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04.03.10

Apple Now in ‘Embargo Mode’ Against Android (Linux)

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Apple started claiming to have invented the personal computer and it pissed me off!”

Ed Roberts

Summary: Apple’s use of the USITC loophole leads to embargo-based pressure against a distributor of phones with Linux in them

With Microsoft’s endorsement [1, 2], Apple is suing Android via HTC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This is having a negative effect although HTC denies it when speaking to official sources.

Taiwan’s HTC Corp (2498.TW), the world’s No.5 smartphone maker, said on Friday a lawsuit against it by Apple Computer (AAPL.O) was not affecting operations.

Apple just can't compete with its artificially-limited products that rely on fake hype. Buying Apple is about “anything but Microsoft”, whereas buying GNU/Linux usually means “anything but proprietary software”. The former is a war between brands, whereas the latter addresses behaviour (access to program code, sharing without the restriction of software patents, DRM, et cetera).

According to many reports [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], this aggression from Apple has escalated to an embargo routine, currently involving this investigation. It’s supposed to have a chilling effect and intimidate HTC, pressuring the company to pay Apple or remove the “offending” feature/s (product castration).

Today the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) said that it will investigate Apple’s complaint that HTC infringed on its patents.

Embargo is the goal, or at least taxation. If this is what patents are about, they are an enemy of the customer, foe of the developer, worst nightmare of any start-up, and impediment to science as a whole. To make matters worse, based on this report, patents continue to have human casualties.

A federal judge in Newark, N.J., on Thursday dismissed a class action claiming that Schering-Plough Corp. violated antitrust law by paying generic drug makers to delay introduction of knockoffs of its potassium-deficiency drug K-Dur.

There is less restrained interpretation at TechDirt:

So, basically, the only reason this wasn’t anticompetitive was because it all happened under a government-granted monopoly. Talk about ironic, right? Because there’s a monopoly, the company doesn’t get labeled a monopolist. Isn’t the patent system great?

This ruling is unfortunate for a variety of reasons. You can see why generic drug makers agree to these deals: it’s either go through an expensive fight to put a drug on the market, or get out of the lawsuit and get paid a ton of money for nothing. Not hard to make that decision. But the end result is anti-competitive, in that it allows big pharma firms to keep the prices jacked up very high on their drugs, much to the detriment of everyone else.

In many old posts we have explained why pharmaceutical patents too are ruthless and unnecessary. Bill Gates is a major investor in such patents. It can make him a lot of money, but at whose expense? Legions of PR people can change perception, but they can never change the facts.

“You’ll read that Bill Gates envisioned it all, which is a crock. He didn’t envision any of it. Nobody did.”

Ed Roberts

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6 Comments

  1. dyfet said,

    April 3, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Gravatar

    “…Buying Apple is about “anything but Microsoft”, whereas buying GNU/Linux usually means “anything but proprietary software”. The former is a war between brands, whereas the latter addresses behavior (access to program code, sharing without the restriction of software patents, DRM, et cetera)…”

    I like this quote very much. The problem I see with Canonical is that it is now falling into a fallacy of choice of brands, which is NOT why most people choose Ubuntu. At least that is what I fear.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I suppose what you’re saying is that if Microsoft and Apple are Coke and Pepsi, then Ubuntu strives to become RC Cola (for desktops) while 1,000+ distributions share their water, sugar and acids to produce excellent beverages that are kept affordable and come with full recipes and standalone ingredients.

    All in all, I disagree with the suggestion that Ubuntu is all branding.

    dyfet Reply:

    I happen disagree also. The problem as I see it is that there are now people there who do think this way, though. That is that they think the solution is branding.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The problem that I see is different. Canonical makes people think that Ubuntu and GNU/Linux are different. Google does the same thing with Android and Chrome OS. They obscure and rarely attribute/credit those who do the heavy lifting.

    dyfet Reply:

    That is an interesting point and I had not looked at it in quite that way until now, but now I better understand your original point.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I know people (including friends of mine who use Android) who don’t know that Android is Linux underneath. A lot of the press presents Chrome OS as Google’s ‘own’ OS and won’t even say that Chrome uses a lot of others’ code, including KDE (elements of KHTML).

    No wonder many people think that “Linux” failed and “GNU” is just some beast/animal.

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