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. Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

    Links for the day



  2. Warning: EPO Surveillance May Have Just Gotten Even More Intrusive

    BlueCoat, which the EPO uses to enable oppression inside its European premises, has just gotten even nastier and staff may be at risk



  3. Victim Card Ends up in Another Blunder for Battistelli and His Six Bodyguards

    Battistelli is wrecking what's left of the EPO's reputation (after decades it took the Office to earn it) as the media continues to scrutinise his appalling regime



  4. Italian Report About EPO Now Available in English

    An English translation of a TV program which earlier this month documented some of the glaring problems at the EPO



  5. The EPO is Doing Great, Says EPO-Connected 'News' Site

    IAM 'magazine', a longtime ally of the EPO, gives people the impression that all is fine and dandy at the EPO even though that's clearly not the case



  6. Microsoft Has Killed Nokia (and Its Own Mobile Ambitions), But Watch What it Does With Patents

    Microsoft announces many more layoffs, having already caused tremendous damage to the Finnish economy, and patents are left astray for Microsoft's favourite patent trolls to pick



  7. EPO Management Under Growing Stress From Croatian Law Enforcement Authorities, German Politicians, Italian Media

    Things are not as rosy as the relative calm may suggest, and in the coming weeks we expect some major events other than the protest at all EPO sites across Europe



  8. Microsoft, a Dead Company Walking, Resorts to Malware Tactics, Now Truly Indistinguishable From Crackers

    Microsoft is essentially taking over people's PCs and installing on them a large piece of malware, complete with keyloggers, against the will of these PCs' owners



  9. Links 26/5/2016: CentOS Linux 6.8, Ansible 2.1

    Links for the day



  10. The Latest EPO Victim Card (Played by Željko Topić) Should be Treated as Seriously as Those Bogus Claims of Violence by a Judge (Updatedx3)

    In its desperate pursuit of a narrative wherein the staff of the EPO is violent and aggressive the management of the EPO, renowned for institutional aggression, finds (or claims to have found) a little tampering with a bicycle



  11. Links 25/5/2016: Nginx 1.11, F1 2015 Coming to GNU/Linux Tomorrow

    Links for the day



  12. The Media Starts Informing the European Public About the Downsides of UPC While EPO Accelerates Its Lobbying for Ratification

    The EPO's shameless UPC promotion takes another step forward as the European press outlets (even television channels) begin to explore the secret deal that's negotiated by patent lawyers (with corporate clients) and patent offices, not the public or any public interest groups



  13. Some Details About How the EPO's President is Rumoured to be 'Buying' Votes and Why It's Grounds/Basis for “Immediate Dismissal”

    Some background information and a detailed explanation of the systemic financial dependency, created by Battistelli at the cost of €13 million or more, which prevents effective oversight of Battistelli



  14. How the Patent Lawyers' Microcosm Continues to Boost Software Patents Filth by Misdirecting Readers, Relying on Highly Selective Coverage

    Under the guise of reporting/analysis/advice the community of patent lawyers is effectively lobbying to make software patents popular and widely-accepted again, based on one single case which they wish to make 'the' precedent



  15. Documents Show Zagreb Police Department in Investigation of Vice-President of the European Patent Office

    Željko Topić's troubles in Croatia, where he faces many criminal charges, may soon become an extraordinary burden for the EPO, which distances itself from it all mostly by attacking staff that 'dares' to bring up the subject



  16. [ES] Interrumpiendo la Propagánda Distractante de Battistelli: los Empleados de la EPO Protestará de Nuevo en una Quincena

    La exágerada extravagancia (desperdicio de dinero) en la Ceremonia de Premiación al Inventor Europeo de la EPO tendrá que competir por atención de los medios con miles de empleados de la EPO (en todaslas sedes de la EPO) marchándo en las calles para protestar por los abusos de la EPO



  17. Windows and Microsoft's Other 'Burning Platforms'

    It's not just Windows for phones that's reaching minuscule market share levels but also Windows, but Microsoft is skilled at hiding this (cannibalising Windows using something people do not even want, then counting that cannibal, Vista 10)



  18. Links 24/5/2016: CRYENGINE Source Code is Out on GitHub, Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

    Links for the day



  19. Links 23/5/2016: GNOME 3.22, Calculate Linux 15.17

    Links for the day



  20. 'Celebrity' Patent Trolls and the Elusive Battle Against Patent Trolls (or Eastern District of Texas Courts) Rather Than Software Patents

    Some of last week's more important reports, which serve to demonstrate how the system is attempting to tackle a side-effect of software patents rather than the patents themselves (their irrational scope)



  21. The Circus of Patent 'Reporting' (by Omission) on the Subject of Software Patents in the US and USPTO Bias

    look at some of the latest oddities in the US patent system and much of the reporting about software patenting (more or less monopolised by those who profit from it, not harmed by it)



  22. IP3 Demonstrates That Today's Patent Systems Devolve Into a Conglomerates' Game, Won't Protect the Mythical Small Inventor

    Multinational corporations bring together their shared interests and steer the increasingly-inseparable patent systems according to their needs and goals, but has anyone even noticed?



  23. Disrupting Battistelli's Distracting Propaganda: EPO Staff to Protest Again in About a Fortnight

    The overly extravagant (waste of money) EPO European Inventor Award will have to compete for media attention with thousands of EPO staff (in all EPO sites) marching in the streets to protest against the EPO's abuses



  24. Corrupting Democracy? Growing Frequency of Rumours That the EPO's President Battistelli is 'Buying' Votes of Small Member States

    Several sources suggest that rather than appease the Administrative Council by taking corrective action Battistelli and his notorious 'circle' now work hard to remove opposition from the Administrative Council, especially where this is easier a task to accomplish (politically or economically)



  25. [ES] Los Mitos de la EPO ‘Calidad’ de Patentes y de ‘Creación’ de Patentes: Basados en Ventas de Cafe y Trauma

    La carrera hacia el fondo, o la ridícula asumpción de Battistelli de que otorgar más y más patentenes más rápidamente (e.g. usando PACE) sería beneficióso a largo término, puede guíar al final colapse del valor de la EPO y la pérdida de su lárgamente ganada reputación a nivel mundial



  26. Links 22/5/2016: Systemd 230, Debian Installer Alpha 6

    Links for the day



  27. EPO Patent 'Quality' and 'Patent Creation' Myth: Capsule-Based Coffee Sales and Trauma

    The race to the bottom, or Battistelli's ludicrous assumption that granting more and more patents faster (e.g. using PACE) would be beneficial in the long run, may lead to the ultimate collapse of the EPO's value and demise of its long-earned reputation worldwide



  28. Guest Post: How Vista 10 Imposes Itself on Users of Windows

    A reader's experience being nagged by Microsoft, as documented and explained by this reader



  29. [ES] El Notorio Tirano de la EPO, Benoît Battistelli, Se Reune Con Otros Tiranos, Reportes de Que ‘Limpia’ el Consejo Administrativo

    El régimen de Battistelli, talvez la fuente de verguénza más grande, alegadamente está “cortejándo países pequeños/corruptos para asegurárse de que los delegados que votarón contra él serán remplazados”



  30. [ES] Comentadores Anónimos Debaten Si la EPO de Battistelli Puede Revocar las Pensiones de Empleados Que Se Atreveen — GASP — a Buscar Empleo Alternativo

    Una mirada a las causas de desesperación e imensa presión en la EPO, donde las pensiónes pueden ser cortadas como medio de represália y la gente puede ser negada empleo aún después de dejar la Oficina Europea de Patentes (EPO)


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