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IRC Proceedings: November 2nd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

¿Por qué Microsoft Pretende Hablar por las Pequeñas Empresas en Europa?

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bull fight

Resumen: Microsoft se entromete en otro panel de PYMES (Pequeñas Y Medianas Empresas) – en Europa, cuyo objetivo es promover las prácticas hostiles contra las pequeñas y medianas empresas a las que dice “representar”,-incluyendo los monopolios de patentes.

LAST night we wrote about how Microsoft pretends to speak for SMBs in order to derail public policies.

A reader of ours responded to it by writing:

What MS pretends to speak for SMB’s in Europe ? Can be summarized on this:

MS to the SMB’s “let me screw you up! It won’t hurt, on the contrary it’s good for you”

Microsoft dice a las PYMES: “dejenme meterles la yuca no les va a doler, al contrario es bueno para ustedes.”

Here is an expanded Spanish translation provided to us by this reader:

Microsoft tiene un grupo de presión que pretende ser un representante de las pequeñas empresas en la Union Europea. Microsoft no siempre se esconden detrás de grupos de presión cuando lo hace. Ahora que Microsoft ataca duramente Linux con las patentes de software en el extranjero (especialmente en el este de Asia) ASUS, ACER, HTC. El convicto monopolista esta trabajando para ampliar las patentes de software a más continentes como Europa. Sabiendo que las patentes de
software son buenos para los monopolistas como SAP, Microsoft, Siemens, etc. Microsoft necesita para secuestrar sólo la voz de la gran mayoría de las empresas que sufren por las patentes de software (ver firmas en cualquier petición de las patentes de software en Europa). Apenas hay una mejor manera de ello que para garantizar que su propio pueblo están en el panel con una triste historia título (“Las empresas innovadoras – Ir a por todas?”) y se ocupa de “Cómo
cerrar la brecha de financiación para las PYME “.

Richard L. Hudson (Managing Editor, The Wall Street Journal Europe) está invitando a mucha gente esta semana a una mesa redonda reunión celebrada en Bruselas (en el centro de los grupos de presión). Se llevará a cabo en noviembre 17 y los temas incluyen: “¿Por qué es tan difícil de recaudar fondos para la innovación de empresas jóvenes en Europa?”

¿Empresas jóvenes?, ¿eh? ¿Microsoft? Bueno, uno de sus portavoces es Andrew Herbert, Director General del Microsoft Research Cambridge, y Microsoft Distinguido Ingeniero. Hablando en serio, ¿qué Microsoft tiene que hacer con las pequeñas y medianas empresas PYMES? Microsoft ha estado obliterando a las pequeñas empresas durante décadas, mientras que grupos lobbyists presiónan por leyes que inhiben las operaciones de estas empresas.

“Las cartas sobre la mesa”, escribe Hudson incluyen:

“La instauración de un nuevo programa de préstamos y subvenciones a pequeñas empresas innovativas, en estados miembrosy a nivel de Union Europea.”

“Creación de nueva financiación en el Fondo Europeo de Inversiones para estimular más las pequeñas y medianas empresas PYME.”

“Nuevos incentivos fiscales para las PYME innovadoras y sus inversores.”

“Una etiqueta de ‘innovadora compañía’ para ayudar a las PYME nuevas atraer más financiamiento privado.”

“Esta reunión será un debate abierto sobre cómo la política de la Union Europea comunitaria en este ámbito va a evolucionar. Un informe especial ScienceBusiness va resumir y avanzar en la ideas.

Si es la intención de tener un efecto sobre “cómo la política de la Union Europea en este campo va a evolucionar”, entonces ayuda a mostrar cómo grupos de presión continuan marcando la agenda y como Microsoft es parte de ella, empujando la “innovación” (en referencia a las patentes) propaganda “en nombre” de las pequeñas empresas.

Es ridiculo proponer que Microsoft tenga un interes en ayudar a las PYMES, es como decir los estamos ayudando mientras lo ahorcamos. Microsoft dice a las PYMES: “dejenme meterles la yuca no les va a doler, al contrario es bueno para ustedes.” Microsoft, y sus grupos de presion como la Asociacion de Tecnologia “Competitiva”, la BSA y supuestos pro Software Libre individos como Florian Micro Muller son los que estan montando esta mentira. Las pequeñas y medianas empresas de Europa, Latino America y Africa deben estar alerta ante estos intentos de ayuda de parte del convicto monopolista.

Si Microsoft tuviera un genuino interes en las PYMES, entonces deberia deshacerce del los patentes de software que son los que mas perjudican a las pequeñas y medianas empresas. Como esto no va a pasar, las PYMES deben estar alerta y no dejarse “representar” por Microsoft y sus chacales y apoyar formatos libres y la no existencia de software patentes, en Europa y todo el mundo. Ciudadanos de Europa y el mundo, piensen en el future de sus hijos y nietos y no dejen pasar este vil engaño.

Translations of posts are always invited warm-heartedly.

Microsoft Staff: “I Think What We Are Really Seeing is a Company as Large as Microsoft in Chaos.”

Posted in Microsoft at 2:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stake a claim

Summary: As Silverlight gets thrown near the pile of dead Microsoft products, 10 more products are listed as candidates for axing and Microsoft employees grow ever more concerned

ALL companies are more feeble than they would have people believe. It’s essential for their continued business (instilling confidence) and probably an obligation to shareholders, too.

Based on the rapidly-growing number of dead Microsoft products, we are going to see many more and Silver Lie already has one foot out the door.

“The Next 10 Products On Microsoft’s Chopping Block” is a new article from Microsoft booster Matt Rosoff [1, 2, 3]. He thinks that the next 10 products worth axing are Live Meeting, Silverlight (On The Web), Zune, Surface, Mediaroom, Windows Mobile, Hohm, Atlas, Amalga, and Great Plains. This article was highlighted by Lxer, whose editor Scott added: “Another article confirming their ‘end of life’ cycle.”

Microsoft currently averages about 1 dead product every 2 weeks. That is an exceptionally high pace and it helps reduce some losses.

The rage continues over the observation that Silver Lie is being added to the basket of dead products [1, 2]. People in the forums are fuming and some write their rants such as “Top 5 Reasons Why Microsoft Completely Screwed up their web strategy with HTML 5″.

“Ahhh its too painful to see whats happening on the silverlight forum… its like watching snails on sodium,” wrote one of our readers who showed us the main discussion thread about it.

Mike Masnick (TechDirt), who cited us almost 3 months ago regarding the demise of Silver Lie (we showed it was dying when other refused to say so), gleefully posts this update where he says: “Back in August, we noted some online rumors that Microsoft was seriously cutting back on Silverlight, pushing internal folks to work on HTML5 instead. Our comments were filled with people saying that we were crazy and that Microsoft was betting more and more on Silverlight.”

Masnick was linking to us as the source and both sides — TechDirt and Techrights — got heckles for simply saying the truth. That’s what typically happens when one tells Microsoft bullies what they do not wish to hear. Another booster of the company characterises this whole thing a just “demotion” as Microsoft staff tries to calm people down. There is no gentle way to tell people that their Web sites which they built with XAML may sooner or later not be accessible because Silver Lie is a dead end (for the Web at least) and plugins will cease to come.

IDG argues that “Microsoft surrenders Silverlight to HTML5″, but it is more of a Microsoft talking point. Truthfully, Microsoft surrenders to Flash.

One of the people from Microsoft’s UX platform spoke about WPF earlier this year (it’s virtually if not practically dead) and he also spoke about Silver Lie, providing early clues about the internal problems. He said: “I am a little shocked at how fast my tweets spread across the interweb this week regarding my thoughts on HTML5, Silverlight and WPF. I’m not shocked by how fast people picked it up, or the fact that a well-respected journalist like Tim Anderson was able to take these tweets and built out quite a comprehensive story around it that actually fitted to the context of my tweets – I love Tim’s work, as he is one of the few journalist online that actually has integrity.

“What shocked me is how arrogant Microsoft staff was to the reaction or the sense of false belief that this was all some secret that everyone outside of Microsoft wasn’t privy to? Again, take a few tweets piece them together and a journalist was able to weave these threads into a pretty informed article or two around it all. I know Mary Jo from ZDNet has similar notes and so on.”

It is hard to find such people who put their job at risk and doubt Microsoft’s future by writing: “I’m not a disgruntled employee, I’m just a confused and frustrated customer who has high hopes for the company’s future.”

A recent update expanding on the above says:

Tribes are something we humans seem to never quite shake off and will often seek out mini tribe clusters in everything we do. If you’re into cars, you will typically find a club or social arena where others like you dwell, same with chess, fishing, running, riding bikes etc. pick your hobby and chances are there are others like you surrounding you.

The latest and third part of this series is where all hell breaks loose:

The story isn’t whether Silverlight is or isn’t dead. I don’t think Microsoft could even kill off Silverlight to make way for HTML5 just yet (HTML5 is simply still a science project in the market). I think what we are really seeing is a company as large as Microsoft in chaos.

You’ve got a President doing PR 101 mistakes, You’ve got a marketing team that double down on a single product instead of their entire UX Platform portfolio, you’ve got the Internet Explorer team writing their own messaging that confuses the masses against existing messaging. You’ve got an IE9 demo at PDC that smells, tastes and looks like a previous one in MIX07 only without the word Silverlight in it? You’ve got Silverlight not making an appearance at PDC which isn’t a bad thing given MIX is really the party for Silverlight, but given market conditions – YOU SHOW UP.


Bottom line is this, the entire Server & Tools business within Microsoft is in dire need of marketing reform. The strategy coming out of Redmond is chaotic at best, the design and develop discussion has obviously changed within the belly of the beast. The problem is, they’ve kind of forgotten to inform the masses of this and we’re only just starting to see glimpses of the inner truth now – and its frightening the kids especially when its Halloween time!

He blames just marketing maybe because he works on the technical side of things. He also takes a shot at Mary Jo Foley’s poor reporting. As one of our readers (FurnaceBoy) put it “the industry rags just copy down the Microsoft press releases word4word”

“Mary Jo does not [do real journalism] and that’s why she gets interviews at Microsoft,” wrote that person from Microsoft. FurnaceBoy is the person who noticed this and added (in IRC)

FurnaceBoy ‘tricked BobMu into saying things he didn’t want to’ == real journalism Nov 01 19:43
FurnaceBoy otherwise she’s a STENOGRAPHER. Nov 01 19:43
FurnaceBoy see: White House Press Corps Nov 01 19:43
FurnaceBoy so there it is. Nov 01 19:43
FurnaceBoy admitted in black and white Nov 01 19:43
FurnaceBoy she gets to interview execs because she just writes down what they say. Nov 01 19:43
FurnaceBoy and does not challenge them. Nov 01 19:44
FurnaceBoy LOL, and also……………… Nov 01 19:45
FurnaceBoy they complain that the IE team has caused ‘the most trouble..is the main reason the Consent Decree exists’ Nov 01 19:45
FurnaceBoy under a BIG FAT HEADING that says Nov 01 19:45
FurnaceBoy “I for one reject our new HTML5 overlords” Nov 01 19:46
FurnaceBoy == “I for one REJECT ALL STANDARDS” Nov 01 19:46
FurnaceBoy And then they have the temerity to wonder why they get into hot legal water. Nov 01 19:46
FurnaceBoy what a marooon Nov 01 19:46

Here is how Microsoft plays the likes of Mary Jo.

Microsoft Hides Billions in Losses in Areas

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Office Suites, Windows at 1:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I was out with a couple of Silicon Valley software guys in New York the other night and got their view of Microsoft’s finances. Microsoft makes 60 percent of its profits on Windows, 60 percent on Office, and minus 20 percent on everything else, they said. “

Technology & Finance

Summary: “Nineteen quarters in a row Microsoft’s Online Division has lost money,” says AOL and it is not the only division suffering from this type of performance; another older article says that “[i]n the last half decade, Microsoft has swept over $25 billion of these “Other” losses under the rug”

On the Internet, in the period of just 1 year, Microsoft suffered $2 billion in losses. And that’s just one area among several where Microsoft is cashflow negative. How come almost nobody covers it? AOL is one of the exceptions here. It writes:

the division lost $560 million for Microsoft. That’s better than the previous quarter when it lost a staggering $696 million, but it’s much worse than a year ago, when it lost $477 million. In the past year, Microsoft has lost well over $2 billion from the division.

Let me repeat that: 1 year, a $2 billion loss.

Obviously, any startup that did that would have long since gone under — with that kind of burn rate, they probably would have gotten the plug pulled a few weeks into existence no matter how well-funded they were. But Microsoft keeps pumping money into the division. And they have to. Because even they realize it’s the future.

Of all the money Microsoft makes, the vast majority comes from two divisions: Windows & Windows Live Division (Windows) and Microsoft Business Division (Office). They make a good amount of money from the
Server & Tools division too, but it’s less than half of those other two. And both of those two are under direct assault.

The web is making Windows (and every operating system) less vital, while at the same time coming up with free and/or cheap tools to replace the relatively expensive Office. And new devices like smartphones and tablets have created an ecosystem where Windows is essentially a non-player (though we’ll see what happened with the just-released Windows Phone 7). And Office is basically non-existent in these spaces.


Five years ago, Microsoft’s Online Division was actually making money. Granted, it wasn’t a lot. But they were in the black. But for the past 19 quarters in a row now, Microsoft has lost money in this division. And as this chart put together last quarter by SAI shows, the losses have actually gotten worse over time. It’s a bloodbath being covered up by the profits from other divisions.

Nessuno remarks on this article by writing: “A great picture!

“I suppose they’re supposed to be burning cash.

“There’s an older article on Microsoft’s Office profits. I’ll try to dig it up.

Eventually he did and here it is. The author says that “[i]n the last half decade, Microsoft has swept over $25 billion of these “Other” losses under the rug” and to give some fragments from this long article (3 years old):

These three enormously profitable businesses allowed the company to painlessly absorb nearly $8 billion in losses–in just one year–related to its spectacular failures in WinCE, Windows Media, Windows Mobile, the Xbox 360 and Zune, its online businesses, and that “Other” black hole of what the company calls “corporate level activity.”

The “Other” losses Microsoft documents every year includes many individual fines and lawsuit settlements in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars related to its criminal activities around the
world. In the last half decade, Microsoft has swept over $25 billion of these “Other” losses under the rug, in addition to the many billions sprayed at failed efforts to establish monopolies in the
online, mobile, and consumer electronics arenas. [...]

Why do they spew such venom about the iPhone, Linux, and the Mac? Because Microsoft’s obscene profits from the sales of its outdated, overpriced, and consumer hostile products help to directly support the
wags’ chatterbox industry.

Spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt by spewing ignorance and false information are efforts to keep the world stuck in the tech rut of the 90s, where no critical thinking was required. Lazy pundits like no
possibility of being wrong, so working to keep the technology world enslaved to Microsoft helps them appear to be insightful when they prophesy that Microsoft will eventually come out with a copycat version of whatever anyone else is doing. Sure enough, it happens. [...]

With zero competition in the desktop PC operating system and productivity application markets, it’s no wonder why Microsoft hasn’t bothered to crank out any innovation in new versions of its products over the last half decade. It simply doesn’t have to!

Microsoft makes tens of billions of dollars every year selling intellectual property licensees without any competitive pressure from a functional market economy.

It’s no mystery why the record labels and studios desperately wanted Microsoft to set them up with the same sort of “free money” pipeline policed by the extreme, unilateral, anti-consumer DRM of Windows

It says volumes that Microsoft’s only competitor on the PC desktop is a non-profit volunteer effort. The company is so rich it can proudly operate above the law, as it documents in its earnings reports. [...]

If Microsoft were to lose its monopoly position with Office to real competition, a third of the company’s revenues would be at serious risk, but almost half of its profits would be in danger.

Without the easy money from Office, Microsoft would have to compete on a level playing field, something that the company has no proven ability to do. In fact, in markets where Microsoft has to compete, it
always fails miserably. Outside of its three monopolies, Microsoft hemorrhages cash faster than nearly a half dozen Amtrak operations combined, or eight times faster than Apple did at its most beleaguered point in 1995 when it reported a loss of nearly a billion dollars….

Without the Office cash cow, Microsoft would be unable to dump unfathomable amounts of money into profitless exercises intended to hold back innovation and prevent competition in new markets to increasingly broaden its sphere of influence. It’s therefore no surprise that Microsoft is working hard–and playing dirty–in efforts to maintain its monopoly position in Office software, which is worth nearly as much to the company as its Windows business.

Recall how much corruption was involved in the OOXML saga. It’s all about trying to save the few things that still bring income while Microsoft brings debt.

“Ballmer is credited with maintaining up the revenue stream from Office and Windows, which he has done in part by corrupting standards bodies and threatening to sue users of open source.”
“A basic question here is,” Nessuno adds, “how could they be so incompetent? In the recent analysis of this question in the media it’s been pointed out by both Microsoft insiders and outsiders that they are in some ways their own worst competitors, for example, cloud computing threatens Office, mobile threatens desktops, etc. And stories have been told about how groups inside Microsoft who are trying to do something new get sabotaged by the Office or Windows group because it will threaten them.

“Ballmer is credited with maintaining up the revenue stream from Office and Windows, which he has done in part by corrupting standards bodies and threatening to sue users of open source. But he’s also allowed good ideas inside his company to get crushed.

“Other companies (Google, Apple) don’t suffer from this problem.

“There was a post here quite a few years ago about a guy at Microsoft who was working on IE7 (I believe). He talked about how his group was trying to make a standards-compliant browser, but was getting opposition from the management. Even in IE8 (and I think IE9) the support for standards is somewhat wishy-washy.

“There are probably also struggles inside Microsoft regarding open source (those who favor it, those who hate it).

“Microsoft still leads the pack in profits, mostly because of Office and Windows, but has lost it this year in market cap and revenue.”

Google Sues the Government for Serving Microsoft and Not the Industry, Should Sue Microsoft for Racketeering Too

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Microsoft at 1:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sacramento town hall

Summary: Microsoft’s illegal dealings with governments are increasingly challenged in the courtroom, but patent extortion too should drag Microsoft into court because it is probably a violation of the RICO Act

GOVERNMENT contracts are an area where taxpayers need to be served. Unlike a private unaccountable tyranny, a government is obliged to do what’s best for those who elected it. Over in Switzerland, the government is still being sued for strictly requiring Microsoft software rather than specifying a required functionality and then looking at companies that provide that. We wrote about the subject in chronological order as follows:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
  13. When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”
  14. Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal Swiss Contracts to Take People to Court Again

The United States is seeing a similar case now that “Google Sues U.S. Over Unfair Cloud Contract”:

Google wants to compete for the government contract but the Request for Quotations (RFQ) “specified that only the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS-Federal) could be proposed.”

Google claims that a “Limited Source Justification” directive issued by the agency’s director of the Office of Acquisition and Property Management on August 30, 2010, represents single-source procurement “that is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of direction, and otherwise contrary to law.”

This the second time in recent months that Google has allegedly run into this problem. The company made similar claims informally following the State of California’s decision to award a hosted e-mail contract to Microsoft last month.

California officials denied Google’s claims that the state’s process was unfair.

Google’s lawsuit against the federal government describes a courtship with DOI officials that began in June, 2009, during which, the company alleges, it received tips that Microsoft’s success in the bidding process was pre-ordained.

There’s more here and a lot of other news sites:

Google has set its sights on the business of the United States government, much to the dismay of the government. The company filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior on Friday over its request for proposals and quotes for a system to handle messaging needs. The request stated that the solutions had to use the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite, a requirement that Google is saying is “unduly restrictive of competition.”

Now that Microsoft is suing Android distributors and moreover extorts (which is probably illegal), Google should also sue Microsoft for racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. We previously suggested that Red Hat should do this, but Red Hat is already busy suing the Swiss government and it has not yet sued Microsoft based on the RICO Act. If nobody challenges Microsoft for it, the racketeering will carry on and expand to more victims.

Speaking of Android, the only way Microsoft thinks it can stop the momentum of this rival is apparently software patents it cannot name and one columnist believes that Steve Ballmer has “gone bonkers”. To quote some bits:

I think it finally happened. We’d all been expecting it for a while now, but not quite so suddenly or emphatically: Steve Ballmer has gone completely insane. [When asked about Windows phone] Ballmer replied: “We’re early; there’s no question we’re early. [...] I think we kind of nailed it. When you see it, you just go ‘ooooh’.” [...]

I suppose if we’re talking geological time, then Ballmer’s right, Microsoft is on the cusp of the smartphone epoch, and the dinosaurs just went for a dip in the tar pits. But in a market where a three-month-old device needs to be checked for liver spots and signs of dementia, spotting the competition three-plus years and then coming up with something that almost meets the smartphone standards set in 2007
is not exactly being early. It’s certainly not “nailing” it — unless we’re talking about a coffin. [...]

In all, it seems like a fine but flawed phone. Fine but flawed isn’t going to cut it. Fine but flawed doesn’t win horse races. They don’t put the Miss America crown on the head of the girl with pretty eyes
and a nose like a rutabaga. You don’t come back from the dead (or Windows Mobile 6, which is worse than being dead) and topple Apple, Google, or BlackBerry with a phone that’s fine but flawed. You have to
do better than that. [...]

But I’m thinking he’s starting to lose it. I’m serious.

Think about it this way. You just lost the guy who was supposed to drag your company out of the last century and into the new one. He was preceded out the door by a half-dozen of your top lieutenants — the ones who weren’t already lured away by Google or Facebook. Financial analysts are asking you point blank if your company is, if not toast, then possibly a soggy bagel with mold around the edges. Despite
buckets of profits, journalists are writing your obituary. [...]

At least I have my Halloween costume all set. I’m going as Frankenballmer. He’s just the kind of guy you could see laughing maniacally while chasing people down the street with an axe. I can’t think of anything scarier.

In the next post we are going to write about Microsoft’s real results. It’s not as rosy as it would have the corporate press print.

With the Patent Office, State Serves Corporations, Not People

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 12:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Statue of liberty and NYC skyline

Summary: How the USPTO helps support monopolies rather than the interests of individual people

THE OIN has just grown a little bigger while Microsoft, which OIN strives to defend Linux from [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], is attacking through the court system and more Web sites are complaining about it:

Synchronising email between different devices seems like a great idea, but don’t think of synching it between the web and a mobile device. Why not? Because, thanks to software patents, Microsoft owns that idea.

Apple too is attacking Linux and OIN has hardly said anything on this matter. Here is the updated lawsuits chart which includes Apple’s new lawsuit:

…we’ve updated to put Apple’s (AAPL) countersuit against Motorola (MOT) late Friday into context.

What enables those lawsuits is software patents and in particular the USPTO, which was taken over by interests of lawyers and monopolists that employ them. Corporations have no rights, people do. But in a distorted system where lobbyists set the rules (see the previous post), it is all upside down sometimes. The USPTO, for example, is being operated like a business whose goal is to sell (grant) as many patents as possible rather than function as a filter like it’s supposed to and Groklaw links to an “Independent Inventors Conference” from the USPTO, which only helps show this blatant fascination with monopolies, perfumed to some degree with words like “independent” or “inventors” rather than “monopoly” and “barriers”.

It is not just the USPTO which gets it wrong. NASA turns out to be pursuing patents rather than better technology (not the same thing) and it is auctioning software patents right now. A lot of the press treats this as interesting or somewhat banal, but a much better headline says that “NASA Auctions off Federally Funded Patents”, as we pointed out days ago. What is NASA thinking?

In a patent trolls haven some days ago we found out that even the Supreme Court does a poor job by using entertainment/fantasy as a source:

Then, if you jump down to Footnote 21, you get:

See STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (Paramount Pictures 1982). The film references several works of classic literature, none more prominently than A Tale of Two Cities. Spock gives Admiral Kirk an antique copy as a birthday present, and the film itself is bookended with the book’s opening and closing passages. Most memorable, of course, is Spock’s famous line from his moment of sacrifice: “Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . .” to which Kirk replies, “the needs of the few.”

These laws may be written by film enthusiasts and amateurs, who are at least honest enough to acknowledge that mythical extraterrestrial have a clue about those who the system is supposed to serve.

Over in India, software patents has been a serious issue for years and The Hindu has this new article about business method patents (which are somewhat related to software patents). It says:

Computer programs or software is stated explicitly as non-patentable subject matter within the Indian patent office, unless the invention is implemented along with appropriate hardware. In most cases, implementations of software are not independent of the hardware that they run on (I have not seen a program run in vacuum thus far, vacuum tubes are different) and one way of interpreting the law in this case (which is why India has granted several software patents, yet, this subject remains wrapped in many urban myths) is that anything except a pure API is patentable. That patents are a gross overarching right over what is essentially a copyright in the case of software is correct for purposes of argument but seldom hold during defence in any court of law. Thus, we have introduced two separate elements, business methods (which by themselves stand un-patentable) and the software that implements them (which when coupled with a machine, is patentable).

Microsoft et al. would love to legitimise software patents everywhere in the world. It matters a lot now that racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] gets used to prevent large companies from selling products with GNU and Linux.

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