Cablegate: Deputy Managing Director of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (FCA) Said Microsoft’s Inadequate Technical Documentation Had Hindered Progress in the EU Case
Summary: The EU case against Microsoft has Stefan Keznickl remark privately about the stance of the FCA, after the EU Commission invited Member States
THIS cable is short and it is probably the last one for today. This Cablegate cable shows something that the public was probably not aware of, probably not at the time anyway:
VZCZCXRO6879 PP RUEHDT RUEHLMC RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHPB DE RUEHVI #0942 0891119 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 301119Z MAR 06 FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2920 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY UNCLAS VIENNA 000942 SIPDIS STATE FOR EBB/TPP/IPE (BEATRICE SOILA) AND EUR/AGS STATE PASS TO USTR (VICTORIA ESPINEL AND JAMES MENDENHALL) JUSTICE FOR RENATA HESSE COMMERCE FOR JOHN MASTERSON NSC FOR JOHN HERRMANN SIPDIS, SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ETRD, KIPR, EUN, AU SUBJECT: EC V. MICROSOFT DEMARCHE: AUSTRIAN RESPONSE REF: STATE 46956 1. (U) Post conveyed reftel non-paper and talking points March 29 to Stefan Keznickl, Deputy Managing Director of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (FCA), which is responsible in the GoA for national and EU-level antitrust cases. Post also provided reftel information to Martin Eichtinger, the Minister of Economy's Chief of Staff. Keznickl said that the Commission had invited Member States to the March 30 hearing, but Member States did not intend to intervene in the process between the EC and Microsoft. Austria would therefore not have any coordinating role in its Presidency function. However, Keznickl added that the Council would discuss the case at a later stage. He said there was no date yet for the Council discussion. 2. (SBU) Keznickl underscored that the GoA did not believe the EC had been uncooperative in the process, noting that it was necessary for both sides to work together. According to Keznickl, Microsoft's inadequate technical documentation had hindered progress in this case. MCCAW#
Cablegate: Microsoft Attacks Free/Libre Software in Tunisia With a Ben Ali Deal, Conspiring to Also Spy on the Population
Summary: Gory details (given the revolution that came later) leak out through Wikileaks, which helps show how Microsoft does politics to impose user-hostile software on entire nations, defying their policies in the process
Found via the post “Microsoft et Ben Ali : Wikileaks confirme les soupçons d’une aide pour la surveillance des citoyens Tunisiens” was this very interesting diplomatic cable which sheds light on collaboration between two thugs, Steve Ballmer and Ben Ali. It not only shows Microsoft driving over Free software policies but it also shows Microsoft assisting the government’s attack on the population, which later overthrew Ben Ali. Those who insist that software is not political can bury their heads in the sand or alternatively read the following Cablegate cable. We emphasise some bits of interest in it:
VZCZCXRO7019 PP RUEHTRO DE RUEHTU #2424/01 2651044 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 221044Z SEP 06 FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1903 INFO RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0796 RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 7294 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1182 RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 0784 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1635 RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8221 RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY 0395 RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA PRIORITY 3995 RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TUNIS 002424 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR NEA/MAG (HARRIS) AND EB/CIP STATE PASS USTR (BELL), USPTO (ADLIN AND ADAMS), USAID (MCCLOUD) USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/ONE (ROTH), ADVOCACY CTR (JAMES), AND CLDP (TEJTEL) CASABLANCA FOR FCS (ORTIZ) LONDON AND PARIS FOR NEA WATCHER E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2016 TAGS: ECON TINT KIPR ECPS TS SUBJECT: MICROSOFT INKS AGREEMENT WITH GOT ¶1. (SBU) Summary: During the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in South Africa July 11-12, the GOT and the Microsoft Corporation signed a partnership agreement that provides for Microsoft investment in training, research, and development, but also commits the GOT to using licensed Microsoft software. According to Microsoft Tunisia Director General Salwa Smaoui, the agreement is a win-win for both Microsoft and the GOT. The negotiation process and the brokered deal itself are illustrative of GOT priorities and the cost of doing business in Tunisia. End Summary. ¶2. (SBU) The agreement between Microsoft and the GOT was signed in July during the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in South Africa. Although signed in July, information about the agreement has not been forthcoming from either the GOT or Microsoft and, despite repeated requests, Microsoft has yet to provide post with a copy of the final agreement. In a September meeting with EconOffs, Microsoft Tunisia Director General Salwa Smaoui provided an overview of the main points. The final agreement outlines cooperation on GOT e-governance, cyber security, intellectual property rights, and capacity development for Tunisian information technology programs. Microsoft will establish a Microsoft Innovation Center in Tunisia for developing local software production capacity by providing training and consulting services to software developers. Expanding the Tunisian IT sector has become a priority for the GOT as a way to absorb the growing number of unemployed university graduates. According to Smaoui, the GOT invests approximately one percent of GDP in research and development in the IT sector. Microsoft has also agreed to provide training to handicapped Tunisians to enable them to seek employment in the IT sector by telecommuting. (Note: President Ben Ali's wife Leila Ben Ali runs a charity for handicapped Tunisians. End Note.) ¶3. (U) As part of the agreement, Microsoft will help the GOT to upgrade and modernize its computers and networking capabilities. In turn, the GOT agreed to purchase twelve thousand licenses to update government computers with official Microsoft software, rather than the pirated versions that have been commonly used, according to one Microsoft employee. Since 2001, the GOT adopted an open software policy, using only free software programs. Additionally, future GOT tenders for IT equipment will specify that the equipment must be Microsoft compatible, which is currently prohibited by the Tunisian open software policy. ¶4. (SBU) The agreement also touches on internet security. Through a program on cyber criminality, Microsoft will train government officials in the Ministries of Justice and Interior on how to use computers and the internet to fight crime. As part of this program, Microsoft will provide the GOT with original source codes for its programs. When asked by EconOff whether Microsoft had any concerns about releasing its source codes, Smaoui replied that the source codes would only be available to a small number of officials. Nevertheless, the agreement contains language stating the Microsoft and the GOT will work jointly on intellectual property rights. This agreement also provides for a separate agreement to be signed creating a security cooperation program that will provide more general internet security training to the public. ¶5. (C) According to Smaoui, the agreement is the culmination of a five-year negotiation process. Smaoui was named Microsoft's Director General for Tunisia about one year ago and, although currently hesitant to fully disclose the final details, provided frequent updates to Post on the progress of the negotiations. She reported that at times the GOT's suspicion of Microsoft because of its "American-ness" seemed to outweigh its technical evaluation of the proposal. She said that she had been asked several times by GOT ministers why, as a Tunisian, she was "working for the Americans," and often felt suspicion bordering on hostility during the negotiations. Smaoui also noted that the GOT wanted a TUNIS 00002424 002 OF 002 "tailor-made" agreement, rather than a prepackaged program that would be "imposed" on Tunisia. This attitude towards the negotiation process required Microsoft to focus just as carefully on the presentation as the substance. ¶6. (C) In a call on DCM a few days before the South Africa Forum, Smaoui worried that she was going to the Forum without a signed agreement in hand and could not confirm that the GOT's representative would even show up. She fretted that she might have to confess to Bill Gates that she had no reason to be at the Forum. In the event, Khedija Ghariani, Secretary of State for Computers, Internet, and Free SIPDIS Software, attended and signed the agreement on behalf of the GOT. Despite the drawn-out negotiations, Smaoui stated that reaching an agreement was "vital" for Microsoft. The fact that the government relied on open source software drastically limited business in Tunisia and prevented Microsoft from participating in GOT tenders. Additionally, the agreement reinforces an objective both Microsoft and the GOT share -- establishing a knowledge society. Smaoui stated that even though Microsoft will be investing in Tunisia, the sum of investment will be lower than the cost of GOT purchases. ¶7. (C) Comment: Although the agreement has been hailed as a triumph for intellectual property rights, the negotiations and the brokered deal itself reveal a more complicated reality. Microsoft was able to broker the final agreement by appealing to GOT unemployment sensitivities as well as by adapting to the realities of doing business in Tunisia. Even as the goal of expanding employment opportunities for handicapped Tunisians is worthy, the program's affiliation with Leila Ben Ali's charity is indicative of the backroom maneuvering sometimes required to finalize a deal. Microsoft's reticence to fully disclose the details of the agreement further highlights the GOT emphasis on secrecy over transparency. In theory, increasing GOT law enforcement capability through IT training is positive, but given heavy-handed GOT interference in the internet, Post questions whether this will expand GOT capacity to monitor its own citizens. Ultimately, for Microsoft the benefits outweigh the costs. End Comment. BALLARD
Citizens of Tunisia ought to sue Microsoft, which has “blood in its hands”. Watch how they keep this secret from the public which pays for it. When they say fight “crime” they may actually mean fight dissent, too (which from the government’s perspective is often a crime). Tunisia overthrew Ali. Now it needs to overthrow his ally, Microsoft. █
Cablegate: As Gates Goes Lobbying for Microsoft Lock-in Among Turkish Youth, the Protesters Are “Fringe Parties” According to Istanbul Consulate
Summary: Bill Gates goes to lobby many parties (including dinner with Prime Minister Erdogan) and dissenting voices of Turks receive no weight at their nation’s consulate
The Istanbul Consulate acts more like a cheerleader and hardly as an office genuinely concerned with the Turkish people.
UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000124 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON, ETRD, EINV, ECPS, TU, Istanbul SUBJECT: MICROSOFT TARGETS TURKEY Sensitive but unclassified - not for internet distribution. This message was coordinated with Embassy Ankara. 1. (U) Summary: In his third trip to Turkey in a little over a year, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates met in Istanbul with senior Turkish government and business leaders and announced a range of new initiatives aimed at increasing internet penetrationin Turkey. These included a new Turkey web portal (in cooperation with Turkey's leading media group, Dogan Holding) and a "My First Computer" campaign in partnership with Intel and Turk Telecom. The extensively publicized January 28-30 visit included a dinner with Prime Minister Erdogan and a town-hall meeting with 2500 students. In his public comments, Gates praised Turkey's progress in combatting pirated software. While not announcing any specific investment plans, he highlighted the fact that Istanbul serves as Microsoft's regional headquarters for 79 countries in the Middle East and Africa, and predicted that its footprint here will continue to grow in the years ahead. End Summary. 2. (SBU) In addition to its Turkey-centered events, Microsoft had initially planned to take advantage of Gates' presence to organize a summit of business leaders from throughout the Middle East and Africa. Following the outbreak of avian influenza in Eastern Turkey, it put those plans on hold, and instead targeted local business leaders and students. In addition to his meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan and Transport and Communications Minister Yildirim, Gates met with Microsoft's partners here (including notably Dogan Holding), and spoke to students (a town hall of 2500 students from a range of schools gathered at an urban campus in Istanbul), journalists, and Turkish business leaders. 3. (SBU) While there was no announcement regarding the planned "Techno-city," which Prime Minister Erdogan announced last year and which Microsoft has indicated in general terms that it will support, Gates did announce a range of new initiatives, including a "My First Computer" project, in cooperation with Intel and Turk Telecom. Noting that Turkey lags behind other developed countries with an internet penetration rate of 16 percent (an estimated 10 million people using 750,000 computers), he said the project targets to reach 80 percent of Turkish households through the new PC, which will be introduced this spring and will cost around 300 USD. Gates said this project will build on Microsoft's work in partnership with Turkey's Ministry of Education, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and local NGO's, which has succeeded in bringing internet access to public spaces in most Turkish communities. 4. (SBU) Gates also met with Dogan Holding Chairman Aydin Dogan to announce that the two companies will work together to launch a local search engine to challenge Google's dominance in the Turkey. The portal will also provide internet telephone services (VOIP), and will utilize Microsoft's technical expertise and Dogan's experience in the local market. 5. (SBU) Speaking to the press, Gates praised Turkey's progress in reducing the level of pirated software, and noted Microsoft's own efforts in this regard, in cooperation with other IT partners in the local Business Software Alliance (BSA). He underlined the potential Turkey offers with its young and dynamic population, and highlighted Microsoft's decision to use Istanbul as a base for its regional operations in the Middle East and Africa. While disclaiming any specific investment plans, he predicted the company's footprint will grow as its activities in the region continue to expand. 6. (SBU) Comment: While his presence attracted a handful of protestors from fringe parties, Gates was enthusiastically welcomed by most Turks, and his visit won wide coverage. (The fact that Dogan Holding dominates local print and broadcast media didn't hurt.) Even Istanbul's normally tough press corps appeared overawed, lobbing mainly softballs in Gates' extended press conference. While Techno-city is not on the immediate horizon, Gates made clear that Turkey figures in Microsoft's future plans. End Comment. JONES
How charitable. Notice how the Ministry of Education is among Gates’ targets, probably because it can help Gates indoctrinate the young at taxpayers’ expense. █
Summary: The scandal in Tamil Nadu is met with a weak defence from the culprits
WHAT sure seems like federal corruption in Tamil Nadu led to the forcing of Windows. All new computers will need to have Microsoft Windows paid for, even if the user chooses to run GNU/Linux. Watch the dodgy official resorting to damage control. They even use Microsoft talking points. This one says that “the freedom of the students to choose the operating system of their choice is encouraged.” Freedom of “choice” is the Microsoft spin, which misses the point that they still have to pay for Windows whether they want to or not and Windows is not freedom, it’s being subjugated to a monopoly abuser from abroad. Let them lie. They are used to it. Indians should not let this one slip aside because this is part of a pattern, as we covered in posts such as:
- Microsoft’s EDGI in India: Fighting GNU/Linux in Education
- Microsoft’s Expansions in India and EDGI in India Lead to Call for a Boycott
- India Moves to Free Software, So Microsoft Fights Back with Gentle Bribes and Partners
Windows respects “freedom of the students to choose the operating system” like someone who boards the plane has the freedom to refuse the full-body X-Ray scanners in Manchester Airport, in which case the passenger is refused access to any departing flight. It’s the mere illusion of choice. The picture below is censored by the way, but this is what every single passenger in Manchester is required to give the government in exchange for plane access these days, never mind the catastrophic effects of cancer (risking more lives and in the long term causing more deaths than all airplane terrorism combined). █
Summary: Genuine African blogs explain that they wish not to be treated like they are desperate for American corporations and aristocrats to ‘save’ them
Bill Gates is hijacking the voice of Africans to impose negative things on them. We’ve covered this in posts such as:
- Bill Gates Sells Drugs in Less Developed Nations (for Profit)
- How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
- With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
- Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
- Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
- Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
- Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
- Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
- More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
- Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
- Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
- Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
- Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
- Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
- Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
- Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
- Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
- UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
- “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”
- The Gates Foundation Extends Control Over Communication with Oxfam Relationship
- Week of Monsanto
Here is an African voice explaining why this is wrong.
Society has a very one dimentional conversation about privilege.
Looking at me from an American perspective, it would be easy to assume that I hold no privilege.
I’m Black, a woman, from the third world. All these things are true and indeed if you were to base your evaluation of me on popular media images of Africans and particularly African women, I’m a miserable creature indeed.
However, if you take seriously Chimamanda Achidie’s call for a balance of stories you might take a different perspective of me.
As an educated, professor of Politics at an American university, I do wield considerable class, educational and other privileges relative to the rest of the world’s population.
You see, the problem is that society as a whole tends to have very narrow views of privilege.
This narrow view of privilege pervades philanthropy as well.
Gates Keppers found this article about rich Americans who treat Africa like it’s some kind of a zoo. They are posing for the camera to boast about superiority and alleged generosity. Africans are not stupid and they can see what’s wrong with it. As Gates Keppers points out, Bill Gates is sponsoring this, too:
Water First International
Date: November 2010
Purpose: for general operating support
Term: 1 month
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Web site: Not available
Summary: Advogato posts a “Defense of Negativity” and we repost a video relevant to this
THERE IS this common misconception that things will improve if one adheres to a consistently positive message and never speaks badly of the ills. Here at Techrights we do not quite agree with this (we do not complain about it, either) and a few months ago I did a video to explain this (reposted below). Well, yesterday it was Advogato which posted a very detailed rebuttal to the claim at hand. It’s titled “In Defense of Negativity” and it starts as follows:
I have often heard criticism of “negative campaigning” in the free software movement. “Negative” campaigns speak out against proprietary software as opposed to “positive” campaigns which instead speak of the benefits of software freedom. This essays unpacks some of the arguments against negativity and makes the argument that negative campaigns, in some forms, can play an critical and important role in free software advocacy.
Great essay. For what it’s worth, my response is reposted below. █
YouTube: On Techrights Negativism
Or as Ogg:
Summary: Summation of discussions with two Keiths, one from Open Invention Network (OIN) and another who is a former Fedora member/packager
TECHRIGHTS certainly strives to accumulate new information, if not by researching written documents then by asking people who are familiar with what happens behind the scenes (where no documents are being produced). A long conversation with OIN’s CEO, for example, helped improve our understanding of the patents situation. Many of these issues are passed around verbally, but we basically wanted a clearer separation between FAT deals and Linux deals. From what I recall (I didn’t take any notes), Microsoft bundles some of those deals under meta-packages of sorts. One would be the file systems thing, another would probably be the Samba thing, and for Android we are told it’s really just ActiveSync, which is interesting because it’s easy to dodge this one dependency. We had it implicitly confirmed that $5 is the price tag on HTC phones (Microsoft tax). This number originally came from some banker/analyst in some report last year.
It’s all very vague to an outsider, so we are still trying to get all the numbers right. We wish this was public knowledge, but Microsoft prefers for it to be secret as that would intimidate potential Android distributors and prospective buyers. We already know that patent assurance from Xandros (DistroWatch declared it “discontinued” 5 weeks ago) is valued at $50, so we assume more or less the same for SUSE. We don’t know if Xandros still has that Web page with the $50 figure online, but we took screenshots at the time and Debian developers got notified by a reader of ours who is also a Debian Developer (DD). The same Xandros page now says “$149.99… Purchase Xandros Desktop without Microsoft patent assurance [which leads to a similar page with the $99 price tag].” (Update see Jose’s remark in the comments below)
There are serious issues regarding the legality of what Microsoft is doing. It not only deceives for FUD but it also extorts its competition under secret terms. As for FAT patents, Tridge wrote a patch for that within weeks. If one is aware of the patents (no secrecy), then they become simple to work around much of the time. Keith (not of OIN but Slated) asked:”So if there’s a non-infringing implementation then why aren’t companies using it? Does any Linux distributor still have to pay Microsoft for FAT patents or not? If not, then what are they (e.g. HTC) paying for?”
We reckon it might be ActiveSync. But it’s hard to be sure. Microsoft didn’t say and the OIN seems to suggest that it’s ActiveSync. The secrecy is not coincidental. It’s intentional. It’s for FUD.
Moreover, notes Keith (an opinionated GNU/Linux advocate), “I thought the EU Commission ruled Microsoft had to open the SMB spec and allow royalty-free implementations. Is Microsoft violating that ruling?
“So again, does any Linux distributor currently pay Microsoft for SMB licensing or not, and if not then what are they paying for? It’s not SMB, it’s not FAT, so what is it?”
The TomTom case says FAT, the Motorola case says a little more (but Motorola did not lose the case), and we generally don’t quite know for sure. There was some article around 2007 about Microsoft Licensing (external) and some entity they set up to manage SMB “licences”. Jeremy Allison complained about it. Maybe that prelades the Samba EU decision, but we suspect not. It was in December of this year that the EU Commission had a breakthrough and Easter of that same year when Novell submitted the redacted deal document, which then exposed some of what Novell had done with Microsoft in secret.
The OIN is trying to collect key patents that act as shield/deterrence. I have negotiated with someone who has key patents on tablets (Microsoft troll proxies tried to snatch these off his hands), who after speaking to me for weeks decided to donate them to “Linux and FOSS”. I directed him to the OIN and we’re still working on it quite privately.
The OIN is concerned about what Microsoft did to MeeGo and Nokia, which is now handing over its parents to a patent troll, MOSAID (which sued Red Hat last month), to sue Android. I told OIN’s Keith about apparent entryism at HP amid the news about WebOS. What shocks me personally is that many journalists went to sleep or vanished, so nobody seems to be covering this huge antitrust violations.
“It’s a big mystery,” continued Keith. “HTC pays Microsoft $5 per handset for “patents” Linux “violates”, but nobody seems to know what “patents” they are, and nobody wants to talk about it. Indeed, for some equally mysterious reason, they seem to need to sign NDAs before making those agreements, even though patents are required by law to be a matter of public record. So why would Microsoft need companies to sign NDAs if these are perfectly legitimate deals, and what are those deals, exactly? If companies are not paying for FAT patents, as they clearly no longer need to, and they’re not paying for SMB patents, since Microsoft is prohibited from charging royalties for it, then what exactly are they paying for, and why does it need to be a big secret?”
B&N did not sign the NDA and in fact it 'leaked' evidence of the extortion. Groklaw then published or republished the PDF and there was some press coverage that did not name patent numbers.
“Surely it should be up to Microsoft to provide that at the application level, and sell it on Apple’s app store / Android Market, not make boiler-room deals with smartphone manufacturers.”
–Keith (Slated)“An even more important question,” continued Keith, “is why do governments tolerate this blatantly obvious racketeering? Surely the Microsoft deceptions exposed by Barnes and Noble should have been enough to alert antitrust investigators to this corruption. So what is being done about it?”
The government — although taxpayers fund it — is an extension of Microsoft. Right now Techrights is going through Cablagate and publishing relevant cables that show the government acting as merely a lobbyist and marketer for Microsoft. Only if people stand up and demand action will something be done about Microsoft. See how the SEC systematically ignored bankers’ crimes (Taibi wrote articles about it) and a whistleblower explained that the SEC also destroyed evidence. That was last month. Microsoft and FTC/US DOJ are similar. The latter did not even investigate the CPTN debacle before it received several formal complaints. Government kowtowing is not unique to Microsoft, but that is irrelevant. It’s a systemic problem.
“Screw ActiveSync,” ranted Keith. “Let Office users sync through Google’s Cloud like everyone else. Surely it should be up to Microsoft to provide that at the application level, and sell it on Apple’s app store / Android Market, not make boiler-room deals with smartphone manufacturers.
“It’s bizarre. Android handset distributors are basically paying Microsoft for the “privilege” of bundling something that Microsoft could simply provide itself after-market, and would most likely do so for free anyway, for those few who actually need it. It’d be like paying Microsoft to bundle Internet Explorer. It’s just incredibly strange.
“Somebody needs to write a long, detailed exposé of this whole “Microsoft licensing” mystery, and I get the feeling the OIN knows more about it than most. Most importantly, we need to establish whether or not anything that’s being “paid” for genuinely has anything to do with Linux, because from what I’ve seen so far it certainly doesn’t. Mostly though, I’d like to get to the bottom of why Microsoft refuses to tell anyone what patents they’re actually charging “license fees” for. Why won’t they talk about it, and what do bodies like the FTC think about Microsoft’s refusal to talk about it? Am I the only person who thinks this is gangster-like behaviour?”
This problem is sadly enough spreading outside the United States too. The “EPO says Tetris computer game has technical features, thus the exclusion of computer program can be bypassed,” claims the FFII’s President. This fight just never ends, does it? █
“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”
–Marshall Phelps, Microsoft