07.03.12

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Apple’s (and MPEG-LA’s) Fight Against Diversity

Posted in Apple, Patents at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[A] patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now.”Steve Jobs

Skyscrapes

Summary: An update on Apple’s aggression with software patents and an update on the MPEG troll which Apple uses for protectionism

THE legal aggression from Apple led to a provisional ban, but it also led to a wave of calls to boycott Apple (the #boycottApple tag is trending). People are truly fed up and Samsung is appealing the ban. To quote Muktware: “Samsung has filed an appeal to overturn the preliminary Galaxy Nexus ban granted to Apple last week. US District Court judge Lucy Koh granted Apple ban on two Samsung devices within a week the old Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus.

“Apple is unable to compete based on merit, so it wants to shoot the competition.”“Apple has sued almost every Android company calling for bans on their devices fearing competition. Unfortunately the flawed patent system, where USPTO keeps granting patents, and the legal system enables compaines like Apple to stifle competition and discourage innovation.”

There are competition issues at hand here. Apple is unable to compete based on merit, so it wants to shoot the competition.

Several years ago we saw NERO calling for investigation of the MPEG cartel, of which Apple too is a member (Steve Jobs used it to FUD several free multimedia formats). In a press release that appeared in some places, there was a mention of settlement. To quote:

MPEG LA, LLC and Nero AG have recently settled the litigation between them, which was pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court. MPEG LA and Nero are pleased that this has been resolved to their mutual satisfaction by agreement of the parties and that Nero will continue as a Licensee in good standing under MPEG LA’s MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License, MPEG-4 Visual Patent Portfolio License, AVC/H.264 Patent Portfolio License and VC-1 Patent Portfolio License.

Here is more:

Nearly two years ago, German multimedia software company Nero filed an antitrust case against patent licensing body MPEG-LA. This organization basically licenses patent pools, covering essential patents required for use of the MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Visual (Part 2), IEEE 1394, VC-1, ATSC and AVC/H.264 standards.

That means pretty much any device or piece of software even remotely related to video needs a license from MPEG LA, which is an entirely private organization – for the record. Licensors include companies like Apple, Microsoft, LG, Dolby, Siemens, Sony, France Télécom, Samsung and others.

This morning, Nero and MPEG LA announced that they’ve settled the litigation between them, which was pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court, “to their mutual satisfaction”.

Apple continued collecting infamous software patents that got coverage from pro-Apple sites. Apple is not the exception, but Apple is the one which uses patents aggressively, unlike for example Nintendo and its patents that it gets while fighting against trolls only (they attack Nintendo quite frequently). Remember that we urged people to boycott Apple because while it generates high (but undeserved) profits it is attacking smaller companies, unprovoked, and tries to ban their products. It doesn’t get any more arrogant than this.

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3 Comments

  1. mcinsand said,

    July 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Gravatar

    The main intolerance that Apple has always had is with respect to choice. Apple has been fighting against diversity since the day it was founded, which is why it has always been a minority share. Apple has always refused to compromise. MS doesn’t really compromise, either, but Apple has been truly calcified. For most of the past 3 decades, Apple has had MS to prop them up. Tired of blue screens, quirky hardware support, and constant reboots? Leave your choice (and more money behind), to use only Apple’s hardware and software guaranteed to work only in the way Apple wants it to. For some people giving up freedom, performance, and money for reliability and/or ‘shiny’ is the choice they make. Apple will always have those fans that will fork over a wad for a set of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

    A large chunk of Apple’s numbers, though, are from people that are focused on reliability, which is why MS’ demise will cause no end of headaches for Apple. Why pay a fortune for a Macintoy when you can pay a lot less for a FOSS-equipped PC that includes CHOICE?

    In the late ’90′s, MS found a way to fund Apple to keep Apple from going under. We might see a turnabout in the next few years. Without MS’ unreliability to scare enough people to fund Apple’s economy of scale, the lemmings will have to pay a whole lot more for their shinies.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    In exchange, Apple helped prop up some Microsoft ‘standards’, such as the MSIE cancer.

    Michael Reply:

    The main intolerance that Apple has always had is with respect to choice. Apple has been fighting against diversity since the day it was founded, which is why it has always been a minority share. Apple has always refused to compromise.

    Apple has a strong focus on quality, but what choices do you think they stop? I have an iMac and run OS X, Windows, and multiple Linux virtual machines. Not only does Apple does not work against these choices the actively assist in the creation of software to assist with this (they work with the companies that make such software and even offer their own dual booting solution.

    MS doesn’t really compromise, either, but Apple has been truly calcified. For most of the past 3 decades, Apple has had MS to prop them up. Tired of blue screens, quirky hardware support, and constant reboots? Leave your choice (and more money behind), to use only Apple’s hardware and software guaranteed to work only in the way Apple wants it to.

    Only as Apple wants it to? I have a massive amount of third party software – including software that alters things such as window tiling and the like. When I did not like Apple’s dictionary I used a version of aspell instead.

    For some people giving up freedom, performance, and money for reliability and/or ‘shiny’ is the choice they make. Apple will always have those fans that will fork over a wad for a set of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

    I use a Mac for the benefits to productivity, for the reduction in "user errors", and for the increases in efficiency that it offers over other systems. Can you find anyone who uses it based on it being "shiny"? That is just a weird claim.

    A large chunk of Apple’s numbers, though, are from people that are focused on reliability, which is why MS’ demise will cause no end of headaches for Apple. Why pay a fortune for a Macintoy when you can pay a lot less for a FOSS-equipped PC that includes CHOICE?

    As I said: I am willing to pay for a Mac because it offers what the open source ecosystem does not – better productivity, reduction in "user errors", and for the increases in efficiency. Right now the best the open source community can do is offer desktop systems which are a mish-mash of competing UI paradigms (KDE / Gnome / other) that are often poorly followed by developers. With the lack of a consistent system, this means many features are not really possible on desktop Linux. Some that come to mind: proxy icons, integration with any form of media browser, easy methods to use the title bar to get to the path of a program, a visual versioning system, saved status indicators, QuickLook, PDF Services… and Apple is planning on improving these and adding to these. They can because they have a good consistent base to work with. This prevents software which as "equal" to the software on the competition to run as well as on desktop Linux – the system itself is not offering the same services.
    But in many cases there is no "equal" on Linux. I personally use MS Office and iWork and Photoshop and Dreamweaver and ScreenFlow and Tofu and Automator and many other programs where there is simply nothing in the same class on desktop Linux. I know many others who use Electric Quilt and software designed for schools or doctors’ offices, etc. which, again, have nothing even close in the Linux world.
    Recently in COLA (comp.os.linux.advocacy) there was a discussion about using networked scanners. I showed video proof of how easy the process was on the competition. Even with the proof, at least one of the Linux "advocates" there could not believe how easy it was compared to Linux. Heck, just look at the software developers site’s for the instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4505 and https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ScanningHowTo
    The difference is night and day.

    In the late ’90′s, MS found a way to fund Apple to keep Apple from going under. We might see a turnabout in the next few years. Without MS’ unreliability to scare enough people to fund Apple’s economy of scale, the lemmings will have to pay a whole lot more for their shinies.

    By calling people who appreciate better services "lemmings" you are showing you do not understand why people are attracted to higher quality tools.
    Now do not get me wrong. I am not against desktop Linux nor ignorant of how it has improved greatly. I am inspired by it and respect it greatly – for a system you can get without spending a penny it is truly amazing. A gift to the world. I am in no way anti-Linux or against people using what they like. I do not call people who opt to use a different OS names nor try to talk them out of it (to the contrary, I have recommended OS X, Windows, and various Linux distros to people based on their needs and situations). But let us not pretend desktop Linux is, in general, ready for the average user’s desktop. It is great for people who spend their time in the terminal and for those who use their machines largely for web kiosks (Google is going after this market with Chrome OS). It is not a choice, though, that would be right for most users… which is why it’s usage numbers remain so low.

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