Summary: Response to reputation laundering from Wired Magazine, the latest nonsense from Microsoft’s lobbyist Florian Müller, an update on Microsoft’s trolling against Android, and a little more of Apple’s
WE are quite cynical about the corporate press. It has become abundantly clear that journalism is dying and instead it gets accommodated/replaced by the PR industry, working at the behest of rich people with an agenda and a nickel for any press still willing to bend over (independent press is likely to perish in the process). Like a husband who tells the policeman or the judge that he deeply loves the woman whom he beats up daily, Bill Gates/Gates Foundation would love for us to believe that he is a master of Open Source. Yes, and Cade Metz trying to portray these racketeers as friends of Open Source (whitewashing Gates at the same time). Why would anyone with integrity do reputation laundering for a criminal and his company that commits acts of extortion? Even Gutierrez gets characterised positively:
But that afternoon was different. At the invitation of the company’s chief legal minds — Smith and Gutierrez — Ramji sat down with Gates, chief software architect Ray Ozzie, and a few others to discuss whether Microsoft could actually start using open source software. Ramji and Ozzie were on one side of the argument, insisting that Microsoft embrace open source, and Gutierrez offered a legal framework that could make that possible. But other top executives strongly challenged the idea.
Then Bill Gates stood up.
No, Bill Gates has been attacking Open Source for a very long time. Remember that Letter to Hobbyists? And all those court exhibits we showed? We oughn’t allow history to be rewritten like this. Over at Free Software Daily, the modified headline of this article states “Meet Mobster Bill Gates, the Man Who Charges Open Source Software even if is free Android Linux” (the original is troll article that attracted many comments, for being more inflammatory than sane).
Microsoft is currently feeding patent trolls in order to attack Linux. Microsoft does not have enough ammunition to attack Linux, so it uses help from the outside.
B&N and Microsoft have come to an agreement about Steve Ballmer’s participation in the Microsoft v. Barnes & Noble action at the ITC. They were arguing about it, and they’ve now agreed that Ballmer will not have to testify live at the ITC hearing, currently scheduled for February. Instead, B&N will present designated portions of his deposition, and Microsoft’s lawyers have sent a letter [PDF] to the ITC stating officially that it withdraws its motion for a protective order, attaching to the letter a proposed schedule on the parties’ next steps in figuring out exactly what each side wants in the way of details. This means there will be no further motion practice on the live testimony issue.
Microsoft is also opposing Barnes & Noble’s request that the record be held open to include Nokia and MOSAID’s evidence, if Barnes & Noble is finally able to get it. And they parties continue to try to whittle into shape what each may use as evidence.
Lots of sealed filings, once again. But don’t worry. By hook or by crook, we usually find out in due time what the filings were about.
I had a chance to talk to Andy Updegrove, of Standards Blog, who as you probably know is a lawyer who does patent work in the standards area. I wanted to pick his brain, because the 2000 patents Nokia sold to MOSAID relate to standards, according to their statements. Just how many patents could possibly be required for a phone to be built? Surely not 1,200 out of the 2,000, I was thinking. Yet, that is the claim.
He suggested that we read some Department of Justice ‘business review letters’ on patent pools, because a patent pool is an example of multiple patent owners getting together to agree on a price for technology required to implement a standard. That’s not exactly what Microsoft, Nokia and MOSAID say they are doing, but we’re getting warm. You get to read in the letters the way the pool participants set the pool up, what safeguards they took (in the request letter), and the way the DoJ analyzed the request and either approved, qualified, or rejected the request. The controls traditionally include hiring a third party expert to review each supposedly essential claim and determine whether it’s valid, whether it’s essential, and what it’s worth relative to the other essential claims. So he thought we might find it interesting to look at what a legal pool looks like, and then we can contrast that to the actual conduct that is being alleged here.
This case has not been decided yet, but it does help shed a lot of light on Microsoft’s racketeering.
The known Microsoft boosters and even lobbyists (whom they cite) try to make us believe that it’s all over and Microsoft is innocent. Some people fall for it. They also push this tripe into Slashdot with all the bias and misdirection. As Homer put it in USENET, we should just ignore the Microsoft lobbyist. To quote: “Note this is only the conclusion drawn by Microsoft’s pet shill, Florian Müller (who’s now openly on Microsoft’s payroll), and he drew this stunning conclusion from just the /title/ of a docket he doesn’t even have access to, because it’s still under seal.
“It’s also, as the title suggests, just an “Initial Determination”, and may yet be disputed by the DOJ – a fact Müller chose to ignore. He also chose to ignore several of B&N’s valid complaints that might yet cause
the DOJ to overturn this conclusion, even if it turns out to be true and “final”, such as Microsoft deliberately withholding prior art in its various patent applications, and using NDAs to cover up extortion, under
the pretext of “secrets” that are in fact a matter of public record (as all patents are required to be by law). But instead he portrayed B&N’s complaint as futile, because:
“For example, Barnes & Noble claimed that Microsoft asked for excessively high patent license fees, but the OUII quoted passages from U.S. law (statutory as well as case law) that clearly said that patent law doesn’t require a patent holder to grant a license on any terms.”
“Then he completely ignores all the other key points (above). This seems to be the entire basis for his pessimism (or I should say “optimism”, since it’s clear whose side he’s on).”
Microsoft is feeding lobbyists and trolls and it’s easy to see this. Apple is said to have been sued by trolls again, but since Apple itself acts like a patent troll we have no sympathy for it. To quote:
A patent troll is going after Apple for patent infringement of an “electronic alignment system”.
Apple’s spiritual leader’s friend, Larry Ellison, is still attacking Android with patents that he got from Sun. Google gets another opportunity.
Mr. Pogson summarises: “Google argues that Oracle’s experts are not expert as they had no intimate knowledge during deposition.”
Basically, it seems like Oracle’s patent case against Android will be coming to an end. Maybe a copyright allegation alone will be left, so think along the lines of SCO.
OIN is meanwhile growing strong:
OIN today announced a remarkable increase in the size of its community of licensees during 2011 as licensees seized the opportunity to benefit from the value of the growing OIN community and the freedom of action enabled by OIN’s royalty free licensing program. During 2011, OIN’s community grew to over 400 corporate licensees, a more than 60% year over year increase. OIN licensees, which include founding members and associate members, benefit from the leverage provided by a patent portfolio dedicated to the protection of Linux and access to enabling technologies through OIN and shared intellectual property resources.
What’s baffling is that Oracle is in the OIN. It never ought to have attacked in the first place, but maybe it was a favour to the thermonuclear CEO, Larry Ellison’s “best friend” (by his own words). It is not a far fetched hypothesis. █