EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.25.10

Microsoft Attacks Linux Competition Using Lawsuits and Threats (With Software Patents), Pays Acacia/IP Innovation After Anti-Linux Lawsuit

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, SCO at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft retaliated against industry participants that supported DR-DOS. For example, when Z-Nix Inc. bundled DR-DOS 6.0 and Microsoft Windows 3.1, proclaiming no incompatibilities, Microsoft’s Brad Silverberg wrote: “look what znix is doing! cut those fuckers off.” Within three weeks, Microsoft demanded an audit of Z-Nix’s entire business and then commenced a copyright and trademark infringement action. Z-Nix was forced to file for bankruptcy in or around 1995″

Comes Petition [PDF]

Summary: “Microsoft is back to its old tactics,” claims Forbes Magazine as Microsoft not only sues Linux-using companies but also pays other companies that do so

MICROSOFT NEVER REALLY changed. Since its early days it has been threatening rivals and attacking them with lawsuits if they didn’t behave as Microsoft pleased. It still goes on today because Microsoft is in a litigious mood. Gone are the days of pretense.

Redefining “Open Source”

Microsoft says that it has embraced “Open Source”, but as the OSI put it this week, “To Microsoft, Open Source means ‘Windows Encumbered’”

One of the most interesting things to happen in the past couple of years, is Microsoft’s embrace of Open Source. This means different things to various people I’ve spoken with at Microsoft. Some seem genuinely sincere. Some seem less so. What hasn’t changed is Microsoft’s behavior to the Open Source community at large.

* They have not retracted their patent FUD against Linux.
* They (a founding member of the BSA) did not speak out against the BSA/IIPA’s attempt to have the US government equate Open Source with piracy and as anti-capitalist.
* They continue to attack, with legal action or threats, any open source that competes with any of their core products.
* They continue to hijack standards boards with “standards” that are encumbered by patent or platform constraints.

Microsoft’s version of Open Source Software (MSOSS) means software licensed under an Open Source License which is encumbered with a dependency on SharePoint, Microsoft Office, Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Windows (Azure or classic). This underscores something critical that we have all learned over the past few years while on our journey towards freer technology. That is that Open Source licenses are NOT enough to ensure (corporate or consumer) end-user empowerment. We also need Open Standards and Open Data.

Last week we wrote about Europe’s Digital Agenda, which got subverted by Microsoft lobbyists so as to accommodate software patents [1, 2].

Microsoft has been using R&D Magazine to push its agenda and it is doing it again, as it has been been doing for a long time now. Here is Microsoft expressing its acceptance of the Digital Agenda, which it shaped using lobbyists who pretend to represent other interests. That’s just appalling.

Microsoft welcomes the “Digital Agenda for Europe,” announced earlier this week by European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, as a bold roadmap for action. We share the Commission’s view that technology is an enabler for economic growth, job creation, sustainability and social inclusion. As a company, we are fully committed to working with the European Commission and governments to realize the potential of Europe’s digital future.

As we pointed out before, the Digital Agenda had been broken and it still needs to be fixed. It’s not too late.

Microsoft equates software patents with “openness”. How convenient.

Legal Attacks

Last month we showed how Microsoft was attacking the Linux-based Android (HTC being the latest example to have surrendered) and here we see yet again how Microsoft is distorting terms, mixing legal intimidation with “openness”. It’s like claiming to do someone a favour by shooting him/her. “We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger,” Microsoft’s Vice President Jim Allchin famously said.

(Update, 2:25 p.m. A Microsoft publicist provided a link to a March blog post by company vice president and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez that essentially says that Apple’s suit is for everybody’s own good: “The smartphone market is still in a nascent state; much innovation still lies ahead in this field. In all nascent technology markets, there is a period early where IP rights will be sorted out.” Later on in the post, Gutierrez opines that “Open innovation is only possible through the licensing of third party IP rights,” which makes me wonder what he thinks of the open, innovative and patent-free World Wide Web.)

“Microsoft Deal With HTC Could Slow Android’s Adoption,” says this article. That’s just what Microsoft wanted because Linux/Android is technically superior and sells better.

Here is Steve Ballmer quoted as saying that “there’s nothing free about Android”:

When asked about Android giving away Android for free versus Microsoft, which charges smart phone carriers, Ballmer took issue with that assessment, stating, “And there’s nothing free about Android. I mean at the end of the day as we certainly have asserted in a number of cases you know there’s an intellectual property royalty due on that. Whether they happen to charge for their software or not is their business decision.”

One reader of ours says that Microsoft is trying to sell two messages here: 1) Android is fragmenting; 2) Android is violating our patents.

The former message is being pushed by Microsoft evangelist Michael Gartenberg [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], who keeps saying he is no longer an employee of Microsoft, which makes it easier for him to trash Microsoft’s competitors with little suspicion being raised (no disclosure, ever).

“First,” said our reader about Microsoft’s FUD, “it’s nobody is using it, then when the market base increases, it’s fragmenting.”

Here is Pogson responding to Gartenberg’s former boss, Steve Ballmer.

Android Is Free, Steve

In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Steve Ballmer stated “There’s nothing free about Android.” Wrong, Steve. Android is Free:

* anyone can run the software,
* anyone can examine the source code,
* anyone can modify the source code, and
* anyone can distribute the code unmodified or modified under the same licence that comes with the code.

It is probably safe to say that Microsoft is grasping at straws, but its litigation tactics might as well land some of its executives in jail (SCO comes to mind). Is Microsoft really a friend of “Open Source”? Who are they kidding? It’s all PR.

Then there is the Salesforce lawsuit [1, 2]. Microsoft claims that its software patents are “crown jewel[s]” — whatever that actually means when it comes to monopolies, but even pro-Microsoft sites are disappointed by Microsoft’s behaviour.

A few months back, my Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz regaled you with the tale of how Microsoft bullied Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) into a cross-licensing agreement, presumably because the e-tailer trampled upon its IP rights in the course of using Linux to service its Kindle. Mr. Softie has made similar accusations, to good effect, against everyone from Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) to Apple to Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL), receiving similar deals in each case.

Forbes Magazine summarised it as follows:

With its new patent lawsuit against Salesforce.com, Microsoft is back to its old tactics.

Another take says:

Instead of suing, why not just build better products? When customers use CRM they are looking to build an edge on their competition by improving relations. Microsoft should improve relations with all the time and money they spend suing their partners.

Microsoft also failed in advertising over the Web. No wonder it’s so fearful and jealous of companies like Google and Salesforce.

Three years after Microsoft agreed to buy Seattle-based digital advertising company aQuantive, the Redmond company’s ad revenues have barely budged, its online losses have soared, many of aQuantive’s top executives have left, and one of aQuantive’s biggest units has been sold.

It’s not the outcome once envisioned from the $6 billion acquisition, which remains the largest in Microsoft’s history.

We wrote about this last week as well.

History Rewritten by Recipient of Vista 7 Laptop

Here is Microsoft's friend Harry McCracken rewriting the past by saying “That history has surprisingly few examples of sustained competition between two giants, in part because one of the giants was so often Microsoft, who — back in the day — played hardball more ruthlessly than anyone, and usually against companies who made some truly boneheaded strategic missteps.”

“Boneheaded strategic missteps,” eh?

Why talk about Microsoft’s crimes that it was found guilty for? It’s so much easier to just blame others and pretend Microsoft was an innocent bystander. Comes vs Microsoft exhibits leave not a shadow of a doubt. McCracken also pretends it’s just part of the past and conveniently ignores Microsoft’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

But on goes the PR campaign…

Microsoft also uses the “Open API” deception which their partner O’Reilly helps perpetuate.

Other Legal Cases

The firm called McKool Smith causes Microsoft quite a bit of agony. It’s one of those leeches in a system so flooded with patent litigation. Here it is bragging about its actions against Microsoft.

In naming McKool Smith as the top patent litigation firm in the southern U.S., the editors of MIP said the firm had “distinguished itself litigating patent infringement cases for companies like i4i and VirnetX Holdings. It has scored a number of wins against Microsoft, totaling nearly $400 million.”

Here is the latest article we found about the i4i case.

Microsoft is fighting a hard battle, but it is clear the courts and USPTO agree i4i’s patent for the XML feature is valid and Microsoft willingly infringed the patent. Microsoft apparently sees value in the XML feature and therefore should do one of three things:

1. create a work around and not use the XML feature

2. buy i4i outright

3. develop a partnership with i4i and pay them licensing fees for the technology.

There is also this update about the Microsoft vs. Alcatel-Lucent situation [1, 2, 3]:

Title: Microsoft v. Lucent Technologies
Docket: 09-1006
Issues: (1) Whether a jury verdict of patent infringement can stand when it is supported only by speculative evidence and lawyer argument, or whether the standards for entry of judgment as a matter of law that apply in all other federal cases should apply equally in patent cases; and (2) whether a new trial is required in a patent infringement case, as in all other cases, when the verdict is found to be contrary to the weight of the evidence.

* Opinion below (Federal Circuit)
* Petition for certiorari
* Brief in opposition
* Petitioner’s reply

Here is the latest from Acacia, which we all along suspected to have been paid by Microsoft:

Acacia Subsidiary Enters into License Agreement with Microsoft Corporation

Acacia Research Corporation announced today that its subsidiary, IP Innovation, LLC, has entered into a license agreement with Microsoft Corporation covering patents that apply to technology for enhancing image resolution. The agreement resolves a lawsuit that was pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

This also appeared here. Essentially, Microsoft is paying Acacia some money and Groklaw has an opinion on it, namely: “IP Innovation is the same entity that just lost when it sued Red Hat and Novell over alleged patent infringement. Coincidence, I’m sure, that without even having to actually go through any litigation to the end, they get a Microsoft payoff. Maybe Microsoft realized they were guilty of patent infringement. Who knows? But it does smell just a little funny to me. I mean, not saying this is what happened, but what if? Let’s just imagine for a moment. Let’s say you wanted to sue Linux over and over and just run a Linux company into the ground, as Michael Anderer said Microsoft wanted to have happen. If you recall, Microsoft announced in 2003 that Linux would face years of litigation. But then BayStar and Anderer let it slip that Microsoft folks had inspired investors to help SCO in its battle against Linux. So imagine you are Microsoft. How do you funnel money to the folks who are to sue Linux next after that, especially now that SCO has lost ignominiously and is bankrupt?

“Let’s say you wanted to sue Linux over and over and just run a Linux company into the ground, as Michael Anderer said Microsoft wanted to have happen.”
      –Groklaw
“Here’s how my imagination works, when I put my evil-think hat on: why couldn’t you have an entity like IP Innovation sue Linux vendors *and* Microsoft, and if they win, they get money from the Linux vendor, and if they lose, Microsoft agrees to settle? Would that not be slick? Again, I’m not applying this imaginary strategy to anything in real life, but if I were a defense lawyer dealing with a patent infringement case brought by anyone against Linux, I’d surely look for that in discovery. Just saying. — Update: I can’t find any litigation against Microsoft by IP Innovation on PACER or on Google. I see others by other subsidiaries of Acacia, but none listed or even announced by IP Innovation. Perhaps someone else can find it.”

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 13/12/2017: GIMP 2.9.8, Fedora 25 End Of Life, AltOS 1.8.3

    Links for the day



  2. Judge Corcoran Got His User ID/Desk Back (as ILO Asked), But Cannot Perform Actual Work

    The latest update regarding Patrick Corcoran, whose 3-year ordeal is far from over in spite of ILO's unambiguous rulings in his favour



  3. The End of Software Patents and PTAB's Role in Enforcing That End

    Software patents are fast becoming a dying breed and the appeal board (PTAB) of the USPTO accelerates this trend, irrespective of patent immunity attempts



  4. No, China Isn't Most Innovative, It's Just Granting a Lot of Low-Quality Patents

    Patent extremists are trying to make China look like a role model or a success story because China grants far too many patents, spurring an explosion in litigation



  5. Battistelli-Campinos Transition Will Be a Smooth One as the Administrative Council Remains the Same and the Boards Still Besieged

    A rather pessimistic (albeit likely realistic) expectation from tomorrow's meeting of the Administrative Council, which continues to show that no lessons were learned and no strategy will be altered to avoid doom (low-quality patents and stocks running out)



  6. Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  7. German Media Helps Cover Up -- Not Cover -- the Latest EPO Scandal

    EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO's biggest scandals to date



  8. PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

    Three Affiliated Tribes probably won't enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won't manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit



  9. Team UPC's Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

    Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there's someone 'courageous' enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup



  10. The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM)

    David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM's)



  11. The EPO Protest Tomorrow Isn't Just About Judge Corcoran But About the EPO as a Whole

    PO staff is about to protest against the employer, pointing out that "Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal"



  12. Claim: Judge Corcoran to Be Put Under Benoît Battistelli's Control in DG1

    Benoît Battistelli, who openly disregards and refuses to obey judges (while intervening in trials and delivering 'royal decrees' whenever it suits him), may soon gain direct control over the judge he hates most



  13. The European Patent Organisation Refrains (For Nearly a Week) From Speaking About Battistelli's Abuses as Judged by ILO Tribunal

    The EPO's silence on the matter of Patrick Corcoran is deafening; to make matters worse, the EPO continues to pollute media and academia with money of stakeholders, with the sole intention of lobbying and misleading news coverage (clearly a disservice to these stakeholders)



  14. Carl Josefsson Lets Judge Patrick Corcoran Come Back to Work at the EPO

    After initial reluctance to obey/respect the rulings from the ILO (security staff declining access) there is official permission for Patrick Corcoran to enter and resume work (following 3 years of injustice against him)



  15. Bristows is Being Hammered With Negative Comments For Its Unitary Patent (UPC) Lies

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is practically dead in the UK and Ireland; Bristows, nevertheless, continues with its desperate spin



  16. Links 11/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC3, Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3

    Links for the day



  17. Judge Corcoran Turns to His Government for Help and EPO 'House Ban' is Finally Lifted

    Sources that are very reliable say that Patrick Corcoran is coming back to work, however it's now clear when and how long for



  18. Raw: Battistelli's Control/Domination Over the Boards of Appeal

    An old EPO document internally voicing concerns about the lack of independence at the Boards of Appeal



  19. Raw: Conflicts of Interest of EPO Vice-President

    An old EPO concern regarding structural collisions and mixed loyalties



  20. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Are Increasingly Active and Microsoft is Selling 'Protection' (Azure Subscriptions)

    There are several indications that Microsoft-connected shells, which produce no products and are threatening a large number of companies, are inadvertently if not intentionally helping Microsoft sell "indemnification" ("Azure IP Advantage," which echoes the Microsoft/Novell strategy for collecting what they called "patent royalties" one decade ago)



  21. Yes, RPost is Definitely a Patent Troll and Its Software Patents Are at Risk Thanks to Alice

    The latest whitewashing (or reputation-laundering) pieces from Watchtroll, which tries to justify patent-trolling activities with software patents, typically in the Eastern District of Texas



  22. The Latest Scams in the Patent World

    Examples of 'dirty laundry' of the patent microcosm, which it understandably does not like covering (as it harms confidence in their services/advice)



  23. Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

    A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger



  24. Unlike the Mobile Domain, When it Comes to Cars Patent Lawsuits Remain Rare

    An optimistic note regarding the relatively low-temperature legal landscape surrounding advanced automobiles, even though patents are being amassed on software in that domain



  25. The Federal Circuit Rules (Again) in Favour of Section 101/Alice, Koch-Funded CPIP Tries to Overturn Alice at the Supreme Court

    The US Supreme Court's decision on Alice continues to have a profoundly positive impact (except for trolls) and Koch-funded academics try hard to compel the US Supreme Court to reverse/override Alice (so far to no avail)



  26. Next Director of the USPTO Parrots Talking Points of Patent Extremists and Their Lobbyists

    The next USPTO boss (still subject to official confirmation) may be little more than a power grab by the litigation and patenting 'industry', which prioritises not science and technology but its own bottom line



  27. Raw: Three Years for 'Justice' (to be Disregarded by Benoît Battistelli) at ILO and Over a Decade at the EPO

    The delays associated with ‘justice’ at the EPO (usually neither justice nor compliance with rulings) have become so extraordinary that immunity should long ago have been stripped off and Battistelli et al been held accountable



  28. Raw: Scuttling of the General Advisory Committee and Battistelli Stacking the Deck to Have 'Yes Men' as Representatives

    How the EPO broke down resistance to Battistelli’s oppressive policies not only at the Council, disciplinary committees and auditory divisions but also staff representation (symptomatic of Battistelli’s notion of justice)



  29. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Will Endure Supreme Court Test and Overcome the Tribal Immunity “Scam”

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), based on the latest news, is still winning the argument and justifying its existence/importance



  30. Phones/Mobility (Trillion-Dollar Market) May Have Become Infested and Encumbered by Aggressive, Dying Companies

    The tough reality that new entrants/entrepreneurs are facing now that a few dying giants look to "monetise" their patents rather than create anything


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts