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

05.13.11

Exclusive: Microsoft Patent Schemes Nobody Knows About

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Information about Altitude Capital Partners (patent troll), Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft, and Apple (who fund Intellectual Ventures to launch legal attacks using small patent trolls)

EARLIER this year (last month to be more precise) we were contacted by a nice gentleman who had interacted with Bill Gates and his mate Nathan, the world’s biggest patent troll. He provided insights. Prior posts about it contained just the gist. Today we will elaborate on it.

It all began when a post from Rick the Patent TrollTracker got the attention of someone who had been approached by the named troll. “I don’t have any info about “Altitude Capital Partners” being linked to Microsoft,” he explained, “that is why I wrote to ask you if you did. Altitude approached me within the past 2 weeks asking to represent me because my patent portfolio covers basic technologies. I have no idea how they found out about me, though.”

It certainly would be valuable to have someone help us understand what Altitude Capital Partners is really doing because its homepage says very little. This is fascinating as a lot of what the gentleman says helps expose anti-competitive conduct that we have been researching for years, e.g. about Intellectual Ventures, which reportedly uses over 1,000 satellite companies to do its manipulation for Nathan and Bill, the company’s key financier.

Going back to the smaller troll in question, it is hard to determine just what it really does and whether it serves another. This minimal site it maintains says a little more than sites of patent trolls, which are usually LLCs registered with some patents for waging wars on behalf of other companies. Rick the Patent TrollTracker, who used to work for Cisco, was aware of what Altitude Capital Partners was up to, but he got silenced by those whom he exposed, using SLAPP-type action and a scary bounty from the father of patent trolling. Cisco had been under siege from many patent trolls, including Intellectual Ventures. Even though Intellectual Ventures finally filed a lawsuit last year, it usually uses other companies to launch lawsuits against those who are unwilling to pay Nathan and Bill. A company the size of Cisco would typically needs to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to keep Intellectual Ventures at bay (otherwise, it passes patents around to fuel patent battles). A broad patent would be an asset for this reason. It affects many companies. Cisco has just released new information about its upcoming Linux-powered tablet. Gates et al. will probably try to tax that if they haven’t already.

One should add that this site’s (Techrights) interest in this area is motivated by lawsuits that Microsoft is launching against GNU/Linux (and Android, which is Linux-powered). These also involve companies or patent trolls which Microsoft appears to be incentivising to do what they do. The SCO case is an older example of copyrights being used to wage similar battles. This battle is broader than most people realise because Microsoft is losing the battle on newer form factors. Windows sales are declining because Apple and Android are growing like mushrooms in the new space of smartphones, sub-notebooks, and tablets. Last month Barnes and Noble (B&N) put out there documents which show how Microsoft uses patents to distort the market and impede the competition in e-Readers and other such devices, which are basically too underpowered to run Microsoft’s Windows.

Our source suggests that Microsoft has been pursuing this type of strategy for quite some as “between 1998-2001 Bill Gates became interested in things I was patenting,” he explained to us. “I wanted him to use them, actually. Except he didn’t want to acknowledge my work, and didn’t want to pay me even one penny. And it wasn’t about money, it was clearly about cheating people who create things he liked…in other words it was a rabid ego “thing”.”

Typical Gates megalomania and shameless self-promotion.

The “Surface” is an example of a product Microsoft wanted to axe before arrival, but reportedly, Gates’ ego prevented that from being axed. It became a money drain. In general, Gates became fascinated with patents a very long time after he had criticised them and to this date he is doing a lot of work promoting them and collecting them like trophies. His good friend Nathan is lobbying the government and trying to warp the software industry.

“Intellectual property is the next software,” Nathan Myhrvold said not so long ago. This is their vision.

“Bill Gates hired my lawyers,” explained our source, “Weil Gotshal & Manges, who subsequently kicked me out to “test tablets” for Microsoft. You can google search it and confirm that Weil Gotshal was doing that around 2001 or so. The thing that got Gates so interested in the tablet form factor was his seeing the designs to what is now the iPad and iPhone…back in 1998-2001!”

At the moment, Microsoft seems to be exploring ways of making money out of other people’s products. Increasingly it views itself as a licensing company because it cannot quite create something compelling enough. It missed the train. With the axing of Courier, in addition to reports about related patents surfacing, We can only imagine that there will be more stories like the B&N one.

“I was dazed and confused by what happened and went around looking for help of any kind,” our source recalls. “I ultimately ran to Larry Ellison & his buddy Steve Jobs in the hope that they…being Gates’ enemies, would invite me to join them in creating a new tablet device…because I believed Microsoft was about to steal the whole thing. Instead what happened was Steve Jobs stole it, and because of Bill gates’ ego…he felt that only he had anything worth doing… Microsoft ended up stalled…making tablets with styluses and which were effectively chopped up laptop computers shoe-horned into tablet shape. Even as late as 2010 Steve Ballmer was telling people at the London School of Economics that people want tablets with styluses and keyboards — that despite the way the iPhone already demonstrated people’s willingness to use their finger.”

This insistence from Microsoft was foolish as it kept everything heavy and expensive. There was also none of the same promotion at the time, not to mention suitable hardware for 3-D effects and lightness. But as rightly pointed out, Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs have this ego game with Gates and recently Ellison decided to go after Android with an outrageous lawsuit over Dalvik. More recently than that we saw Microsoft, Apple and Oracle creating and entering a patent pool from Novell’s patents (Novell was essentially sold last month). They called it CPTN and it was designed by Microsoft to help exclude or coerce until the US DOJ and the German anti-cartel office got involved. All of these companies increasingly use patents to ensure that they stay in power and the more they can accumulate, the better for them. Actually, Oracle once spoke against software patents, but things have changed since then.

Our guess is that in the eyes of such companies patents like those on tablet form factors are becoming a bargaining card that can help limit functionality of a competitor’s product. It is not uncommon for a company to try and get hold of patents using a third party. The OIN did that last year. And actually, B&N did say that Microsoft tried using patents to merely cripple its products. How does that promote innovation? This is yet more evidence supporting the claim that the patent system excludes small players, further empowered those who can amass many patents along with their patent trolls. If a small company sues a large one, it gets hit by an artillery of other patents. It’s an imbalanced game.

The source of the news was by no means trying to help the major companies, which merely approached him. “In the beginning I even went to non-profit organizations like Mozilla and the EFF and the W3C seeking to donate my patents to them,” he recalls, “but they all treated me like dirt.”

Mozilla, the EFF, and the W3C do not like patents. Mozilla openly denounces them, the EFF has a patent-busting project, and Tim Berners-Lee told me personally that he is adamant in his approach that the Web should have no patents in/on it. I think that the OIN would have been better to approach.

“Bill Gates’ friend Nathan Myhrvold was trying to buy my patents for years but later he decided to pay any lawyers I went to, to pretend they wanted to help me, when in reality they were just stalling for time, and trying to keep me from suing anybody,” we were told. “Nokia was interested in acquiring rights from me in August 2010, and Nokia was extremely nice and polite…but then Gates “installed” his man Stephen Elop as CEO of Nokia and gave Nokia some deal worth billions (according to the news), and Nokia suddenly didn’t want to have anything to do with me. And who are Nokia’s lawyers? “Conveniently” friends of the lawyers who filed my patents for me in the 1990′s which Apple copied to create the iPhone, and which represent Apple, MSFT and Nokia, and Nathan Myhrvold.”

Nokia was essentially taken over by Microsoft using an act of entryism. Recently, a senior figure at Nokia said: “This isn’t a deal between Nokia and Microsoft, this is a Microsoft take over.”

Nokia has already expressed intention to use patents as a tool that further affects the market and with Elop in charge we can only imagine (with concern) what they might do next. Elop has just remarked (in Twitter) about the Skype acquisition. Reading his tweet would give the impression that he is still working for 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

2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 14, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Gravatar

    “bountry” ??

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Bounty (typo). I typed that at the gym between sets, so no spellchecker…

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  2. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  3. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  4. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  5. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  6. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  7. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  8. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  9. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  10. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day



  11. Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

    Links for the day



  12. Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

    Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software



  13. The Microsoft Patent Trolls: Android Extortion, Vringo Versus Google, and Intellectual Ventures

    Roundup of news about patent aggression by Microsoft and some of its proxies



  14. Links 16/8/2014: Microsoft Linux, US Government Turns to Free Software

    Links for the day



  15. Links 15/8/2014: Reiser4 in Headlines Again, GNOME and KDE Events Finish

    Links for the day



  16. Links 14/8/2014: Kernel Summit Coming, KMix on KDE Frameworks 5

    Links for the day



  17. Shameless Microsoft Spin is Blaming China for Microsoft's Misconduct and Back Doors While Justifying Massive Losses in Hardware (Made in China)

    A new look at how Microsoft-friendly media takes negative Microsoft news and turns that news into some kind of scandals where Microsoft is the victim



  18. Microsoft Spin in the Media Evokes 'New Microsoft' and New Back Doors

    Some new examples of Microsoft boosters rewriting history, characterising Microsoft as a FOSS champion, and generally weak/shallow reporting on Microsoft's audio/video surveillance software



  19. Links 13/8/2014: GNU/Linux as Winner, New Snowden Interview

    Links for the day



  20. Reader's Article: Skype Spying Reaches New Levels of Blatant

    Forced 'upgrades' of Skype give useds [sic.] of Skype more than they asked for



  21. The Problem is Software Patents (and Scope), Not Patent Trolls Who Abuse Them Just Like Large Corporations

    Reminder of the dangers of losing sight of the real patent problem, which is the patents themselves, not necessarily those who use them



  22. Fraud in the USPTO and CAFC Helped Apple Launch Frivolous Patent Lawsuits Against Linux/Android, Based on New Withdrawals

    Inherent corruption in the US system has aided Apple's assault on east Asian electronics giants that use Linux at the core of their products



  23. Investigation Reveals That USPTO is Corrupt, Time to Abolish It or Annul Nearly a Million Patents

    Corruption is found at the heart of the USPTO and the USPTO works hard to hide it, despite attempt by whistleblowers to bring this corruption to light



  24. Links 13/8/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta, Tizen in Watches

    Links for the day



  25. Links 12/8/2014: Chromebooks Surge, OpenGL in the Headlines

    Links for the day



  26. Bill Gates is Profiting By Diverting Public Money to His Own Pocket and Reducing Wages

    Gates' lobbying for companies he is an investor of and for lower salaries inside companies he is investing in (and managing) comes as no surprise



  27. Microsoft is Still Attacking Open Standards, So Khronos Does Not Need the Microsoft Moles

    Having attacked the industry's document standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) while pretending to have 'embraced' ODF Microsoft is now pretending that it is eager to support OpenGL



  28. Another Depressing Look at the Patent Systems in the US and in Europe

    A roundup of news about patent monopolies and in particular the immense power wielded by giant multi-national corporations that steer the debate and acquire trans-Atlantic monopolies on ideas, always against citizens' interests



  29. Links 11/8/2014: DEFT 8.2, Linux Mint on Debian Stable

    Links for the day



  30. Links 9/8/2014: Knoppix 7.4.0, GNU Linux Libre 3.16

    Links for the day


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