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

09.08.11

Microsoft PR/Lobbyists Incite Android Partners Against Google

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The B0rg strikes again

Future

Summary: More of the “Android is proprietary” FUD pattern and where this is coming from

THERE seem to be briefings from Microsoft-friendly, truth-hostile Linux foes. A lot of Google and Android FUD is being coordinated from above and we know this not only because can we see the professional background of those who are seeding anti-Google hatred. Microsoft also got caught (several times) hiring PR agents to bribe reporters in exchange for Google FUD. AstroTurfing groups like LawMedia and Burson-Marsteller were covered here before. There are other groups that must not have been caught red-handed yet.

“People who allege that Android is closed source are either spreading the propaganda or are victims of that propaganda.”So anyway, there is a new smear against Android and it comes from a pro-Microsoft lobbyist (in his temporary anti-Android blog). In turn he is cited by Microsoft’s booster Matt Rosoff (he spreads a lot of Linux FUD these days, having come from Directions on Microsoft), who is parroting such pro-Microsoft lobbyists as a matter of need. This is exactly the pattern we have been seeing over the past year. They keep inventing new FUD (e.g. GPL-flavoured claims of violations), push it hard into the press (even by borderline spamming) and while reasonable people debunk the FUD, the lobbyists already move on to the next piece fo FUD and start hammering on those same journalists whom they previously exploited to plant misdirection and misinformation. After a while they run out of FUD and then recycle the older FUD which is already thoroughly debunked but possibly forgotten. Since Microsoft has its own cheerleaders inside the press (pretending to be journalists and hiding their commercial affiliations), there will always be one or two lackeys who parrot the official Microsoft line (smear), which then leads to more. It’s like spreading a disease. They rely on ‘fanbois’ who carry the FUD onwards because of ideology and lack of critical skills.

This is part of the lethal combination of patent FUD and extortion against Android and Linux. The suggestion (which we prefer not to repeat) can currently be debunked very easily, first by pointing to Google’s git repositories and secondly by showing that one is able to compile android code without any real difficulties. People who allege that Android is closed source are either spreading the propaganda or are victims of that propaganda.

The Demise of Apple-labelled Foxconn Devices

Posted in Apple, Asia, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
Original photo by Matthew Yohe, modified by Boycott Novell

Summary: The marketer/integrator called Apple (which cannot even get antennas working properly) sees its attempt to sue Android out of the market backfiring, with the possibility of ‘i’ devices imports from Asia getting blocked

THE branding company from California (designing products in the fashion sense) is having a hard time now that its producers in Asia find Linux and use that to make competition for the company with the fruity logo. Apple tried suing when iOS was ahead of Android, but it didn’t work out too well. Not only has Android cruised past iOS within less than a year, but HTC is now suing Apple (the same company which has “always been shameless about stealing great ideas”) for patent violations.

Revenge and deterrence are key here. Bloomberg has an early report (blogs aside) and Slashdot summarises as follows: “Apparently to stay viable in the IP wars, HTC secured some patents from Google (who purchased them originally from Palm Inc., Motorola Inc. and Openwave Systems Inc.) on the 1st of September. The patents were used to fire a new salvo of shots across Apple’s bow today, September 7th. HTC filed infringement claims against Apple in federal court in Delaware, suing based on four of those patents that originally were issued to Motorola. Additional complaints were filed with the US ITC based on the other patents.”

An Android fans site writes: “It’s about time we saw a manufacturer fire back at Apple’s extraneous patent lawsuits. I suppose it doesn’t surprise me that HTC fired the first shots today. That’s right, HTC has filed several patent lawsuits against the fruity corporation. In the past year, Google obtained nine patents, from Motorola, Palm, and OpenWave Systems. On September 1st, they transferred the patents to HTC for use. It didn’t take long for the Taiwanese company to use these as a weapon against Apple.”

From Bloomberg:

HTC Corp. (2498), Asia’s second-biggest smartphone maker, is using nine patents bought from Google Inc. (GOOG) last week to pursue new infringement claims against Apple Inc.

Google had taken ownership of the patents less than a year ago, with four of the patents originating from Motorola Inc., three from Openwave Systems Inc. and two from Palm Inc., according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records. Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google, wouldn’t discuss reasons for the nine transfers to HTC.

Robert Pogson calls Apple “the Second Pariah of IT” and gives a list of the reasons, preceded by:

No one likes a bully. I think that applies to monopolists and would-be monopolists in IT who do other than compete on price and performance to interfere with markets.

Apple is together with Microsoft in this. They want their duopoly back. Avoid everything from those companies in order to make development, innovation, and progress a lot faster.

More Microsoft Extortion

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer

Summary: Acer and ViewSonic are extorted by the patent bully which is Microsoft while the circumstances permit Microsoft to hide the threats and the weapons

MICROSOFT is trying to make it seem like Linux is expensive. Its chief racketeer, Horacio, advertises himself in a couple of press releases, the latter of which states: “Microsoft Corp. and ViewSonic Corp. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for ViewSonic’s tablets and mobile phones running the Android or Chrome Platform. Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from ViewSonic under the agreement.”

“As we shall show in imminent Cablegate cables, US diplomats help Microsoft by changing laws around the world.”They name Android also Chrome OS, but they intentionally don’t say if it’s just FAT patents (as we recently learned from Keith of the OIN) or anything beyond it. The purpose is FUD. Microsoft cannot compete by making products, so it uses its own gangster-inspired tactics to turn Linux-running devices into its own cash cows. As we shall show in imminent Cablegate cables, US diplomats help Microsoft by changing laws around the world. And the patent system is evidently broken as the secrecy impedes investigations into those dubious 'deals'.

Microsoft refuses to say what patents are actually involved, which is indicative of how weak those patents really are (easy to invalidate or work around). As one site put it, “Back in June, Microsoft persuaded General Dynamics Itronix, Velocity Micro and Onkyo to settle a licensing agreement, shortly followed by Wistron the following month. Meanwhile, the company is believed to also be targeting Samsung for a similar – though probably far more lucrative – deal. HTC is already believed to pay Microsoft $5 per Android device it makes.”

Samsung is only paying Microsoft for FAT, based on what we recently learned. In fact, much of what Microsoft calls “Linux” patent deals are actually over FAT and Android deals are actually about ActiveSync. Another reason to dump Microsoft in the enterprise and avoid its file systems, right? Who would wish to depend on such a gangster?

Links 8/9/2011: Munich’s Migration to GNU/Linux Works, Archbang 2011.09

Posted in News Roundup at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Great Linux Migration: who’s made the move, why, and what’s in store for the future growth of Linux?
  • Munich Migration From The User’s Viewpoint

    So the FUD about the Munich Migration being a disaster of some kind is not real. They are doing much more than migrating to another OS at the same time by rationalizing IT in other ways (CMS and web-applications) and they are not in any hurry crunching 50-100 per week and likely doing some hand-holding at the same time. It works for them.

  • Server

    • Mainframe Ubuntu Linux?

      When you think of “Ubuntu Linux,” you probably think of the community Linux distribution and the Linux desktop. That’s great, but Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, also wants you to think of Ubuntu as a server and cloud operating system platform. To that end, Canonical has been working with IBM to get Ubuntu certified on IBM’s high-end System P Power hardware line and System z mainframes.

    • An Open Source Platform for Virtual Supercomputing

      Erlang Solutions and Massive Solutions will soon launch a new cloud platform for high performance computing. Last month they announced their intent to bring a virtual supercomputer (VSC) product to market, the idea being to enable customers to share their HPC resources either externally or internally, in a cloud-like manner, all under the banner of open source software.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 3.1 (Part 2) – Storage and filesystems

      The software RAID code now supports bad block management and dm-crypt can notify SSDs about freed storage areas. The iSCSI target framework LIO has been updated to Version 4.1 and the default Ext3 settings make the filesystem more robust, but a bit slower.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Two More Developers Join The Chicago Linux Panel

        Next Tuesday during XDC2011 Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology I am hosting a panel about contributing to Linux and open-source projects, in particular, X.Org, Mesa, and the Linux kernel, but the information should be largely relevant to any free software project. This discussion panel is largely targeted towards university students and others that aren’t yet contributing to upstream projects, with most of the panel participants having begun their Linux contributions prior to graduating from university and then most of them being poached by major open-source companies.

      • A Happy Four Years To An Open-Source ATI/AMD

        It was four years ago, on the 6th of September 2007, that I exclusively broke the news on AMD’s open-source strategy that would end up greatly changing the open-source Linux graphics driver landscape.

        While the news was delivered on the 6th of September, XDS Cambridge was going on at that point, and it wasn’t until the 17th of September that the RadeonHD Linux driver was published, so it’s hard to call a precise birth-date for this strategy. It could also be considered the point at which SUSE wrote a letter to AMD with this open-source idea.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Ships September Updates

        September 7, 2011. Today KDE released updates for its Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. These updates are the first in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.7 series. 4.7.1 updates bring many bugfixes and translation updates on top of the latest edition in the 4.7 series and are recommended updates for everyone running 4.7.0 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE’s software is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come. To download source code or packages to install go to the 4.7.1 Info Page. The changelog and Bugzilla list more, but not all improvements since 4.7.0. Note that these changelogs are incomplete. For a complete list of changes that went into 4.7.1, you can browse the Subversion and Git logs. 4.7.1 also ships a more complete set of translations for many of the 55+ supported languages. To find out more about the KDE Workspace and Applications 4.7, please refer to the 4.7.0 release notes and its earlier versions.

      • KDE Ships September Updates
  • Distributions

    • Unity Linux 2011 to use Arch-Linux-Like Approach

      In other news another favorite of mine, at least in the rpm universe, has released an Alpha build of what will be Unity Linux 2011. I reviewed Unity Linux last year on this blog and images were 276MB and 277 MB per architecture, and the subsequent update 2010.2 brought it to well over 300 MB. This time the size is only a 100 odd megabyte and the team is making some significant changes.

    • ArchBang 2011.09 Includes the Linux 3.0.4-1 Kernel
    • Archbang 2011.09 Released

      Keeping up the schedule of a new release roughly every six months, a new and updated Archbang live/install image with the 3.0 kernel is out, 2011.09. Read the release announcement and see a screenshot here. As always it is available for i686 and x86_64 architectures. The images are a handy download size of 526 MB and 531 MB respectively. If you already have it installed there’s no need to get this as of course Arch is rolling, but good for if you want to update a copy on your USB stick for newer hardware.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: Java now on firm path for the cloud

        Open source raconteur and Red Hat senior director of middleware engineering Mark Little has laid down some defining comments as to the current state of Java EE7 Enterprise Edition.

        Speaking to a US-based software developer web site, Little has hinted that Java EE7 is a real “milestone release” and that its current status marks the point at which Java truly heads towards the cloud computing of IT delivery.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Graphics Test Week, Again

          The Fedora Project is having another Graphics Test Week. This time around it’s for testing the Intel, Nouveau, and Radeon drivers for the forthcoming Fedora 16 release.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Convoluted Rebuttals – Unity: The War Without End?

            I would assume that Unity is developed to appeal to the mainstream masses. It’s easy for us that are tech interested to believe that Linux and its associated packages are written to cater for and pander to us. The vast majority of users on this planet have no interest in tech other than it’s a medium in which they wish to get tasks done. They don’t care about open source, they don’t care about patents they merely want to use a PC to get a job done. Conversely though, they are happy to learn a new way of working if the benefits are presented to them, it’s a natural progression that any product will undergo change which will require a small investment of time on behalf of the consumer. Compare a smart phone to that of one from the early 90′s. A company’s vision of a product with many competitors is something to be encouraged, not scorned because you think that people can’t or won’t be interested in something new.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 Beta
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Velocity Micro Unveils 8-inch and 10-inch Tablets, Both Under $300

        Velocity Micro announced a pair of new Android-powered tablets today, the 8-inch Cruz T408 and 10-inch Cruz T410. Due in late September the two feature 1GHz Cortex A8 processors, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, and front-facing cameras. Android enthusiasts might not dig the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS but average consumer types will like the $239 and $299 price tags. Additional specs for both tablets include Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Adobe Flash Player 10.3, and preloaded apps in Amazon Kindle, Amazon Appstore, Angry Birds Rio, and QuickOffice.

      • Velocity Micro Introduces Two Sub-$300 Android Slates

        Two new little Android tablets have joined the ever-growing tablet race, this time from Velocity Micro. Both the 8-inch Cruz T408 and the 10-inch Cruz T410 are nice enough, but what’ll really catch your eye are the pricetags. The Cruz T408 and T410 are priced at $239.99 and $299.99 respectively — a comfortable price point for anyone looking to get a starter slate.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Bossie Awards 2011: The best open source software of the year

    One of the best ways to see the success of the open source philosophy is to pick up a cellphone. If you happen to grab an Android phone — the most popular in the smartphone class — you’ll have a device running a package built by Google and sitting on top of Linux. Almost all of the source code in the stack is released under a generous open source license.

  • Editing Community Offers Input
  • Events

    • Meteorite Consulting to host UK Open Source BI User Group

      On 8 September 2011, Meteorite Consulting are hosting the inaugural UK Open Source BI User Group Event. The UK OSBI User Group aims to provide information to help organisations select and implement innovative commercial and open source business intelligence, data warehousing and data integration solutions.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Why the cloud is accelerating open-source adoption

      In general, open-source projects typically require two components to get community uptake. First, the nature of the project itself has to be technologically challenging. Successful open-source projects are largely about solving a set of complex technological tasks vs. just writing a lot of code to support complex business processes, such as the case with building enterprise software. Linux, MySQL and BitTorrent are all good examples here.

  • Databases

    • NSA open sources Google database mimic

      The US National Security Agency is open sourcing a distributed “NoSQL” database based on Google’s proprietary BigTable platform.

      Known as Accumulo, the platform has been in development at the NSA for over three years, and it’s built atop Hadoop, the open source distributed file system and distributed number-crunching platform that mimics Google’s internal infrastructure.

    • NSA’s open-source project aims for secure, large-scale storage

      The National Security Agency is looking for help from the developer community in contributing to a label-based storage software that could be enable secure, granular access to data in large storage systems.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org drift apart

      Michael Meeks, a LibreOffice developer at Novell, compared the codebase of LibreOffice with the OpenOffice.org sources hosted at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). As he writes in a blog post, the differences are already so great that it will now be hard to exchange new code between the two projects. In light of the several million lines of source code by which the two products now differ, he says users should not assume that code committed to Apache OpenOffice.org will “inevitably and automatically appear in LibreOffice”. “Instead I suspect we will end up cherry-picking and porting only those things that justify the effort, as/when/if there is any such thing,” added Meeks.

  • CMS

    • Switch to Moodle ongoing this academic year

      The university has since decided to use Moodle Rooms, which provides an enhanced version of the free and open source Moodle.

    • Are you really investing in your real estate website?

      There is one solution which is cost effective and will provide you with freedom and choice. That is to use an open source CMS which is free to use on a General Public License. These open source CMS are usually owned by a not for profit organization of web developers and designers, who’s goal is to share code amongst a worldwide community of developers in an effort to provide a free and powerful CMS for websites. PHP is an open source language and a few CMS build upon PHP include Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, CakePHP and Codeigniter.

    • Diaspora still trying to reinvent social networks with open source

      Most people won’t have even heard of it. Diaspora is an up and coming social network which is getting a lot more attention in some circles in the wake of Google+’s ‘real names’ policy.

      Users are climbing on board after being tipped off that there’s a network just like Google+, only without having anything to do with Google, where you can be who you want to be, how you want to be, and still retain full ownership of everything you put there.

  • Healthcare

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Review: Jaspersoft’s Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition

        But the suite’s open source codebase also enables it to support third-party commercial and open source BI tools, which gives it its broad range of capabilities. These components include Talend’s open source extract, transform and load (ETL) tool and activity monitoring console; R, an advanced analytics development environment; and JasperAnalysis, an OLAP tool based on the open source Mondrian engine.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD: A Faster Platform For Linux Gaming Than Linux?

      FreeBSD provides a Linux binary compatibility layer that allows 32-bit Linux binaries to be natively executed on this BSD operating system. Linux binary compatibility on FreeBSD allows Linux-only applications to be executed in a near seamless manner on this alternative platform, even for games. New tests have revealed that the modern FreeBSD operating system (via PC-BSD 8.2) can actually outperform Linux when it comes to running OpenGL Linux game binaries.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

    • MPL 2.0, copyleft, and license compatibility

      In part one of my Mozilla Public License piece, I mentioned license compatibility as a major feature of MPL 2.0. In fact, it’s such a major – and complicated – issue that it warrants its own explanation.

  • Programming

Leftovers

Cablegate: Microsoft deal in Bosnia “marks a huge success for the U.S. Embassy”

Posted in Cablegate, Europe, Microsoft at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Another fine example of the US diplomats (whom the public pays for) simply acting as de facto lobbyists of corporations

THE following Cablegate cable shows us what we already knew — that the US embassy is performing a role broader than it’s supposed to.


VZCZCXRO9784
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVJ #1879 3531507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181507Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9419
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0085
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
UNCLAS SARAJEVO 001879 
 
SIPDIS 
 
COMMERCE FOR 4232/ITA/MAC/EUR (BURGESS AND SAVICH) 
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO USTR (MORROW, YANG) 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE, EEB/IPE, EUR/PPD (HANNAN), 
EUR/PPD-PA,IIP/S 
TREASURY FOR LINDQUIST 
COMMERCE PLEASE PASS TO MCCAFFREY AND SMITH AT USPTO 
JUSTICE FOR CARL ALEXANDRE 
MOSCOW FOR REGIONAL IPR ATTACHE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECIN, KIPR, BK 
SUBJECT: BOSNIA: MICROSOFT AND PM SPIRIC SIGN STRATEGIC 
PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT 
 
REF: SARAJEVO 1351 
 
1. On December 18, the BiH Council of Ministers and Microsoft 
finally signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement for access 
to legal Microsoft applications for all state-level 
government ministries.  Prime Minister Nikola Spiric signed 
the agreement on behalf of the BiH Government.  The agreement 
obligates the BiH Government to use licensed software, but is 
only the first step in strengthening the state government's 
intellectual property regime.  Microsoft will now begin 
negotiations with BiH to purchase licenses for the software 
applications under the state's purview.  This marks a huge 
success for the U.S. Embassy, which has been working with 
state-level officials for three years to push for action to 
ban pirated and unlicensed software from ministry offices. 
(Note: Federation and RS-entity governments signed separate 
strategic partnership agreements with Microsoft in 2006.  End 
note.) 
ENGLISH 


Smacks of imperialism. Laws are relative and Bosnia would be better off using Free software it can review and modify, not secret code that it rents from another nation.

Cablegate: Microsoft Uses BSA Numbers to Call Algerians ‘Pirates’, Pressure for Law Changes

Posted in Africa, Microsoft at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Algeria is being pressured by US diplomats at the behest of Microsoft Corporation

MICROSOFT AND its own bully, the BSA, are taking on large nations behind the scenes, using bogus data and weak claims (that usage is a lost sale) to portray itself as a victim and then pressure governments to: 1) pay Microsoft for shoddy software they do not need and 2) indoctrinate the population and government employees so that they become dependent on Microsoft in the long run.

The following Cablegate cable shows Microsoft’s modus operadi:


VZCZCXRO1615
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHAS #0190 0501757
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191757Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5286
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2555
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0997
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 8809
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 2173
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7025
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 6228
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 1474
RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0423
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3261
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
UNCLAS ALGIERS 000190 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE PASS TO USTR - PBURKHEAD 
COMMERCE FOR NMASON 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, BEXP, KIPR, ETRD, AG 
SUBJECT: MICROSOFT'S IPR WOES 
 
REF: 07 ALGIERS 1581 
 
THIS CABLE CONTAINS COMPANY PROPRIETARY INFORMATION NOT TO BE 
SHARED OUTSIDE USG. 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: During a February 19 meeting, Microsoft 
Algeria Director General Samir Said outlined Microsoft's 
priorities for Algeria and underscored the negative impact 
weak intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is having 
on Microsoft's financial bottom line and growth potential. 
Said estimated that Microsoft is losings tens of millions of 
dollars each year to software piracy in Algeria and argued 
that the Algerian government has not demonstrated the 
political will to enforce IPR.  Said stated that, in addition 
to antipiracy efforts, Microsoft's main priorites are to 
continue working with the Algerian government (its largest 
customer in Algeria), to recruit qualified employees, and to 
revive partnerships with Algerian ICT companies.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (SBU) Microsoft Algeria DG Samir Said lamented that the 
Algerian government is not taking stronger action to prevent 
software piracy and argued that the situation had worsened 
during 2007.  According to a Business Software Alliance 
Survey, the rate of software piracy increased slightly from 
2006 to 2007, from 84 percent to 85 percent. Said stated that 
"losses are huge" and asserted that Microsoft is losings tens 
of millions of dollars each year.  Said estimated that a 10 
percent reduction in software piracy -- from the current 
estimate of 85 percent to 75 percent -- would yield an 
additional 25 million USD in annual profits. 
 
3. (SBU) Said emphasized that Algeria is an important market 
for Microsoft and that there is clear potential here if the 
Algerian government provides greater support for IPR 
protection.  While he noted that there is a trend towards 
purchasing licensed software in government ministries, 
licenses have only been purchased as part of new system 
purchases and many ministries continue to use unlicensed 
software on previously purchased computers.  Said stated that 
he is not seeing any will to enforce IPR protection in terms 
of software licensing.  He told us that none of the estimated 
50 to 60 thousand home personal computers sold as part of the 
Algerian government's "Ousratic" initiative to expand home 
PC-ownership were sold with Microsoft-licensed software. 
Although Microsoft informed the Minister of Communications 
Technology of this breach, Said said that the government has 
not taken any action to enforce compliance.  During the 
October visit of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (reftel), the 
Algerian government promised to address enforcement, but Said 
stated he had seen no change since then.  He added that he 
often hears the argument that Microsoft must give a "good 
price," but in the end licensed software will always be more 
expensive than the pirated version. 
 
4. (SBU) Said stated that, in addition to antipiracy efforts, 
Microsoft Algeria's main priorities are to continue working 
with the Algerian government, recruit qualified employees, 
and revive partnerships with Algerian ICT companies.  Between 
ministries and state-owned enterprises, the government 
remains Microsoft's largest customer in Algeria and Microsoft 
will continue to work with it despite IPR concerns.  Said 
echoed an oft-heard complaint in saying that he is unable to 
find qualified employees among recent graduates.  Although 
there are nearly 2500 graduates with degrees in ICT, 
according to Said, there are few who have the skills required 
to be competitive in the job market.  Microsoft Algeria is 
also interested in partnering with Algerian ICT companies to 
help promote local software development; however, Said noted 
that this goal is dependent upon improved IPR protection. 
 
5. (SBU) COMMENT: Serious antipiracy efforts in Algeria are 
critical not only for Microsoft but for Algeria's economy 
writ large.  Although the Algerian government has stated its 
intent to develop the local ICT sector, rising rates of 
software piracy will do little to encourage the necessary 
investment or technology transfer.  The Embassy's Special 301 
Review (septel) will address the Algerian government's 
overall IPR protection efforts. 
FORD 


That last part is very typical and it is seen in many cables. Microsoft is trying to say that if the government pays Microsoft a lot of money, then opportunities will open up for the nation. That’s a just load of propaganda, injected by public officials at the behest of Microsoft.

Cablegate: Microsoft Uses US Government and Gates Lobbying to Pressure Saudi Arabia to Embrace US-Style Law (Updated)

Posted in Asia, Law, Microsoft at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Just like in Brazil and other parts of the world, Microsoft targets Saudi Arabia laws and practices, striving to change these with help from politicians

Microsoft loves to daemonise Brazil for being quite free (liberal) culturally, unlike Hollywood. With the title “MICROSOFT SEES GOB ATTACKS AGAINST IPR” (yes, attacks, on artificial ‘intellectual’ monopolies) Microsoft and its cronies in government take on the massive nation and try to pressure it to adjust its laws to better suit Microsoft’s business model. In the older cable, once again we saw Michel Levy (whom we mentioned in relation to OOXML lobbying) overstepping his authority.

Here is s similar Cablegate cable from SA. Watch the country head of Microsoft and notice how Bill Gates lobbies King Abdullah :


VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRH #2340/01 3291436
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251436Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7063
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L RIYADH 002340

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USTR FOR JASON BUNTIN
USDOC FOR TYLER HOFFMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2017
TAGS: ECON, ETRD, KIPR, PGOV, SA
SUBJECT: SAUDI ARABIA: MICROSOFT GM’S TAKE ON IPR
ENFORCEMENT

REF: STATE 107629

Classified By: Economic Counselor Robert B. Murphy
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Khaled al-Dhaher, General Manager of
Microsoft in Saudi Arabia, shared his perception of
intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement in the Kingdom
during a meeting on November 20, 2007. Al-Dhaher identified
three major areas of concern: (a) the failure of the SAG to
license most of the Microsoft software it uses, (b) the
failure of the SAG to impose deterrent penalties, such as
harsh fines and even imprisonment, on IPR violators, and (c)
the lack of transparency of the workings of the Violations
Review Committee (reftel). He also expressed his opinion
that IPR enforcement problems persist in Saudi Arabia because
the working-level officials charged with enforcing IPR do not
consider IPR violations to be crimes. END SUMMARY.

——————————————— —–
Legalization, Deterrent Penalties and Transparency
——————————————— —–

2. (C) Khaled al-Dhaher, General Manager of Microsoft in
Saudi Arabia, identified three major areas of concern with
the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the
Kingdom during a meeting with Emboffs on November 20, 2007.
The first of these areas is the failure of the SAG to license
most of the Microsoft software it uses. Al-Dhaher reports
that Bill Gates raised this issue with King Abdullah when he
visited Saudi Arabia in November 2006. The King agreed to
resolve the problem, and al-Dhaher says that the King
personally contacted the Saudi Arabian General Investment
Authority (SAGIA) to emphasize that legalization should be
accomplished. While al-Dhaher believes that SAGIA has been
Microsoft’s “champion” on this issue, the push for
legalization has enjoyed only modest success. Al-Dhaher
estimates that the SAG uses about 500,000 PCs with Microsoft
software, but has licensed only 25,000 of those computers.
The Ministry of Interior recently licensed Microsoft software
for 7,000 of its estimated 50-70,000 PCs, while the Ministry
of Culture and Information (the ministry to which the
Violations Review Committee (VRC) is attached) licensed
software for 3,000 of its PCs several months ago. Al-Dhaher
believes that legalization problems persist for bureaucratic
and budgetary reasons, and suggests that the SAG designate
funds for all ministries to use to legalize rather than
addressing the issue ministry by ministry or pooling the
ministries’ technology budgets together.

3. (SBU) Al-Dhaher believes that the imposition of
deterrent penalties would enhance the enforcement of IPR in
the Kingdom. The VRC, which reviews all copyright cases, is
authorized to impose fines up to 100,000 SAR (USD 26,666).
The Board of Grievances, the court of appeal for cases heard
by the VRC, can impose fines up to 250,000 SAR (USD 66,666)
and sentence a defendant to prison. However, the highest
fine al-Dhaher is aware of having been levied against an IPR
violator is 12,000 SAR (USD 3,200), and he is not aware of
any case that has been appealed from the VRC to the Board of
Grievances. Al-Dhaher believes that imposing significant
penalties in just one IPR case would serve as an effective
deterrent example.

4. (SBU) Al-Dhaher echoes long-reported complaints
regarding the lack of transparency of the workings of the
VRC. However, he is encouraged by the initiative and
openness shown by the new head of the VRC, Rafik al-Akeeli.
Al-Dhaher says that the VRC has heard more cases in the two
months since al-Akeeli has been in charge than it heard in
the previous year. Al-Akeeli also recently met with
Microsoft representatives for two hours. Given the general
difficulty industry has consulting with the SAG, al-Akeeli’s
willingness to meet with Microsoft was viewed very favorably
by al-Dhaher.

——————————————–
Persistence of Problems with IPR Enforcement
——————————————–

5. (C) Emboffs asked al-Dhaher reasons he believes the SAG
is not better addressing these areas of concern. Al-Dhaher
does not think that corruption is significant, and only
partly blames bureaucratic roadblocks and lack of capacity
for insufficient progress. He believes the root cause is
that many officials charged with enforcing IPR do not really
believe that IPR violations are criminal acts. Al-Dhaher
suggests that this might because IPR violations seem like
victimless offenses, or that violations are not viewed as
significant because the stakeholder is a wealthy, non-Muslim
business. He fears that this perception persists despite
industry having secured an official Saudi fatwa (religious
ruling) that IPR violations are violations of Muslim law.
GFOELLER





Copyright is relative and SA would be better off just using Free software that it can control. It would also remove the stain of guilt, which Microsoft loves to use to impose fees.

Update: Here is a followup cable.



VZCZCXRO3571
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHROV
DE RUEHRH #1271 2320455
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 190455Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9017
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L RIYADH 001271 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EEB/TPP/IPE AND NEA/ARP 
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR JASON BUNTIN 
USDOC FOR TYLER HOFFMAN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2017 
TAGS: ECON, ETRD, EINV, PGOV, KIPR, KTFN, SA 
SUBJECT: MICROSOFT LEADING COLLABORATION WITH SAG TO COMBAT 
IPR VIOLATIONS 
 
REF: 07 RIYADH 2437 
 
Classified By: Political/Economic Counselor Horacio Ureta 
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Intellectual property rights (IPR) 
violations in Saudi Arabia are receiving increased attention 
from the Saudi government (SAG).  The SAG has made 
significant efforts to address IPR violations, which in the 
Kingdom occur most notably in the pharmaceutical and software 
sectors.  With regard to software infringement, the SAG is 
now collaborating directly with a Microsoft-led private 
sector group, calling itself the "Rights-Holders", on a 
six-point plan to combat IPR issues.  This plan seeks to 
ensure transparency in IPR cases, establish and enforce 
deterrent penalties, and improve coordination between SAG 
entities with IPR related equities.  Rights-Holders is 
claiming the existence of a link between IPR piracy and 
terrorism finance.  Intellectual property rights issues are 
also being covered increasingly in the Saudi news media.  End 
summary. 
 
2. (C) In a meeting August 13 EconOff met with Scott Butler 
of the Raven Anti-Piracy Alliance (RAPA), a Dubai based group 
that is linked to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a 
group of 13 software companies in the Kingdom which includes 
Microsoft, Autodisc, Symantec, and Adobe.  RAPA also has 
powers of attorney with regional entertainment companies such 
as Rotana and Viva and liaises between these licensees and 
entertainment studios.  Butler told EconOff that earlier in 
the day he and Ayman Takrori, Partners Group Director for 
Microsoft and de facto representative of a private group of 
"Rights-Holders" (of which BSA is a part) met with Ministry 
of Culture and Information Under Secretary Abdul Rahman 
Al-Hazaa, who holds a mandate from Culture and Information 
Minister Dr. Eyad Madani to "fix the IPR issue." 
 
3. (C) Butler related that RAPA had presented al-Hazaa with a 
six point plan to address IPR issues:  1) ensure complete 
transparency in all IPR cases; 2) establish and enforce 
deterrent penalties to create real fear in the market; 3) 
eradicate street vendor piracy; 4) establish a mechanism to 
address internet piracy; 5) ensure the SAG uses software that 
was legally acquired; and 6) ensure effective coordination 
between the Ministries of Culture and Information, Interior, 
and Customs Enforcement.  According to Butler and Takrori, 
Under Secretary al-Hazaa pledged complete support from the 
SAG for all points. 
 
4. (C) The Rights-Holders's six-point plan includes fully 
populating the Violations Review Committee's online 
case-tracking database in both Arabic and English, 
imprisoning violators in lieu of simply imposing fines (Note: 
According to Butler, there is precedent legislation in the 
UAE for imprisoning IPR violators. End Note.), and providing 
training for inspectors and police on IPR and on how to 
conduct raids.  Butler also related a story of a raid 
conducted in 2006 that yielded 20 million pirated music and 
software CDs in a warehouse.  In the same warehouse weapons 
were found which led to the arrest and prosecution of several 
members of an organized crime ring.  Butler asserted that a 
clear link exists between piracy and organized crime, to 
include terrorism finance. 
 
5. (SBU) On August 17, Al-Watan, a moderate Arabic-language 
daily, published a full page story on IPR violations.  In the 
article both SAG officials and economists were quoted as 
saying that software piracy is both more lucrative and less 
risky than drug trafficking. 
 
6. (C) Comment:  The SAG has made significant progress in IPR 
enforcement but continues to cite lack of capacity to justify 
a dearth of major developments (Reftel).  Engagement at the 
ministerial level is an encouraging step and demonstrates an 
increase in political will to address the problem.  Ministry 
of Interior (MOI) interest is crucial to further progress in 
enforcement and prosecution, and would be critical to 
implement any of the directives outlined in the 
Rights-Holders six-point plan.  Previously, MOI involvement 
has been sub-optimal, but might be stimulated if  a strong 
link were to be substantiated between the supposedly 
"victimless" crime of IPR violations and and organized crime 
or even terrorism financing.  End comment. 
GFOELLER 

So, Microsoft has linked copyright infringement and terrorism. Wonderful.

Cablegate: Former Microsoft Lawyer Thomas Barnett and Majoras Butt Heads With EU Commission Over Microsoft Case

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Pressure from the US for Neelie Kroes et al. to leave Microsoft alone despite abusive behaviour

THE FOLLOWING Cablegate cable is interesting for several reasons. First of all, Deborah Platt Majoras, whom we wrote about before in a negative context (conflicts of interest, improper job handling, etc.) is seen defending Microsoft just like she let Intel off the hook despite crimes. More interesting, however, is Thomas Barnett appearing there. He is batting for Microsoft of course (we wrote about his professional relationship with Microsoft in the past). This is similar to those cables which show the US politicians pressuring the EU to approve Sun’s takeover, not quite respecting the independence of other parts of the world.


VZCZCXRO0066
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV
DE RUEHBS #3241/01 2990952
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260952Z OCT 07
FM USEU BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 003241 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DOC FOR DEFALCO 
FTC FOR JOHN PARISI 
DOJ FOR CALDWELL HARROP 
 
STATE FOR EUR/ERA, EB/IPE, EB/TPP/MTA 
 
PLEASE PASS TO USTR - DAVID WEINER 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - ENTIRE TEXT 
PROPRIETARY BUSINESS INFORMATION - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY 
 
NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: ECIN, KIPR, ECPS, EINT, ETRD, EINV, ECON, EUN 
SUBJECT: FTC CHAIRMAN MAJORAS REVIEWS MICROSOFT CASE IMPACTS WITH 
BRUSSELS ATTORNEYS 
 
REF : USEU BRUSSELS 2933 
 
1.  SUMMARY.  FTC Chairman Majoras and Ambassador Gray reviewed U.S. 
and EU competition developments with nine prominent Brussels 
attorneys on Oct. 19.  The group focused on the EU victory in its 
antitrust case against Microsoft, but also covered pending EU cases 
against other tech firms.  Majoras and most participants agreed the 
Microsoft case underlines a strengthening divergence between U.S. 
and EU approaches to dominance cases.  Majoras discounted a theory 
that U.S. foreign and domestic political difficulties may have 
allowed the EU to assume global leadership on antitrust policy.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
MAJORAS COVERS MICROSOFT WITH BRUSSELS ATTORNEYS 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
2.  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, 
in town for a European Competition Journal event, met for breakfast 
October 19 with nine of Brussels' leading competition policy 
attorneys.  Also attending for the USG were: U.S. Ambassador to the 
European Union C. Boyden Gray; Randall Long, Attorney-Advisor to 
Chairman Majoras; and Econoff (notetaker).  The attending attorneys 
and represented firms included: Ian Forrester, White and Case; 
Maurits Dolmans, Cleary Gottlieb; David Hull, Covington and Burling; 
Sven Volcker, WilmerHale; Stephen Kinsella, Sidley and Austin; 
Hendrik Bourgeois, GE; Jim Venit, Skadden Arps; David Wood, Gibson 
Dunn; and Thomas Vinje, Clifford Chance. 
 
3.  Ms. Majoras reviewed recent U.S. antitrust developments, noting 
a possible trend in U.S. courts to raise the bar for blocking 
mergers, but quickly turned to the situation in the EU.  She said 
she had conferred closely with Thomas Barnett, DOJ Assistant 
Attorney General for Antitrust, on potential implications of the 
recent European Court of First Instance (CFI) ruling upholding the 
European Commission's major 2004 antitrust decision against 
Microsoft (reftel).  Majoras noted that EU Competition Commissioner 
Neelie Kroes reacted strongly to the Barnett/DOJ statement on the 
CFI decision, which indicated "it could harm consumers and have a 
chilling effect on innovation." 
 
4.  Despite Kroes' sensitivity to criticism over the Microsoft case, 
Majoras continued, FTC and DOJ, as the two U.S. antitrust agencies, 
maintain good relations with their European counterparts.  She 
stressed the strength of her personal relationships, for example, 
with Commissioner Kroes and Director General of the Competition 
Directorate (DG COMP) Philip Lowe.  She pointed out that FTC and DOJ 
will have annual bilateral consultations in 10 days with the 
Commissioner, Lowe, and their staff. 
 
5.  Majoras said her concern centers on the increasing divergence, 
in her view, between the trends of U.S. and EU antitrust policies 
and court decisions in the area of single-firm conduct.  Even 
Microsoft opponents in the U.S., she underscored, are wondering if 
the outcome of the case will embolden the Commission to pursue more 
aggressively cases against other market-leading technology firms, 
most of whom are American.  Ambassador Gray noted the contrast 
between DG Competition's action against U.S. firms, and timidity in 
addressing the anti-competitive nature of aggressive Gazprom efforts 
to purchase EU gas distribution networks. 
 
U.S. AND EU DIFFER IN "CULTURAL APPROACHES" TO ANTITRUST 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
6. Jim Venit of Skadden Arps agreed that it is striking that most of 
the Commission's cases against multinationals (Note: including 
existing antitrust cases against Intel, Rambus and Qualcomm, and an 
investigation of Apple.  End note.) involve U.S. firms.  He 
explained, however, that it is important to look at Commission 
actions in the context of the "cultural differences" across the 
Atlantic - a greater tradition of regulatory intervention in the EU 
as compared to the U.S.  This manifests itself in both Commission 
action and greater EU court eagerness to intervene, he said. 
 
 
BRUSSELS 00003241  002 OF 002 
 
 
7.  The best way to approach antitrust cases, Venit continued, would 
be to stand back and weigh the relative economic impacts of both 
alleged abuses and potential remedies.  Majoras agreed that this is 
important, but stressed that it is difficult to determine.  She 
noted that applying EU and U.S. antitrust laws pertaining to 
single-firm conduct (Article 82 of the EC Treaty and the relevant 
part - "Section 2" - of the U.S. Sherman Act, respectively) 
correctly is the hardest job for an antitrust enforcer.  It is a 
challenge to avoid both overenforcement and underenforcement, she 
concluded, and a jurisdiction's tolerance for one or the other 
determines the level of enforcement. 
 
8. David Wood of Gibson Dunn agreed with both Venit and Chairman 
Majoras, saying that the different cultural approach to antitrust in 
the EU underlies the divergence here from U.S. action.  Article 82, 
he noted, in looking at dominance cases, does not address how 
companies achieved monopoly status.  He contrasted the case of firms 
which came to dominate markets through innovation and business 
acumen, versus those arriving via privileged position as a 
state-owned firm.  The distinction is important in U.S. decisions on 
antitrust, he said. 
 
9.  Maurits Dolmans of Cleary Gottlieb (Note: who represents both 
IBM and Google, Microsoft opponents in its EU case. End note.) 
argued that the CFI ruling and 2004 Commission decision against 
Microsoft actually brings U.S. and EU law closer together, rather 
than representing a divergence.  He said the bases for the CFI 
decision closely resemble findings of the DC circuit court from the 
U.S. case against Microsoft several years ago.  He noted that EU 
competition law, in the form of Articles 81 and 82 of the founding 
EC Treaty, were written by a U.S. lawyer and based on the relevant 
Sections 1 and 2 of the FTC Act.  It is important to remember the 
similarities in legal bases, Dolmans said, and maintain a positive 
tone in responding to EU antitrust actions. 
 
MAJORAS DISAGREES THAT EU HAS ASSUMED ANTITRUST LEADERSHIP 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
10.  Ian Forrester of White and Case (Note: who has represented 
Microsoft in its EU case.  End note.) then asked Chairman Majoras 
her view of the theory, which he said is favored by some in 
Brussels, that political difficulties faced by the U.S. 
administration in foreign policy (e.g. Iraq) or domestically have 
weakened U.S. antitrust enforcement.  This, according to theory 
proponents, has allowed the EU to assume the mantle of antitrust 
leadership and let the EU set the global standard for antitrust 
actions. 
 
11.  Hendrik Bourgeois of GE agreed that this idea has taken root in 
Brussels, noting that a "senior DG COMP official" told him recently 
that the U.S. and EU are competing over antitrust policy - "and the 
EU is winning." 
 
12.  Majoras vigorously disputed the idea, saying that FTC under her 
tenure has initiated more merger cases (as a percentage of H-S-R 
filings) against firms than had the Clinton Administration. 
Moreover, Majoras emphasized that the number of cases brought is not 
as important as bringing analytically sound cases.  The Ambassador 
called the idea an "extraordinary," unfounded assertion.  Majoras 
added that the U.S. doesn't consider itself in competition with the 
EU over antitrust policy, but rather wants to continue dialogue to 
ensure that actions are in the best interest of consumers and firms. 
 Nearly all of the participants agreed that continued U.S.-EU 
dialogue is vital to prevent future problems. 
 
13.  FTC Chairman Majoras has cleared this cable. 
 
GRAY 


The emphases above are ours.

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts