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05.28.10

Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company, It’s a Software Patents Company With Lobbyists

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Microsoft, Windows, Xen at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Ask the partner to give you heads up on customer situations – bribe them!”

Steve Winfield, Microsoft

Brian Behlendorf against Microsoft

Summary: How Microsoft’s money and unwatchable influence allow it to subvert laws in foreign jurisdictions while projects like Xen and Apache are paid money to keep quiet on the matter and occasionally defend Microsoft

Earlier this month we explained why Microsoft is the biggest enemy of “Open Source” and warned that IDG has a new spin blog (the “open source” blog in IDG is not pro-”open source”). This blog is currently peddling some hogwash from someone who is working for Citrix, Microsoft’s ally.

The message of appeasement is all too comforting, but Microsoft is not interested in it. Microsoft keeps suing, threatening, and lobbying to make “open source” illegal or impractical to use. A good example of Microsoft’s direct attack on “open source” is currently found in Europe, where Microsoft’s role is described under:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  8. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  9. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  10. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  11. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  12. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  13. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  14. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  15. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  16. Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source
  17. Patents Roundup: David Hammerstein on Microsoft Lobbying in Europe; Harrison Targets Lobbying on Software Patents in New Zealand, Justice Stevens Leaves SCOTUS

The EIFv2 is a fine example not only of Microsoft’s lobbying for software patents (almost all of Microsoft's patents are software patents) but also the company’s unethical activities that involve AstroTurfing, cronyism, and intimidation in other countries. This is a company which is not interested in producing technology; rather, it bends laws, overthrows opposition, and bribes with great pride.

The Free Software Foundation Europe has just updated its Web page which shows what Microsoft did to Europe’s digital agenda through its lobbyists, essentially rendering it useless, discriminatory, and unfair.

EIFv2: Tracking the loss of interoperability

[...]

From our analysis, we can conclude that in key places, the European Commission has taken on board only the comments made by the Business Software Alliance, a lobby group working on behalf of proprietary software vendors. At the same time, comments by groups working in favour of Free Software and Open Standards were neglected, e.g. those made by Open Forum Europe.

As we speak, Microsoft lobbies to legalise software patents in Europe. When it does not sue it intimidates in order to earn “protection money” as it so often gets in the far east (where software patents bear some legitimacy, as in the United States).

It is important to say “United States” and not “America” because south America rightly disregards many unjust monopolies, Mexico is fighting against software patents, and Wayne gives a Canadian’s perspective:

Richard Stallman, one of the truly elite software developers has spoken out many times about the dangers of software patents. Curiously those most in favor of software patents appear to be lawyers from the Patent Bar.

Here is the term “Americans” used loosely in the second part of this essay.

One issue is that Americans think that their patent system is the be all and end all, and that everyone else should imitate them. Curiously a lot of Americans even believe that their Constitution requires that a patent system exist, due to a misreading of it.

One famous case where the system in the United States was shown to be corruptible involved the FDA (Microsoft connection noted), which has a close relationship with Monsanto because employees are shared among the regulators and the regulated company. Here are some “corporate takeover videos” from GM Watch:

One of the greatest concerns about genetic engineering is the way in which it facilitates the corporate takeover of the food supply. These videos show how GM crops are removing the ability of farmers to freely use their own seeds or grow food in the way they choose.

Added below is a popular video which shows what happened to Monsanto in Canada (where it didn’t have enough insiders). This might as well teach us about the role Microsoft entryism has played over the years, even in the European Commission (we gave many examples). Things also changed for Xen when Microsoft put its hands on the project, brought it to its back yard, and put Microsoft managers in it. Matt Taibi famously described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; perhaps Microsoft’s entryism is evidence that it became a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of IT just as Monsanto became a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of agriculture. Unless people emphasise a message of software freedom, Microsoft will continue its takeover of “open source” and suppress Free software, replacing it with software patents and so-called ‘interoperability’ that depends on them.

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