“Android has a patent fee. You do have to license patents.” ~Steve Ballmer
“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”
–Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft
Summary: Microsoft makes good use of its mole inside Nokia to tax competitors (elevating their prices) while it is also trying to block Android’s owner, Google, from getting patents
THE EXTORTION RACKET of Microsoft is not news. This site has covered it since 2006. This site foresaw the problem’s different aspects and explained quite accurately what would happen.
As we explained yesterday, Microsoft is taxing Android while the corporate media mostly plays a along rather than actually speak out against the practice of penalising one’s competition without even a trial. It’s blackmail and we have already explained why, even 4 years ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].
” Microsoft wants Google to stay defenseless while Microsoft’s legal department shoots Google’s distributors one by one, even taking some of them to court (e.g. B&N, Motorola)…”Rather than attack Google directly using patents, Microsoft goes to distributors (less incentive to fight back), which is the equivalent of doing a mafia-style racket by going after shop customers with a gun, intimidating them one by one until the shop no longer gets customers. To make matters worse, when Google (the shopkeeper in this analogy) wants to get a gun for protection, Microsoft (the mafioso) steps in and plays the role of “police” again. Yes, the crook pretends to be the policeman again. Microsoft is trying prevent Google from having patents even though Google does not use any patents offensively and Reuters wrote about it first on the face of things. Microsoft wants Google to stay defenseless while Microsoft’s legal department shoots Google’s distributors one by one, even taking some of them to court (e.g. B&N, Motorola):
Google should not be allowed to buy thousands of patents belonging to bankrupt Nortel Networks under current sale terms, Microsoft said on Monday, the deadline for bids in an closely watched auction.
Microsoft, which claims a “worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free license to all of Nortel’s patents” following a 2006 deal, said in a filing with a Delaware bankruptcy court that existing agreements should be transferred to any new owner of the intellectual property, which spans many fields.
Look who’s talking…
This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour from Microsoft, which not so long ago pocketed Novell’s patents using the CPTN proxy. Microsoft the hypocrite is once again pretending to be a law enforcer while in reality it is Microsoft that law enforcers should put on trial. Here are more articles on the subject [1, 2].
“Microsoft is using Nokia for its patents and it’s likely that the next objective for this Microsoft mole (Elop is still the 8th biggest MSFT shareholder) is to tax all devices running Linux, elevating their prices just like SCO wanted to elevate the price of every Linux instance.”But wait, it gets worse. Having essentially taken over Nokia, guess what its mole, Elop, is doing next. He ‘licenses’ patents to Apple, which gives room for imagination. Well, we said it all along because Nokia itself had dropped hints about it. Microsoft is using Nokia for its patents and it’s likely that the next objective for this Microsoft mole (Elop is still the 8th biggest MSFT shareholder) is to tax all devices running Linux, elevating their prices just like SCO wanted to elevate the price of every Linux instance. It’s all that Microsoft has left as a strategy because it has lost on the technical side in phones (like it did in servers back in SCO days). So, it now resorts to patent collection and shakedown, sometimes by proxy (e.g. Nathan Myhrvold and Paul Allen). We warned about this repeatedly in 2007. “Looks bad,” said to us a reader from Finland by E-mail, pointing to this article:
Apple has agreed to license wireless phone patents owned by Nokia that sparked a long-running legal dispute between the two companies.
The deal will settle all patent litigation between Nokia and Apple, and the two will withdraw their respective complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission. In addition, Apple will pay Nokia an undisclosed one-time fee and on-going royalties, Nokia said today.
Those “on-going royalties” are not specified and a huge disclaimer has been sent out by Microsoft’s mole in Nokia. The at-times Microsoft-friendly Register quotes Microsoft Florian, who has been working hard to make Linux fail and be taxed. Yes, Florian Müller, the lobbyist who is leaning on journalists, keeps changing masks, this time to “patent analyst”. To quote The Register: “In his blog patent analyst Florian Mueller suggests that this will open the way for Nokia to start extracting cash from the manufacturers of Android handsets, pointing out that they are almost certainly in breach of the Nokia patents for which Apple now holds a licence.” On this point he is actually correct for a change. Just days ago Elop the mole insinuated that Android was merely derived or based on the iPhone’s success.
“Just days ago Elop the mole insinuated that Android was merely derived or based on the iPhone’s success.”We found it amusing that someone in IRC thought that Müller being quoted is a sign of his credibility. As we explained before, Müller works hard mass-mailing journalists, urging them to squeeze his quotes into articles so that later he can brag about these. He makes false claims about his credentials and he also spreads disinformation (to his credit, his English is excellent). This is how lobbyists typically work. This one in particular is spending his time in Twitter speaking to patent lawyers (pro-software patents) and pro-Microsoft bloggers such as Bott, Enderle, and others. One can only guess who is funding his current lobbying endeavours. In any event, today in the news we found another reminder of how cold and apathetic patent lawyers are when it comes to the damage caused by software patents:
In the second part of Computerworld’s Q and A interview with intellectual property laywer …
What are your clients telling you about the change in the law, excluding software patents?
I have clients that have software patents and others that are relaxed about it and wouldn’t bother to get a patent if they could. It is a question of horses for courses. I think what really needs changing is the ability to get patents on “innovations” that are not really new.
Listen to what Linus Torvalds has just said about “innovations” (video below). It’s about 20 minutes from the start. One has to wonder how Torvalds feels about the technology giant of his home country (he has dual nationality now) becoming a patents-wielding slave of Microsoft. █