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03.16.10

New Theory That Microsoft Played Role in Apple’s Lawsuit Against Linux and Against Google

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, SCO at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some news sites have begun suggesting that since Microsoft would benefit from Apple’s aggression, then Microsoft could also be involved in it

Microsoft is copying ideas from Apple in its attempt to breathe life into Windows Mobile. Microsoft even admits copying the iPhone, but for neither Microsoft nor Apple does the closed-source approach help all that much. According to Microsoft’s business partner ComScore [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], the biggest winner right now is Linux/Android, which Apple tries to defeat by suing with software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Here is why Apple and Microsoft are so nervous about Linux:

These figures are from a company that works with Microsoft, so if any bias exists, it is in Microsoft’s favour. According to the ‘Microsoft press’, Microsoft plans to pollute the mobile Web with standards-hostile pages that only work well as long as Microsoft gets paid. How convenient.

The Mad Hatter writes about Apple’s lawsuit with some historical background:

Unix System Laboratories v. BSD Incorporated and the University of California – in many ways this was one of the seminal cases which changed the attitude of IT towards companies that use the legal system against their competitors. It ended in a sealed settlement. A settlement that left the community unsure, and very unhappy. Ten years later using California’s Public Records Law, a Groklaw member called dburns obtained a copy of the settlement, which Groklaw dissected, to the delight of the community. Tis case may have directly been responsible for the success of Linux, in that people who might have worked on the BSD kernel worked on the Linux kernel instead due to the legal uncertainty.

SCO Group v. International Business Machines, Inc. – the actions of the SCO Group (previously known as Caldera International) were regarded by most of the community as a direct attack on the community, even though IBM was the legal target. SCO claimed that IBM had copied millions of lines of source code directly from the Unix Operating System into GNU/Linux. When SCO turned down the community’s offer to re-write the supposedly infringing parts of GNU/Linux, the initial confusion in the community was replaced by a dogged determination to strike back. The community quickly determined that SCO’s claims were bogus by checking every claim that SCO made against the source code files in the Linux kernel. The fact that SCO (when it was still called Caldera) had open sourced an earlier version of the Unix Operating System helped. Groklaw was one of the nodes of resistance that formed, and the line by line dissection of the various filings by Pamela helped confirm that SCO was lying . One of the things that really got IT upset was how the two major players, Ralph Yarro and Darl McBride attempted to use the ‘religion’ card (both claimed to be devout Mormons – claimed – their lies prove that they weren’t).

Gordon v. Microsoft and Comes v. Microsoft – two of the Anti-Trust cases brought against Microsoft, the public filings made very interesting reading, and showed that Microsoft was no friend of the IT community, regarding them as little more than sheep to be fleeced.

[...]

And now we’ve got Apple. Apple had generally been regarded as an OK company. It makes code contributions to the community, uses Free and Open Source Software in it’s core products (OSX is based on FreeBSD, Safari is based on Webkit, etc). Apple has been somewhat litigious, but the lawsuit against HTC is the ’straw that broke the camel’s back.’ Whether the lawsuit has any legal or technical merits doesn’t matter. What matters is that Apple has taken an action that the IT Community doesn’t approve of.

Legally Apple’s suit may have merits (another article will deal with this). That doesn’t matter. Apple has, by launching this suit, proven a disdain for the IT Community’s mores. The community has had to deal with a lot of issues, especially over the last ten years, and as The SCO Group found out, if you piss off the community, the community will come after you.

But now we get to the interesting part. We have found this theory that Apple attacked Android (Linux) in order to help Microsoft. Here is one article that discusses this:

Companies Targeted by Apple’s Lawsuits Might Receive Help from Microsoft, Report Speculates

The rattle created by Apple is now leading to other OEMs to reconsider their plans with the Android, and this might indirectly help Microsoft gain more partners for its latest Windows Phone 7 Series.

Also, in CRN, we have “Report: Microsoft May Help Apple Lawsuit Targets”.

Microsoft Nick says that “Microsoft Could Be Affected by Apple, HTC Lawsuit”. Brier Dudley, a Microsoft booster from the Seattle Times (which hardly ever covers anything negative about Microsoft), says that “Apple [and] Microsoft [are] warming up to each other”. Dudley also writes that “Seeing is believing when Microsoft talks nice about former foe Apple”. He refers to the following incident:

Speaking of such stores, CMS Wire says that “Google’s Marketplace Spells Trouble for Microsoft” and a blogger from ZDNet says:

Given all those Googly warm fuzzies, it seemed like Microsoft should be at least a little bit nervous, especially for the much sought-after SMB market.

Microsoft has already begun imitating this model too.

Could Microsoft be helping Apple or vice versa? One might suggest that this is complemented rather than contradicted by news reports like this one from the Wall Street Journal:

Microsoft Corp. employees are passionate users of the latest tech toys. But there is one gadget love that many at the company dare not name: the iPhone.

Mike Magee and others [1, 2, 3] wrote about 10,000 Microsoft employees using iPhones (that’s more than 10% of the staff). Are Apple and Microsoft really growing closer? Some months ago there were rumours about them bonding against Google, namely by Apple redirecting users to Microsoft’s illusion of “search engine”, where the results are still Linux- and Apple-hostile.

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2 Comments

  1. your_friend said,

    March 16, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Gravatar

    PJ of Groklaw has long speculated that the Psystar incident was a covert attack on the GPL, and Apple is no friend of the GPL or software freedom. The HTC is also damaging to free software in the way that all software patents are damaging to free software. It will only target Android because Apple has some kind of kickback arrangement, aka cross licensing extortion deal, with Microsoft. Apple will benefit from this in the short run. No one benefits from software patents in the long run but industry wide monopolists.

    It is unfair to characterize Groklaw and other community responses to Microsoft’s attack on software freedom as some kind of attack for unapproved actions. Groklaw is a research site run by an impartial observer who aims to understand the truth about a huge fraud. At best, that’s a purely defensive reaction. To say otherwise is to fall prey to Microsoft propaganda about Groklaw, the FSF and anyone else who does not do as Microsoft says being “attack dogs” and vigilantes.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Just in:

    Microsoft’s Brad Smith about the HTC-Apple fight: “The fact that there’s litigation in this area is not necessarily a bad thing”

    http://www.slashgear.com/microsoft-welcome-htcapple-patent-battle-1577681/

    Microsoft/Apple introducing software patents in phones to harm Linux?

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