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

10.10.10

Microsoft Pays Mobbyists Who Are Promoting Software Patents Tax in GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Charles Luciano

Summary: The mobile arena is being distorted by Microsoft and some allies who use software patent to increase the cost of phones (including Linux phones); they are using patents on software also to scare manufacturers, giving them the impression that Linux is not free

BACK we go to talking about the mobbyists, who sometimes express love for Mono and almost always seem to promote software patents, even though they may hide their motives*. For those who are still in doubt, Microsoft suffers very badly (debt is growing) and in order to survive for a while longer it is attacking its main competitor, Linux, using software patents. Many companies that use Linux sign a patent deal with Microsoft but only a small fraction of those companies would name Linux as part of the deals. On two occasions so far Microsoft announced a patent lawsuit and injunction against companies for their use of Linux. There is more to it if one considers companies whose attacks on Linux Microsoft is funding indirectly.

As Groklaw keeps filling some gaps in the SCO case filings, a look back from Updegrove’s point of view treats SCO as the copyright challenge that never materialised because no infringement could be proven and besides, Novell is said to own UNIX.

Perversely, SCO’s suicidal mission against Linux therefore ultimately served to strengthen the role of the Linux operating system kernel it tried to encumber rather than the opposite. Today, the reality of FOSS/OSS is far stronger than it likely would have been had not SCO destroyed itself in its vain quest.

While it would go too far to thank SCO for what it has done for FOSS/OSS, the saga that hopefully ended yesterday does serve to prove the wisdom once again of that old adage, “Something good comes of all.”

SCO has been successful in the sense that it bought Microsoft a lot more time, only to eventually show that the claims were all in vain. Microsoft has since then moved to a new target and it is amassing software patents right now. According to Geek.com, “Microsoft [is] granted patent covering to-do lists” (yes, it is shameful for the USPTO too).

The to-do list. It’s a common enough task that no one would ever attempt to patent it as a general process of making a list. But Microsoft has decided that a to-do list specific to programming is worthy of protection and filed a patent covering it.

Sometimes Microsoft relies on companies which it funds or companies which comprise Microsoft staff to shove software patents down Linux’ throat. Likewise is one examples that we gave and now it goes after Sun/Oracle customers (who will be better off using something similar without all the Microsoft patent tax).

“Either way, ACCESS is now paid by Microsoft, which is interesting because it employed a mobbyist who was disrupting GNOME, GNU, and at times defending/promoting software patents (his employer’s agenda).”Yesterday and the day before that we continued to show that Microsoft pays Acacia and ACCESS. Due to an article which claims ACCESS to be an Acacia subsidiary (to quote, ‘It said the software giant paid licence fees for “a portfolio of patents related to smartphones owned by [Acacia subsidiary] ACCESS Co, Ltd”.’), we had to look deeper into it all. We could not verify this, so maybe it’s a mistake by the author and we have informed her. Either way, ACCESS is now paid by Microsoft, which is interesting because it employed a mobbyist who was disrupting GNOME, GNU, and at times defending/promoting software patents (his employer’s agenda). According to this press release, there was Microsoft money on his table (at least indirectly because it’s an employer, who in turn passes a paycheque), which is interesting. “M$ Funds a Patent-Troll” says this headline from Pogson, who claims: “This time the patent-troll will be going after Androidy smartphone makers so “the enemy of my enemies is my friend”.” From The Register:

So perhaps, somewhat uncharacteristically, Microsoft was simply heading off any such headache by signing a licence deal with Acacia.

Interestingly Acacia, as previously noted by Groklaw, does have a history of hiring Microsoft veterans to work at its offices. It appointed ex-Microsoft Intellectual Property general manager Brad Brunell in 2007.

In July of that year the firm also took on Jonathan Taub, who Acacia promoted to the job of senior vice president just this month.

As Acacia points out in his corporate bio: “Prior to joining Acacia, he was Director of Strategic Alliances for Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded Devices division and Business Development Manager for Microsoft’s Security Business Unit.”

So it’s hardly surprising to see the two companies play nice over licensing. It also means Microsoft, for once, won’t be under the patent sueball spotlight.

One piece of news that we mentioned some days ago is Ballmer’s push for a patent law “reform”, which he spoke about in LSE (England). Here is some dedicated coverage of the issue he raised in Europe:

Microsoft chief executive: patent laws need reforming

[...]

“Is the patent system perfect, or the world in which we live? Answer is of course not, the patent law was crafted in a day and age that preceded modern IT systems,” Ballmer said, pointing out that two of the biggest industries which use patent law – the pharmaceutical and software industries – did not exist when original patent law was written in the late 19th century.

“We think that the law ought to be reformed to reflect modern times. But if you ask me in general ‘are we better off with today’s patent system, or no system?’ We’re better off with today’s patent system,” Ballmer said.

Ballmer is using BSA propaganda to justify his agenda (BSA is funded by Microsoft and it also lobbies for RAND/software patents in Europe). Words like “piracy” are being used.

It’s clear that Microsoft cannot compete anymore, at least not in the mobile arena. Verizon rejects Microsoft’s products after being bruised as a disgruntled partner (“KIN”):

Asked by Cnet, here, whether Verizon will offer devices on its 4G LTE network, coming later this year, McAdam said: “I can’t really say which phones we’ll offer yet. We like our relationship with Microsoft. But clearly in the US there are three major mobile operating systems: RIM, Google, and Apple.”

Microsoft must already know deep inside that it cannot beat UNIX/Linux in mobile devices, so it goes raiding those who are fragile. “Why Is Microsoft Going After Motorola And Android?” That’s the question OStatic answers and analyses as follows:

Indeed, it is interesting that Microsoft went after Motorola and not Google. (Motorola’s Droid phones have a custom MotoBlur interface that sits on top of Android.) All in all, this move from Microsoft seems to be a Hail Mary from a company that has been marginalized in the smartphone business and is now going after very fundamental types of feature sets found in other manufacturers’ smartphones.

An important point which seems to be missing from the above analysis is that Motorola has had more financial issues, just like TomTom. Google would fight back and not run away to Windows, as pointed out in IRC by some regulars. So Microsoft goes after weak companies. What Microsoft has essentially been doing is act like a patent troll which assumes the attacked entity will settle without challenge and in other cases Microsoft funds or passes patents to patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], whose goal may be to elevate the cost of Linux-based operating systems. Dana Blankenhorn has an interesting take on it, too.

The FSF says that Vista Phone 7 [sic] is “the best choice for Patent Trolls” and we translated its article to Spanish because tomorrow is Microsoft’s big day.

On Monday October 11, 2010 Microsoft will release Windows Phone 7 software, backed by the largest phone marketing campaign in history: reports estimate costs at between 400 and 500 million dollars.

Why does Microsoft need to spend so much money promoting their latest proprietary software? Clearly they face strong competition, but marketing, especially for high end mobile phones, is about creating an image in the consumer’s mind; an image that they want to identify with.

And that’s the problem that Microsoft has. Who wants to be identified with Microsoft? Who wants to be identified with a corporation run by Steve Ballmer?

Windows 7 Phone Series: Another proprietary device designed to trash your rights.

Microsoft has a long history of unethical behavior in the software industry, abusing competitors and its customers alike. Steve Ballmer has long been recognized as the leading force behind this behavior at Microsoft. Yet amazingly he was promoted to lead the corporation when Bill Gates stepped down.

Worry not for a moment about Vista Phone 7. Even analysts who are paid by Microsoft admit this will fail and all that Microsoft can do right now is elevate the cost of its rivals and ensure that their profits become Microsoft’ own profits. It’s not an honourable way to compete. It is more like racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

“The first wave will attack the perception that Linux is free.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft

____
* In some cases they pretend to represent the very opposite side while they derail public policies, as in ACT’s case. Jeremy Allison has just described the latest exposé as “Great analysis of (wikileaked) plan to curb the free software in the EU. [...] Jonathan Zuck really is the mouth of Sauron.”

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. European Unitary Patent and Court System in Trouble

    New resistance to the Unitary Patent amid allegations of misconduct in the European patent authorities



  2. Text of Ruling/Decision Against Željko Topić (Regarding Audi as a Bribe)

    The legal loss of Željko Topić laid bear for the public to see even outside Croatia



  3. Media Coverage of Demonstration Against Jesper Kongstad of the Administrative Council (EPO)

    Last week's EPO demonstration has been covered by Danish media, raising awareness of the "banana republic" state of the EPO



  4. Links 29/1/2015: Android Shipments in 2014 Exceed 1,000,000,000, LibreOffice 4.4 is Out

    Links for the day



  5. Corporate Media, Led Astray by Patent Lawyers, Continues to Distort the Reality of Software Patents Post-Alice

    The press of the rich and the powerful continues its attempt to preserve software patents, despite the US Supreme Court's decision to abolish a lot of them on the basis of abstraction



  6. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Employees-Strong Legion Engulfs Danish Consulate to Protest Jesper Kongstad's (of Administrative Council) Protection of Benoît Battistelli

    A large protest waged by staff of the EPO targets one of the key facilitators of Battistelli's terrifying tyranny



  7. Links 28/1/2015: Ubuntu Touch Windowed Mode, NVIDIA Linux Legacy Drivers Updated

    Links for the day



  8. Breaking: EPO Vice-President Željko Topić Loses Defamation Case in Croatia

    The EPO's notorious Vice-President, whose appointment at the EPO is still raising some alarming questions, has just lost his case in Croatia (one of many cases), motivating us to accelerate coverage about the persona known as Željko Topić



  9. Qualys Starts Self-Promotional FUD Campaign, Naming a Bug That Was Already Fixed 2 Years Ago and Distros Have Covered With Patches

    Responding to the media blitz which paints GNU/Linux as insecure despite the fact that bugs were evidently found and fixed



  10. The Openwashing of Microsoft is Now Threatening to Eliminate the Identity of Free Software

    More openwashing of Microsoft, including in the corporate media, shows just to what great an extent and how quickly the old "Microsoft Open Source" Big Lie grows feet



  11. Links 27/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Dell Precision With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  12. Microsoft's Media Attack on Free Software and GNU/Linux

    Brainwash war is still being waged by Microsoft and its friends to convince people that Windows is universally dominant and that Microsoft is now part of the Free software world



  13. Microsoft Accounting Practices After Fire Again, After Previous Abuses and Book-Cooking

    After the infamous IRS brawl comes another confrontation between Microsoft and the SEC, which is unhappy with Microsoft for seemingly cooking the books again



  14. Links 26/1/2015: Debian 8.0 “Jessie” RC1, Linux Kernel 3.19 RC6

    Links for the day



  15. Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2015 – January 24th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  17. Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  18. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  19. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  20. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  21. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

    'Free' drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people



  24. Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft's Outlook Cracked

    Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up



  25. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations

    No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned



  26. New LCA Talk: Open Invention Network's Deb Nicholson on Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Deb Nicholson's LCA talk is now publicly accessible



  27. Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

    Links for the day



  28. Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

    Links for the day



  29. Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)

    Željko Topić's abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President



  30. Failure of the EPO Can Derail the Trojan Horse of Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Dazzled by his endless pursuit of infinite money and power, Battistelli pushes for expansion of patent scope (geographically too), but he won't have it without a challenge


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