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08.25.11

Despite Malicious Lobbying and Legal Attacks, Linux and Android Are Winning

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Soccer lobbyist Florian Müller still pretends to be an IP expert, deceives journalists, gets exposed

Microsoft lobbyist

Summary: The campaign to misinform journalists (and thus the public) is not working as Steve Jobs quits his position and Android continues to gain very rapidly

WHAT the mobile war (and we include tablets in this category) has at stake is perhaps the future of computing as the battle for the client end (nodes) affects what happens in the back room, as the OIN’s CEO has stressed in my conversation with him last night. This is why Microsoft and Apple have been so focused on attacking Android and have paid a little less attention to GNU/Linux as of late. “Android Leads All Mobile Platforms with 61% Share” says a headline that was found this morning, so the sense of urgency at Microsoft and Apple is easy to understand. This is becoming a FOSS world where platforms are not proprietary anymore (applications are another matter). Apple and Microsoft are both attacking Linux and FOSS-based platforms, driving them away (even neutralising Nokia in the process, before MeeGo is ever truly launched) and we do, to a certain extent, depend on Google’s ability to defend itself in court, with or without the OIN. “When Silicon Valley fights, patents are the deadliest weapon” says this headline from CNN in an article that notes: “Apple, for instance, recently found itself on the losing end of a patent-related legal fight with Nokia. After almost two years of wrangling, Apple agreed in June to end the battle with a one-time payment of more than $600 million to the Finnish mobile giant. Apple will also pay Nokia royalties for each iPhone sold.”

“Now that Apple is pushing for a ban of Android devices, solutions to the problem are being sought not just inside Google (plus Motorola) and Samsung.”This is of course opening the door to Android extortion, as we argued before. They are trying to normalise and to validate the smartphones thicket, which they keep making thicker and thicker (e.g. with the Novell and Nortel patent acquisitions).

Now that Apple is pushing for a ban of Android devices, solutions to the problem are being sought not just inside Google (plus Motorola) and Samsung. The Economist has this new article which says: “Kent Walker, one of Google’s senior lawyers, grouses at being forced to spend a lot of money defending the company against frivolous lawsuits by rivals. Others counter that as computing goes mobile, it favours information-technology firms that have invested in research for years and that Google was naive—or idealistic—to broaden its IT business without having a stack of patents. There is a retort to that, too: that incumbents can use patents as barriers to entry, which is why America’s antitrust regulators are showing interest in them. In April the Department of Justice demanded changes to Novell’s patent sale to protect open-source software.

“Nowadays, innovations in IT usually rely on many small improvements involving numerous technologies, which means it is not always clear precisely which inventions a patent covers. The open secret is that everyone infringes everyone else’s patents in some way. This creates an incentive for firms to build up their patent portfolios to strengthen their position in negotiations, leading to what some liken to an arms race. The legal tussles usually end in cross-licensing deals, in which small sums of money change hands. This is considered preferable to a mutually destructive exchange of endless lawsuits.

“The patent battle has become more contentious than ever. One reason is the mobile phone has provided a new platform of computing that firms want to dominate. Also, such a backlog of applications built up at America’s patent office (now more than 1m, with a waiting time of around three years) that standards slipped. Dubious patents were granted, helped in part by court rulings that allowed patents to stand on some software and “business methods” that many thought no one could lay claim to. In Europe and Japan, where patentability standards are higher, this is less of a problem.”

“Reuters is WRONG. Case is NOT decided. Journalists, start THINKING instead of quoting!”
      –Jan Wildeboer
The president of the FFII has meanwhile found another ludicrous patent that somehow made its way through the ever-more-laughable USPTO. He also quotes Reuters as saying that “Samsung gets boost from Dutch court, Jobs resignation” (sadly, Reuters had been fooled by a lobbyist in another article where it failed badly like the BBC, but we won’t feed that article with a URL).

One of the more prominent people to expose the lobbyist right now is his former boss, Jan Wildeboer. Quoting some of his latest tweets, we have:

“Ofcourse @fosspatents claims Samsung is on the looser side. What else? Yesterday he was like so right with that ;-) </sarcasm>

“Reuters is WRONG. Case is NOT decided. Journalists, start THINKING instead of quoting! #ApplevSamsung

“Most disappointing is that the press cannot betrusted. They quoted Reuters #fail over and over. #Applevssamsung

“Oooh. Apple wants to add competitive argument in Düsseldorf, judge not happy. Apple losing? #ApplevsSamsung cc @neeliekroeseu

“Another BOOM via @andreasudo BREAKING: wow! Samsung says it has compiled 27 (!) examples of distorted pictures in Apples …”

“OMG! Apple accuses Samsung that pix on their webiste are enhanced to make stuff look better. They woudl NEVER do that, right?

Why do journalists still print what this soccer lobbyist is claiming? Because he knows how to lobby themoif course, he is an experienced lobbyist with credentials as a lobbyist. The matter of fact is, Apple has mostly failed to block Android and almost all the Android phones that sell in big quantities are from Asian companies. That’s the growth area and the target OEM base. Apple is now coming to grips with the fact that manufacturers like Samsung don’t depends on Apple anymore. Apple is losing market share and the attacks on Samsung are said to be leading to supply shortages (Apple needs Samsung for production, but it made Samsung angry). On the same day that Apple pretty much loses in Europe, its CEO, Steve Jobs, is quitting, having said or at least insinuated quite famously that when he no longer manages Apple well enough he will leave. So it’s self-explanatory, right?

Meanwhile in Asia, one of the larger manufacturers of Android phones is collecting a huge number of patents. Quoting Reuters again (despite it being deceived by a lobbyist these days):

China’s telecom giants are building up a war-chest of patents to help give them an edge in the legal battles raging between the world’s smartphone makers, aided by Beijing’s push to transform the country from workshop to innovator.

Mike Masnick is meanwhile kind enough to let us know that “Debate On Software Patents Fails To Convince Silicon Valley That Patents Increase Innovation”. Excellent news which starts as follows:

Yesterday, I went to the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley for a lunchtime debate on software patents. It was one of those things where an official “motion” was put forth, and then people voted before and after to see if the debate changed anyone’s mind. In this case, the motion was simple: “software patents encourage innovation.” Arguing for the motion was Bob Zeidman, a consultant/writer who sells software for… analyzing intellectual property. Arguing against the motion was Edward Lee, a Berkeley CS professor. The audience, as is (unfortunately) typical at the Computer History Museum definitely skewed “older.” I ended up at a table with some guys who worked at IBM many decades ago. There were also a fair number of patent lawyers in attendance.

There’s this view outside of Silicon Valley that folks here love patents, but in my experience, most people don’t seem to like patents at all. They get in the way of actually innovating — as we’ve shown time and time again — and the thing that Silicon Valley folks like more than just about anything else is building something cool. The idea that someone else can sue you for building something cool just seems incomprehensible.

Before the debate, the vote was already against the motion: 64 people voted for the motion (35.7%). 89 people voted against (49.7%). Another 26 didn’t vote at all.

We appear to be moving into a more civilised IT world where platforms are open source (arguably Free Software too) and patents are passé. Don’t let lobbyists get on your nerves (or your mind). Their job is to change perception, not to tell the truth.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Gravatar

    It was 20 years ago today that Linus Torvalds posted his announcement of Linux to Usenet. It owns the server market and embedded market and now via Android is getting the majority of the Smartphone market. It was poised to get the netbook market for a while, the strong arming that kept it out cannot go on forever.

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