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. EPO's Board 28 Notes Battistelli's “Three Current Investigations/Disciplinary Proceedings Involving SUEPO Members in The Hague."

    The attack on SUEPO (EPO staff representatives) at The Hague appears to have been silently expanded to a third person, showing an obvious increase in Battistelli's attacks on truth-tellers



  2. Links 28/9/2016: Alpine Linux 3.4.4, Endless OS 3.0

    Links for the day



  3. Cementing Autocracy: The European Patent Office Against Democracy, Against Media, and Against the Rule of Law

    The European Patent Office (EPO) actively undermines democracy in Europe, it undermines the freedom of the press (by paying it for puff pieces), and it undermines the rule of law by giving one single tyrant total power in Eponia and immunity from outside Eponia (even when he breaks his own rules)



  4. Links 28/9/2016: New Red Hat Offices, Fedora 25 'Frozen'

    Links for the day



  5. Team Battistelli Intensifies the Attack on the Boards of Appeal Again

    The lawless state of the EPO, where the rule of law is basically reducible to Battistelli's ego and insecurities, is again demonstrated with an escalation and perhaps another fake 'trial' in the making (after guilt repeatedly fails to be established)



  6. After the EPO Paid the Financial Times to Produce Propaganda the Newspaper Continues to Produce UPC Puff Pieces, Just Ahead of EU Council Meeting

    How the media, including the Financial Times, has been used (and even paid!) by the EPO in exchange for self-serving (to the EPO) messages and articles



  7. Beware the Patent Law Firms Insinuating That Software Patents Are Back Because of McRO

    By repeatedly claiming (and then generalising) that CAFC accepted a software patent the patent microcosm (meta-industry) hopes to convince us that we should continue to pursue software patents in the US, i.e. pay them a lot more money for something of little/no value



  8. The US Supreme Court Might Soon Tighten Patent Scope in the United States Even Further, the USPTO Produces Patent Maximalism Propaganda

    A struggle brewing between the patent 'industry' (profiting from irrational saturation) and the highest US court, as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO)



  9. Patent Trolling a Growing Problem in East Asia (Software Patents Also), Whereas in the US the Problem Goes Away Along With Software Patents

    A look at two contrasting stories, one in Asia where patent litigation and hype are on the rise (same in Europe due to the EPO) and another in the US where a lot of patents face growing uncertainty and a high invalidation rate



  10. The EPO's Continued Push for Software Patents, Marginalisation of Appeals (Reassessment), and Deviation From the EPC

    A roundup of new developments at the EPO, where things further exacerbate and patent quality continues its downward spiral



  11. The Battistelli Effect: “We Will be Gradually Forced to File Our Patent Applications Outside the EPO in the Interests of Our Clients”

    While the EPO dusts off old files and grants in haste without quality control (won't be sustainable for more than a couple more years) the applicants are moving away as trust in the EPO erodes rapidly and profoundly



  12. Links 27/9/2016: Lenovo Layoffs, OPNFV Third Software Release

    Links for the day



  13. The Moral Depravity of the European Patent Office Under Battistelli

    The European Patent Office (EPO) comes under heavy criticism from its very own employees, who also seem to recognise that lobbying for the UPC is a very bad idea which discredits the European Patent Organisation



  14. Links 26/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC8, SuperTux 0.5

    Links for the day



  15. What Insiders Are Saying About the Sad State of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Anonymous claims made by people who are intimately familiar with the European Patent Office (from the inside) shed light on how bad things have become



  16. The EPO Does Not Want Skilled (and 'Expensive') Staff, Layoffs a Growing Concern

    A somewhat pessimistic look (albeit increasingly realistic look) at the European Patent Office, where unions are under fire for raising legitimate concerns about the direction taken by the management since a largely French team was put in charge



  17. Patents Roundup: Accenture Software Patents, Patent Troll Against Apple, Willful Infringements, and Apple Against a Software Patent

    A quick look at various new articles of interest (about software patents) and what can be deduced from them, especially now that software patents are the primary barrier to Free/Libre Open Source software adoption



  18. Software Patents Propped Up by Patent Law Firms That Are Lying, Further Assisted by Rogue Elements Like David Kappos and Randall Rader (Revolving Doors)

    The sheer dishonesty of the patent microcosm (seeking to bring back software patents by misleading the public) and those who are helping this microcosm change the system from the inside, owing to intimate connections from their dubious days inside government



  19. Links 25/9/2016: Linux 4.7.5, 4.4.22; LXQt 0.11

    Links for the day



  20. Patent Quality and Patent Scope the Unspeakable Taboo at the EPO, as Both Are Guillotined by Benoît Battistelli for the Sake of Money

    The gradual destruction of the European Patent Office (EPO), which was once unanimously regarded as the world's best, by a neo-liberal autocrat from France, Benoît Battistelli



  21. Bristows LLP's Hatred/Disdain of UK/EU Democracy Demonstrated; Says “Not Only Will the Pressure for UK Ratification of the UPC Agreement Continue, But a Decision is Wanted Within Weeks.”

    Without even consulting the British public or the European public (both of whom would be severely harmed by the UPC), the flag bearers of the UPC continue to bamboozle and then pressure politicians, public servants and nontechnical representatives



  22. Released Late on a Friday, EPO Social 'Study' (Battistelli-Commissioned Propaganda) Attempts to Blame Staff for Everything

    The longstanding propaganda campaign (framing staff as happy or framing unhappy staff as a disgruntled minority) is out and the timing of the release is suspicious to say the least



  23. Links 23/9/2016: Latest Microsoft and Lenovo Spin (Now in ‘Damage Control’ Mode)

    Links for the day



  24. White Male-Dominated EPO Management Sinks to New Lows, Again

    Benoît Battistelli continues to make the EPO look like Europe's biggest laughing stock by attempting to tackle issues with corny photo ops rather than real change (like SUEPO recognition, diverse hiring, improved patent quality, and cessation of sheer abuses)



  25. Journalism 102: Do Not Become Like 'Managing IP' or IAM 'Magazine' (the Megaphones of the EPO’s Management)

    Another look at convergence between media and the EPO, which is spending virtually millions of Euros literally buying the media and ensuring that the EPO's abuses are scarcely covered (if ever mentioned at all)



  26. Journalism 101: Do Not Believe Anything That Benoît Battistelli and the EPO's Management Say (Also Don't Fall for the UPC Hype)

    A survey/review (or an overview) of recent articles about the EPO and why they're wrong (mostly because they parrot the official lies from Battistelli's department)



  27. Patent Law Firms, David Kappos, and IAM 'Magazine' Still Shelter Software Patents by Cherry-Picking and Lobbying

    Amid the gradual collapse of software patents in the United States there are disingenuous efforts to bring them back or maintain a perception that these patents are still potent



  28. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Going Places and Suing Microsoft Rivals, Microsoft Wants More 'Linux Patent Tax'

    Microsoft-connected patent trolls like Larry Horn's MobileMedia are still attacking Microsoft rivals and Microsoft wants more money from Korea, after it attacked Linux with software patents over there (notably Samsung and LG)



  29. Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

    Links for the day



  30. Links 22/9/2016: Red Hat's Latest Results, GNOME 3.22 Released

    Links for the day


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