03.17.10

More Evidence of Potential Microsoft Involvement in Apple-HTC Lawsuit Against Linux/Android (and Microsoft Loses to Virnetx)

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, OLPC, Videos at 4:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




“Patent defence for free software by Andrew Tridgell”
Dr. Andrew Tridgell’s talk from the LCA 2010 conference

Summary: Microsoft’s top “IP” bullies commend Apple’s legal action and Microsoft owes VirnetX $105.75 million for patent violation

BACK in January we wrote about Tridgell’s talk, which is finally available for the public to watch (FFII made a copy). We covered his talk in a post about "Apple's Patent Threat to Linux". We partly predicted Apple’s lawsuit against GNU/Linux, using software patents in fact [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Now we know that experts allege that Microsoft may have played role in Apple's lawsuit. Microsoft endorses this action publicly (in a Smith's talk) and now Microsoft endorses this in its lobbying blog too. One of Microsoft’s chief racketeers, Horacio Gutierrez, wrote: “Apple v. HTC: A Step Along the Path of Addressing IP Rights in Smartphones”

One of our readers quotes the following portions: “There is a long history of IP litigation in the mobile phone market, and innovation has continued apace [...] as the IP situation settles in this space and licensing takes off, we will see the patent royalties applicable to the smartphone software stack settle at a level that reflects the increasing importance software has as a portion of the overall value of the device.”

“Is this Microsoft-codespeak for, we expect people to start paying us a hardware tax.”
      –Anonymous reader
The simple translation is that Microsoft wants tax on Linux phones. Microsoft wants us to pretend that mobile Linux too is Microsoft’s own property (the software layer). Our reader says: “Is this Microsoft-codespeak for, we expect people to start paying us a hardware tax. Something like they suggested to the OLPC developers? It’s in the Comes documents, in references to either ‘investing’ in the OLPC or getting them to stump up a Linux tax, can’t remember the exact words.”

With Apple’s lawsuit against GNU/Linux (via HTC/Android), the impact of Microsoft becomes increasingly suspect. Did Microsoft speak to Apple prior to this action? Either way, Apple is clearly a foe of software freedom and GNU/Linux users should cease viewing Apple as benign just because it competes against (or with) Microsoft.

Apple is clearly having a hard time competing against GNU/Linux. The iPad seems like a train wreck that even former Apple executives are negative about [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. It appears as though the iPad’s target market is dyed-in-the-wool Apple followers. And surely enough, according to the following numbers, just fans are eventually buying it. [via Glyn Moody]

Orders for the Apple iPad fell sharply over the weekend, indicating that most of the real obsessives bought one on Friday.

As Ghabuntu reminds us this week, iPad is just a “toy” (Apple is irrelevant in places like Africa).

I just keep asking myself, what is it that makes Apple toys so special even if they come at a *huge* cost, both economically and philosophically?

SJVN writes about the iPad and resorts to discussing tablets that are better and run GNU/Linux.

After that, why not a wearable Mac or Linux PC? We’ve already had wearable Linux and Windows PCs, but those early models had all the problems I listed earlier. In 2010, it’s a different story. We may not have flying cars, but we can certainly have wearable computers.

We already know that Asus is looking into running Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS on wearable PCs. Who knows: in 2020, we may look back and see that iPads and tablet computers were only a brief rest stop on the way to wearable entertainment devices and computers.

Dell too is planning to release tablets that run Linux (maybe with GNU). Many of the ARM-based tablets look exceptionally promising.

The myth says that GNU/Linux is trying to catch up with the “Mac” and the “PC”, but when it comes to devices, the very opposite is true. Apple and Microsoft are just taking legal actions (intimidation or rackets) to tax devices such as the Kindle for example [1, 2, 3], which leads to articles like this new one from South Africa (where software patents are illegal but Microsoft vainly breaks the patent law):

Microsoft licensing Linux

[..]

Proprietary giant is licensing open source to its partners. What is going on?

Over the past few weeks Microsoft has been licensing Linux to a number of its partners, most notably Amazon. Although the idea of Microsoft, a company steeped in proprietary software, licensing open source software is ludicrous it’s not completely unexpected. It’s also not the first time Microsoft has played the Linux patent game and we can expect to see more deals in the future. So what’s going on?

[...]

Then in February Microsoft announced a deal with Amazon which it described as covering a “broad range” of products, including Amazon’s Kindle and Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers. Effectively Microsoft is licensing Linux to Amazon on the understanding that it won’t sue the company for infringing on its alleged Linux-related patents.

This is not unlike the agreement struck between Novell and Microsoft in 2006 in which Microsoft agreed to indemnify Suse Linux users against potential patent suits. That deal too attracted significant ire from the open source community.

The most recent Linux patent deal from Microsoft is a deal with Japanese hardware maker I-O Data. Although the specifics of the agreement are not known the two companies said that the the deal “will provide I-O Data’s customers with patent coverage for their use of I-O Data’s products running Linux and other related open source software.” Again, Microsoft is providing an assurance that it won’t file a patent suit against I-O Data for its use of Linux.

This is not the first time that a company has tried to claim Linux patent ownership and used that against other businesses. SCO is the most obvious example and they even went so far as claim that they owned Unix. SCO, fortunately, was never that successful at winning its claim over Linux and Unix. Microsoft on the other hand is a potentially different case.

[...]

Suing a Linux vendor directly over patent claims would be a shortcut to ending up in court. And being hauled into court would force Microsoft to open its books and explain what it is that it claims to own.

For now Microsoft is prepared to rely on compliant partners to create uncertainty around Linux ownership.

It’s a clever strategy by Microsoft and one hard to counteract.

It’s not a “clever strategy”, it’s racketeering and it’s illegal [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It should be reported by vendors like Red Hat as it probably violates laws introduced with the RICO Act. The racketeering from Gates and Jobs goes quite a long way back. It’s just another SCO-like strategy, going back to around the same time as the SCO lawsuit (2003).

Speaking of SCO, a few days ago it turned out that SCO itself was behind the attacks on Groklaw. SCO was using Sys-Con as its attack dog and Sys-Con is now spreading lies about an important Free software project, leading to this reaction:

O’Gara Cloud Computing Article Off Base

[...]

This is just about the most naïve explanation for whether a product will or will not be stable that I’ve ever read. If Maureen had bothered to email or call any one of the core Drizzle developers, they’d have been happy to tell her what is and is not stable about Drizzle, and why. Drizzle has not changed the underlying storage engines, so the InnoDB storage engine in Drizzle is the same plugin as available in MySQL (version 1.0.6).

Watch the first comment which says: “There’s no reason to be nice to MoG. She’s the same hitwoman who wrote a bunch of pro SCO, anti GPL FUD during that whole trial (while being paid by them, while claiming to be impartial), including publishing a bunch of personal info about the previously anonymous blogger behind Groklaw.

Few more comments like this follow, but a lot more about the SCO/Sys-Con attack on Groklaw can be found in this new Slashdot discussion.

In other important news, the Virnetx case is over and Microsoft lost. We previously covered this in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and here is the news from Microsoft Nick:

A Texas jury has sided with VirnetX in its patent-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft, recommending an award of $105.75 million.

TechDirt already responds with some witty remarks:

In the last few years, Microsoft has become a bigger and bigger supporter of patents, which is a bit ironic, given that Bill Gates once pointed out that the software industry never would have developed if there had been software patents back in the early days. But, proving that new companies innovate, while older companies litigate, Microsoft has become a big patent hoarder in recent years. But, to date, while it’s used those patents to threaten lots of companies, it seems like Microsoft’s decision to live by patents, is actually costing it quite a bit of money.

Sadly, Microsoft uses patent trolls like Virnetx only to justify its own patent attacks against rivals. Microsoft’s #1 rival is Free software of course (although its embodiment can be companies like Google, IBM, Red Hat, and so on).

“I’d put the Linux phenomenon really as threat No. 1.”

Steve Ballmer, 2001

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/03/17/microsoft-owes-virnetx/

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

A Single Comment

  1. ciaran said,

    March 22, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve made a transcript of Andrew Tridgell’s talk:
    http://news.swpat.org/2010/03/transcript-tridgell-patents/

    “Patent Defence for Free Software”, Jan 22nd 2010

What Else is New


  1. Who is Richard Stallman?

    Reproduced with permission



  2. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 13, 2021



  3. Links 13/4/2021: FreeBSD 13.0 Final, Slackware 15.0 GNU/Linux Beta Release and OpenMandriva Lx 4.3 Plans

    Links for the day



  4. IBM Stroking the Masters

    IBM continues to diminish its weakly-supported thesis about the word “Master” being inadequate in all contexts and IBM’s front group, the Linux Foundation, has just promoted more of that same self-serving agenda in the corporate media (screenshot below from 5 minutes ago)



  5. The 'Stallman Support' Web Site and How You Can Support Truth, Not Just Software Freedom

    The Stallman Support Dot Org Web site (stallmansupport.org, "In Support of Richard Stallman“), endorsed by Stallman himself, sets the record straight while the corporate media keeps peddling lies and distortions



  6. An Examination of Correspondence Between the Tweedledum-Tweedledee Duo, Lutz and Ernst

    A quick look at the letters and E-mails sent back and forth from the current VP5 and former VP5 of the EPO, Europe’s second-largest institution that the German government has let exist outside the rule/reach of any law



  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 16: An Inimitable Duo

    How the efforts to reform the EPO's data protection framework were derailed by the actions of Lutz and Ernst



  8. How the GNU Operating System Really Started (Almost a Decade Before Linux Came Out)

    Later this year Linux turns 30, but Linux is just a component added to the GNU Operating System, developed a very long time earlier based on the design of UNIX (the mainstream media likes to distort that part of history); here’s the creator of the GNU Operating System, telling me his story here in the United Kingdom (we did many clips like these and this one seems very timely)



  9. Richard Stallman: The Other Things I Have to Say I Put on Stallman.org... Reject the Idea That You Have to Accept Something Like Facebook

    Transcript below



  10. An Ode to Dr. Ernst

    THE BUDGET is right...



  11. During Pandemic, With Rising Inflation, Corrupt EPO Management With Its 'Shadow Budget' Cracks Down on Education and Childcare Allowance

    While hoarding and misusing money (by basically granting lots of patents that ought not be granted) the management of the EPO hides it aside, then proceeds to crushing salaries and benefits of staff, even pensioners



  12. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, April 12, 2021



  13. In Support of Richard Stallman Normalizing Truth, Reason, Dialogue: Introduction

    Reproduced with permission.



  14. Lunduke: Stallman & The FSF Respond To The Mob!

    A video response in support of RMS



  15. Links 12/4/2021: RSS Guard 3.9.2 and IBM-Funded Hacks Keep Attacking RMS

    Links for the day



  16. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 15: Different Strokes for Different Folks

    Dr. Ernst and Raimund Lutz colluded to protect EPO management from a much-needed investigation; Ernst has since then been rewarded with a do-nothing job by António Campinos



  17. EPO President Campinos Lying to JURI

    Benjamin Henrion recorded today's hearing and uploaded it. “Campinos,” according to him, claims that (to paraphrase) “London [is] irrelevant to get UPCA running” (that’s very obviously a lie), so what we have here is António Campinos lying on behalf of the entire EPO, just as Benoît Battistelli did. Campinos has decided to “have fun,” we’ve been told, speaking of UPCA “upper law” (which is meaningless junk) at around 51:00. He clearly didn’t come prepared and he mumbles a lot. What awful leadership for what was supposed to be the best of Europe’s science…



  18. Supporting RMS With a Meme!

    As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.



  19. If You Want to Support a Real Community...

    We’ve just mentioned the fake 'community' of openSUSE and now it’s time to examine what Fedora has truly become under IBM



  20. OpenSUSE Hates Your Freedom, But It Loves the Proprietary Software Reseller That Is the True 'Master' of OpenSUSE

    OpenSUSE is inclusive of Microsoft and other companies that attack human rights and [cref 141916 enable nationalists]; but apparently what bothers OpenSUSE very, very much is the people who started the operating system SUSE is selling



  21. Links 12/4/2021: Lagrange 1.3.2, Linux 5.12 RC7

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 11, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 11, 2021



  23. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door

    The Benoît Battistelli-António Campinos shuffle left some people in the EPO’s upper management better off; they’re being rewarded for complicity, so there’s no incentive to do the right thing but to do the wrong thing



  24. Links 11/4/2021: GnuPG 2.3.0, Linux 5.13 Additions

    Links for the day



  25. All EPO Articles Are Available Over Gemini Protocol

    For lighter and more privacy-preserving access to Techrights use the Gemini capsule instead of the Web site



  26. Judge and JURI

    The Committee on Legal Affairs, a.k.a JURI, meets the EPO tomorrow (in 24 hours); will abuses by António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli be brought up?



  27. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…

    Before becoming an absent-minded Vice-President of António Campinos Christoph Ernst was posing as the very opposite of what he would become



  28. Gemini Gateways for IPFS

    The World Wide Web is fine for a lot of things, but for controversial publications and publications that invoke the 'wrath' of corporations/states/plutocracy we must look beyond the traditional protocols, choosing decentralised means and self-hosted means of publication (instead or at the very least in conjunction)



  29. Challenging Times for EPO Management

    A discussion of the status quo at Europe's second-largest (but scarcely-understood) institution, subjected to a JURI hearing tomorrow afternoon



  30. “The Fighters of Freedom”

    Some anime fans have made this video about recent events


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