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10.20.11

The Microsoft Spin Machine Makes Racketeering Seem Acceptable

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 12:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: How Microsoft along with its boosters, lobbyists and corrupt officials have brought us to a state where racketeering against Linux has no invocation of the RICO Act, despite the triviality of obvious offences

LAST night we argued that Android is en route and assured to win over the majority of phone users. The only thing that Microsoft and Apple can do about it would have to involve some kind of sabotage, either legal or technical (or both). MPEG-LA has already gotten the wrath of the government; maybe it did not have enough crooked politicians in its pocket (including a president who issues a press release mourning an aggressive CEO)

There are reports right now about BBB (Bad Boy Ballmer) talking trash about Android and as one headline put it, “Ballmer slams Android as ‘cheap,’ doomed, as Android lengthens its lead by two big steps”.

“It takes unbelievable spin to somehow justify this, so Microsoft has a little PR offensive going for that angle.”Microsoft’s current strategy is to make Android more expensive by means of extortion, as last we mentioned just a few days ago. Or as Geek.com puts it, “Microsoft now earning royalties for every Kindle Fire sold?”

It takes unbelievable spin to somehow justify this, so Microsoft has a little PR offensive going for that angle. “Microsoft has already scored two big time Android IP licensing deals, one with HTC and the other more recently with Samsung,” says one report. “The boys in Redmond have now secured one more epic deal, this time with Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc. Wait, who?”

This affects eBook readers with Linux. There is a Microsoft-friendly troll which is also trying to add ‘royalties’ to this Linux device, so it is just part of the overall strategy. With the addition of ludicrous Apple patents they are trying to impose sanctions against the spread of Android (we will deal with Apple separately later). By adhering to euphemisms such as “protect”, “assert”, “IP”, “license”, and “royalty” they are managing to get away with violations of the RICO Act — so far. When Microsoft and Apple “get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on,” said a Senior Vice President from Google a few months back.

“By adhering to euphemisms such as “protect”, “assert”, “IP”, “license”, and “royalty” they are managing to get away with violations of the RICO Act — so far.”It is no secret that the system is broken, so Microsoft and Apple often just exploit it, but when it comes to extortion or SLAPP, there are laws against that. It also ought to be pointed out that current laws are the fruits of lobbying from large corporations such as Microsoft. We still see software patents in press releases of all sorts (including phrases like “software patent licensing”) because they managed to normalise the idea that ideas should be monopolised, even if they cannot be applied physically. But going back to Microsoft, watch this new report from Global Post. The headings say it all:

Nokia workers ask, is chief executive a Microsoft mole?

Engineers accuse CEO Stephen Elop of destroying the company so Microsoft can buy it cheap.

Microsoft is trying to take control of everything in Nokia and then use its patents to attack Linux [1, 2], at Nokia’s own expense and risk (just like SCO). Regulators said they would look into such abuses, but we have not heard anything back from them in quite a while.

Another thing regulators ought to look into are lobbyists/’spammers’ like Microsoft Florian, who is trying to distort public opinions by all means legally available to him (without giving disclosures though, only claiming vacuously in this site last year that he was complying with transparency regulations). SPAM regulations are not violated by him because he personalises the messages a slight bit before mass-mailing journalists with the intent of injecting his nonsense into respectable sites (even a 1% success rate would count as something given the high volume of mail he sends like this). It was obvious all along to us, but it is only now that many journalists can see it for themselves. It is a shame that some of them did not listen to our warnings last year. A long time ago we wrote about him promoting RAND (even a year ago) and we provided extensive evidence that it was his interest, he was not against software patents at all.

“Microsoft is trying to take control of everything in Nokia and then use its patents to attack Linux, at Nokia’s own expense and risk (just like SCO).”Microsoft Florian is one of those lobbyists who pretend to be the opposite of what they really are because it gives more impact to their deception. They do this in anticipation of contracts if not in order to help existing clients. These are well known techniques, e.g. hiring the person when the job is done or in progress, which makes it less suspicious. Well, in some sector it is known as “revolving doors” (“do this while in government, later we’ll give you a super high-paying job”). To quote Microsoft, “[y]ou want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. [...] So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.” You can read the full PDF/presentation from Microsoft's chief evangelist. That’s just how the company works. We gave many examples over the years.

There are journalists who are now exposing Microsoft Florian in standalone articles. It is about time. To quote one:

Is Patent Expert/Blogger Florian Mueller Getting Too Cozy With Microsoft?

On his popular FOSS Patents blog, Mueller summarizes in plain English the legal wrangling surrounding disputes like Apple’s effort to snuff out Samsung. A self-styled intellectual-property expert, his quick quotes have made him popular with blogs and major news outlets alike.

On Friday, the 9To5 Google blog pointed to a post in which a Google software engineer noted that Mueller had disclosed that he received money from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) for a new study. The engineer also described Mueller as “anti-Google” and pointed out that he is a patent analyst not a lawyer.

So what should we make of Mr. Mueller? The engineer’s assessment is fair in one sense but unfair in another. Let’s start with the latter. As a former practicing lawyer, I don’t believe one needs a law degree to understand or report on law. In Mueller’s case, he is able to parse and summarize tricky judgments more effectively than many of his credentialed counterparts and does not make any obvious mistakes. He is very smart and his blog provides an excellent way to keep up with the tic-toc of global software patent litigation. As for the Microsoft-funded study, it seems a worthy enough initiative (a review of FRAND patents) and Mueller has the qualifications to undertake it.

[...]

The relationship between Mueller and Microsoft is noteworthy for another reason: Microsoft’s history of using proxies to attack Google. Prior to hearings on the Google Books Settlement, for instance, Microsoft paid a professor and former employee to run a project summarizing objections to the settlement.And the Wall Street Journal (NSDQ: NWS) reported that Microsoft lawyers were behind the efforts of an obscure Ohio company to bring an antitrust action against Google.

Mueller may have perfectly good reasons to consistently zing Android—he’s far from the only pundit that has consistently strong views about a particular company. But given his financial relationship with that company’s archenemy—and the fact that Microsoft has a history of “hiring” outside experts to attack the competition—it’s hard to regard him as a disinterested party. The time has come for Mueller to amend the conflict of interest disclaimer on his blog and for the media to cease citing him as an impartial authority.

He is already spinning it in the comments, realising the damage this is doing to his lobbying abilities. Watch this article with an image Microsoft’s Brad Smith (in French) for more relevant material and also see how Microsoft’s lead racketeer (a crime really, but not when the company controls parts of the government) praises Florian, whom he is paying (and Florian brags to me about it, claiming that now I “have the transparency you hoped for, you’re still not happy”). The racketeer from Microsoft says “walking encyclopedia”, meaning “lobbyist in our side”, “Microsoft apologist”, “external staff”. As for Florian, he is pretending to be transparent when in fact he just had no choice because people had already found evidence, based on private communication (I cannot name the person who told this me, but I already knew Microsoft was in it, yet Florian chose to make it seem like he beat us to it and was “transparent”). Oh, the lying! It’s like the crook who “turns himself in to the police” after the police vans already surround his house, armed and prepared to storm in. Regarding the order of the payments from Microsoft, it is not unusual to see Microsoft booster lobbying with the expectation of a reward later. The President of the FFII quotes a comment that says:

About Florian Mueller: “i can’t read his posts, they make me want to throw things” ur1.ca/5favv

Well, his ‘analysis’ is never factual. It’s just spin, lobbying, distortion of the truth, and influence (or spam) for sale. There is no honour in that. But there is an audience of Apple fanatics and Microsoft extortionists, who will happily promote that nonsense, no matter the inaccuracy.

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    October 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Gravatar

    FUD:
    —–
    There are reports right now about BBB (Bad Boy Ballmer) talking trash about Android and as one headline put it, “Ballmer slams Android as ‘cheap,’ doomed, as Android lengthens its lead by two big steps”.
    —–
    MS bad-mouths Android. You bad-mouth MS.

    You are your own worse enemy.

    FUD:
    —–
    Microsoft’s current strategy is to make Android more expensive by means of extortion, as last we mentioned just a few days ago.
    —–
    Or maybe they are protecting their IP. You have made up your mind without evidence.

    FUD:
    —–
    It takes unbelievable spin to somehow justify this, so Microsoft has a little PR offensive going for that angle.
    —–
    Or they are getting bad PR for protecting their IP.

    FUD:
    —–
    With the addition of ludicrous Apple patents they are trying to impose sanctions against the spread of Android (we will deal with Apple separately later).
    —–
    You say this without supporting your claim. But most big companies have patents…. heck, Google just bought massive amounts. Have you forgotten that? Are all of those patents “ludicrous”?

    Non-FUD:
    —–
    It is no secret that the system is broken
    —–
    Yeah, I think most people agree with that. I know I do.

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