New Complaint Filed in the European Commission Over Microsoft’s Extortion of GNU/Linux

Posted in Microsoft at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Summary: A Techrights reader took action against Microsoft racketeering

THE leading phone surveillance company (or aider of this practice), which is known as Amdocs, became a buddy of the convicted monopolist (that also spies on people using Skype). The campaign to tax Linux using extortion — behind NDAs of course — continues one company at a time (culminating in bans), so at least one of our readers submitted input to the European antitrust authorities.

Here is one of the few articles critical of Microsoft:

The latest Patent deal between Microsoft and Amdocs might be a window that gives us a glimpse of what Microsoft is up to. Microsoft licensed its patents to Amdocs because it runs Linux-based servers in its data centres. Amdocs will pay it an undisclosed amount of money to have the ‘right’ to use the free Linux software.

By now you need to pinch yourself because this is real. Pretty soon Microsoft will knock on ‘Big enough to notice’ companies’ doors and demand royalties and fees for using Linux. Since Linux is free Microsoft can’t knock on one of the hundreds of developers’ doors who built the software. Basically it will be doing to the user what it did with the companies who build Android-based devices.

Today Microsoft is fighting battles on every front. Trying to keep its dominance in the desktop space, fighting the Android beast in the mobile space and Linux on servers, it makes sense that Microsoft wants to ‘scare’ companies away with possible patent licensing demands into using Microsoft’s server products. Servers and tools are basically its cash cow at present. Or, make money while it uses the competing software.

But will it stop there? Microsoft is known for its killer anti-competitive practices and would rather have its competition burn than to have any. Right now it’s using licensing to make sure it benefits from its competition, if they made any success in the market. Microsoft will most likely get around US$1-billion in royalty payments from Android manufacturers, and Chromebook builders this year. If you can’t compete, monetize free software. It already locked in Apple with patent licensing deals back when Microsoft helped Apple in the 90s.

We doubt regulators will tackle the problem any time soon, but with enough power from the people we can help change public opinion and the needs of politicians. Currently, what we’re seeing is borderline criminal, but criminals in suits rarely get incriminated.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Microsoft Already Uses Software Patents to Actually Remove Linux Devices from the European Market

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tax on algorithms in Europe, bans too


Summary: Even in Germany, where software patents are in principle not legal, Microsoft establishes a ban on Motorola’s Android devices, using a monopolistic FAT patent monopoly

THE other day we found this very weak article from Lisa Morgan (writing for a Microsoft-friendly site), who belittles the impact of innuendo, threats, rackets, deterrence, and embargoes in patent wars. Aggression takes many forms, and some of it is suggestive and pre-emptive. One example of this is Microsoft, which has literally terrorised many companies. One company, Motorola, has stood up against Microsoft’s extortion for quite some time. It can afford to and it also has motivation because of the ties to Google.

Microsoft’s FAT patent was implicitly validated in Germany, despite being a software patent, a few years ago. Let is recall how this is done…

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Microsoft is using this kind of patent to embargo Motorola in Germany and the Microsoft lobbyist celebrates it with some more nonsense. As Muktware put it:

A report published in the Verge quotes Florian Mueller, an independent blogger who gets paid by Microsoft and Oracle to spin anti-Android stories. Microsoft’s paid blogger writes that “In order to enforce the injunction, Microsoft will need to pay a €10 million bond.”

Recall the TomTom case, which the small company was barely able to carry on it (it had already gotten into financial troubles). This article says more, but its source is a little dubious, Given that Motorola has some of the latest of Android, this is a massive loss for the costumers. Back in the middle of July Motorola got hit by other firms that had patents, showing that not only Microsoft is the problem:

The lawsuit has its roots in April 2011, when FujiFilm says it first notified Motorola that it believed the cellphone maker was infringing on the four patents. The companies held a number of face-to-face meetings, according to FujiFilm. The matter was apparently not resolved to FujiFilm’s liking and that led to this week’s lawsuit.

The patents in question include:

U.S. Patent 6,144,763, which covers the capturing of color pictures by a cellphone and their conversion to monochrome images;

U.S. Patent 6,915,119, which addresses a “telephone and data transmitting method.” FujiFilm alleges a number of Motorola devices infringe on this patent through their use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as a means to communicate with a computer or other device;

U.S. Patent 7,327,886, covering the facial detection system included in some Motorola cellphones; and

U.S. Patent 5,734,427, concerning the processing of a high-resolution image into a lower-resolution image for display on an electronic viewfinder.

The lawsuit alleges a number of Motorola handsets infringe some or all of the patents, including the Droid X, X2, 2 Global, Bionic, 3, Pro; and the Atrix 2, Electrify, Photon 4G, XPRT, Defy, Cliq 2 and Titanium handsets.

These are software patents. Some cover algorithms in my area of research, which is computer vision. We must, as a matter of priority, put to an end all software patents. They clearly do harm science and innovation.

“I do hope that the suit can help demonstrate that Microsoft’s claims of succeeding through innovation are a complete fraud. Their only innovation has been in inventing predatory business practices. Other than that, they have been perhaps the greatest borrowers in the history of the software industry.”

Sybase Chairman Mitchell Kertzman

Home of S.u.S.E., Germany, is Relying on Red Hat and Avoiding Microsoft Extortion Tax

Posted in OpenSUSE, Red Hat, SLES/SLED at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of Germany

Summary: Red Hat plants a flag in Germany when SUSE loses momentum and status

SUSE, the only Microsoft-approved brand of GNU/Linux (because Microsoft is paid for its use), has been bragging about German deployments, as we noted quite recently (SUSE/Microsoft tax polluting HPC). In Germany, however, large companies still use Red Hat too. Red Hat sought to make it clear with a press release:

German manufacturing firm updates IT systems with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

Red Hat Inc., provider of open source solutions, has announced that Ferrotec, a vendor of technologies based on the magnetic liquid Ferrofluid used in multi-phase motors, dampers for shaft ends and transformer cooling, has deployed Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization at the core of its infrastructure. Through this Red Hat technology combination, Ferrotec is increasing scalability, flexibility and performance while lowering operating costs.

Headquartered in Japan, the Ferrotec Group also has a large presence throughout Europe. In line with the company’s growth and additional business requirements, its IT infrastructure expanded with the purchase of new servers and an increase in memory capacity. As the company’s IT systems peaked, performance began to decrease, creating the need for a modern technology infrastructure to meet Ferrotec’s business demands.

For many in Germany, SUSE is sometimes perceived as supporting the Germans; in reality, SUSE is supporting Microsoft. It is time to shun SUSE even in Germany. OpenSUSE has lost its edge anyway, and to make matters worse, it became an extension of Microsoft.

“Asked how small software companies could compete on products that Microsoft wants to fold into Windows, [Microsoft COO Bob] Herbold told Bloomberg News they could either fight a losing battle, sell out to Microsoft or a larger company or ‘not go into business to begin with.’”

Newsweek, March 1998


Vista 8 Will Fail, Expect Bribed-for ‘Reviews’

Posted in Vista 8, Windows at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can rigged ‘reviews’ save the name of Vista 8?

House gift

Summary: Early signs that the newest incarnation of Vista is not desired by the target market

Gartner, the crooked firm, has been trying to hide the truth told by its staff, but those who pay attention to what the market says are laughing at Vista 8 and even a rather Microsoft-friendly site is having a go:

This was the week when Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 8 got what can only be described as a bashing from the folks over at Gartner.

Reviewer and research director Gunnar Berger didn’t seem to think that the OS was all that good. In fact, when it’s not on a touch device, he reckons the software is:

In a word: Bad.*

And he’s not the only one to think so. Having surveyed the enterprise masses, Gartner discovered that they weren’t exactly frothing at the bit to get their hands on Windows 8:

We recently did a large field research study and specifically asked all of our interviewees if they were looking at Windows 8, most laughed. The fact is most enterprises are still trying to get to Windows 7 and few enterprises are ready for Windows 8.

Expect Vista 8 to never take off so well, just like Vista and Vista 7. Microsoft lied about their “success”. Soon enough Microsoft will bribe many bloggers and reporters for fake/manufactured ‘reviews’; Microsoft does this every time and we already saw it doing this for Vista 8 already.

New Zealand (NZ) Shows That People and Local Businesses Overwhelmingly Oppose Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 11:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New Zealand flag

Summary: With the exception of heads of multinational corporations (and their lawyers who impose or enforce monopoly), everyone seems to understand that software patents haven’t a place in society

SOFTWARE patents have had in New Zealand a similar status to what we see in Europe. Loopholes like “device” have been used to camouflage them. According to the national press in the country, the local people continue to oppose what only foreign multinationals and patent lawyers whom these corporations employ seem to be pushing forth. To quote:

As a quick recap, the US government has spent recent times applying significant and sustained pressure on countries like New Zealand to adopt US-style IP laws and penalties.

If they get their way? Think internet disconnections because your kid listened to music online, tech companies succeeding based on the strength of their lawyers rather than their innovations and Dotcom-style raids being the norm for what have always been considered civil matters here.

However, what bothers many in the IT community more is the pressure the US is applying around software patents. Our government has spent the last few years reviewing the Patents Act of 1953.

With the support of what certainly appears to be the vast majority of IT professionals and the country’s largest software houses such as Orion Health and Jade Corporation, the Commerce Select Committee – made up of both sides of the House – unanimously agreed to remove patentability of software.

Many in the IT community see software patents as a bad thing, stifling innovation rather than supporting it and protecting mature technology markets (such as that of the US) at the expense of rapidly developing technology export markets such as New Zealand.

In New Zealand, the people still have a lot of power compared to those in the West. There are all sorts of possible explanations for that, but the matter of fact is, their opinion is not different from that of people in other countries; it’s just that in other countries the mega-corporations often write the law by proxy, irrespective of the people’s will. In fact, superorganisms are assumed to have rights of humans, such as privacy.

The ongoing argumentation in New Zealand has helped us who live in the West present the case that people, as opposed to imperialists, do not want software patents to be legal. Keep up the good fight, dear islanders. It helps people abroad, too.

Source Code Media Group an Orwellian Name for Patent Troll

Posted in Patents at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Flagging of what appears to be a borderline troll in preparation for patent lawsuits

A few days ago we found this press release from the mysterious-named and rather obscure “Source Code Media Group”. The words are either comical or annoying, depending on one’s mood. It’s an LLC, just like many patent trolls, and the preceding abstract says: “Source Code Media Group LLC has announced its appointment of Zies, Widerman and Malek to represent the company in pursuing patent protection for its novel photo-sharing software app and system invention, Pikigram.” The company appears to be nothing but a press releases at this stage (the only search result).

“If one has an innovative idea, then one can implement it and make it grow popular.”They are then quoting controversial pro-software patents voices who monetise the bad policies [1, 2]. They say “Mr. Quinn, a recognized authority in the field of software patents and founder of industry website IPWatchdog, went on to say: “What makes Mr. Eldin’s invention particularly interesting is that it is not just an improvement on what already exists, but rather it represents a paradigm shift. Every once in a while a logjam of innovation is broken when someone takes a large step forward. That is what Mr. Eldin has done and I can easily see his innovation being incorporated into a variety of established platforms, such as Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest and others.””

Forcing one’s own ideas by litigation is not innovation. It’s just trolling. If one has an innovative idea, then one can implement it and make it grow popular. Litigation is not a business model on its own.


Elop Kills Another Linux-based Platform While Using Patents Against a Third One (Android)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Warfare of entryism devised by the convicted monopolist and its agents in other companies

MANY mobile platforms use Linux as their kernel. The leading platform, Android, uses Linux too. Like many others, it is open source (HP recently joined this club to remain competitive).

Nokia is now occupied by Microsoft, so reports about the death of Meltemi are not so shocking. To quote a Linux site: “Meltemi, a Linux-based platform for feature phones, was planned to replace Series 40, the platform that has been around since 1999. Series 40, which runs on some of the top feature phones in the world, has brought a lot of success to Nokia. However, the software was getting old, and Nokia reportedly felt that Series 40 needs to be replaced by something new and Meltemi was that something new.”

“This helps challenge Android, which has already filed a formal complaint (to the governments) about Nokia’s behaviour under Elop’s leadership, specifically the MOSAID move.”Here are some more articles that rely on information Reuters received (it gets a lot of intelligence in Helsinki). To quote: “Finnish cellphone maker Nokia has ditched the software it was developing to compete with Google’s mass-market Android phones, three sources with direct knowledge of the company’s plans said, in its latest move to slash costs.”

So what are they betting on? The burning platform which is Windows? This is the metaphoric signing of the death certificate of Nokia. Thank you, Mr. Elop. It’s actually worse than than just death because Nokia under Elop is passing its patents to Linux-hostile patent trolls including MOSAID. This helps challenge Android, which has already filed a formal complaint (to the governments) about Nokia’s behaviour under Elop’s leadership, specifically the MOSAID move. The passage of those patents clearly had Microsoft involvement too, as confessed by Microsoft itself. This is criminal stuff, but nobody is going to be put being bars. Jail is not for people in suits.

New Reports Confirm That Microsoft Skype is Spying on Users, Sharing Personal Data

Posted in Microsoft at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A magnifying glass

Summary: Further investigation reveals that, following a takeover by Microsoft, Skype adopts US-inspired policies that are hostile to human rights

REPORTS about Skype help spread the word about its attack on private communication. As one site put it, ‘Slate did a little digging and found some rather strange coincidences. Only a month after Microsoft bought Skype, the company was granted a patent for “legal intercept” technology that would allow them to capture and record conversations made over Skype’s VOIP technology. Skype also changed its privacy policy allowing them to hand over “personal data, communications content and/or traffic data to an appropriate judicial, law enforcement or government authority.”’

“Using monopoly power Microsoft is trying to enforce and impose this spying on almost everyone.”We have a new page about Skype — a page in which we accumulate information. Here is another report which boasts more certainty on this subject. It’s from the trend-setting media, unlike other sources (citing the original) which concur: “Skype has expanded its cooperation with law enforcement in the United States, making text chats and user information more available to police, according to a new report in the Washington Post.

“Real-time audio and video surveillance remains “impractical,” the paper concluded, “but that barrier could eventually vanish as Skype becomes one of the world’s most popular forms of telecommunication.”

So that settles it. Skype is not just proprietary; it is also a spy, and not just in China (where it implemented the above for compliance). Using monopoly power Microsoft is trying to enforce and impose this spying on almost everyone. Richard Stallman was correct in assuming that antifeatures or malicious features would become more widespread as technology strides forward. Now more than even we need freedom-respecting alternatives.

“Microsoft does not hesitate to use its operating system monopoly power and application program dominance to try to eliminate competition.”

Apple Computer Senior VP Avadis Tevanian Jr.

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