Summary: How Linux FUD which had evolved into patent FUD in 2006 later turned into Android FUD, which nowadays faces barriers because companies like Motorola fight back
THE FAMILIAR FUD tactics against Free software go a long way back. From portrayal as “communism” to portrayal as “patent violation”, Free software has faced a variety of smears and became extremely popular despite those smears. Nowadays one is more likely to come across Android FUD than to see tired FUD tactics used against GNU/Linux. Techrights has already covered some patterns of FUD against Android (e.g. diversity as “fragmentation”, even the "Nazi" smear), but increasingly we see the same abandonment of technical FUD and a transition into patent FUD, just as we recently explained in relation to Linux.
Basically, the same false premises were being applied in turn to both GNU/Linux and Android (Dalvik/Linux). First, Microsoft mostly ignored Linux, just as Ballmer pretended that OHA simply was a bunch of words on paper. At a later stage came the technical FUD (full of logical holes and fallacies) and then came the patent FUD, which in the case of Linux was really announced in 2006 when the Microsoft/Novell deal got announced, leading to this site being created.
“First, Microsoft mostly ignored Linux, just as Ballmer pretended that OHA simply was a bunch of words on paper.”The story we typically see after patent aggression is that the aggressor simply reveals its weakness. The aggressor fails to actually play the game by the rules and simply throws a fit instead. It’s a bit like the SCO case. At first it gets a lot of media attention, then the public gets very angry and boycotts the aggressor. Further down the line the aggressor is just a shadow of its former self, still very angry but hardly worth anyone’s attention.
As Google’s market cap grows it might not be long before Microsoft becomes only the 4th biggest technology brand in the US (judging by market cap). There is definitely a transition happening and Microsoft is unable to become part of this tradition (e.g. phones, Web-based services, and form factors that replace some desktops, such as tablets). It is safe to assume that Microsoft’s patent strategy is a short-term plan and by no means a sustainable strategy. It has already met the wrath of at least two companies that fight in court over Microsoft’s patent allegations, putting at risk some of Microsoft’s basis for racketeering. Sooner or later Google will be bigger than Microsoft, even though Google is a very young company.
In 2006 we dealt with patent FUD against Linux. When was the last time a server or desktop GNU/Linux vendor surrendered to Microsoft? That was years ago. We have essentially seen Microsoft changing strategies after failing to extort Red Hat, whose business is thriving and installbase is growing all the time. Android had not even been conceived (or hardly been conceived) back when Microsoft was busy extorting GNU/Linux distributors. This site currently deals a lot with Android FUD simply because it is Microsoft’s latest target, as the many small deals signed and strategically announced at the end of June helped show, ushered by pro-Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller, who exaggerates the threats and predicts doom for Android. Here is his latest FUD which he must have been pushing to journalists like a true lobbyist. “Mueller is back,” says Swapnil Bhartiya. Yes, the Android FUD is back. That’s this lobbyist’s focus at the moment. █