11.12.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Does Microsoft Really Have List of Patents GNU/Linux Supposedly Infringes?

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spreadsheet

Summary: Motorola is countersuing Microsoft and possibly wakes up the IBM patent beast, whose OIN pool grows larger; the chances seem slim when it comes to Microsoft in the mobile arena, so patent extortion moves forward

IN A HUGE debate which goes back to 2007, software freedom proponents confronted Microsoft after empty allegations that Linux was violating over 200 unnamed Microsoft patents. Microsoft explained that paperwork was the reason for lack of specifics, but to everyone else it seemed clearer that Microsoft was just ‘pulling a SCO’ by making empty allegations which it refused to back with evidence. This is a violation of the law in some places. Veiled threats, if tolerated as a phenomenon, can be exceptionally harmful.

Microsoft’s latest lawsuit against Linux (or a company selling Linux) picked the wrong target.

Motorola is now blasting Microsoft in response to Microsoft’s two patent-related attacks, which resulted from no provocation at all (Microsoft uses patents offensively, not defensively). Here are the details:

Motorola has countersued Microsoft, alleging infringement of sixteen patents by Microsoft’s PC and server software, Windows mobile software, and Xbox products.

On Wednesday, with a press release, Motorola said that its subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, filed suit against Microsoft in the US District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and the Western District of Wisconsin.

Yesterday in our IRC channels we talked some more about Microsoft’s foolish decision to take on Motorola. Oiaohm quietly pointed out that if one goes through IBM and Motorola press releases “You will see they work with each other closely.”

“Attacking Motorola is an indirect attack on IBM,” explained Oiaohm, “[s]omething I can expect the idiots in MS legal department of [overlooking.]”

“Yes, I know,” I replied, referring to their chips. Motorola and IBM probably share processor research, amongst other things.

“And a lot more,” Oiaohm expounded, mentioning a “joint anti patent aggression agreement.” As a reminder, IBM is the last company whose nest Microsoft would want shaken up. IBM is the dominant party behind the OIN, which has just grown a lot bigger with the parent company of SourceForce. Yes, Geeknet is joining:

Geeknet and Open Invention Network (OIN) today announced the signing of Geeknet as an OIN licensee. OIN’s mission is to enable and protect Linux. By becoming a licensee, Geeknet, the online network for the global geek community through sites such as SourceForge and Slashdot, has joined the growing list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

That’s from the new press release.

One press release of Motorola and IBM says: “IBM and Motorola are joining forces to accelerate the technology that will help automakers bring a variety of wireless and Web-based services to drivers and passengers worldwide. Announcing their strategic relationship today, the two companies will work together to provide the end-to-end resources that will help automakers offer next generation products and services to their customers.

“Motorola and IBM plan to combine their technologies, products and services for a joint approach to the auto manufacturers. By leveraging each other’s expertise and industry leadership, the two companies will establish an integrated approach to help auto manufacturers get the next generation of telematics products to market quickly and meet the growing customer demand for enhanced, in-vehicle communication/information/entertainment systems.”

“I want MS to push stupidly forwards,” wrote Oiaohm, “[a]nd trigger the Motorola-IBM agreement.”

An important observation worth making is that Microsoft is getting more vague or narrow wrt patents over time. First they alleged that SUSE GNU/Linux was violating patents (2006), with LG it was just Linux (2007), with Samsung it was Linux-related software (2007), and later it was just FAT (TomTom in 2009 and Motorola in 2010). The recent settlement deal which mentions OS patents vaguely says something about portfolio and does not mention Linux at all (2009, Salesforce).

“[T]he patent legal struggle could even lead to the iPhone being banned from sale in the US”
      –Benjamin Henrion, FFII
Over the past 4 years (since we started this site) Microsoft has been focusing on the use of software patents to stifle competition. It has also been using mobbyists to give the illusion of support from the public and/or from the industry at large. It’s just AstroTurfing and they still take Microsoft’s side, as expected (no hyperlinks needed).

Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft's struggle in the mobile market (it is failing yet again) and Charles Arthur, who last week wrote an article criticising software patents in the UK, says that “billions at stake in the smartphone patent wars,” which ought to explain all the aggression.

Billions of dollars are at stake for companies including Apple, Google, BlackBerry maker RIM, Nokia and Microsoft. The legal struggle could even lead to the iPhone being banned from sale in the US – if Nokia gets its way in one dispute that has gone to the International Trade Commission (ITC).

“More of this,” writes Benjamin Henrion from the FFII regarding the article above, “the patent legal struggle could even lead to the iPhone being banned from sale in the US” (whilst Oracle is suing to harm Android much to Apple’s convenience [1, 2, 3]).

Vista Phony 7 [sic] cannot really compete in this space, so Microsoft is looking for other ways of making money from it. Under the “Microsoft Death Watch” series Wayne carries on with the investigation that now comes to down to phones:

And here we have John Gruber saying that an insider told him that Microsoft only managed to sell 503 KIN phones. Business Insider also covered the sales numbers, with a lot of speculation on how many really sold, and coming up with numbers from 500 to 10,000, but suspecting that it was probably less than 1000. Microsoft of course, isn’t talking.

The exact number doesn’t matter. What matters is that the product didn’t sell well, and the phone Accessory Ecosystem got burned badly.

What lesson did the Accessory Ecosystem learn?

Simple. It’s more profitable to build accessories for IPhones and other Apple products than it is to build them for Microsoft phones.

Which makes me wonder how well the new Windows 7 phones are being supported with accessories? Not very well. A quick check on the website of a local Big Box retailer gives me a strong impression that the only accessories available for Windows 7 Phones are those that fit other phones (SD Cards, Bluetooth Headsets).

So what we have is a feedback loop. Since the last phone didn’t sell well, and the accessory makers got burned, they aren’t supporting the current phones, which means that sales of the current phones will suffer, because you can’t buy the accessories that you want.

We’ll end this post with the Identi.ca rant of John Drinkwater. The “lawsuit from Microsoft aimed at Motorola is maddening hypocrisy. Claims that Motorola is seeking royalties based on retail price of products (Xbox, Win7, WinPh7) rather than based on price of component software and hardware that actually relates to the patents,” he writes.

It is “exactly what Microsoft has been shaking HTC, Samsung, Motorola (et al) down for wrt Android, royalties around Free software,” John adds. “This is Microsoft showing what it does if you don’t ‘licence patents and pay fees’ around Android.” John tagged it #mafia #protectionracket and #motorola. On numerous occasions we have explained why it’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Microsoft recently paid ACCESS/Acacia [1, 2, 3] and it will be interesting to see if ACCESS/Acacia attacks Linux and Android vendors in months to come. Acacia already has, reaching a settlement at best [1, 2, 3].

“It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the results is that Linux works great without having to do the work. [...] maybe we could patent something related to this.”

Bill Gates

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    November 12, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft might have a list now but they did not when they started their FUD attack. I’ve updated my Microsoft Patent Extortion Timeline with a real winner of a quote, Bill Gates in 1991 calling patents, “a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want.” This shows that Microsoft has always thought of patents as competition destroying extortion tools. The company started to turn these against free software from Sun in the late 1990s and Jim Alchin specifically attacked free software in 2002, right before Microsoft bankrolled the SCO copyright fraud. The “list” that Steve Ballmer and others have crowed about so often is really just an estimate created by Dan Ravicher, an Open Source advocate, to prove that free software is less risky than non free software. Microsoft may have made a list since then but they never share it. They are really following Bill Gates 1991 call to “patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique” to have a 17 year “right” to take as much of their competitor’s profits as they like. The US court system should put an end to this extortion as soon as it can.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Unmasking AI

    A guest article by Andy Farnell



  2. The ISO Delusion/Sirius Corporation: A 'Tech' Company Run by Non-Technical People

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was hiring people who brought to the company a culture of redundant tasks and unwanted, even hostile technology; today we continue to tell the story of a company run by the CEO whose friends and acquaintances did severe damage



  3. Links 28/01/2023: Lots of Catching Up (Had Hardware Crash)

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 27, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, January 27, 2023



  5. Microsoft DuckDuckGo Falls to Lowest Share in 2 Years After Being Widely Exposed as Microsoft Proxy, Fake 'Privacy'

    DuckDuckGo, according to this latest data from Statcounter, fell from about 0.71% to just 0.58%; all the gains have been lost amid scandals, such as widespread realisation that DuckDuckGo is a Microsoft informant, curated by Microsoft and hosted by Microsoft (Bing is meanwhile laying off many people, but the media isn’t covering that or barely bothers)



  6. This is What the Microsoft-Sponsored Media Has Been Hyping Up for Weeks (Ahead of Microsoft Layoffs)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  7. [Meme] António Campinos Wants to Be F***ing President Until 2028

    António Campinos insists he will be EPO President for 10 years, i.e. even longer than Benoît Battistelli (despite having appalling approval rates from staff)



  8. European Patent Office Staff Losing Hope

    The EPO’s management with its shallow campaign of obfuscation (pretending to protect children or some other nonsense) is not fooling patent examiners, who have grown tired and whose representatives say “the administration shows no intention of involving the staff representation in the drafting of the consultant’s mandate” (like in Sirius ‘Open Source’ where technical staff is ignored completely for misguided proposals to pass in the dark)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 26, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 26, 2023



  10. Sirius Relegated/Demoted/Destined Itself to Technical Hell by Refusing to Listen to the Technical Staff (Which Wanted to Stay With Asterisk/Free Software)

    In my final year at Sirius ‘Open Source’ communication systems had already become chaotic; there were too many dysfunctional tools, a lack of instructions, a lack of coordination and the proposed ‘solution’ (this past October) was just more complexity and red tape



  11. Geminispace Approaching Another Growth Milestone (2,300 Active Capsules)

    The expansion of Geminispace is worth noting again because another milestone is approached, flirted with, or will be surpassed this coming weekend



  12. [Meme] Cannot Get a Phone to Work... in 2022

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ wasted hours of workers’ time just testing the phone after it had moved to a defective system of Google (proprietary); instead of a rollback (back to Asterisk) the company doubled down on the faulty system and the phones still didn’t work properly, resulting in missing calls and angst (the company just blamed the workers who all along rejected this new system)



  13. [Meme] Modern Phones

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ is mistaking “modern” for better; insecurity and a lack of tech savvy typically leads to that



  14. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Corporation Demonstrates a Lack of Understanding of Security and Privacy

    Sirius ‘Open Source’, emboldened by ISO ‘paperwork’ (certification), lost sight of what it truly takes to run a business securely, mistaking worthless gadgets for “advancement” while compelling staff to sign a new contract in a hurry (prior contract-signing scandals notwithstanding)



  15. Links 26/01/2023: LibreOffice 7.4.5 and Ubuntu Pro Offers

    Links for the day



  16. Links 26/01/2023: GNU poke 3.0 and PipeWire 0.3.65

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 25, 2023



  18. Companies Would Collapse Upon Abandoning Their Original Goals (That Attracted All the Productive Staff)

    Staff with technical skills won't stick around in companies that reject technical arguments and moreover move to proprietary software in a company that brands itself "Open Source"



  19. [Meme] Listen to Your Workers, Avert Disaster

    Companies that refuse to take input from staff are doomed to fail



  20. The ISO Delusion: When the Employer Doesn’t Understand the Company's Value Proposition (Building Systems) and Rejects Security

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has failed to sell what it was actually good at; instead it hired unqualified people and outsourced almost everything



  21. Links 25/01/2023: NuTyX 23.01.1 and GNU Guile 3.0.9 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Links 25/01/2023: Stratis 3.5.0 and Many Political Links

    Links for the day



  23. New Record Low: Only One 'Linux' Article in ZDNet in More Than Two Weeks

    Only a few years ago ZDNet published about 3 “Linux” stories per day (mostly FUD pieces); now it’s a ghost town, painted in ‘alien green’; considering ZDNet’s agenda (and sponsors) maybe it’s better this way



  24. Links 25/01/2023: Pale Moon 32.0 and DXVK 2.1

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 24, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 24, 2023



  26. ISO Certification Hardly Tackles Any of the Real Issues

    The real-world threats faced by private companies or non-profit organisations aren't covered by the ISO certification mill; today we publish the last post on this topic before proceeding to some practical examples



  27. [Meme] Medical Data Sovereignty

    What happens when your medical records/data are accessible to a company based abroad after a mysterious NDA with the Gates Foundation? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not mind.



  28. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Open Wash Ltd. and Medical Data/Projects at Risk/Peril

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was good at gloating about “ISO” as in ISO certification (see our ISO wiki to understand what ISO truly is; ISO certification needs to be more widely condemned and exposed) while signing all sorts of dodgy deals and lying to clients (some, like the Gates Foundation, were never mentioned because of a mysterious NDA); security and privacy were systematically neglected and some qualified as criminal negligence (with fines/penalties likely an applicable liability if caught/reported)



  29. Links 24/01/2023: Wine 8.0 is Ready, FSF Bolsters Copyleft

    Links for the day



  30. Azure Has Layoffs Again, Microsoft Still Cutting

    Even supposed ‘growth’ areas at Microsoft are being culled (this growth is faked, it is a lie)


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

Recent Posts