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

08.05.10

Microsoft Extorts Salesforce: Salesforce to Make Sales, Microsoft to Make the Money

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Servers at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft ripoff logo

Summary: Another timely lesson about the harms of software patents, which help Microsoft extort its rivals without ever taking them to court and having the patents tested

SOFTWARE patents are a nasty thing. In fact, over in Australia (and now in Slashdot) Ben Sturmfels works towards abolishment of software patents (for background see [1, 2, 3]). This is important because of precedence. In light of this heroic Australian action, OStatic brings up Sun’s Schwartz’ testimony about Microsoft extortion from Gates and Ballmer.

Schwartz goes on to detail a meeting he was in with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer from Microsoft, in which Gates allegedly “skipped the small talk” and said: “Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.”

The move by Australian software leaders to abolish patents seems a little over the top. Some ideas scream out for patents, and many software titans have been built on fairly patented software. Still, if anyone has any question that software patents get exploited, Schwartz’s post called “What I Couldn’t Say” is worth rereading.

Microsoft racketeering with software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] recently hit Salesforce, which Microsoft sued with software patents for no apparent reason other than greed (it was sued by Salesforce in return). Salesforce uses GNU/Linux just about everywhere, at least on the server side. According to this press release from Microsoft, Salesforce allowed Microsoft to have itself extorted. Yes, Microsoft has once again successfully extorted using software patents and Mary Jo Foley says that ‘[w]hile the terms of the agreement aren’t being disclosed “Microsoft is being compensated by Salesforce.com”.’

The press calls it a “settlement”, but it doesn’t quite capture the fact that Microsoft is being paid a ‘patent tax’ by Salesforce (it’s the same with TomTom, which shows Microsoft becoming a Linux-sucking leech). From the Wall Street Journal:

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM) announced Wednesday a settlement to their patent suits against one another, ending a three-month tussle the two software companies had over various software patents.

More on this racketeering:

In other news, a ‘company’ (patent troll) that sued Microsoft for patent violations didn’t get its way.

It is possible that Salesforce would have won against Microsoft in court, but litigation is expensive. By issuing threats/lawsuits Microsoft has managed to turn Salesforce into a cash cow, using just a few papers with the USPTO’s rubber stamp.

Software patents need to die because they destroy the software industry and only empower monopolies.

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

12 Comments

  1. Florian Mueller said,

    August 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Gravatar

    My position on software patents is still the same, but concerning the way they are used, I think this here isn’t the worst-case scenario. In fact, it would be great news if the different companies against whom IBM holds certain mainframe-related IPRs could also get a license deal and then grow their business — but IBM, unlike Microsoft, doesn’t allow competitors to do that unless, hopefully, forced by regulators to grant licenses on FRAND terms.

    If IBM could content itself with being only what you, Roy, call a “leech”, that would be a fundamental improvement.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    IBM leeches a lot using patents. Last time I checked, they make about a billion dollars per year just from patent tax (and Phelps had a role in it).

    twitter Reply:

    RAND is not acceptable either, especially the way Microsoft wields it. In fact, RAND is a propaganda term that should be avoided.

    … It is true that these licenses do not discriminate against any specific person, but they do discriminate against the free software community, and that makes them unreasonable. Thus, half of the term “RAND” is deceptive and the other half is prejudiced. Standards bodies should recognize that these licenses are discriminatory, and drop the use of the term “reasonable and non-discriminatory” or “RAND” to describe them. Until they do so, writers who do not wish to join in the whitewashing would do well to reject that term. To accept and use it merely because patent-wielding companies have made it widespread is to let those companies dictate the views you express.

    If you care about your sanity, privacy, software freedom and other basic rights dependent on a free computer/network you might also replace Windows 7 with GNU/Linux or other free software. Either way, you should not pretend that there is anything fair or reasonable about software patents.

    twitter Reply:

    It is difficult to reconcile Florian’s thoughts. I just noticed where he says,

    I’d only be concerned if someone suspected me of supporting an agenda that is anticompetitive and harms innovation … [and] In particular, I don’t want software patents to hurt either category [free or non free]. 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.

    The FSF has made a reasonable case that fee only licensing that Florian advocates as “RAND” always discriminates against free software. The news about Salesforce demonstrates that damage is also done to non free software, thereby reducing the “choice” Florian seem to value over his freedom. Florian’s “Focus” on IBM, Groklaw and other organizations on the Microsoft hit list is looking harder to justify in reasonable terms. An honest person with his goals has to conclude that software patents are always bad and work to eliminate them rather than selectively chase offenses.

    twitter Reply:

    ack bad formatting. the passage above should have Florian’s statement clearly quoted:

    “I’d only be concerned if someone suspected me of supporting an agenda that is anticompetitive and harms innovation … [and] In particular, I don’t want software patents to hurt either category [free or non free]. 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.”

    This should be obvious to anyone who follows the link provided.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Well, Florian is against software patents, but I don’t agree with his approach (respectfully). It was earlier that I found this submission about Salesforce. He still uses Slashdot to slant stories and push his agenda. Florian is spreading FUD against GNU/Linux in this case, because the deal/settlement is not about Linux. the FFII called it “‘Linux tax’ troll post”, which is funny because the FFII is in some way a succession of Florian’s work (it just took his campaign a few years ago) and here it is labelling Florian’s submission “troll”.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    For the sake of accuracy:

    The FFII started the fight against software patents long before me. I became aware of the problem in the EU because of the FFII. I later handed my NoSoftwarePatents campaign to them, but still, they’re not just a succession of my work.

    Concerning the fact that Salesforce recognized a need to pay royalties for patents that read on Linux, we discussed that on Twitter yesterday and I believe that my interpretation is right.

    It’s not about FUD.

    The FFII Twitter account is used by multiple people. The most likely one to say that kind of thing about me there is “arebenti”. He’s been against my work all along, going back to the year 2004.

    I’ve mentioned the Salesforce deal in my most recent blog posting (on Microsoft’s use of patents):
    http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2010/08/microsofts-use-of-patents.html

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Defending Microsoft’s patent extortion is delusional at best. I will post a quick rebuttal later.

    Notice that IBM did not sue anyone and it actually gives lists of patents when inquired (Microsoft didn’t when it comes to Linux, which it sued through companies).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    @twitter I don’t have a hit list based on who competes with Microsoft but based on my priority focus on exclusionary use (and, as a #2 topic, hypocrisy).

    twitter Reply:

    Please do not misscharacterize what I say, Florian. I do not know if you have a hit list to match the lists of journalists and websites you publish to, but I can say Microsoft does. Microsoft email exposed in court show that Microsoft’s hit list is basically the rest of the world with resources focused on key areas through programs like EDGI, Comphot and many, specialized lobbying groups. Tim Bray, Peter Guttman, Peter Quinn, Richard Stallman and PJ can also tell you that Microsoft’s hit list can be very personal.

    In your latest blog post you summarize your strained defense of Microsoft’s patent extortion,

    Microsoft doesn’t use its patents in a destructive way. They don’t just sit on their patents without doing nothing, but they’re a cooperative right holder who doesn’t use them to shut out competition.

    This opinion is not supported by Microsoft’s private letters and public statements about their schemes to exclude and destroy free software.

    Confronted with facts, you and fellow patent supporters have turned to smears. You had the nerve to republish nonsense from Forbes claiming that Groklaw and the FSF are corporate stooges. You then attempt to smear Roy by linking to Dana’s article that makes fun of you calling PJ an IBM troll. Dana is also a patent supporter and his comparison of your charges and Roy’s do Roy a great disservice. Roy’s assertion that your efforts serve Microsoft’s interests is reasonable and well supported. People who defend the indefensible always dip to the personal level because the facts do not support what they would like to prove.

    The threat Microsoft poses to free software can not be judged one issue at a time any more than their actions occur in isolation. Microsoft’s legal, technical, and social attack on the rest of the world, particularly free software, must be judged as a whole. Together, these things make Microsoft the primary threat to free software outside of the general decline of democracy in the Western world. Microsoft is a failing company but it is still a dangerous one. It should be noted that Microsoft and partners are chief collaborators with Communist China and are happy to see network and software freedom removed elsewhere too.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    PJ has some questions for Florian now.

  2. twitter said,

    August 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Gravatar

    PJ also covers Eban Moglen’s keynot at LibrePlanet 2010, where he talks about forming alliances with companies that depend on and contribute to free software.

    We need to think about the grand strategy of our continued forceful campaigning for free as in freedom. But we also need to be extremely aware of the extent to which we can now capitalize upon the achievements we have already set up and the alliances with forces not necessarily concerned with freedom that our technological sophistication has brought to them. … Microsoft will continue to attempt to get paid for what we do, by forcing people — or quasi-forcing people through intimidatory conduct — to take patent licenses to run our software….If we are to quell this nuisance we can only do so in cooperation with others who see clearly that this is a threat to the welfare of their customers.

    This is quite a relevant topic. The trouble people some people are making for Microsoft competitors who are also natural free software allies is right in line with Microsoft’s usual divisive policies. I see above even some of the usual BSD vrs GPL trolls. None of us should surrender our software freedom to any company, but we can encourage companies like IBM, Google and others that are not outright hostile to software freedom to continue their genuine march toward software freedom. Convicted felon, Microsoft, should never be trusted or paid because they are the worst of the exploiters. I look forward to a company ranking page similar to the FSF software license explanation page.

What Else is New


  1. The European Patent Office, Aloof/Apathetic to Inventors and Human Rights, Simply Cannot be Trusted With the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The European Patent Office (EPO), once a source of great pride for increasingly-unified Europeans, not only wants to enjoy impunity but also wants to attain new powers, despite demonstrating that its interests are anything but European and are often detrimental to Europeans, not just to European inventors



  2. Feedback About Battistelli's 'Meet the President' Event in Rijswijk (4th of February, 2016)

    President of the EPO, the self-absorbed Battistelli, as described by those who attended his self-glorification event earlier this month



  3. Microsoft Continua Usando Patentes de Software para Extorsionar/Chantajear Incluso Más Compañías que Usan Linux, Forzandolas/Coerciendoles a PreInstallar Basura de Microsoft

    Acer es el último gran OEM que se ha convertido en la caza de brujas por parte de Microsoft contra preinstalladores de Android/Linux, a quienes esta coerciendo en convertirse en transportistas de Microsoft (o enfrentarse a litigaciones sobre patentes de software, con altos costos legales sino bloqueos con altísimos costos por arreglos secretos).



  4. Nuevas Protestas Contra La Vil OEP en Medio de Crisis Nerviosa de su Empleado Español (Después del Matoneo Institucional de Los Chacales de Battistelli), España Rechaza la Patente Unitaria UPC

    Enfrentando enorme presión de no-tecnicos Eurocráticos como Battistelli, España permanece FUERTE y RESISTE la Corte Unitaria de Patentes (UPC), que pone más poder en las manos de un cuerpo ABUSIVO que grotescamente discrimina contra los Españoles.



  5. Sólo Media Docena de Patentes Cubana Registradas en la OEP, Pero el Trístemente Célebre Battistelli Va a Cuba a Acumular Apoyo Baráto

    Ahora que España esta antagonizando a la OEP (y especialmente la UPC) el Presidente de la OEP ayuda a crear piezas de hojaldre en español cuando visitó Cuba y sus vecinos hispano-hablanetes que históricamente son renombrados por su gobernabilidad desaparecida así como su ilegalidad (como la OEP misma)



  6. In Lawyerland, Simulated UPC 'Trials' and More Extraordinary EPO Propaganda for Change That Would Harm Europe to Help Patent Lawyers and Their Big Clients

    A look at the latest wave of lobbying for the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), courtesy of patent lawyers who profit from patent disputes, and the utterly shameless marketing from the European Patent Office (EPO)



  7. Apple and Microsoft Cannot Keep Up With Android (Linux), More Layoffs Reported

    Having failed to grow (in the operating systems market share sense), proprietary software giants lose loyalty, try to attack the winner (Android/Linux) with software patents, and inevitably make their staff redundant



  8. Links 12/2/2016: Russian's Government With GNU/Linux, India's Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  9. New EPO Protests Amid Nervous Breakdowns of Spanish EPO Employee (After Institutional Bullying by Battistelli's Goons), Spain Rejects the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    In the face of enormous pressure from non-technical Eurocrats like Battistelli, Spain remains strong and resists the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), which puts more power in the hands of an abusive body that grossly discriminates against Spaniards



  10. Only Half a Dozen Cuban Patents Filed at EPO, But Hugely Unpopular Battistelli Goes to Cuba to Garner Cheap Support

    Now that Spain is antagonising the EPO (and especially the UPC) the President of the EPO helps create some puff pieces in Spanish as he visits Cuba and neighbouring Spanish-speaking nations which are historically renowned for defunct governance and lawlessness (like the EPO itself)



  11. Nepotismo de la UPC, Abusos Políticos, y el Envolvimiento en la UPC de la Firma ¨Legal¨ que la OEP Contrato para Matonear a Techrights

    La Corte Unitaria de Patentes UPC, un sistema arregaldo esta siendo embestida por la gargant de Europa por la OEP. (Nos están metiendo la yuca). Sus grandes clientes (incluso extranjeros), con sus abogados de patentes para que todo el mundo los vea.



  12. Miembro del Parlamente Europe Resalta ¨Las Continuas Violaciones de los Fundamentales Derechos de los Empleados de la OEP¨

    Pregunta a la Comisión Europea de parte de la MEP Portuguesa Ana Gomes, publicado en el sitio del Parlamente Europeo.



  13. Links 11/2/2016: LibreOffice 5.1, HMRC and FOSS

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Continues to Use Software Patents to Extort/Blackmail Even More Companies That Use Linux, Forcing/Coercing Them Into Preinstalling Microsoft

    Acer is the latest large OEM to have become a victim of Microsoft's witch-hunt against Android/Linux preloaders, whom Microsoft is coercing into becoming Microsoft's carriers (or face litigation over software patents, with high legal fees if not injunctions or high damages upon secret settlements)



  15. EPO Brain Drain (Even Directors Fed Up With Team Battistelli) and Rumours About Battistelli Becoming President of the UPC

    Words heard through the grapevine of the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff is overwhelmingly against the managers and some people, including high-profile staff, add to the exodus



  16. More Than 20 Years in the Line: European Patent Office and Claims of European Convention on Human Rights Infringement Against Applicants/Stakeholders

    Gross incompetence and potentially an infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights at the European Patent Office (EPO), this time impacting an applicant (one of many in a similar position)



  17. UPC Nepotism, Political Abuses, and UPC Involvement From the Legal Firm That EPO Hired to Bully Techrights

    The Unitary Patent Court (UPC), a rigged system that is being rammed down Europe's throat by the EPO, its big clients (even foreign), and their patent lawyers laid bear for people to see



  18. Member of European Parliament Brings Up “Ongoing Violations of the Fundamental and Employment Rights of the Staff of EPO”

    Question to the European Commission from Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, as published in the site of the European Parliament



  19. La Oficina Europea de Patentes Pretende que No Pasa Nada y Prepara una Feria de Vanidad

    La estrategia de relaciones públicas de la OEP cuya destructiva estrategia de patentes continua sin disminución (por ahora), se engancha en Colombia y se esfuerza en manufacturar el mito donde el público, examinadores de patentes, y aplicantes de patentes todos estan muy felices con la OEP.



  20. La ‘Internacional’ Commisión de Comercio Impone/Reenfuerza Patentes de Software para Establecer Otro Embargo

    La Comisión Internacional (sic) de Comercio se esta entrometiendo en competición de nuevo permitiendo a un gigante de los Estados Unidos Ciso en este caso, a potencialmente bloquear rivales (no importaciones del extranjero) usando patentes de software.



  21. Links 9/2/2016: Linux in Robotics, Hyperledger Project

    Links for the day



  22. Besieged Benoît Battistelli Mimics 'Damage Control' Tactics of FIFA or Blatter as More Judges Start Getting Involved in EPO Scandals

    Rumours and a new rant from Battistelli reinforce suspicions that actions are being organised behind the scenes, possibly as part of an upcoming, high-level campaign to unseat/dethrone Battistelli, who has become a reputational disaster to the European Patent Office (EPO), much like Sepp Blatter at FIFA



  23. Several Political Parties Directly Challenge the European Patent Office for Ignoring the Law, Not Obeying Court Orders

    Politicians make it crystal clear that the EPO, despite its unique status, cannot just raise its nose at the rulings of courts of law, definitely not in Dutch territory where the EPO operates



  24. Even the Legal Community is Upset at Benoît Battistelli for the Damage He Did to the EPO

    A recent article from lawyers' media (in German) speaks of the great damage (or mess) left by its current president, who has become somewhat of a laughing stock and growingly synonymous with farcical trials even in the circles of stakeholders, not just his own staff



  25. EPO Union (SUEPO) Getting Busted: “More and More People are Joining the Union, but Fewer and Fewer People Dare to Take on Leading Positions There.”

    The union-busting actions taken by EPO management in collaboration with Control Risks (for weak accusations against staff representatives) and FTI Consulting (for 'damage control') as described in a recent article, in the words of SUEPO lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld



  26. Microsoft's Copyrights- and Patents-Based Attacks on GNU/Linux Carry on

    The SCO case is still going on and Microsoft has just signed a patent deal with GoPro over its FOSS-based software, relating to “certain file storage and other system technologies”



  27. The EPO's Benoît Battistelli is the Dictator Who Can No Longer Dictate Like He Used to

    The European Patent Office's mechanism of oversight is starting to work just a little because, based on a new report from Juve, Battistelli is now reluctant to make proposals that would prove unpopular among delegates



  28. La Más Detallada Explicación (hasta ahora) de ¿Qué esta mal con la OEP?

    La insistencia de la OEP que permanece arriba de la ley no sólo est bajo fuego en los medios pero también esta siendo desafiada basado en personas familiares con la aplicabilidad de la ley a organizaciones internacionales.



  29. Links 8/2/2016: Vista 10 Nags Help GNU/Linux, Nautilus Updated

    Links for the day



  30. The European Patent Office “is Acting as Though the Law Does Not Apply to It.”

    An article from Nieuwsuur which provides the words of Liesbeth Zegveld (for SUEPO) and Guillaume Minnoye (for the European Patent Office), reaffirming the EPO's bizarre notion that it is above the law, even in the face of human rights violations and a court ruling against the EPO


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