07.27.10

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Antitrust Attacks on IBM Carried Out by Microsoft and its “Satellite Proxies,” According to IBM

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, SCO at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Satellite dish

Summary: IBM names Microsoft as a source of the complaints (or at least their financier) which target GNU/Linux-powered mainframes

GNU/Linux has several people who may sometimes seem like its friends when obviously they are not. For starters there’s Florian Müller and there are others like Bill Beebe, who sometimes act as apologists for SCO and even this week show some disregard for GNU/Linux (Beebe does not use GNU/Linux and neither does Müller by all indications).

As we pointed out yesterday, Müller is again taking shots at IBM (mass-mailing journalists and posting in several places). He is still doing this today, even minutes ago. He is like a true lobbyist and he helps Microsoft’s agenda, whether he acknowledges it or not. Earlier this month it was Kevin McBride who also helped Microsoft’s agenda by boosting SCO's case. SCO is like Microsoft's patent troll, but this one uses copyright allegations and sues IBM using Microsoft funds. Groklaw responds to ZDNet’s poor reporting by emphasising: “Kevin isn’t SCO now. His brother isn’t either.”

“What strikes me is that the price in June was going up until June 10, when Stewart ruled for Novell (look at the activity for *that* day), and then it dropped back to 0.04 the next day, and that was the highest until July 9, when Kevin McBride posted claims about Linux.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Darl was of course sacked. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) made a mistake similar to that of ZDNet and Groklaw corrects him by stressing that “this isn’t SCO talking, in that the brothers McBride are no longer associated with SCO, unless SCO’s current leadership wishes to take credit for this event.”

Separately, Groklaw points out that SCO’s stock rose as a result of this McBride action. “I find this mezmerizing,” says Pamela Jones, “this chart of SCO’s daily share price. What strikes me is that the price in June was going up until June 10, when Stewart ruled for Novell (look at the activity for *that* day), and then it dropped back to 0.04 the next day, and that was the highest until July 9, when Kevin McBride posted claims about Linux. Then you see the price go up to a high today of 0.10. Coincidence?”

Later on Groklaw wrote about the TurboHercules case, noting: “First SCO and now TurboHercules. See a pattern, anyone? I certainly do. Microsoft and its “satellite proxies”. Someone needs to investigate that as an antitrust violation, in my view, using litigation and regulatory process to harm a competitor.”

The term “satellite proxies” is an exact quote from IBM. Now that there is an antitrust investigation in the EU there is also a lively discussion and here is how IBM responds:

IBM said it is cooperating fully with E.U. regulators and that the allegations are being brought by competitor Microsoft and its “satellite proxies.”

More here:

IBM countered in its own statement that the EC’s accusations “are being driven by some of IBM’s largest competitors — led by Microsoft — who want to further cement the dominance of Wintel servers by attempting to mimic aspects of IBM mainframes without making the substantial investments IBM has made.”

Recall what Microsoft apparently did to IBM in order to restrain critics of OOXML. Here is another report that names Microsoft’s role:

In a statement, IBM said it “intends to cooperate fully” with the inquires. But it also asserts that the investigations were actually triggered by Microsoft (MSFT). “Let there be no confusion whatsoever: there is no merit to the claims being made by Microsoft and its satellite proxies,” IBM said. “IBM is fully entitled to enforce its intellectual property rights and protect the investments we have made in our technologies. Competition and intellectual property laws are complementary and designed to promote competition and innovation, and IBM fully supports these policies. But IBM will not allow the fruits of its innovation and investment to be pirated by its competition through baseless allegations.”

Microsoft spinners responded to this as follows.

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, said in a statement that “there is no merit to the claims being made by Microsoft and its satellite proxies.”

“Certain IBM competitors which have been unable to win in the marketplace through investments in fundamental innovations now want regulators to create for them a market position that they have not earned,” IBM said.

Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, said in an e-mail that the company invests in startup companies such as T3 to give customers greater choice. The company isn’t a party to T3’s complaint against IBM, he said.

“We do share T3’s belief that there needs to be greater openness and choice for customers in the mainframe market,” Shaw said. “Customers tell us that they want greater interoperability between the mainframe and other platforms.”

Notice the wording. He does not deny Microsoft’s role. “Microsoft wasn’t a party to SCO v. IBM, either, but it gave money that made it possible for it to happen,” Jones explained. “You don’t have to be a party to be involved.”

“…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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13 Comments

  1. Florian Mueller said,

    July 27, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Gravatar

    Since the day when the TurboHercules folks explained to me their patent-related problems with IBM, I’ve been sympathetic to their cause.

    You say I help Microsoft’s agenda. However, my agenda is all about competition and innovation in IT, for which I consider FOSS an extremely important factor. Should there happen to be some overlaps between my pro-competitive agenda and Microsoft’s interests (although I’d like to see some better proof than PJ’s unsubstantiated claims), that’s fine and it’s statistically inevitable given that they have such a diversity of interests and aren’t automatically on the dark side. Even if they tried to always come down on the dark side, they couldn’t even get there consistently, I’m sure. I’d only be concerned if someone suspected me of supporting an agenda that is anticompetitive and harms innovation (and in that case it wouldn’t even matter whether that’s Microsoft’ or anyone else’s agenda because I simply wouldn’t want to be seen as promoting such a bad cause regardless of who’s behind it).

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I never claimed that you served Microsoft, only that Microsoft’s interests are served by you.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Yes, I know. I was merely responding to your claim that I help Microsoft’s *interests*. I believe I made that reference very clearly. I explained that if a cause is a good cause, it doesn’t become a bad one just because of whatever reasons they may have to strive for the same objective in a particular case. In a statement on yesterday’s announcement they said they’d like to see more openness in that market. I have no problem with that.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What do you believe they mean by “openness”?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    The quote about openness is short and doesn’t specify, but since the antitrust case is about tying hardware to an operating system (z/OS), I guess they mean — just like the complainants — that running z/OS in emulation should be allowed. From my point of view that’s also a matter of software freedom. Even though z/OS running on free software (Hercules on GNU/Linux for Intel) wouldn’t be a free configuration according to the Free Software Definition, emulation is a software-related freedom the way I view it.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What Microsoft means by “openness” is that it should run Windows, not GNU/Linux.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    The Hercules project developers for GNU/Linux and Windows. The commercial offerings of the TurboHercules company relate to both operating systems as well.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Groklaw has already explained why TurboHercules would be useful to Windows. It was in one of the later posts about this case.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Groklaw didn’t explain why a project (and a commercial offering around it) available for both GNU/Linux and Windows would be particularly useful to Windows. Groklaw portrayed TurboHercules as a Windows-only thing.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    No, as a Windows facilitator.

  2. Florian Mueller said,

    July 27, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Gravatar

    Concerning my use of GNU/Linux, my online gaming startup (which I co-founded in 1996 and we sold to Telefónica in early 2000 before the dotcom crash) was among the first wave of startups in Europe to use GNU/Linux on the server side (we used the SuSE distribution, and our database was PostgreSQL). I also used it for web server purposes thereafter, which is how I became aware of and involved with MySQL.

    On my desktop and my notebook, I use Windows 7, but there’s plenty of FOSS for Windows and I use some of it. I saw a list of the top 10 SourceForge application projects and every one of them is available for Windows in some form. I don’t believe in dichotomy concerning FOSS and proprietary software. In particular, I don’t want software patents to hurt either category. More importantly, I want FOSS to put competitive pressure on everyone because that will ensure that I also get to buy high-quality proprietary software at reasonable prices. I believe in choice.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    That spin about “choice” is the same talking point Microsoft uses. Anyway, my suspicions were right.

    twitter Reply:

    Florian, I don’t think you understand software freedom or software quality. If you did, you would not sell your freedom for the restrictions and second rate performance of Windows 7/Vista. Nor would you equate free and non free software as “choices”. Free software is about rights and freedom. Non free software is about extracting revenues by various unjust restrictions. Non free software can not be verified and should not be trusted. Its owners can betray you as they please and they reserve the right to terminate use of their software at any time. Free software now offers both a better deal and better performance all around.

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