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03.16.10

Government Should Avoid Proprietary Software and ‘Clouds’

Posted in Apple, BSD, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vivek Kundra

Summary: Reporters wonder if Vivek Kundra (national CIO) can resist the temptation to just hand over government operations to private companies, some of which are abusive and dangerous to sovereignty

THE United States government should ideally deploy Free software, just as it used Drupal and LAMP to redo the official White House Web site. This gives the government full control of the software that it uses, which is crucial. Favouritism to some overpaid people who are hiding behind some company names is not an acceptable practice, especially given that the money comes from taxpayers and the government is often funded by those same companies that it returns favours to (Microsoft funded the Obama campaign for example).

According to this report, “Obama’s $79 Billion Tech Plan May Favor Web Programs”

Watch which companies are being listed:

Microsoft, Google and Amazon.com Inc. are all offering more databases and programs online, allowing customers to curb storage costs. Sharing software and data that way would shrink U.S. storage needs, helping to cut expenses after previous governments spent more than $500 billion on data centers and other technology initiatives in the past decade, Kundra said.

The government is able to employ its own IT staff that will build and maintain systems that are based on Free software. There is no need for a Microsoft or a Google or an Amazon.com. If businesses choose to do trade with them, that’s fine. It’s their choice. But governments are different, they are inherently obliged not to become just an extension of commerce for reasons we won’t go into.

“Steve Ballmer visits the White House a little too much given that he is not a politician (or isn’t supposed to act as one because he was never elected).”As we have already shown, Steve Ballmer visits the White House a little too much [1, 2] given that he is not a politician (or isn’t supposed to act as one because he was never elected). Ballmer and Obama’s CIO may have met at a university recently and Investor Spot now asks: “Will Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft & Obama’s Administration Share A Cloud?”

This would be a total farce if it became true. Likewise, as Apple/Mac developers find out that they are merely being exploited, one person finds it worthwhile to say (in IDG): “It’s time to end government-funded iPhone apps (and curb Apple’s control-freak tendencies)”

Now we’ve got Apple’s Developer License Agreement with terms so controlling that developers must seek prior approval from Apple before even commenting on the license itself. We only know this because the Electronic Frontier Foundation snared a copy from NASA via a Freedom of Information Act request (view PDF on the EFF site. Apparently, federal law still trumps Apple’s corporate attempts at secrecy. At least for now.

NASA also appears to have been intruded by Microsoft boosters [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], who in turn use NASA to block/turn away GNU/Linux and BSD users.

“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

Microsoft ‘Pulls a SCO’ in India (Against GNU/Linux)

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Servers, Virtualisation, Windows at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Summary: Poor Microsoft complains about a “mainframe monopoly” which does not run Microsoft Windows and the same strategies it used in Europe are being extended to India

THIS morning we wrote about the suggestion (not ours) that Microsoft had something to do with Apple’s patent lawsuit against GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Evidence for this is lacking, whereas the following case is clearer because Microsoft owns part of the firm that is issuing the legal challenge against IBM. For background about Microsoft’s ‘second SCO’, those who have not read the following posts ought to consider reading them first. It’s rather clear that Microsoft uses at least one firm, T3, to attack GNU/Linux on the mainframe (the other potential one is Neon [1, 2]).

Based on the following two articles from the Economic Times (India), Microsoft seems to be doing in India what it has already done in Europe:

1. IBM accused of mainframe monopoly

Rarely do you see IBM under attack in India. But it is now. And IBM believes that it’s actually Microsoft that is behind the attack, under the facade of a forum called Open-Mainframe.

The issue first arose late last week when two Indian research bodies, the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and Indicus Analytics, released a report suggesting that IBM had misused its dominance of the Indian market for mainframes (high end computers used when the scale of operation is massive), and that if this misuse continued, it could adversely impact India’s efforts towards inclusive growth.

2. IBM, Microsoft point fingers at each other

IBM, the world’s largest IT services company, has accused Microsoft, the world’s largest operating system manufacturer, of sponsoring an India report released last week that criticises IBM India’s trade practices in the $500-million local server market, terming them as restrictive. The report calls for unbundling of hardware and software by IBM.

Microsoft accuses others of “monopoly”. Does that sound familiar? Microsoft also used firms in Europe against Google just a few weeks ago, by its very own admission. The company is almost gloating about it. From the past week’s news:

1. EC antitrust probe is latest clash in Google-Microsoft war

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last week acknowledged his company’s role in pushing government regulators to pursue such investigations.

2. Ten Years After, Microsoft Reverses Its Role With Google

Hang on: Microsoft complaining that Google is being unfair? Yes, you heard that right.

Microsoft is being a huge hypocrite. Just because it faces strong competition from Google (and Microsoft is not used to competition), it tries to evoke laws that are typically used when one breaks the law and abuses rivals (like Microsoft did so many times).

A few days ago we wrote about Microsoft's sheer hypocrisy at SXSW, courtesy of Danah Boyd. This is now covered in the following posts:

Microsoft is a nightmare when it comes to privacy [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], so how dare it pull this card? This is the behaviour of a company that sees itself as above the law, such that ends justify the means.

Going back to the IBM case, Microsoft would love to abolish GNU/Linux through hypervisors (its partners at Citrix already help in that regard). Other allies in India, companies such as Wipro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], are signing new deals with Microsoft in order to keep Free software out of the country (Wipro has a history of going against standards too).

Bangalore, India-based IT services firm Wipro Technologies has embraced the cloud computing model and announced its plans to offer Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Under a “Dedicated Advisor” agreement with Microsoft, Wipro Technologies will be able to assist its global enterprise customers in migrating to BPOS via a palette of professional services including assessments, migration and solution implementation accelerators, according to the company.

Microsoft’s scandals in India [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] are a broad subject that we won’t be repeating today. But in summary, Microsoft is now abusing the Indian system in order to declare mainframes running GNU/Linux “illegal” (monopoly abuse).

Indian building

BSA Blames Lack of Patents for Europe Being ‘Behind’, EPO Loses €2 Million in Kaupthing Bankruptcy

Posted in Europe, Finance, Microsoft, Patents at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: More brainwash from Microsoft’s front group, the BSA (with former employees of Gates Senior); Europe’s patent office — not Europe itself — may be having problems

COMPARED to the rest of the world, Europe is doing pretty well (financially too) and China, where intellectual monopolies are mostly disregarded, has many countries owing it money. We don’t want to turn this into a discussion about national debts, but the point we are trying to make here is that the BSA, a Microsoft front group with Gates (senior) connections [1, 2] that’s quietly attacking Free software across the world this year [1, 2, 3, 4], is simply delusional. We have already shown that the BSA lobbies to legalise software patents in Europe [1, 2, 3, 4].

“We have already shown that the BSA lobbies to legalise software patents in Europe.”For a software developer, there are many advantages being located in Europe. It protects the developer from a lot of spurious lawsuits and in Europe there are very few patent trolls. Nevertheless, according to the BSA’a policy, “The business environment in Europe characterized by low numbers of IT patents was identified as holding Europe back.” Is that so? The author of Against Monopoly says that we shouldn’t take US patent law seriously “because it takes well over 8 years of litigation and thousands of dollars for an Appeals Court to determine that attaching a piece of memorabilia to a trading card is ‘obvious’ and thus, not patentable.”

Thanks to the president of the FFII for pointing out the BSA’s ridiculous statement. He also found out [PDF] that the “EPO lost money with the bankruptcy of the Icelandic Kaupthing bank? Read page 13 item 414 362.402.825 ISK == 2 Million EUR”

Later he argued that “Since EPLA area is not a constitution-based republic, appeal to national supreme courts and ECJ should be allowed http://i5.be/aB7

Mono Influence Increases in the GNOME Foundation

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Correction: Our reader was wrong to suggest that Paul Culter works for Novell, even though Mono is a Novell product.

Old headline: “Mono and Novell Influence Increases in the GNOME Foundation”

Chimps

Summary: Incorporation of Microsoft into GNU/Linux (especially GNOME) continues unabated

THE problems associated with Mono are real and those who ignore them tend to just mock the messenger or vainly declare opposition of Mono to be coming from “fake” (or “faux”) members of the community. How conceited. As The Mad Hatter put it over the weekend:

I’ve been active in the Free Software community for four or five years now, including the Ubuntu sub-community. Like all such communities, there are certain people who seem to think that they have more rights than others. There are certain people who think that they should be leaders because of who they are, not what they do. There are certain people who think that they have the right to determine who is a ‘real’ member of the community, and who isn’t.

When it comes to Microsoft apologists (and MVPs like Miguel de Icaza), they pretend to be a friend while stabbing something or someone in the back. It’s an old trick used even in religious debates.

One reader told us that a “Red Hat employee [is] stepping down, being replaced by a Novell employee [note correction]” at GNOME. “He’s also a tomboy contributor,” adds the reader. Here is the message in full:

When I decided to run for the foundation board in 2006, many of the old timers where not running again and there was the feeling that new people are needed on the board. The board work has been very educational and rewarding for me, but given other engagements and all the new, capable, people on the board this year, I think it’s time for me to step down so I can focus on hacking.

The board has decided to appoint Paul Culter to take the seat. Paul has been doing wonders on the marketing team, GNOME Journal, and the sysadmin team. I’m sure this opportunity gives him more ways to contribute to GNOME even more.

Inatux has just published a review of Ubuntu 10.04 (test build) and wrote:

Lastly, we were sad to see F-Spot and Tomboy still being included, as with all their Mono dependencies.

There is actually more than that to Mono dependencies in Ubuntu, including new ones [1, 2]. With more Novell employees who are fond of Mono entering the GNOME Foundation, we are left somewhat concerned. Yesterday we found Jack Wallen promoting another Mono application, which is developed by a Canonical employee.

Docky is a little bit different. Docky is really nothing more than a front-end for Gnome Do (for more information on GNOME Do, check out my article “Don’t search, do – with GNOME Do“) that also serves as a really solid doc bar for the launching of applications in a very OS X like fashion.

Mono is the path to losing, not the path to winning. Microsoft wins if it becomes people’s ‘standard’ for development. One of our readers is currently preparing a video to explain and illustrate this simple point.

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft Technical Evangelist. From Exhibit 3096; Comes v. Microsoft litigation [PDF]

Schwarzenegger Sells Out to Microsoft

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Microsoft, Office Suites, Windows at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dick Cheney

Summary: Microsoft expands its indoctrination programme in California with endorsement from Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Elevate America” is a harmful programmes whose effects we have explained in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. It’s similar to EDGI, but it happens in the West. State by state, Microsoft goes finding gullible politicians who can help turn citizens into volunteers who help Microsoft, a convicted monopoly abuser that states are suing at the same time.

The latest victim that Microsoft has found is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who agreed to let Microsoft indoctrinate individuals with support from the state.

Microsoft is giving California 166,500 vouchers for certification exams and e-learning classes as part of its Elevate America initiative.

As we learn from EDGI (i.e. Microsoft’s own words), it’s about getting people addicted to and dependent on Microsoft. According to an article from 2007, Microsoft already owes California hundreds of millions of dollars that it hasn’t paid (probably still to be ignored and not reclaimed). The news sites, unsurprisingly, are repeating the PR nonsense rather than expose what Microsoft is really doing here. They are not interested in real investigation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] maybe because they are lazy and maybe because they are fearful (Microsoft is a major advertiser of theirs). The funniest headline that we found is “Microsoft Helping California’s Unemployed”. It’s like calling a drug dealer “a helper” (to people who are depressed).

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft uses the same tactics for sentimental merit with war veterans right about now. The monopolist is turning them into helpers of the Microsoft monopoly while pushing out PR nonsense about “donation” (where it actually refers to software [1, 2, 3, 4]).

This initiative builds on the company’s Elevate America program launched last year, designed for all Americans, to provide people with technology skills training, industry-recognized certifications and work force readiness tools to help them prepare for 21st century jobs.

Some sources claim $8 million in donation, but 75% of this money is fake. It’s just some price on licences to use binaries until they expire. They become dependent on Microsoft this way (higher exit barriers).

The Elevate America’s Veterans Initiative will spread the cash around to veterans service organizations, workforce agencies and community colleges. The Initiative also will provide training and help with job placement, child care and housing. The initiative is intended to support active duty service members who are transitioning out of the military as well as members of the National Guard and Reserves who are returning to their civilian jobs.

They neglect to talk about the proportions. It’s mostly just dumping of software, which creates a lock-in that in turn makes profit for Microsoft. Microsoft is not a charity, this is just a business decision. Assuming that knowing menus in Windows and Word is a “21st century” skill (as Microsoft puts it in the above), then this new class which makes people familiar with Microsoft tools is perhaps worth something. It’s worth a lot to Microsoft.

Saint Paul Central Library presents free computer classes on Microsoft Word, a word-processing software program that allows users to create documents and compose letters.

Since when does education mean “training”? And by the way, this is why Gates is giving money to libraries. The education system is one of the best mechanisms (state funded) for ensuring that people turn into Microsoft customers before they reach puberty. Why can’t people like Schwarzenegger see this?

Kaspersky Slams Windows for Insecurity, Microsoft Delivers Bad Patches and Leaves Windows Exposed

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eugene Kaspersky

Summary: Security guru Eugene Kaspersky has harsh words for Microsoft, which still fails to secure its platform and even patch software without breaking it

IT HAS been another tough week for Windows, which simply cannot be secured, not even with ‘snake oil’ software that’s called “anti-virus” (unless the placebo effect counts).

A few months ago we wrote about Microsoft being allowed into Ford cars. There are already security concerns about that at Ford. They worry about Windows/WiFi in the car getting hijacked.

“Sadly, we live in a world where Microsoft pressures journalists to misreport incidents.”We wish to discuss for a moment an interesting phenomenon. When a car breaks down (let us say a Toyota), the news will say a Toyota car is having issues, it won’t say that cars in general have issues. That’s because the market is full of choices. Yes, choices, diversity, not “fragmentation” as Microsoft would probably put it. If “Windows” is embedded in PCs, then Windows can become interchangeable and synonymous with “computing”. Then, people would not realise what’s really wrong and that they also have better choices. Sadly, we live in a world where Microsoft pressures journalists to misreport incidents. Taken from a long discussion we’ve had by E-mails for a few days now, consider the fact that we have documented examples where journalists received mail from Microsoft’s PR agencies (e.g. W-E) to tell them off and ask them to change articles about Windows security. The Inquirer is good in that regard because without much reluctance it spilled the beans when that happened. We have given articles from them where content was being tempered by Microsoft PR agencies, whose job was to spin the vulnerabilities in Vista.

Reporters who are contacted because they describe Windows security problems as just “computer problems” often cite the “popularity” myth of Windows as the cause. It’s PR. Given the widespread use of GNU/Linux in servers and devices everywhere, people should struggle to reason about lack of cracking as related to “popularity”. Windows is not popular by the way, it’s just ubiquitous*. Moreover, Microsoft commissions and manufactures its own ‘studies’ where it hides flaws and reports bogus numbers. There are many examples to that effect.

Here is what Eugene Kaspersky said about Windows earlier this month:

Security chief Eugene Kaspersky has launched a scathing attack on Microsoft’s security record.

[...]

There are already some new examples of Microsoft’s poor patching. Last week Microsoft delivered broken/rogue security patches and later admitted the problem which had the following effect:

Microsoft confirmed today that a security update for its Excel spreadsheet had turned English text in an important Windows tool into Chinese.

The admission was the second in the past two days from Microsoft’s Office team of a gaffe involving a recent security update.

How does Microsoft break languages while fixing a security problem? One might remark that this implies poor software design.

Speaking of Office, this area is in a state of transition in an economy where people use Free software or access software in the form of a service. Don Reisinger, typically a troll/baiter who writes bizarre reversals of truths at CNET, explains some of the issues and Microsoft resorts to more AstroTurfing by offering money to those who create “viral Office 2010 videos” for YouTube.

Want a chance to win $10,000 for your small Seattle business or start-up? The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Microsoft have partnered up in a contest for making videos about Office 2010.

In case it sounds familiar, it should. Microsoft also hires people to post comments favourable to Windows in social networking sites.

Anyway, going back to the subject of insecurity, someone writes a guest post at ZDNet about “the cadence of Microsoft security patches” and ECT notes that Windows is already vulnerable again, as usual.

The expected batch of patches wasn’t the only thing Windows users got with Microsoft’s latest Patch Tuesday update. The set of fixes was accompanied by a warning about an unpatched zero-day exploit for Internet Explorer.

All that Microsoft can offer is a workaround:

Microsoft has revised their advisory for the newest IE 0Day vulnerability to note that working exploit code is now available and that they are aware of “targeted attacks attempting to use this vulnerability.” They have also created “Microsoft Fix it” links to disable and re-enable the vulnerable software components.

The Inquirer wrote:

The flaw in Internet Exploder versions 6 and 7 allows an attacker to take control of a victim’s computer.

Internet Explorer was the cause of a lot of damage earlier this year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. In 4 countries, authorities recommended that citizens abandon Internet Explorer.
____
* It’s more about reminding reporters that people choose to buy a computer, they don’t choose to buy Windows. Calling Windows “popular” is like calling cockroaches “popular” because there are many of them out there. It ought to be one of those things that people should train themselves to avoid saying because Windows is not “popular”.

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.

Microsoft’s Console Strategy: Imitation and Patenting

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 2:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

White chess army

Summary: Microsoft’s “embarrassing” Xbox strategy and backlash in Poland

THE reality behind Xbox 360 is worse than Microsoft would have people believe. Microsoft uses NPD at the moment to throw out there some US-only figures to flatter itself and pretend it’s a leader. Microsoft has done this a lot recently. It’s the same old story [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The reality is that outside the US, buying Microsoft is not buying from a “local” company and in Poland, for instance, people are angry at Microsoft [1, 2] because of Xbox, not just issues like racism.

Microsoft is still imitating the competition when it comes to consoles.

Reggie Fils-Aime, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America, has never really been one to mix his words and he’s given his honest opinion on both Microsoft’s Project Natal and Sony’s PlayStation Move in one stinging retort.

When speaking to Kotaku on the subject of Sony and Microsoft playing catch-up, he said “I think we would have been embarrassed to do what our competitors are currently doing.”

This further dispels the ‘innovation’ myth. Microsoft is more interested in devastating rivals (set-top boxes running Linux in this case) by suing companies like TiVo, using patents.

Meanwhile we find that Microsoft patents more simple ideas in this area of consoles. Patents are usually a sign of weakness, as the company just cannot rely on technical merit alone; it needs to block rivals. Here is the latest patent:

Microsoft Seeks to Patent the DLC Upsell

A recent patent application describes a process in which an Xbox Live gamer, invited to a multiplayer session, but missing a critical piece to play (a map, a track, whatever), is offered and may buy it without dropping the invitation.

News: Microsoft patents Xbox Live upsell idea

Microsoft watch: new ‘upsell’ idea patented for Xbox Live

Dubbed the “Automated Direct Transaction and Delivery System”, this new patent would automatically detect whether a player has the required content to play in a particular session, whether online or offline.

How is that worthy of a patent? Where is the physical invention?

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