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

02.07.11

A Paralegal’s Take on Microsoft’s Latest Anti-Google (and Anti-FOSS) Moves

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Search at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Noogler
Photo by Tduk Alex Lozupone

Summary: Groklaw responds to some of Microsoft’s latest attacks on software freedom and anti-competitive practices, especially where Google is concerned

Microsoft is poisoning Google just like it generally poisons the Free/open source software (FOSS) community, using software patents and more. In relation to the article “Microsoft tries undoing Chrome’s H.264 omission,” Groklaw writes: “How do we translate this? That they want to attack VP8 with patents they dig up somehow and thus try to shove forward their own patent-encumbered offering or at least get paid no matter what?”

“[T]hey want to attack VP8 with patents they dig up somehow and thus try to shove forward their own patent-encumbered offering or at least get paid no matter what?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Well, Groklaw seems to have taken great interest in this (so have we [1, 2]), especially given patent litigation against Google as of late, especially from Microsoft and allies of Microsoft. Groklaw also writes a response to spin from Dean Hachamovitch from Microsoft (IE team). “How would a promise from Microsoft alone do any good,” Groklaw asks. “Read the history of JPEG if you think that any of Microsoft’s suggestions would guarantee that no idiot will show up with a patent granted by the crazed USPTO and start suing people, no matter what anyone does. Software patents are the problem, and there is no solution other than to get rid of them. And “reasonable licensing terms” are unreasonable in that it breaks the openness of the Internet. Microsoft would like to pretend that the GPL doesn’t matter, and that the big proprietary guys can just ignore it and turn the Internet into a proprietized, closed environment that you can’t enter and enjoy unless you pay. And I don’t think you can claim to be “agnostic” if your solutions enforce acceptance of H.264 by one method or another.”

While Google makes advances, Microsoft is in search of a new cash cow or common carrier and search may be one such carrier because of advertising. To Microsoft, all that’s left now are patents and cheating because nothing else has worked after years of billions in spendings down the drain. Recently we found out that Bing is ripping off Google search results [1, 2]. Groklaw covered many articles about it (a true fixation), along with commentary. This whole affair helps shatter Microsoft’s cases against Google (by proxy) — cases that claim Google’s results are unfair or not “neutral”. “So if we were to read that some entity filed a complaint against Google with some regulatory body,” writes Groklaw, “demanding that Google reveal its algorithms as one form of relief, and we learn that Microsoft is behind the entity in the shadows somewhere, what might that tell us?

“So I guess it’s official. Google’s algorithms are better than Bing’s. At least Microsoft seems to think so. Say, is this some kind of copyright violation? Trade dress? Violation of your privacy? Hmm. Deep thoughts begin…”

“So I guess it’s official. Google’s algorithms are better than Bing’s.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
It also turned out that Microsoft was tracking users who use Google. Nice, eh? So it’s not just a Google ripoff but also a privacy violation. “And speaking for myself,” writes Groklaw, “I don’t want my search data shared with anybody. But even if I did, I wouldn’t want them used to copy off of Google’s paper, so to speak.”

Here is the source of Google’s allegation. “The live forum where Google’s Matt Cutts made his announcement about Bing copying Google’s results is still going on,” Groklaw calls it. “The link will take you there.”

Then, regarding the news headline “Microsoft’s Bing Uses Google Results – And Denies It,” Groklaw writes: “It should stop if only because now it’s been demonstrated that a competitor can skew your results into Never Never Land. It was a one-time experiment, to demonstrate the copying, but any search engine team now knows that copying isn’t reliable.”

“It was a one-time experiment, to demonstrate the copying, but any search engine team now knows that copying isn’t reliable.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Microsoft started a fake controversy to distract from the fiasco. It’s truly pathetic. Groklaw responds: “And who made that happen? Seriously. How dirty does this get? And if I might ask the next logical questions, if Microsoft really believed Google manipulated search results, would it copy them? Maybe someone needs to investigate Microsoft for instigating specious investigations?”

Microsoft booster Harry McCracken (he got a free laptop from Microsoft) played along with the fake controversy as he called it a “squabble” in the headline. Groklaw responds with: “I wouldn’t call it a squabble, personally. I’d call it an ethical issue. And that’s why Microsoft can’t understand why people care, I suspect.”

Kym McNicholas pretty much agreed with Groklaw when she published “Microsoft’s Nonsense Response To Google” and claimed: “Google, this week, accused Microsoft of stealing its results. NBC Bay Area’s PressHere scheduled Google’s man behind search, Dr. Amit Singhal, to be on this week’s broadcast with host Scott McGrew. I was one of the guest interviewer’s along with Mashable’s co-editor Ben Parr. Singhal explained to us how he and his team discovered that Bing may be leveraging Google’s search results. Microsoft, whom McGrew says has failed to follow-up on scheduling an appearance on his show, instead decided to send him a taped response to Google’s accusations. It’s worth watching the show this Sunday at 9am PT on NBC Bay Area to hear that. If you prefer, here is the segment from the show, below…”

In one of the spin articles, titled “Microsoft says Google used click fraud to orchestrate Bing Sting,” the author says that “Microsoft is now accusing Google of using a form of click fraud to set up its Bing Sting, a stunt unveiled by the search giant at the Farsight 2011 tech conference in Silicon Valley.” Groklaw sarcastically replies with: “I see Microsoft is really, really sorry.”

Microsoft’s blame games are a classic and very familiar game. The accuser from Google, Matt Cutts, wrote about this in his blog:

I didn’t expect that Microsoft would deny the claims so strongly. Yusuf Mehdi’s post says “We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop.”

Given the strength of the “We do not copy Google’s results” statements, I think it’s fair to line up screenshots of the results on Google that later showed up on Bing…

Murdoch’s press has the rather deceiving headline “Search Engine Slap Fight: Microsoft Denies Cheating, Blames Google”. Microsoft says: “In simple terms, Google’s ‘experiment’ was rigged to manipulate Bing search results through a type of attack also known as click fraud. That’s right, the same type of attack employed by spammers on the web to trick consumers and produce bogus search results.”

“And Bing didn’t catch it,” writes Groklaw. “That’s the bottom line to me, that Bing didn’t realize that the results were ridiculous. That makes me not trust Bing. Full stop.”

All the above is another sign among many signs of decline at Microsoft. Katherine Noyes from IDG published the article “Cheating Accusations Highlight Microsoft’s Decline”. In it she wrote:

For those who missed it, Google apparently conducted a “sting” operation recently by rigging a few select searches to display specific pages in the search results in its own search engine. It then told 20 employees to run the searches on their computers using Internet Explorer with “Suggested Sites” and the Bing toolbar enabled. Lo and behold, after a few weeks the searches began producing the same results on Bing.

[...]

There’s no doubt Microsoft was once an innovative player. Whatever your preference in operating systems or office software suites, for example, there’s no denying that Microsoft made a number of smart and innovative moves to create its current position of market dominance in both arenas.

Since then, however, the company has been on the decline. In the mobile arena, for example, its performance has been too little, too late, as exemplified by the woefully inadequate Windows Phone 7. Rather than innovating on quality, the company now resorts to the industry equivalent of dirty pool.

In defense of both Windows and Microsoft Office, for example, Microsoft has long been one of the primary sources of FUD about competing free and open source alternatives. CEO Steve Ballmer notoriously has called Linux “a cancer,” for instance, and the company has made patently obvious that it fears competition from the open source contender.

More recently, Microsoft created an anti-OpenOffice.org video–still up on YouTube–that amounted to nothing more than a smear campaign against the competition.

Novell’s gift of patents to Microsoft is also mentioned. Fortunately, the CPTN deal is coming under regulatory fire* and we found only 2 articles about it, one of which from SCO booster and anti-Linux activist O’Gara. The other one came from The H and just like the FSF, Michael Tiemann from the OSI wrote a statement giving credit to the US Department of Justice: “The Open Source Initiative commends the US Department of Justice for taking this important step to promote innovation by issuing a second request and deepening the investigation of CPTN’s acquisition of Novell’s patents. As we have stated, the history is clear: patents have been—and are likely to be—used by CPTN and its members to create fear, uncertainty and doubt concerning open source software, raise competitors costs and threaten customers. We trust and hope that following a thorough investigation, the DoJ will impose whatever measures are necessary to ensure that CPTN does not harm the commercial open source development model or market competition.”

The closure of Kin Studio — just like the closure of other projects/units (see our list of dead products from Microsoft) — is not even denied or spun by Microsoft boosters, so Noyes’s assertion that there is a “Microsoft decline” seems to be acknowledged quite widely. Microsoft is just playing dirty now, so people need to watch and report misbehaviour. Google performed an experiment to catch Microsoft red-handed and it should be commended — not reprimanded — for it.
_____
* The other part of the deal, which involved AttachMSFT [sic], was mentioned in Murdoch’s circles and the vulture fund was recently mentioned in Reuters which said: “Elliott Advisors has nearly 6 percent stake in Actelion”. It also said: “Elliott often takes on the role of an activist shareholder, and last year sought to buy business software company Novell (NOVL.O) after building an 8.5 percent stake in the company [ID:nSGE68E0IU].”

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. Patent Extremism is Not Normal and Not an Innocent Mindset

    Reflection upon the sad state of the European patent system and how media turns a blind eye to it; worldwide, in general, the discussion about patents is being warped by the litigation giants, whose sole goal is to maximise the number of lawsuits/shakedowns (personal gain)



  2. Links 22/9/2019: LLVM 9.0.0 and FreeBSD 12.1 Beta

    Links for the day



  3. Links 21/9/2019: Plasma 5.17 Beta in Kubuntu, Cockpit 203

    Links for the day



  4. IBM Cannot Become a True Friend of Free Software Because of Its Current Patent Policy

    IBM needs to quit bullying people/companies with software patents; that would help towards appeasement of IBM critics and sceptics



  5. When Patent 'Professionals' Sound Like Children Who Learned to Parrot Some Intentionally-Misleading Buzzwords, Myths and Lies

    With buzzwords like "AI" and misleading terms like "IP" the litigation zealots are trying to convince themselves (and the public) that software is a physical thing and a "property" which needs "protecting" from "theft"; it doesn't seem to bother these people that copyright law already covers software<



  6. The European Parliament Needs to Become More Outspoken About EPO Abuses

    There are few encouraging signs in Europe right now because the EPO's disregard for patent law (striving to just grant as many patents as possible) earned it much-needed backlash from the European Parliament



  7. Links 19/9/2019: German Federal Ministry of the Interior Wants FOSS, Top Snaps Named

    Links for the day



  8. Buying the Voices of 'Linux' People to Repeat Microsoft's Talking Points While Removing Our Icons and Leaders (Calling Them Sexist)

    The dirty games leveraged by several companies including Microsoft target charismatic people who are essential for morale and leadership; these tactics aren't particularly novel



  9. When the EPO Sees Itself as Above European Law, Grants Patents in Defiance of the EPC (Its Founding Document) and Violates Staff's Labour Rights/Protections (International Law)

    The absurd state of affairs at the EPO has reached the point where laws at every level are being violated and even judges are being threatened or vainly ignored; the EU is belatedly trying to tackle these issues, which have actually cost its credibility a great deal and threaten the perception of Rule of Law at multiple levels



  10. Links 19/9/2019: Samba 4.11.0 and Kubernetes 1.16

    Links for the day



  11. Update on Koch v EPO: Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) Composition Still Likely Illegal

    An important EPO case, concerning a dismissed staff representative, shows what ILO-AT and the EPO's Internal Appeals Committee boil down to



  12. Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

    Links for the day



  13. Links 17/9/2019: CentOS 7.7 and Funtoo Linux 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  14. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  15. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  16. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  17. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  18. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  19. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  20. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  21. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  22. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  23. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  24. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  25. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  26. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  27. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  28. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  29. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)



  30. Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to 'Globalise' a System of Monopolies on Everything

    Monopolies on just about everything are being granted in defiance of the EPC and there are those looking to make this violation ‘unitary’, even worldwide if not just EU-wide


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