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04.28.10

HTC Sells Out to Microsoft (Microsoft ‘Android Tax’)

Posted in Asia, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Al Capone mugshot and Steve Ballmer

Summary: Microsoft’s racketeering is formally reaching Android and Microsoft is extorting some more companies behind the scenes, based on its latest statements

THE DEBT-SADDLED Microsoft, whose sales of Windows are declining quite sharply in recent years (in terms of revenue) along with other products [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], long ago decided that racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] will be its business model against GNU/Linux and Free software (it began when Microsoft prioritised patenting — not development — around 2007 or before that). Novell legitimised this strategy from Microsoft by actually approaching Microsoft to make that possible.

“In order to extort the Linux-based Android, Microsoft is going past Google and through to distributors.”In 2007, both LG and Samsung (giant companies located in Korea) started paying Microsoft for Linux and currently they use Android (Samsung currently uses Bada, which is Android). These two companies were creating or passively establishing a bad neighbourhood by embracing Android while they were paying Microsoft for Linux. We warned about this many times. That being said, Google was already paying Microsoft for ActiveSync patents and Google is not against software patents, unlike Red Hat for example.

In order to extort the Linux-based Android, Microsoft is going past Google and through to distributors. The same strategy is being used against Red Hat Enterprise Linux as Microsoft targets/taxes its big users, e.g. Amazon. It’s about threats and coercion (Microsoft is suing those who do not cooperate). The allegation? Patent violations. But it would hardly be a GUI thing; Microsoft is claiming to have invented (and now “own”) some parts that are associated with operating system kernels — parts it won’t even disclosure.

Android and Windows distributor HTC is the latest company which sells out to Microsoft, just shortly after Apple had sued HTC and Microsoft then approached the case in support of Apple. We explicitly warned that there may have been a connection.

According to this morning’s news (British time and British press):

HTC pays off Microsoft in Linux protection racket

CONVICTED MONOPOLIST Microsoft has managed to squeeze money from the smartphone maker HTC for using some of its much talked about but never revealed patents that Microsoft claims implicate Linux as part of the Android OS.

According to the Vole’s press website, Microsoft and HTC have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile operating system. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC.

There is more from the British press, including additional Microsoft threats:

Microsoft’s deputy counsel Horacio Gutierrez said the company was in talks with other “device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform”.

This quote happens to come through the convicted monopolist’s über-apologist Ina Fried (CNET), who was apparently already contacted by Microsoft to spread FUD. Fried is proudly acting as an accomplice in “patent terrorism” — a term which we derive from the following statement:

“What we’re seeing though now can be loosely described as patent terrorism, where people are using their patent horde as a threat [...] It’s almost like a cold war stand over tactic; where I have these patents and if you breach these patents, I’m going to come after you and sue you.”

James Eagleton, systems product manager for Sun Microsystems

Red Hat or Google should report Microsoft for extortion. It is a violation of the law to do this in some countries.

Google is too feeble on the subject of software patents, so it probably won’t do a thing. But Red Hat should definitely have Microsoft reported to the relevant authorities.

Microsoft is perpetually spreading the scourge of software patents around the world using lobbying groups (because 85% of Microsoft's patent filings are said to be for software/algorithms). A lot of GNU/Linux enthusiasts are ignoring the main issue, which is exactly that. Microsoft’s “patent terrorism”, which is assisted by unethical ‘journalists’ like Ina Fried/CNET, really needs to be stopped. The press is being filled with this Linux-hostile content which is not even backed by evidence because Microsoft makes it a whisper campaign rather than a defensible legal case.

Microsoft is attacking Android because Windows Mobile (or its new names/identities) has failed and has no chance of recovering (whereas Android is looking like the growth leader). Microsoft therefore wants to ‘milk’ the competitors for revenue. To quote another new article from The British press:

Microsoft won’t be dominating the OS much longer

SOFTWARE COLOSSUS Microsoft’s dominance of the IT industry will disappear within five years, as it loses its grip on a facet of the industry where smartphone devices will be king.

There is this old saying that companies which resort to patent strategies simply admit that they failed to make products; instead, they start making ‘portfolios’ and threats (sometimes lawsuits).

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7 Comments

  1. gnufreex said,

    April 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Gravatar

    I do not know what can be done to stop this madness. Maybe OIN should sue pants of Microsoft. Or maybe Google should start pressing Windows OEMs to pay for protection. IBM too. Or maybe we should go to Redmond and burn the place to the ground.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Google and IBM are pro-software patents and OIN is not allowed to sue; it’s a defense pool.

  2. gnufreex said,

    April 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Gravatar

    I did not know that Google is pro-software patents..? But anyway, they do not need to be anti-patents for this hipothetical scenario to work.

    I was thinking, how would be if IBM would use its patent portfolio to make Windows OEMs pay up. That would make M$ either sue or be quiet, it would stop this madness and FUD. It is crazy, I know, but it’s just a thought.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I did not know that Google is pro-software patents..?othetical scenario to work.

    It’s passive about policy and a participant in patenting.

    I was thinking, how would be if IBM would use its patent portfolio to make Windows OEMs pay up. That would make M$ either sue or be quiet, it would stop this madness and FUD. It is crazy, I know, but it’s just a thought.

    IBM and Microsoft cross-license though.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    I think Google is neutral, they do software patents but they don’t use it much, unlike IBM.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    That’s correct. Google recently sued with a patent though (counter claim).

  3. Agent_Smith said,

    April 29, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Gravatar

    The only way to do not pay the M$ tax is to buy from companies established long time ago, so, they had time to built a patent portfolio, and therefore, they have patents to counter suit. Motorola, in this case, is safe to buy from…
    Anyway, patent is becoming a nightmare. And M$ and its trolls are like the living dead from George Romero’s movies: Always after fresh brains… Merciful Jesus…

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