Posted in Microsoft at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Summary: Short commentary about Microsoft partnerships
Microsoft is not a company, it’s phenomenon and a movement. Today’s announcement about Nokia layoffs helps show the cost of partnership with Microsoft. Today’s death of Novell also helps show the cost of partnership with Microsoft. Today’s response form B & N helps show the importance of BN (Boycott Novell) and this whole vortex of market distortion clearly show that it’s a bad time for Groklaw to leave because its editorial and organisational structure is very much necessary.
Microsoft is not a company, it’s phenomenon and a movement. Like many dangerous movements, it needs to be confronted, not ignored. Even if it was ignored, it would not cease to sue GNU/Linux. It cannot ignore us. █
Summary: Even upon its death, Groklaw is denouncing Novell’s actions while Mono pollution continues and OpenSUSE promotion nearly stops
Yes, Novell is officially over and Groklaw has the announcement, to which Pamela Jones adds: “A sad goodbye to the Novell that was. You really let the community down.”
Novell let the community down 5 years ago when it started arranging the patent deal with Microsoft and helped start a lot of the patent mess we have today. The “Boycott Novell” push will carry on even if it targets AttachMSFT. As for Novell the company, we’ll carry on covering it for a while, before a lot of products get rebranded and the management changed. It is not going to be different because proprietary software dominates in the PR department (ZENworks and Novell Identity and Access for example) and AttachMSFT is a purely proprietary software company. Watch what Novell brags about these days; they spread proprietary software in campus, too.
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Posted in Law, Patents at 5:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Summary: Preparation for special coverage (in video) about software patents
In the coming week or so we will be posting a lot of recent videos that protest against software patents and explain why these are bad. That seems to be the #1 issue right now, at least from the position of Free software advocacy. By combining a lot of voices we can help amplify the opposition to a patent lawyer’s dream and a software developer’s nightmare. █
Summary: Microsoft’s patent attacks on Linux are revealed by Barnes & Noble for everyone to see (good publishing job!) while the FTC considers changing the patent system
MICROSOFT is becoming less of a company and more like a mafia, as our previous post might as well show. Even those employees who “move on” merely serve the same power structures, which are dependent upon patent monopolies. The two Microsoft co-founders, former CEO, and CTO are all in the patents business now. They work from outside Microsoft but still serve Microsoft.
Fortunately, Groklaw has obtained some nuclear evidence that will cause Microsoft a lot of trouble. Maybe it will even help end software patents, which only promote monopoly abuse. As important and timely background, the FTC weighs in on patent reform based on this document[PDF] which Rob Tiller from Red Hat writes about in a Red Hat site. To quote a key part from the FTC, software patents “often cover ‘very abstract conceptual innovations’ that can’t be simply described given our current understanding of the area [...] the symbolic rules and procedures adopted by the field of software engineers.” Here is how Tiller put it:
Last month the Federal Trade Commission issued a report that acknowledged important problems in the U.S. Patent system as it affects software. The government doesn’t do that every day, so that’s good news. The FTC report also suggested some reforms that could mitigate some of those problems.
The report, entitled The Evolving IP Marketplace: Aligning Patent Notice and Remedies with Competition (PDF), is long, but not unapproachable, and parts are almost enjoyable. Some of my favorite parts related to the notice problem that is especially problematic in the area of software patents. If a patent does not give clear notice of what is patented, it creates uncertainty and undermines innovation and competition. The FTC report cited testimony that in the IT sector, patents are often vague, ambiguous, and difficult to interpret.
The report acknowledged that software patents “often cover ‘very abstract conceptual innovations’ that can’t be simply described given our current understanding of the area,” and suggested that English-language claims may not map well to “the symbolic rules and procedures adopted by the field of software engineers.” FTC at 83. The report criticized “functional claiming” in the software context, which involves a patent that claims a function without describing how to achieve the function. The report also recognizes that patent applicants have incentives to be as vague as possible, so that they can later claim the patent covers the broadest area possible. The report doesn’t quite spell this out, but this means that many times it’s difficult or impossible to be certain of what a software patent covers.
Needless to say, unlike Tiller, many patent lawyers keep defending trolls, who are pretty much the same (the trolls own the patents, whereas the lawyers get selected to wage wars for someone else’s patents, much like neo-mercenaries). The patent lawyers would hate to see software patents go away, but sometimes they do, even in the USPTO. From last month:
One Click Patent Reexamination over – with claims amended and other Amazon applications rejected in light of my prior art
The USPTO has recently issued a “”notice of intent to issue a reexamination certificate” for the Amazon.com one-click patent, which was subject to a reexamination request that I filed in light of some prior art that I found. The Amazon.com claims were amended to remove their broad monopoly on “One click shopping”, confining it to situations in which there is a shopping cart involved.
There we have some reason for the FTC to stop such patents. Moreover, regarding the Barnes & Noble lawsuit [1, 2], Groklaw got Barnes & Noble’s answer, affirmative defenses, and counterclaims[PDF], which Pamela Jones et al. converted into HTML. It helps show Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez as the main racketeer in a scare-and-extort (shock and awe-like) campaign to make money out of Linux. To quote Jones’ summary:
Microsoft has a scheme, Barnes & Noble asserts, to dominate Android and make it undesirable to device manufacturers and customers by demanding “exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions” — a license fee that it says is more than Microsoft charges for its entire operating system for mobile devices, Windows 7. Others have, it believes, signed it. Barnes & Noble says the deal with Nokia is in furtherance of this scheme.
The patents asserted are “trivial, not infringed and invalid”, Barnes & Noble says, and merely a vehicle in furtherance of the scheme, as they “are not even close to covering the entire functionality of Barnes & Noble’s NookTM and Nook ColorTM devices, or of the AndroidTM Operating System.”
If ever you wondered what a meeting with Microsoft would be like to discuss such a matter, Barnes & Noble tells you. It’s not a pretty sight. Finally, someone tells us what’s been going on behind closed doors. After reading this, my blood is boiling. I’m going right out to buy a Nook, and I don’t even need an eReader.
There has already been a discussion about this in IRC, so due to lack of time, we just append it below in its raw form. The final point is that there are grounds for the US DOJ or FTC to intervene. Microsoft is abusing patents to extort or eliminate the competition. As “twitter” put it in his recent comment, “Barnes and Noble’s defense against Microsoft is explosive stuff. There’s nothing that reasonable people have not been saying since 2004 but now we have the details of the scam being presented in court. I try to put this in context here and in my Microsoft patent extortion timeline. The EU should stop listening to mobbiest like Florian Mueller who claim that Microsoft’s licensing of software patents is somehow “cooperative” or FRAND. Anti-trust regulators now have clear and convincing evidence of how Microsoft abuses the power they lobby for. Hopefully Congress will act to abolish software patents and the US Department of Justice will prosecute Microsoft for their decade long scam.” █
“Verteiron writes “Cable company Mediacom recently began using deep packet inspection to redirect 404 errors, Google and Bing searches to their own, ad-laden “search engine”. Despite repeated complaints from customers, Mediacom continues this connection hijacking even after the user has opted out of the process. Months after the problem was first reported, the company seems unwilling or unable to fix it and has even experimented with inje
Summary: Bill Gates “hired my lawyers to help him steal what has now become the iPad & iPhone,” tells us a source from MIT; Debian is being pressured off the Web in Germany
TODAY we received a truly important E-mail from MIT. It reached us because of our mirror of “Patent TrollTracker”, who is the now-exposed Rick, from Cisco. He once or twice wrote about an entity called “Altitude Capital Partners”, which was suing a lot of companies just like Traul Allen, Microsoft’s co-founder. That’s just what he did more recently. In general, a lot of former bigwigs from Microsoft are extorting Linux and this includes Gates and his mate Nathan, who run and invest in Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll. Intellectual Ventures reportedly has over 1,000 ‘shells’ doing litigation. These are just the facts. Bill Gates is a known extortionist with software patents. Fans of his PR machine ought to face this difficult reality.
The person from MIT told us: “II was wondering if I could ask you whether a company called “Altitude Capital Partners” is a Microsoft shell company used to sue msft’s enemies?”
“In general, a lot of former bigwigs from Microsoft are extorting Linux and this includes Gates and his mate Nathan, who run and invest in Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll.”We have asked for further details and we hope to have them available in the near future. “I ask,” said our source, “because they wrote to me asking to represent me.
“I am the person this Wikileaks affiliate wrote about. However, that Wikileaks article is mistaken in that the NY Times has been lying to help Steve Jobs, and it never mentioned why I ran to steve jobs in the first place in 2003…it was because bill gates hired my lawyers to help him steal what has now become the iPad & iPhone….7 years before Apple introduced it.”
If this is true*, then it suggests that behind the scenes Microsoft is rallying patent trolls, urging them to sue rivals or derail them in some other way. The source names 2003, which is the same year SCO launched anti-Linux lawsuits, as Microsoft's Allchin had predicted.
A lawyer from Augsburg, Germany sent a “Abmahnung”  to a person which
downloaded Debian using Bittorrent.
The company “Media Art Holland b.v” claimed that she has the “Nutzungs
und Verwertungsrechte” (something like distribution rights).
The lawyer wants the poster to pay 700 Euro and stop uploading of Debian.
My opion is that this behavior is not good for Debian’s reputation and
the project should take legal action against the lawyer and this company.
 http://www.lima-city.de/thread/abmahnung-im-haus (written in German)
 see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abmahnung
Interesting. In the next post we are going to show some nuclear document that exposes Microsoft anti-Linux extortion, which is no longer speculative, despite NDAs that successfully kept it hidden for a while. Not anymore. █
___ * It may seem hasty, but we did check the basic validity of the source and this was posted from a real person with a real name at the MIT domain. Being a reputable establishment (ranked highly and even 1st in the world in many areas, whereas the one I work for is ranked 15th in the world), it appears safe to post this as least as a claim.
Summary: Legal manipulators and the companies which hire them become gatekeepers that prevent competition by assembling cartels
HERE at Techrights we are disappointed that the Free software question becomes so hinged on software patents but we are pleased that people wake up and realise that unless this issue is tackled, software freedom will eternally be impeded. Techrights was actually born as “Boycott Novell” only because of the need to fight back against software patents. It is even sites like Tux Machines (usually very technical and Linux-focused) and OStatic (focusing on Open Source more than software freedom) where Susan Linton can recognise the importance of these issues. After a long downtime she wrote:
Looks like I missed the Texas Bedrock vs. Google infringement suit decision too. This could be a rather big deal for all who use Linux. Seems Bedrock’s patent is so loosely worded and concerns such a basic function that any Linux distribution or developer could be in violation. Instead Bedrock is going after companies with deep pockets. Most lawyers and juries know so little about technology that they can be convinced of actual infringement. Even if justice prevails, these companies have spent more than the actual judgment in legal fees. There was a time and place where patents served a real purpose, but the system has been so gamed that it no longer works properly.
Speaking of patents, seems that Novell and CPTN has had to change the terms of their deal concering the sale of hundreds of patents. It seems the Department of Justice has decided that the sale of these patents to Microsoft and friends could (and probably would) jeopardize the ability of Linux and other Open Source projects to compete (or even develop) in the operation system arena. So apparently now Microsoft has to sell Attachmate the patents and all will be subject to Open Source licenses.
Then, her colleague/boss Sam Dean wrote about CPTN, which many people shy away from because it is seen as a “controversial” subject. Yes, all progressive actions are controversial in their times. Dean wrote:
No doubt, as the DOJ scrutinized this proposed patent deal, there was much complexity in the analysis. Novell goes back to the early days of local area networking and the PC industry, and its patents are influential and valuable. It’s good news that a Microsoft-led consortium won’t be permitted to simply run roughshod over the power of those patents. Oracle, Apple, and EMC are included in CTPN Holdings as well.
“To promote innovation and competition, it is critical to balance antitrust enforcement with allowing appropriate patent transfers and exercise of patent rights,” said Sharis A. Pozen, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. Amen.
Our original conclusion in the wake of the Novell buyout was that it would benefit Red Hat, and yesterday, Red Hat’s stock jumped in the wake of new analysis that reached that same conclusion. The jump in the stock came after a research note from Piper Jaffray analsysts was released concluding that “44% [of business survey respondents] indicate that businesses will spend more on Red Hat due to uncertainty surrounding Novell’s future as part of Attachmate, while only 4% expect the opposite.”
This conclusion from Piper Jaffray’s survey was implied the instant the Novell deal was announced. Make no mistake, Red Hat is the big winner in the wake of the Novell deal, and the tech giants behind CTPN Holdings have had their wings clipped in the wake of it, which is good news for open source.
In a move designed to protect the free and open source software (FOSS) community, the U.S. Justice Department has intervened in an intellectual property case involving four dominant IT enterprises. The transaction involves software developer Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) and a consortium made up of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and EMC (NYSE: EMC).
While the Novell/CPTN sale went in favor of the open source community, Google lost a $5 million judgment in an East Texas courtroom. Bedrock Computer Technologies successfully sued Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), alleging that the search giant infringes on U.S. patent #5,893,120, which it owns. According to Bedrock, Linux 2.4.22 and onward, as used by Google, infringes on its patent.
Google may have lost the first round, but this battle is far from over. Google will be fighting back in an appeal, as will other Linux vendors, including Red Hat.
Ultimately, the goal is to have the Bedrock patent declared invalid, though as is the case with anything in the legal system, it will take time.
The latter issue is particularly relevant and we provided links about it earlier in the week. Just a few more thoughts ought to be added, firstly contesting incorrect reports which say that “Google pays”. Google will appeal, not pay, so this is just one among many headlines that can be very deceiving and frightening to adopters of GNU/Linux, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. The matter of fact is, Linux at Google is winning and those who claim otherwise typically turn out to have always had an agenda against Linux, even a vendetta. One of them carries on with her usual tabloid-like commentary. Yes, proprietary software is not so hot on GNU/Linux, so foes of Linux would use that against the platform. it’s basically about Adobe’s junk (Trash plug-ins and the likes of that) exiting from Linux while Google ushers in replacements such as WebM for video, further building a patent pool to advance that goal [1, 2] (it is called a “Cross-Licensing Initiative”). Apple’s aggression against free codecs like this one helps show why a patent pool like CPTN is malicious. The same goes for the MPEG-LA pool. Some of these pools, unlike OIN, are run by aggressors; OIN and other Linux-oriented pools can really do little or no harm because of the terms under which they operate. As MSF puts it these days: [via Groklaw]
These animations explain why people in developing countries can’t get the HIV medicines they need to survive and how setting up a ‘patent pool’ could change that.
MSF calls on researchers and pharmaceutical companies: put your patents in the pool!
Doctors Without Borders suggests a patent pool, so not every such pool is malicious by design. It is important to recognise this fact because Linux foes like Microsoft Florian use spin to distort these facts. They just won’t stop spreading their lies. █
Posted in Microsoft at 2:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Worst privacy offender ever
Summary: Microsoft is tracking people’s movement, collecting such sensitive information and sending this information back to Microsoft
UP UNTIL recently people believed that only their ISPs knew what was going on with data packets and only their mobile network providers could track their location (plus history) using triangulation between antennas. But following the Palm/WebOS fiasco and the recent hypePhone fiasco (which everyone you speak to seem to have learned about over the past week) the federal agents stepped in, revealing that Google does not log locations as badly as Apple does (data gets shredded quickly) and Microsoft, as usual. is just about as bad as one can get. Not only does Microsoft track users’ activity on Windows desktops (over the network or locally, for forensics). According to this news report, “Windows phones send user location to Microsoft” (anyone shocked?). To quote:
Add Microsoft Windows Phone 7 to the list of mobile operating systems that silently transmit the precise physical location of the device back to a central database.
CNET reported the location tracking on Monday, almost a week after reports of similar tracking in Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android mobile OS raised concerns that smartphones could be used by police, civil litigants, or abusive spouses to track an owner’s movements over extended periods of time.
Microsoft also has a data-sharing partnership with Facebook, so it knows everything that people do on that site.