09.20.11

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Techrights and Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techrights on grid

Summary: Why Microsoft matters less and why we must still keep track of Microsoft nonetheless (mainly due to patent lawsuits)

BACK when this site led a push against Novell, it was evident that Novell was a fairly strong company. In 2006 it had one of the best GNU/Linux distributions for the desktop, namely SLED 10 with XGL. Microsoft then stepped in and ruined it for Novell, harming the momentum and also ensuring that any of Novell’s momentum would become Microsoft’s (Mono, Linux tax, and so on). Microsoft’s parasitic nature capitalised on patents that year. It devoured whatever parts of Novell it found valuable and in 2009 Novell was already out of breath. So we started concentrating on Novell’s masters at Microsoft, spending the next year or two going through many of Microsoft’s behavioural patterns that recur in the news. We also documented selected Comes vs. Microsoft exhibits, which offer a look back in time. There came a time in late 2010 when almost any story we covered was deja vu-filled and even a case of repetition with new examples. So we started focusing on the mechanism which Microsoft was exploiting (by that stage, Apple had already joined Microsoft’s cartel-like efforts). Yes, we are talking about patents. I spent an hour talking to a friend today about how the Western system depends on so-called ‘IPR’ to ensure it gets paid without producing. Our recent Cablegate posts show the political process — including back-room deals and secret treaties — that are necessary to impose this system on producing nations which oughtn’t have interest in IPR. We hope that going deep into the core of the issue, even if this done by using secret communications/leaks, will help advance the Free software ideology. We never hid this ‘agenda’, which is mostly ethical as it promotes equality and freedom.

So getting to the main point, this site was never about Microsoft even though it covered a lot of Microsoft after Novell had become insignificant. Some detractors of this site did try to portray it as a case of “zealotry” against Microsoft, even though we criticise a wide range of companies large and small, from small FUD shops to giants like IBM and GE (we also praise many companies, including those that we criticise when they do something positive). They are far, far bigger than Microsoft. Based on this new report that a reader sent us yesterday, Microsoft has become the company that can’t grow (while Apple and IBM both pass it in terms of market cap). Quoting the opening part:

A rising tide of investor agitation over Microsoft Corp’s static share price and bulging cash hoard made no mark at the software company’s annual meeting with Wall Street analysts and fund managers on Wednesday.

Linux is a major part of Microsoft’s problems, but it is not being called “Linux”. As Pogson points out, Android has doubled while Ballmer is forced to admit failure:

Two major players are increasingly dominating the smartphone OS market: Apple with its iOS-based iPhones and Google’s army of Android devices. Microsoft wants a piece of the smartphone pie as well with Windows Phone 7 (WP7), but so far its efforts have fallen way short.

According to AllThingsD, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has stated at the Microsoft financial analyst meeting that, “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year.” Ballmer did insist that the company is working hard to make the WP7 platform more appealing – the upcoming “Mango” release will help quite a bit on this front.

Microsoft is also trying to make a lot of money out of Android. It is regularly being reported that Microsoft makes more money from Android (through patent extortion) than from its own platform. This is why, despite the decline of Microsoft, Techrights simply cannot ignore this company. Keeping track of Microsoft is common sense, not an obsession. We will diversify a bit as time permits while priorities change; the goal is still to protect the freedom of software and thus empower software developers. It’s not about Microsoft.

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    September 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Gravatar

    “Why Microsoft matters less and why we must still keep track of Microsoft nonetheless (mainly due to patent lawsuits)… Keeping track of Microsoft is common sense, not an obsession. ”

    Yet publicly, elsewhere, you deny you keep track of Microsoft.

    And, yes, you are obsessed with your tracking of MS… and your spreading of FUD.

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