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04.30.10

Microsoft Insiders Speak About the Case Against Android

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 2:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: What Mary-Jo Foley and Rob Enderle have to say about Microsoft’s extortion of the Linux-based Android platform

Mary-Jo Foley, who enjoys access to employees inside Microsoft, has commented on Microsoft’s extortion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] of HTC [1, 2] and a possible connection to Apple’s case against HTC.

Well, as pointed out the other day, Microsoft was not passive and it verbally participated in Apple’s legal action against Android/Linux through HTC. This leads only to the suspicion that Apple and Microsoft may have spoken about their common enemy, Android/Linux.

Here is part of what Mary-Jo Foley wrote:

Apple sued HTC in early March for alleged IP infringement in the mobile phone space. Apple is claiming HTC is infringing 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.

When Apple sued HTC, I asked Microsoft for comment, thinking Microsoft execs might be willing to come to HTC’s defense — to some extent, at least — given HTC sells Windows Mobile phones, as well as Android-based ones. But Microsoft officials wouldn’t provide a statement of any kind.

A statement I received from a Microsoft spokesperson makes a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the Apple case (at least the way I read it):

“As you may be aware, many technology companies active in the growing smartphone space have been taking increasing steps to protect their inventions. As the two companies have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, Microsoft views this agreement as an effective example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property concerns.”

Microsoft’s friend Rob Enderle [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] trivialises Microsoft’s aggression (and it’s tilted in Microsoft’s favour). He typically writes about Linux only when Microsoft attacks Linux with intellectual monopolies (TomTom, SCO, et cetera). His SCO crusade against Linux was exposed and dissected quite nicely by Pamela Jones, who has just been named “Most Influential Women in Technology 2010″. [via]

Groklaw, set up in 2003 at the beginning of the SCO-Linux controversies, quickly became a go-to resource for tracking legal issues surrounding open source and the Web. “Groklaw is an attempt to get geeks and lawyers together, so they can help each other understand the other’s world, with the goal of ideally getting better court results based on technical realities,” Jones wrote me a few emails later, when there was “a lull in the action.” In theory, the case should come to a close soon, but Jones doesn’t have her hopes up about what’s next. “Next? Is there a next with SCO?” she asks. “They are like Night of the Living Dead as far as persistence is concerned.”

SCO’s racketeering — like Microsoft’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] — is to a large extent Microsoft backed and funded.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft

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