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

11.04.10

Microsoft’s Last Years: A Troll and the Software Patents Mafia

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SCO at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“First They Ignore You, Then They Ridicule You, Then They Fight You.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Portrait of Gandhi

Summary: How Microsoft is fighting GNU/Linux in the last battle phase and how to avert this fight until Microsoft dries up

MICROSOFT NEVER WON much glory. Since its very early days, when Bill Gates (by his own admission) pulled code out of garbage cans to make what we now know as Microsoft Corporation, Micro-soft was known as a bully, an unethical thug, a backstabber, a ripoff artist, and an merciless abuser. Gary Clow, one of the early victims of Microsoft’s despicable business practices, said that “a lot of people make that analogy that competing with Bill Gates is like playing hardball. I’d say it’s more like a knife fight.”

Not much has changed since then. Less than a year ago Sun’s CEO told the world that Gates personally extorted him using software patents (while outwardly pretending to do charity, which is controversial for other reasons). Let’s face it; Microsoft’s culture never put emphasis on ethics. Disregard for the law (and government entryism) is arguably Microsoft’s ‘secret sauce’. For PR purposes they put out some “principles” or “pillars” or whatever, but when it comes to practice, Microsoft still perceives itself as a “chosen one” whose domination of desktop computing is a God-given right that it can maintain using whatever new law (or illegal deal) it can get. Its aggressive lobbying for software patents shows this, its rigging of ballots shows this (e.g. OOXML), and even its illegal government deals (which Google now sues over) show this. Microsoft is not just a company, it is a malicious movement that systematically attacks critics and competitors with the eternal objective of world domination in mind.

“Disregard for the law (and government entryism) is arguably Microsoft’s ‘secret sauce’.”For many years Microsoft simply ignored GNU/Linux, just not internally. That was in the 90s. In the previous decade Microsoft launched disinformation campaigns, famously the “Get the Facts” series and the SCO lawsuit it funded (which since 2003 allowed Microsoft to falsely and hypocritically claim Linux was a ripoff). A few years ago Microsoft started to popularise the belief that GNU/Linux was infringing Microsoft software patents (without ever naming any) and last year Microsoft started suing companies for shipping Linux. That’s the third stage of the attack on Linux, which comprises an actual “fight”, not just a snub or a slur. It is important to recognise this because since 2006 Techrights has been solely or at least primarily focused on the subject of software patents, which Apple and Oracle only recently started to use like Microsoft does (offensively, against Linux-based platforms). Everyone is suing everyone else (new chart) in lucrative and fast-growing market segments where GNU and Linux fit exceptionally well and cannot be beaten on price.

Microsoft has little or no dignity left. With increasing debt, Microsoft has little money left, as well (things do not add up). What Microsoft has left in terms of budget (losing projects get axed to decease the bleeding) it spends on patent lawyers who help the company amass more software patents. Perhaps Microsoft is thinking that it can become a licensing company (patent troll) rather than a software company. Here is this week’s news about Microsoft patenting the “record” button. Yes, it’s unbelievable:

You have to appreciate that Microsoft pays attention to what may be rather trivial products and slaps a patent on them. In this latest wave of approved patents – the U.S. Patent and Trademark office granted 35 Microsoft patents to Microsoft today – is the right to claim the ‘record’ button.

In case you have no idea what a record button really is, Microsoft tells us that “a record button [is a device] that facilitates audiovisual input into a computer system without requiring manual interaction (direct manipulation interaction) with software. Additionally, “the record button may be grouped with transport controls, a standalone button, or grouped with other controls. The record button may be actuated with different types of actuation techniques, each of which may correspond to a different audio and/or video operating mode, which may be user configurable. A record light may be provided to notify the user of the current recording mode via variable colors and/or flash patterns. The record button can work in conjunction with a camera button and with manual software switching of recording modes.”

Microsoft is not stockpiling such nonsense patents just to put them on the shelves for vanity. A week or so ago, the press in Taiwan reported that Microsoft used such patents for extortion, demanding that companies in Taiwan and elsewhere pay Microsoft for Android (based on Linux) and Chrome OS (based on Linux and GNU). It’s patent extortion and based on this new report, one has to wonder if Microsoft is also extorting Dell:

A Google-branded Chrome OS notebook will be launched by Inventec, with Acer and Hewlett-Packard following suit thereafter, according to a report.

The DigiTimes report puts the launch date of the Inventec notebook in November, with Acer and HP launching theirs a month later, in December.

Interestingly, the report did not cite Dell, which has said it would explore a Chrome OS device alongside Windows.

DigiTimes reported that Microsoft goes after companies which plan to preinstall Chrome OS. Microsoft demands payments for programs it wrote not a single line of code for. As “samlinux” put it some minutes ago in our IRC channels, “[M]icrosoft getting very aggressive with the oems too, ship our products or we will sue you. asus, acer, htc.. i wonder what things those chinese say behind microsofts back?”

Yes, tell that to Mono and Moonlight enthusiasts who appear not to comprehend what they are doing. They help create programs such as Pinta (from a Novell employee [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]), which are obviously a patent problem because Microsoft defined limitations in its "Community Promise" and Mono has not yet delivered an (strictly) ECMA-compliant version of Mono. Pinta 0.5 is out and it’s trying to compete with the likes of the GIMP. Susan reviewed this release and she was shrewd enough to inform the readers about the Mono dependency (many other writers neglect to do so):

Pinta exists for that group of casual users. It’s modeled after Paint.net, built with GTK#, and depends upon Mono. Pinta loses some user interest with that last ingredient, but for many it’s not an issue.

Now that Microsoft is suing, extorting and limiting GNU/Linux bundles using software patents, why would anyone want to promote Microsoft’s APIs that are clearly a patent problem? Just because Microsoft MVP de Icaza says it’s the right thing to do (he is still spewing Java FUD in Twitter this week) does not mean he is right. Look how wrong he was about Silverlight. He tries to help Microsoft.

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

6 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    November 4, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Gravatar

    Groklaw noted the defeat of an Acacia attack on Novel and Red Hat yesterday. This is significant because it was the first patent lawsuit filed against gnu/linux users and because Novel was a target. The suit was filed in 2007, right after Steve Balmer said such a thing would happen and BN collected other evidence that Acacia Research is a Microsoft proxy company. That Novel was targeted by a proxy proves that no peace of mind is acquired by cooperating with Microsoft. The best option is to fight the extortion.

    twitter Reply:

    I have updated my Microsoft patent extortion timeline with two Acacia Research suits.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The best option is to fight the extortion.

    Or to fight the root cause, namely software patents. There is brilliant momentum building behind elimination of some — if not most — patents. A few days ago we cited an article about gene patents. The New York Times said that the US government is now intervening and opposing those patents and even mighty Nature has just published “US government wants limits on gene patents”:

    In a surprising legal brief filed late last week, the US Department of Justice suggested that the government’s long-standing support of the controversial practice of patenting genes might be coming to an end.

    The brief, filed on Friday in a landmark gene-patent lawsuit, argues that simply identifying an important DNA sequence within a genome is not enough to justify a patent. Instead, such a discovery is akin to finding coal and removing it from the earth, or separating cotton fibres from cotton seeds, lawyers for the US government wrote.

    Let’s keep up the good fight against bad patent monopolies. Progress is being made.

    twitter Reply:

    PJ Follows the money in her news clips:

    One key to Acacia’s newfound success, which far surpassed Wall Street analysts’ expectations: licensing large corporate patent portfolios. …The biggest driver behind Acacia’s third quarter windfall was when it licensed that Access portfolio to Microsoft-a huge licensing deal that didn’t even require the filing of a lawsuit. (The sum is confidential, but an analyst with Craig Hallum Capital Group estimates that the deal involved Microsoft paying around $37 million.)

    [PJ: So first Microsoft funded SCO. Now it's funding Acacia. Acacia subsidiary IP Innovation sued Red Hat and Novell for patent infringement. It lost, but it cost the companies plenty to defend. Get the picture? Here are the complete trial transcripts, so you can see how utterly ridiculous the claims were. The jury ruled nothing was infringed and the patents asserted were not valid. And now we know the rest of the story.] – Joe Mullin, Law.com

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, I covered it about a week ago, coming to the same conclusion.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    And ACCESS patents were used.

What Else is New


  1. Kather Augenstein and Bristows Shift Attention to Germany in an Effort to Ram the Dying UPC Down Everyone's Throats

    Down the throat, hopes Team UPC, the Unitary Patent system will go, even though Britain cannot ratify, throwing the whole thing into grave uncertainty



  2. United for Patent Reform Defends USPTO Director Michelle Lee From Attacks by the Patent Microcosm

    Michelle Lee is finally (if not belatedly) shielded by a bunch of large technology companies; The deep-pocketed industry finally steps in line with our position, which is usually when things turn out the way we advocate for



  3. Team UPC and CIPA Are Lobbying, Publishing Puff Pieces, and Rewriting the Law for Unitary Patent (UPC) Behind Closed Doors

    A collection of the latest news and views on the UPC, which is being lied about by those who stand to benefit from it and is probably going nowhere because Brexit means that the UK stays out, in which case it must be reset and pertinent ratifications done all over again



  4. China's Suffering From Patent Maximalism Has Europe Forewarned

    The parasitic elements inside China -- those that just want lots of litigation (even if from patent trolls) -- are winning over, much to the detriment of the Chinese economy, and Team UPC threatens to do the same in Europe with help from Battistelli



  5. Links 27/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.5 RC1, Git 2.13.0 RC1, and Linkerd 1.0

    Links for the day



  6. The Latest Expensive PR Blitz of the EPO, Led by Jana Mittermaier and Rainer Osterwalder Under the 'European Inventor Award' Banner

    The PR agencies of the Corsican in Chief, who appears to be buying political support rather than earning any, are very busy this week, as yet another reputation laundering campaign kicks off



  7. Links 26/4/2017: SMPlayer 17.4.2, Libreboot Wants to Rejoin GNU

    Links for the day



  8. PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won't Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft's

    A new initiative called "PatentShield" is launched, but it's yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions



  9. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  10. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  11. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  12. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  13. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  14. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  15. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  16. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  17. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  18. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  19. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  20. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  21. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  23. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  24. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  25. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  26. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  27. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  28. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  29. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  30. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC


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