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08.05.12

How Microsoft Expands the Patent Racket Against Android/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Motorola phone

Summary: As another company aligns with Microsoft (under an NDA) we get to discover how Microsoft is setting up its patent extortion scheme against Android

MICROSOFT was recently seen hiding details in the Samsung case as these would otherwise weaken the extortion campaign and potentially expose Microsoft to prosecution by government authorities. B&N had filed formal (and federal-level) complaints, whereupon Microsoft decided to essentially bribe the firm to change its mind or course (money to control behaviour).

According to this report, Microsoft hopes to replicate the aforementioned corrupt strategy in another case that ended up in the courts. To quote: “MOBILE PHONE SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft is calling on Motorola to settle the firms’ patent dispute out of court, clearly hoping to avoid a high profile court case similar to that between Apple and Samsung.

“Microsoft’s patent spat with Motorola has been going on for months, with the firm claiming that the Android phone maker uses its technology, Activesync, without paying royalties. Motorola is also looking to get some cash out of Microsoft, claiming that the company uses its video and wireless technologies in its Xbox 360 console without a licensing agreement in place.”

Microsoft is clearly afraid that Motorola, recently bought by Google (for the relevant business division), will derail the entire extortion campaign. Google bought itself a case in which is gets to defend Android against Microsoft, so we expect Motorola not to give up, not even when offered a bribe like B&N’s. Bribing one’s way out of justice or out of the penal system is something Bill Gates is familiar with; as a rich young boy he had his affluent mom and dad bail him out after he got arrested on the road. Right now, using another trick, he’s painting himself as a saint rather than the criminal he was. We must understand that there are massive PR forces at play, acting as a stunt that changes public perception in the face of serious offences.

“Microsoft is clearly afraid that Motorola, recently bought by Google (for the relevant business division), will derail the entire extortion campaign.”Glyn Moody mentions the apparent bribe in his latest article which goes like this: “At the end of last year, I wrote about the great service Barnes & Noble had performed by drawing back the curtain on one of Microsoft’s patent lawsuits.

“One of the reasons that Microsoft has settled on patents as a way of attacking open source is that it can do so through innuendo. It doesn’t have to prove that Android, for example, infringes on any of its patents; it simply points at all the companies that have taken a licence from Microsoft based on the claim that it does, and then uses that as suggestive evidence that it must be true.

“But since we know nothing about the terms of those deals, it might even be that Microsoft is paying its licensees more for reciprocal rights than it receives. The net effect would then be Microsoft funding companies to go along with the “Android infringes on Microsoft patents” story in return for these kinds of deals. Indeed, companies would be crazy to refuse such an offer, so you can’t really blame them.

“That’s what made Barnes & Noble’s stand all-the-more remarkable. Even better was the fact that Microsoft somehow botched the NDA process, allowing Barnes & Noble to reveal which patents were being asserted against it (and they turned out to be risibly weak.)

“We must understand that there are massive PR forces at play, acting as a stunt that changes public perception in the face of serious offences.”“Barnes & Noble was obviously a real thorn in Microsoft’s side, so it came as no huge surprise to learn in April of this year that the two companies had formed a “strategic alliance” that saw Microsoft investing $300 million in a new subsidiary of Barnes & Noble. And then there was this:

“‘Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation, and moving forward, Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products. This paves the way for both companies to collaborate and reach a broader set of customers.’

“It was another deal that couldn’t be refused – and further evidence of how desperate Microsoft is to try to buy friends in its battle against the open source world.”

Moody later concludes, quite correctly, that the extortion might have the following goal: “Microsoft is quite open to a settlement of patent litigation provided Google agrees that Android infringes. What Microsoft is “offering” in this “solid foundation” is actually the culmination of its approach over the last year or so: getting companies using Android to sign licensing deals that implicitly admit that the code infringes on Microsoft patents – without the need to prove that they actually do.”

“There is no point for Google to settle these cases; the idealists might say that Google should work to put Microsoft executives in jail for what they do.”Microsoft reportedly wanted $15 for each Android device sold by Samsung, so the claim from Moody may not be entirely factual even though it is clearly speculative. Microsoft has been separating the companies and using NDAs (also in Novell’s case) as a manipulative part in the racket. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach; Microsoft hides Windows OEM deals for the same reason. When there is investigation/case like Comes vs. Microsoft we get to see the truth.

It is unreasonable to assume that only Microsoft’s cases need to be fought against; Microsoft also uses patent trolls such as MOSAID to fight by proxy. There is no point for Google to settle these cases; the idealists might say that Google should work to put Microsoft executives in jail for what they do. In reality, Microsoft has so many government connections that it is unlikely to ever occur. In fact, while in Clinton’s term Bill Gates was breaking the law as a matter of routine, Clinton is now hanging out with Gates. It’s a case of fake it/break it till you make it. The law is all warped. It is shaped by the money interests.

Microsoft usually finds accomplices for its illegal activities; it recently recruited the phone spying firm called Amdocs (it does things other than spying, too) which is not really a victim but a collaborator. It’s more of a collaboration on FUD, as we found Microsoft trying to do with a large British company years ago (without success). We leaked some anonymised information that had been handed to us about it. Microsoft was willing to pay just for FUD, including a press release from the company that Microsoft wanted to say would pay for Linux.

Here is an article that helps validate our assertions. Christine Hall says: “Trying to understand the recent patent licensing deal between Microsoft and Amdocs is like watching a poker tournament, where you never know whether players are bluffing or if they have pat hands. In this case, it appears that Microsoft is bluffing when it comes to Linux. An inspection of the facts, as they are known, indicates the “Linux licensing” element of the story is only more Microsoft FUD–with Amdocs being a willing participant.

“This isn’t the story of an underdog being pressured by the Redmond giant into paying a bounty on some patents Microsoft claims are being infringed upon by Linux servers in Amdocs’s data centers. In fact, it appears as if Linux licensing isn’t really a part of this deal at all.”

Further, she says: “Like Microsoft, Amdocs is in the software business. It would appear the company sells its own stack and also acts as a reseller, most likely for products from folks like Oracle and Microsoft. As the company earns its keep by peddling proprietary software, it would be just as threatened by open source solutions as Redmond. So when it reached a cross licensing agreement with Microsoft covering a wide range of patents, adding some Linux FUD into the mix would be a no-brainer.”

And lastly: “In other words, it appears as if Linux had very little, if anything, to do with this agreement. Mr. Ballmer was just taking advantage of another opportunity to practice one of his favorite hobbies, the sowing of FUD. When they really have something, they’ll sue Red Hat, of that you can be sure.”

“Honeywell becomes another company to avoid for the fact that it helps Microsoft make Linux non-free.”By bribing all the right companies Microsoft tries to normalise (make acceptable) selling permission to something that’s not theirs, namely Android.

According to new reports, Microsoft found another willing FUD partner. To quote: “Thursday, Honeywell International Inc. (HON) became the 15th company to sign a patent-licensing agreement with Microsoft that covers Android devices. The deal coincides with the introduction of Honeywell’s Dolphin, a digital assistant for data capture, navigation and communication for field workers.”

The press release came from Honeywell and Microsoft boosters were quick to promote the FUD. To quote: “The move is tied to the introduction of Honeywell’s first enterprise digital assistant computing device, which runs on Android. (Microsoft contends that certain features of Android infringe on its patents.)”

Well, Honeywell becomes another company to avoid for the fact that it helps Microsoft make Linux non-free. “Extortion continues,” iophk remarks about it. “Again the terms of the patent extortion are kept under wraps.”

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

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