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09.16.10

Microsoft’s Patent Lobby and Scott Cleland as Anti-Google Weapon

Posted in Apple, Deception, FUD, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Red Hat at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microwave antenna

Summary: Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) exposed for more Microsoft lobbying this week; Scott Cleland’s latest attacks on Google neglect to mention his financial relationship with Microsoft

LARGE AND UNUSUALLY ABUSIVE companies love hiding behind front groups that pretend to represent the very opposite side and receive millions of dollars to do this job as fake “activists” (actually reverse “lobbyists” who should just be labeled criminals and laws be passed to jail them). At PR Watch we have a new example today:

PR Watch has another new example where companies rename to avoid/escape a connotation:

  • A New Name for High Fructose Corn Syrup?

    Philip Morris tried to escape its tarnished reputation by re-branding itself “Altria” and the private military contractor Blackwater tried to ditch its bad image by re-naming itself “Xe.”

The interesting thing is, lobbyists too occasionally change names. A case of nymshifting was once exposed when ATL (infamous for letters from dead people in support of Microsoft) more or less became Association for Competitive Technology (ACT fakes representation of small businesses), which is just another Microsoft front group which massively attended and took over the discussion at IGF [1, 2]. The FFII was viewing this event and it gave the following quotes from ACT’s Zuck. The first is “incenting [sic] the people who are going to create the new technologies.” The second is “Open standards are very important, but they are not a panacea.” This is lobbying for software patents.

The head of the FSFE wrote (via Jan Wildeboer): “Poked Microsoft’s in #IGF Open Standards session enough to get clear statement from him: “Open Standards = RAND & FRAND, not RF” [RAND & FRAND are incompatible with Free software]”

Lo and behold — US senators call for action on a patent bill. Watch the propaganda in favour of “[s]trengthening our patent system”:

A bipartisan group of 25 senators urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Wednesday to bring legislation that would overhaul the U.S. patent system to the Senate floor for a vote.

With the legislation stalled for months, the senators led by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, R-Vt., and ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., called on Reid in a letter to bring a compromise version of a patent overhaul bill the Judiciary Committee passed last year to the floor “as soon as possible.” They note that the compromise measure, which would be offered as a manager’s amendment on the Senate floor, enjoys broad support and would help spur economic activity.

“Strengthening our patent system and spurring innovation and investment is an action we should take now to stimulate our economy,” the senators wrote. They added that, “Patent reform is bipartisan legislation, supported by the [Obama] administration, that will improve the economy and create jobs without adding to the deficit.”

As we showed the other night, the Obama administration is in favour of the patent lobby. No surprise there.

ThistleWeb addresses an important FUD pattern about the role of nationality. There are US-based companies opposing software patents (e.g. Red Hat) but especially foreign ones. Here is an interesting perspective:

I’ve noticed a talking point among some Microsoft astroturfers, who seek to use it as an argument for staying with Microsoft and not using Linux / FOSS software; you should reject “foreign” when “good US companies” like Microsoft are at the forefront of everything. In other words, “vote patriot”. At first I thought this was a bed idea for Linux / FOSS but now I’m not so sure.

If we see this as an example to follow, then those US companies will find themselves minority players in no time. The US after all is only around 6% of the global population. Right now companies like Microsoft and other US companies strangle smaller companies from other countries. If others “vote patriotism”, it means they reject US companies in favour of their own. In cases where there are no national corps that fit the bill, there is the global FOSS option.

* Microsoft = US
* Apple = US
* Novell = US
* RedHat = US

[...]

I’m not sure the pro-Microsoft astroturfers playing the patriotism card was all that well thought out. If applied globally it would ruin Microsoft. Imagine every government outside of the US dumping Windows and Office. Imagine every non-US company, school, hospital etc following suit. As I pointed out earlier, you could be a good US “patriot” and switch to RedHat Linux, which still cuts Microsoft out of the loop.

Among the four companies above, all have software patents, but only Red Hat seems to be working to get rid of them. Apple is no better than Microsoft when it comes to software patents, but its lobby is a lot smaller, just like the company itself. Some of its products become cultural items, so the following news, which has nothing at all to do with hypePhone in particular, seems to associate it with lawmaking or rulings:

iPhone using juror causes manslaughter conviction to be overturned

[...]

Defendant was accused of killing his new neighbor and was indicted for murder. The jury convicted him of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Contrary to the headline, it has nothing to do with Apple’s gadgets. It’s to do with access to texts. It’s about being better informed.

“Cleland is not a mere campaigner, it’s just another lobbyist”As one final item, Wayne brought to our attention the curious case of Scott Cleland, whom we wrote about before. He is linked to Microsoft and allegedly also to Bell, so his output was mentioned here before in relation to Microsoft's net neutrality policy. His writings about Microsoft are biased and telecoms seem to be his top priority. He is routinely accused of being a “Telco Shill” (on the payroll), yet IDG writers offer him a platform. Having seen hundreds of articles from him, it is safe to allege that IDG’s Tony Bradley takes Microsoft’s side a lot of the time (yet we don’t name him much).

Now that a fake ‘consumer’ group (AstroTurfer) uses regulators to harass Google [1, 2, 3, 4], Scott Cleland joins the party and claims that Google is destroying the economy (reducing employment). Our insightful reader Wayne shared with us this good rebuttal which starts thusly:

Ron Rezendes was the first of a whole bunch of you to send over PC World’s coverage of Scott Cleland’s latest attack on Google, though, bizarrely, Tony Bradley at PC World, fails to (a) fill in the details on Cleland’s history and current job or (b) challenge any of the many false assumptions Cleland makes. He does question the overall conclusions, noting (accurately) that the tech world is littered with “monopolies” that were killed off by upstarts, but there’s a lot more worth questioning in Cleland’s piece. Cleland, as we’ve discussed in the past, is known throughout DC policy circles as the official attack dog of every anti-Google company out there. He’s literally paid to make up attacks on Google, no matter how ridiculous.

The thing about Scott Cleland is, by merely googling his name (maybe that too is why he hates Google) one can find a lot. The National Journal reported that Cleland “signed on as a hired gun for Microsoft earlier this year.” Follow the money. Cleland is not a mere campaigner, it’s just another lobbyist.

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