03.15.10

Apple’s and Microsoft’s Patent Attacks and Why the Linux Foundation’s Response Disappoints

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Why so angry, Steve?!

Steve Ballmer

Steve Jobs
Original photo by Matthew Yohe, modified by Boycott Novell

Summary: A great number of new articles about the effects of Apple, Microsoft, and Intellectual Ventures (funded by Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates) on Free software

Apple’s attack on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] has led Dana Blankenhorn to suggesting that Apple could be the next SCO.

Apple’s suit against HTC could end one of two ways.

Either Apple becomes the next SCO, which ran itself aground claiming rights to Linux, or it becomes the next Microsoft, which is prospering while claiming to own Linux.

The answer depends on how hard Apple presses its case.

According to this new article from the New York Times, Steve Jobs is being anti-competitive.

“We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business,” Mr. Jobs told Apple employees during an all-hands meeting shortly after the public introduction of the iPad in January, according to two employees who were there and heard the presentation. “Make no mistake: Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.”

“Why Apple is paranoid about Android,” wonders an IDG blogger, who plays with words of a Radiohead track.

What was surprising was that the theme that Business Insider chose to talk about – RIM holding on to its dominance from the Apple iPhone – was not what caught my eye. What struck me was the Google Android share and the sharp recent increase, suggesting that it’s heading ever upwards. In fact, when I go back to the original figure from ComScore, the market share is 7.1 percent – a whopping increase from the 2.8 percent of the previous quarter – that’s a little over 150 percent increase in three months. And that market share was achieved very quickly, Android only released its first phone in September 2008, a doubly impressive performance.

As a reminder, Apple also sues Nokia, but Nokia is the company that sued first [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. This case could take years, according to:

1. U.S. Judge Suspends Apple-Nokia Case

The judge stayed litigation in the case pending the outcome of the International Trade Commission investigations that each company requested against the other. The investigation into Apple was announced by the ITC in late January, while the responding investigation into Nokia was launched late last month. After Nokia’s first lawsuit, launched in October of last year, Apple filed a counterclaim in the Delaware district court, also accusing Nokia of patent infringement. Nokia subsequently launched a second suit, aiming to block importation of Apple hardware into the U.S.

2. Nokia, Apple seek patent trial in 2 years

Top phone makers Nokia and Apple will seek a U.S. court hearing in a key patent battle in mid-2012, a court filing showed, raising the specter of a prolonged legal struggle.

Here is a note about prior art and LWN with a list of the patents and a discussion. IDG has this list of top smartphone lawsuits.

Over the past decades, the software patent has become a weapon of choice in tech circles.

One writer argues that “Apple’s patent offensive sends message to rivals”. It’s a bully’s technique, like “Shock and Awe” or “crazy dictator” (always be aware of the lawsuit-loving, trigger-happy one).

Apple’s patent infringement case against HTC is part of a larger effort to give rival smart phone manufacturers pause as they pursue iPhone-like features in their devices, according to a research note from Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Brainstorm Tech relates the note, which recounts the way Apple is working behind the scenes to stop what it calls the rip off of its intellectual property. It also suggests that Apple’s IP battle could deal a blow to Google’s Android operating system and manufacturers relying on it.

Apple and Microsoft are actually both in it, having previously bullied companies like Sun over the use and support of Free software [1, 2]. They keep the abusive behaviour secret for the most part.

This also brings us back to Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. “Microsoft’s Amazon deal was all about Linux,” says this one article.

However, buried in the small print of the press release about the deal was a set of technologies covered by the agreement including the Kindle, which employs open source software, and Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers.

What this could mean is that Microsoft is popping around to some of the bigger Linux based technology outfits and saying: “Look you have some stuff we want to use, give us the rights to use it and we will not make you the first person we sue over Linux”.

[...]

What surprises us is that the Open Source community has not kicked up more of a stink about it.

Jim Zemlin, of the Linux Foundation, wrote of the deal that most technology companies have invested heavily in patents and that a cross-licensing agreement is a non-news event. The fact that two entities with expensive stockpiles of outdated weapons felt the need to negotiate détente is not surprising.

We have already complained about apathy from Zemlin and a few others [1, 2]. There is a poor approach from the Linux Foundation, which is not opposing software patents (its funding sources don’t). Instead, the foundation plays along with the dirty games of lobbying. “Software freedom has a posse – in Washington DC,” says Phipps from the OSI, who adds that:

You’ll recall I posted a long analysis of the sick position the IIPA took urging the US Trade Representative (USTR) to discriminate against countries around the world if they have a preference for software freedom. That analysis become an input for the excellent position statement, written collaboratively by the OSI Board and posted by OSI President Michael Tiemann, calling for action by national groups.

Here is OSFA’s announcement and some resultant press coverage. OSFA should have spent energy lobbying to abolish software patents once and for all, but then again, some of the companies it represents are fake friends of Free software who actually like software patents (companies like Google and IBM, for example).

One issue that we mentioned before is that Google had gotten sued by some obscure company [1, 2] and Microsoft did too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (there are $242,000,000 at stake, a similar amount to that of the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]).

One would think that Google and Microsoft can abolishing software patents, but the benefits they receive from these monopolies are greater than the occasional damages. According to this new report from IP Watch, Microsoft is now joined by it patent troll Nathan Myhrvold, who helped the company hack the patent system.

Indian Civil Society Raises Concerns Over US Industry-Sponsored IP Summits

[...]

Public interest groups in India are raising questions over annual summits involving Indian judges and policymakers that are being funded by major western industry groups, in particular pharmaceutical companies. At this year’s summit, held recently, a section of India’s patent law which prevents the extension of monopoly power for incremental innovations came under attack, the groups have said.

[...]

Companies with a “vested interest in software patents” such as Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft, and Qualcomm also have been involved, although such patents are not currently allowed in the country, it added.

Why is Intellectual Ventures even involved in this? It has no products and it contributed nothing to society or industry. It’s just a leech that spends over a million dollars per year lobbying while bullying a variety of companies, which lose their income to this leech.

Change is needed and it involves abolishing software patents, not working one’s way around them. OSFA ought to work towards that goal and identify Apple, Microsoft, or even their shells that they fund as foes not worth working with.

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, funded by Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates

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

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

2 Comments

  1. mcinsand said,

    March 15, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Gravatar

    The problem with Apple is that its lemmings refuse to wake up, even as they show up on FOSS sites claiming to support open-ness. Then, there are the FOSS people that think that the enemy of my enemy must be my friend. Thus, since Apple isn’t MS, Apple must be a ‘friend’ despite the fact that they have forgotten more about vendor lock-in than MS will ever learn! My best analogy for the Apple lemmings are the cat people that claim that their house doesn’t smell despite the fact that the cats have repeatedly marked every wall.

    (No, I am not anti-cat or anti-dog in the least, but there are those owners that refuse to recognize that some pets make themselves known.)

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, exactly.

    I sometimes argue that Apple is the “everything but Microsoft” option (or “anti-Microsoft”), whereas GNU/Linux and BSD are the “everything but proprietary” option (or “pro-choice” and “pro-independence”),

    Boycott Novell is not about Microsoft and Novell. It deals with whatever behaviour threatens the freedom of software the most at any given time. Apple is currently a big problem and it uses US patent law+ITC for ‘teeth’.

    Like many others, I got into Free software because it was technically solid. It makes some companies like Apple nervous, jealous, and thus aggressive. Schwartz knows.

What Else is New


  1. Links 28/1/2021: Stable Kernels and Sudo Bugfixes

    Links for the day



  2. Showing Solidarity With FSFE Survivors

    What does justice look like?



  3. IBM is Throwing Away Red Hat's 'de Facto Standard' Status in Servers, Wrongly Assuming People Can't (or Won't) Go Elsewhere

    This new video is over half an hour long and it’s a discussion of IBM’s self-harming (shot-in-the-foot) move, which it already seems to regret



  4. Why 6 Screens and 6 Virtual Desktops

    An explanation of how I use computers and how I distribute tasks (across screens and across virtual desktops)



  5. Red Hat Developer Network Promoting Microsoft's Proprietary Software, Sometimes by Mass-Mailing People

    Red Hat is doing a disservice to people who subscribe to E-mail newsletters; those people are almost never into Microsoft's proprietary software, which they want to get away from



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 26, 2021



  7. Links 26/1/2021: Mozilla Firefox 85.0, Tails 4.15, Zentyal Server 7.0, GNOME 40 Alpha

    Links for the day



  8. Instead of Making Access to COVID-19 Solutions Easier Bill Gates Has Made It Harder (Patent Profits)

    Counterproductively — and at a great cost to human civilisation — Bill Gates has once again put profits and monopoly ahead of global goals such as collective health



  9. We Need More Documents Leaked to Know Intel (From the) Inside

    We invite more leaks from the belly of the beast "chipzilla", seeing that it is becoming a drone of Microsoft again, yearning for the "Wintel" days instead of moving on to a world dominated by GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  10. Why GNU/Linux Users (and the Public at Large) Should Support Leaking/Whistleblowing Sites (Including Wikileaks)

    To demonstrate the value of "scientific journalism" (a term apparently coined by Wikileaks) we take a look at Red Hat's response to embarrassing leaks (demonstrating what a scam their certification and examination programmes really are)



  11. EPO President António Campinos is Still Not Listening, According to Internal EPO Documents

    Increasingly arrogant and unaccountable management of Europe's second-largest institution (EPO) has left staff disillusioned but still defiant; there's clearly unsuitable or unfit-for-purpose management at the EPO, self-selecting based on nepotism/loyalty so as to cover up abuses



  12. Why You Should Give Falkon (the Web Browser) a Chance on GNU/Linux, BSD, or Windows

    In this crazy new world where advertisers are the real customers and Web users ("audiences") have been reduced to mere products we need a browser that isn't controlled by a company; try Falkon



  13. Kluwer Patent Spin and Distortion of Facts (Regarding UPC and More)

    Kluwer Patent Blog disgraces the firm that puts its name on it; instead of sticking to facts they're distorting the facts and the sole/principal goal is to manipulate/mislead the public and public servants



  14. Links 26/1/2021: 4MLinux 35.1, GParted 1.2, Gnuastro 0.14

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 25, 2021



  16. It's Wrong to Assume Red Hat Competes With Microsoft

    The community ought to stop pretending that one monopoly seeks to replace another despite close partnerships (some would say "collusion") between the two



  17. EPO Staff Representation Complains That EPO Management Exploits Pandemic and 'House Arrests' to Overwork Staff, Lower Quality

    The EPO keeps breaking its promises to workers; not only are key employees seeing their net salary cut (inflation factored in) but pensioners too are being robbed and in the meantime the total time spent on work is increasing



  18. Fake News is Not a 'Wing' Thing

    The two-party corporate-led system (and media) would have us obsess/bicker about accuracy of news based on some binary/dual system of blind loyalty rather than underlying facts and priorities



  19. Links 25/1/2021: Huawei on GNU/Linux, NuTyX 20.12.1, Whisker Menu 2.5.3, Lutris 0.5.8.3, Linux 5.11 RC5

    Links for the day



  20. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in ZDNet is the Norm

    ZDNet continues to emit lots of garbage 'journalism', in effect Microsoft PR and what's known as "black PR" for Linux; just like Bleeping Computer, which ZDNet hired this writer from, there's no adherence to facts, just smears and innuendo



  21. Truth Tellers Aren't an Enemy of Free Software

    There's a perpetual attack on people who speak out against actors and corporations in positions of great power, however subtle and indirect those attacks may seem on the surface (they don't wish to be held accountable for defaming activists)



  22. The Linux Foundation, With Over 124 Million Dollars in Annual Revenue, is in Trouble Because of the Pandemic, So It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as Training and Certifications Outfit

    With mountains of cash and a Public Relations (PR) or marketing business model the so-called 'Linux' Foundation became reliant on travel, lodging, booths and speeches on sale; COVID-19 is a great risk to that business model



  23. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 24, 2021



  24. Our Move Further Away From the World Wide Web, the Browser Monopolies, HTTP, and HTML

    The World Wide Web (WWW) is going down a bad path and a clearly regressive direction; the solution isn't going 'retro' but exploring more sophisticated systems which are robust to censorship (localised or globalised) and downtime (related to censorship) while reducing surveillance by leveraging encryption at the endpoints



  25. Important Issues Not Entertained in the Community, Especially Critics of the Status Quo

    here's corporate infiltration inside communities (for oligarchy hunts volunteer, unpaid labour) and those who speak about that as a threat to our cause and objectives are painted as misguided outcasts who must be ignored



  26. Internet Origins of the Mob

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  27. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring



  28. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  29. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  30. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale


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