal mission, had now been transformed into a "cash machine” whose sole purpose was to generate shareholder value on international financial markets."



  18. FOSSPatents Conference is Against FOSS, Promoting the FOSS-Hostile Construct Known as RAND or FRAND

    Do not be misled by the term Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in the name FOSSPatents and whatever relates to it (e.g. FOSSPatents Conference); it's not about FOSS but against FOSS, or pro-FRAND



  19. Europe is Under Attack

    European politicians or political candidates pretend to be 'candid'; but they're agents of Power, or put another way, they're there to make the rich and powerful class even richer and more powerful by passing new, ruinous laws in the name of 'the people' or 'for SMEs'



  20. Links 15/11/2019: New Opera and Brave, GNU/Linux Flatpa(c)ked

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 14, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 14, 2019



  22. Understanding Thierry Breton: Toxic Management Goes on Trial in France

    "In each of these cases, the suicide served as a symbolic act of protest to denounce workplace conditions at France Télécom and attract public attention to its practices."



  23. Thierry Breton's Video/Live Grilling is Over, But the Grilling Continues Online

    Elite politicians aren't reluctant to give Thierry Breton the high seat (or throne); but everyone else realises that this resembles a corporate takeover more than anything



  24. The EPO's Low Patent Quality is Not Just Suicidal; It is Illegal

    With help from the besieged Boards of Appeal (BoAs), which complain that they can no longer judge cases (appeals/referrals) autonomously and independently, the Office in Munich continues to grossly violate the EPC and mimic China's ridiculously low patent bar, which even formally permits patents on algorithms



  25. Links 14/11/2019: Mesa 19.2.4 and GCC 7.5 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company But Microsoft Bribed and Took Over Many Open Source Authorities (Rivals' Voice Hijacked)

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and GNU/Linux are being taken over by Microsoft moles, bought by Microsoft Corporation, and the collective voice of the alternative to Microsoft and Windows is being muzzled (they tell us they "love" us while they're attacking us and sometimes suing us)



  27. Techrights' Interpretation of Koch v EPO: The EPO's Management Still Attacks Staff Representatives

    The EPO hopes to get its victims (of EPO abuse) to not only foot their own bills but also the EPO's



  28. Understanding Thierry Breton: “Mister Cash” Arrives at France Télécom

    The psychological harassment of the France Télécom workforce led the "suicide wave" after Breton had left France Télécom



  29. The Breton-Battistelli Relationship and Breton Hiding His Employment Record at Rothschild & Cie Banque

    EPO scoundrels such as Battistelli are closer to Breton than most people care to realise; Breton is hiding part of his career ahead of today's grilling



  30. A Lot of EPO Staff on Dutch Land Protested (Despite Abusive Threats From Management) and a Strike is Reportedly Next

    EPO management in Rijswijk tried hard to prevent workers from protesting on their free time (lunch break), reaffirming that same old belief that nothing is changing at the EPO and nothing will change without truly disruptive action


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