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

03.02.10

Microsoft’s Extortion Battle Against GNU/Linux and Lawsuits by Proxy Against Google

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Servers, Ubuntu, VMware at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lloyd Fester

Summary: More details about the Amazon patent deal; Microsoft confirms role in legal actions against Google and Murdoch joins the cause

MICROSOFT is distrusted for a reason. No other company is arrogant enough to view it as a privilege to destroy other companies in nefarious ways rather than by improving one’s own offerings. Today we will share many new examples which show that Microsoft never changed.

Last week we wrote about Microsoft's patent deal with Panasonic. It is covered by some more sites right now [1, 2] and it is intended to require people to buy licences for software patents from Microsoft, even if they wish only to access their digital camera. TechRepublic asks, “New Linux kernel release and brewing legal battles vs. Microsoft?

“No other company is arrogant enough to view it as a privilege to destroy other companies in nefarious ways rather than by improving one’s own offerings.”Microsoft has clearly decided that software patents are its weapon of choice against the inevitability of software freedom. Microsoft imposes these patents in places where they are not legal (Europe for example) while employing lobbying groups that attempt to legalise these patents everywhere.

This brings us back to Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. The deal was signed almost on the very same day (same week) that Amazon announced that it will be advancing Windows on servers. See the article “Amazon gives EC2 a boost and broadens Windows support”:

Second, Amazon now offers its cheaper Reserved Instance pricing to Windows nodes. Reserved Instances reduce the per-hour pricing in return for a commitment to pay for a reserved instance for one or three years.

Amazon is doing all this while making GNU/Linux more expensive because it lets Microsoft ‘tax’ the Red Hat servers. Ken Hess goes further (too far) with the headline “Amazon Abandons Linux for Windows”

Amazon uses Linux for its Kindle now. Amazon uses a lot of Linux for its EC2 service. Just one day after their patent agreement deal, Amazon announced that they now offer Windows reserved instances just like their Linux ones.

Are you getting the picture yet? If not, let me help some more.

Microsoft employees have been entering Amazon for quite some time (latest instance). Very many examples were listed here before, so we leave them for readers to find (site search).

Pogson calls the patent deal with Amazon “Extortion”:

If you want to spread FUD, this will do. We also have no word on how many businesses have told M$ where to go. So far they have only sued TomTom. United we stand. Divided we fall. That’s the game. If the world does not stand up to bullies they become more aggressive and dangerous. Seeking to diversify their cash cow, the patent portfolio will be milked repeatedly. I notice this does not rate an SEC filing so it is not huge but its FUD value may be much higher.

The worst possible outcome is the extension of the M$ tax to GNU/Linux. That will not happen. Software patents are on their way out. Copyright FUD did not work for SCOG, M$’s stooge. Patent FUD will not work for M$. Even if they somehow play the game out for years as SCOG has done, patents expire in much shorter time than copyrights. The best M$ can hope to do it use this FUD to retain control of the US market where software patents are tolerated. Most of the rest of the world gives them no play.

Now everyone agrees that this is extortion though. At Groklaw, for instance, Pamela Jones wrote: “Uh huh. Microsoft says [that the deal involved Linux]. And you know *they* never lie. Here’s their press release, that says the terms are confidential, so how would we ever really know? But if I might point out, Amazon isn’t a Linux company, and it sells a hardware device. And I gather Microsoft’s MO is to make any company signing up with them in a patent cross licensing deal sign an NDA, so only Microsoft speaks in public, then they put out a press release which makes claims no one can check or verify, wave their arms about Linux, then go on to the next victim. Unless they show some details, it means absolutely nothing to me, except that Microsoft is very good at marketing FUD.”

Later she wrote: “Personally, what is lacking as far as proof is concerned is also what the deal is really about. It’s just Microsoft talking, I notice, isn’t it? Let’s hear from Amazon, by all means, and if Microsoft won’t let that happen, why take it seriously? If the deal was really what Microsoft says it is, why would they require Amazon to stay silent, and if they are not requiring it, why isn’t Amazon telling us all about it?”

Jay Lyman from The 451 Group had an interesting take on it:

But now, I’m beginning to question why Linux and open source get such prominent mention in the press release on this latest deal with Amazon. Others have questioned why Amazon would agree to such a deal, and while I believe it’s often a reality of best interest/better than court, I also question how far any attempt at FUD can really travel in an industry that has largely already made its decision on Linux. For the most part and in most every case, the benefits outweigh the risks, whether they be real or perceived.

Over at Linux Planet, someone has compared Microsoft’s strategy to IBM’s (when it was collapsing). The headline says, “Is Microsoft the New Old IBM: a Ponderous Innot-vator?”

Twenty years ago IBM was a bloated, ponderous corporate giant, dominating the computing world not by advancing technology but by intimidating not only its few competitors, but even its customers. Did a long-term user of IBM’s support services buy so much as a single product from Amdahl? Too bad — the service contract was de facto terminated. It seemed there was no way to break the stranglehold IBM had on the very concept of computing. (If you want the full story on all of this, I recommend “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?” by Louis Gerstner, the CEO who turned IBM around)

[...]

As to Microsoft, that article shows how perfectly they are imitating the flawed history of IBM by attempting to intimidate anyone they regard as a rival.

In the past week we have found news headlines promoting special prices for Microsoft Office at Amazon.com. We continue to stress that a lot of the people who run Amazon are former Microsoft executives. They just found a new ‘host’ right next door. We suspect that VMware has the same type of problem [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] and so did Yahoo!

Here is new evidence that Microsoft will pay Yahoo! [1, 2, 3], which in turn will pay Ubuntu developers to send GNU/Linux users to Microsoft’s datacentres and highly biased search results, with requests and behaviours that get stored for Microsoft to analyse. This weakens Ubuntu’s Chrome OS partner (see details about the Yahoo-Canonical deal in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]).

Here is another new article, titled “Microsoft Against Google Books Plan”

The tide has definitely turned against Google as it seems almost every company is gunning for the search giant. At a fairness hearing held last week in relation to Google’s plan to digitise published works, lawyers from both Microsoft and Amazon spoke out against the company. Lawyers from Microsoft and Amazon have said that allowing Google to publish millions of books online would give it an unfair domination of unclaimed books, violating current copyright laws.

We mentioned this before, just about a week ago. Watch how Amazon is helping Microsoft fight Google. Interesting timing too. Microsoft may have used Yahoo! is the very same way. It is the typical strategy of just eliminating rivals rather than improving one’s own products. Microsoft builds “anti-Google” coalitions. As IDG put it several days ago (in the headline): “Microsoft Chief’s Battle Plan: Vaporize Google’s Cloud”

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was used in attacks against Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] and now that Google considers leaving China (as a direct result of these attacks) “Microsoft, Others Poach Google China Staff,” says one report.

Some Chinese tech companies have begun to actively recruit Google China employees in light of Google’s possible withdrawal from the China market. Both headhunters and Google’s competitors say Google engineers and other employees have become more receptive to job offers since Google’s prospects in China are unclear. Google’s workforce had been very loyal and difficult to poach in the past.

Now comes the anti-trust assault from Microsoft. Here is some coverage confirming that Microsoft is behind those assaults on Google:

Reuters: “Microsoft says Google acts raise antitrust issues”

Microsoft Corp made its most vehement and public attack on Google Inc on Friday, calling its internet rival’s actions potentially anti-competitive, and urging victims to file complaints to regulators.

More on that later.

There are many articles about it and over at Groklaw, Pamela Jones says that she “had to fix the headline” of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “as the WSJ seemed to me to be making it seem a lot more serious than it is, in that they have to do a preliminary investigation of any complaint, I would think, so they know whether or not there is any substance. Reuters has it more accurately phrased: “The European Commission is considering complaints from three online companies regarding Google Inc’s practices including its search rankings, the company said on Tuesday.” And the headline is “Google notified of EC complaints”.”

That’s some interesting disinformation from Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. Well, guess what? After Microsoft’s many flirts with Murdoch [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] about destroying Google, it turns out that he is “‘Ready To Sue’ Google”

Although a few months have passed since the last big flareup, News Corp. may still be willing to go to war with Google. A fresh report indicates that Rupert Murdoch is indeed prepared to take the search giant to court, and has been talking to Microsoft about an exclusive deal, too.

Sue Google over what exactly? They can just delist his sites if that’s what he wants (which he doesn’t). It has been said many times before that he is just trying to smear Google in order to please his friends, the thugs from Microsoft. Based on new reports like this one, people who leave Microsoft no longer have a problem with Google.

Mike Koss had a hand in developing some of Microsoft’s most important products during his 19-year career, from Excel to Outlook to Sharepoint. But the 49-year-old software developer — who left Microsoft in 2002 to pursue his own entrepreneurial ventures — now proudly proclaims that he’s turned into a “Google fanboy.”

How about Don Dodge [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], who turned from Microsoft’s AstroTurfer into a Google booster when the payments suddenly came from Google? By the way, we are not defending Google.

Microsoft is still just a bunch of aggressive hypocrites. Microsoft is behind many other complaints against Google and against IBM. Microsoft’s strategy here is very simple: buy a rival of the company and then use that rival for antitrust complaints by proxy against the said company (in IBM's case, Microsoft used T3).

In Google’s case, Microsoft first denied its involvement but then it gave up. Microsoft now confirms this; it uses lobbying against a competitor and The Register helps this cause.

Microsoft launched an ardent attack against Google late last week, accusing the web giant of anti-competitive behaviour.

The software vendor’s deputy general counsel Dave Heiner wrote a missive on Microsoft’s corporate blog on Friday, in which he highlighted complaints levelled at what he sees as Google’s questionable business practices.

Glyn Moody writes the witty response that he titles “Microsoft Hoist by its Own Anti-Anti-Competitive Petard”

One of the decisive moments in computing history was when Microsoft was investigated for and found guilty of breaching US rules on anti-competitive behaviour.
Microsoft’s line in defending itself was that it was not anti-competitive, that this investigation was all down to desperate, failed competitors trying to take their petty revenge by setting the government on the company, and that it should be allowed to “innovate”, untrammelled by those silly governmental authorities that just don’t understand all this groovy technology stuff.

More coverage on this includes:

Microsoft Tells Google To Face The Antitrust Music

Microsoft Publicly Takes Google to Task Over Antitrust Investigations

Microsoft’s Latest Attempt To Derail Google: Sic The Antitrust Cops On Them

Microsoft says Google acts raise antitrust issues

Microsoft breaks silence on EU investigation into Google

Microsoft has broken its silence on the European Commission inquiry into Google after criticisms that the US giant was orchestrating a campaign against the company founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Here is one of the complainers distancing itself from Microsoft and an explanation of why it’s all just a waste of time. The Seattle Times is just promoting Microsoft as usual (and keeping silent about the company's offences), with more new examples to be found here and a complaint about the Seattle Times here:

That BoingBoing headline–”Broke-ass Washington state set to give MSFT $100M annual tax cut and amnesty for $1B in evasion”–should make the people (well, Jeff Reifman) at Microsoft Tax Dodge happy–they’ve been wondering where the Seattle Times has been on this issue. Who needs old media? BoingBoing is here.

Here is the Seattle Times promoting what seems like another Visible Technologies wannabe (former Microsoft employees proceed to spying).

A former Microsoft engineer’s longtime vision for a user-centered Web service is launching today at Strings.com.

[...]

“The whole premise was the Web is so noisy,” he said. “The best way to filter all the noise is for some automated system to understand ‘me’ intimately.”

Another Seattle site writes about Microsoft’s Poole entering more than just NComputing [1, 2, 3, 4].

MOD Systems continues to add firepower to its growing team, naming former Coinstar executive Dan Gerrity and former Microsoft Windows executive Will Poole to the board. The news follows a series of appointments at the company which were announced last week, most notably former Clearwire exec Robert DeLucia who joined as chief financial officer. They also come amid ongoing legal troubles with MOD’s founder and former CEO: Mark Phillips.

NComputing got closer to Microsoft after it had taken Microsoft’s Poole on board. They never seem to learn what happens when former Sotfies are hired. Amazon didn’t learn, VMware had EMC impose this upon it, and Yahoo! was just too weak to resist the proxy battle from Microsoft and bullies like Icahn (“corporate raider”).

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

8 Comments

  1. BrownieBoy said,

    March 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy,

    With regards to Reserved Instance costs, yes, the up-front costs are the same for Linux or Windows. However, there’s an hourly usage cost on top of that, and Windows is more expensive there; sometimes by quite a margin.

    For example, the highest spec Reserved Instance charges $0.24 per hour for Linux, but $0.50 per hour for Windows. Yep, that’s over double. That works out at $2102.40 per annum for Linux, but a whacking $4380 per annum for Windows. That’s on top of your up-front costs, of course.

    And that’s without mentioning (except I’m going to!) that for all the extra money that you spend for Windows, you’ll end up with a system that’s utter shite. The only advantage is that your MCSE gibbons might just be able to operate it … on a good day.

    EC2 pricing is at:

    http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/#instance

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Surely there can be good offers elsewhere — ones that don’t pay Microsoft for an operating system it does not own.

    BrownieBoy Reply:

    We don’t know that Amazon is paying Microsoft anything.

    My guess is that Amazon is only lending its name to this mess, although that’s bad enough.

    As for alternatives, I’d sure like to know of any. Amazon seems to be way ahead of the pack in this market.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Amazon has said in its press release that Microsoft will be paid, but it does not say for which patents.

  2. your_friend said,

    March 3, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Gravatar

    Anyone tempted to compare IBM and Microsoft should consult the Jargon File FUD entry.

    Defined by Gene Amdahl after he left IBM to found his own company: “FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering [Amdahl] products.” … After 1990 the term FUD was associated increasingly frequently with Microsoft, and has become generalized to refer to any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon. …

    The SCO suit rapidly became infamous for the number and magnitude of falsehoods alleged in SCO’s filings. In October 2003, SCO’s lawyers filed a memorandum in which they actually had the temerity to link to the web version of this entry in furtherance of their claims. Whilst we appreciate the compliment of being treated as an authority, we can return it only by observing that SCO has become a nest of liars and thieves compared to which IBM at its historic worst looked positively angelic. Any judge or law clerk reading this should surf through to my collected resources on this topic for the appalling details.—ESR

    Now that we know that SCO was nothing but a front financed by and for Microsoft, we can safely assume that the operative portion of the above can be stated, Microsoft is a nest of liars and thieves compared to which IBM at its historic worst looked positively angelic. SCO is only a small portion of Microsoft’s 30 year crime spree. There is absolutely no chance that Microsoft will pull any kind of turn around like IBM has. This is no reason to forgive IBM for their support of software patents and other petty sins but we should keep things in perspective.

  3. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 3, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Gravatar

    The extortion is also against individuals. Look at the fight in Denmark. There like anywhere else, Microsoft is pressing against administrators to fire staff that don’t toe the party line of One Microsoft Way. Russia is another place to look, especially in the schools.

    Student extortion is a lot harder to track, but probably much more common. A lot of so-called tech degree programmes fully block use of (if the have it at all) non-Microsoft technologies until late in the programme and even then only as optional electives to students proven loyal to One Microsoft Way.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Here is Microsoft admitting that it’s doing it.

  4. Agent_Smith said,

    March 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Gravatar

    This is old news. Micro$oft funded SCO to attack Linux years ago… So, nothing new coming from Redmond. Only the attacked now is Google, by little companies M$ funds… Shame on you Steve B. And Shame on You, Steve J (crApple)

What Else is New


  1. Christoph Ernst, Long Speculated to be Battistelli's Successor, Becomes Battistelli's 'Boss'

    The next Chairman of the Administrative Council of the EPO is Christoph Ernst from Germany



  2. Bristows LLP is Still Trying to Attach Wings to the UPC and Distract From Serious (Likely Fatal) Barriers to It

    In spite of the UPC being in a morbid state, Bristows carries on pretending that all is rosy and progress is being made



  3. Letter Warns of “Reform Marathon” a Few Days Before Benoît Battistelli's Job is Offered to Someone Else

    New letter states that "although the AC pressurised the president to halt the reform process, the Office is unilaterally proposing further reforms"



  4. EPO Staff Bemoans “Another Reform à la Battistelli That Only Benefits Battistelli”

    A letter from anonymous EPO staff details the ways in which Battistelli's power grab would further harm the EPO



  5. Ignore the Press Releases and Puff Pieces, the EPO is Going on Strikes

    Unrest at the EPO is at an all-time high (strikes planned), but people out there can barely tell because the media -- for the most part -- ignores all this, just like the last time



  6. Links 27/6/2017: Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 is Out, Windows Ransomware on the Loose Worldwide

    Links for the day



  7. Links 26/6/2017: Lumina Version 1.3.0, Final Linux RC

    Links for the day



  8. EPO Strikes in All Four EPO Sites for Two Days This Month and Next Month, Under the “Respect Staff” Banner

    The impact of the strikes at EPO doubles, as two strikes in two months are scheduled, starting this week



  9. Latest EPO Caricature: Staff Committee Maintains Integrity

    Caricature about double failure of Battistelli last week -- a failure which shall result in a general strike fairly soon



  10. Voter Suppression Tactics by Team Battistelli Serve to Reaffirm View That the EPO is an Authoritarian Regime Which Loathes Voting

    In spite of the dirty tricks employed by Team Battistelli, staff managed to guard the integrity of the staff committee and vote for a strike; the dirty tricks, however, will not and should not be forgotten



  11. Leaked: Job Opening Advertised as Battistelli’s 'Mole' at the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, Leaves in Shame

    Having disgraced the Administrative Council of the EPO, e.g. by protecting the person whom he is supposed to supervise, Jesper Kongstad will leave in 3 months



  12. As Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Ramps Up Its Campaign Against Software Patent Trolls the Patent Microcosm Attacks the Messenger (EFF)

    In an effort to thwart Alice and the EFF (two birds, one stone) the patent microcosm goes behind the scenes and saturates the media with misleading articles, including attacks on the EFF itself



  13. In Sandoz v Amgen, the Federal Circuit is Again Found to Have Delivered Patent Injustice

    SCOTUS continues to disagree with CAFC on everything that it decides to reconsider, even the very latest decision (formally delivered earlier this month)



  14. The Supreme Court Can Reassert the Legitimacy of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Later This Year or Next Year

    What lawyers-centric media characterises as a risk to PTAB may actually be an opportunity to silence critics of PTAB and help it carry on squashing bogus patents



  15. The US Patent Office (USPTO) Should Now be Headed by Drew Hirshfeld, a Patent Examiner Who Rose to the Top, Not a Lawyer Like Joseph Matal

    Donald Trump's Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, pushes to the top the patent microcosm rather than technical people who are equipped with the knowledge and experience to run the Office as well as Michelle Lee did



  16. After Latest Supreme Court Rulings on Patents, Including Impression v Lexmark, the Federal Circuit is Left Disgraced

    Hostility towards the patent microcosm's patent maximalism, as witnessed at the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), culminated in another decision and will soon result in yet more decisions, as SCOTUS has since then picked more patent cases to look at



  17. IBM, Apple and Facebook Pursue Software Patents in India in Defiance of the Ban

    Multinationals from the United States, or digital colonisers with ambitions to spy on and control finance, continue to behave as though Indian law is not applicable to their operations in India and repeatedly attempt to patent software anyway



  18. Wouter Pors Under Fire for Lying or Manipulating in the Name of the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The argument between Team UPC and other patent professionals (without a lot of eggs in the UPC basket) heats up as Wouter Pors resorts to desperate measures and Bristows belatedly admits constitutional problems in the UK



  19. Systemic Injustice at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Causes Serious Harm to Complainants' Health, Including EPO Complainants

    The high human cost of ILO's failure to fulfill its stated mission while pretending that it has things under control (that is clearly no longer the case, especially as far as EPO cases go)



  20. Links 24/6/2017: GNOME Music Improves, FreeBSD 11.1 Beta 3

    Links for the day



  21. Microsoft and Bill Gates Become More Actively Involved in Their Biggest Patent Troll (and World's Biggest Troll), Intellectual Ventures

    The world's largest patent troll, which reportedly operates (litigates) through literally thousands of shells, has received yet more financial aid from Microsoft and Bill Gates



  22. The STRONGER Patents Act is One Among Several New Pushes for Patent Chaos in the United States

    US patent law is being 'massaged' again, with bills being pushed forth that propose a return to Armageddon, undoing much of the progress made possible by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA)



  23. SUEPO and the EPO's Central Staff Committee Condemn Battistelli's Latest Attempt to Change the Rules in Defiance of Laws

    Staff representatives at the EPO voice opposition to so-called 'reforms' which are neither desirable nor legal



  24. The Tide Has Turned Against the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and It Finally Looks as 'Alive' as TPP

    The UPC is now stuck if not dead because officials are realising -- however belatedly -- that this entire charade was from start to finish just a coup d'état of the patent 'industry'



  25. Potential Targets of European Patent Office (EPO) Whistleblowing

    Priorities for whistleblowing at the European Patent Office (EPO), which operates secretly and occasionally illegally, too



  26. Links 23/6/2017: Wine 2.11 Released, HPC Domination by GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  27. Primer to the Crisis and Scandals at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An introduction to the chaotic state of what used to be the world's leading patent office and quickly became Europe's biggest embarrassment



  28. Workers of the European Patent Office (EPO) Are Going on Strike Again, Almost 90% Voted in Favour

    Thousands of brave EPO employees chose to cast a vote and make it known that they are in favour of another strike



  29. Benoît Battistelli Has Lost the Election at the EPO

    FFPE candidates (or moles from the yellow union) failed to enter the Central Staff Committee in spite of Battistelli's attempt to help them get in



  30. Emerging Threat to Patent Reforms at the USPTO

    Our plan of returning to coverage of US patent affairs in the wake of powerful lobbies that pursue patent maximalism


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