President Obama with two ‘friends’
Summary: Apple a manifestation of the anti-American dream and its cartel, shared with Microsoft, does real harm to everyone, even Apple customers and employees
Emory University School of Law (i.e. lawyers) has this new paper which says: “Since 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court has been extremely active in patent law. The Supreme Court not only is taking more cases but also is addressing issues at the core of patent law, such as the law of obviousness and the doctrine of equivalents and its limitations.”
Patents are a government-enforced favouritism-driven tool for corporations. Now, watch what happens to government-funded projects: “In 2003, the agency’s investment arm, DARPA, tapped the non-profit research institute SRI International to lead a five-year, 500-person effort to build a virtual assistant, one the government hoped might yield software to help military commanders with both information overload and office chores. Although it wasn’t the project’s mission, this helper, the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes, or CALO, would ultimately provide the inspiration and model for Siri.
“The Defense Department’s financial backing, $150 million in all, united hundreds of top-tier artificial intelligence experts for an ambitious and uncertain endeavor that most corporate R&D labs could only dream of tackling: teaching computers to learn in the wild. The army of engineers at “nerd city” — one SRI researcher’s nickname for the lab — were tasked with creating a PC-based helper smart enough to learn by observing a user’s behavior, and all the people, projects and topics relevant to her work. The undertaking was “by any measure, the largest AI program in history,” says David Israel, one of the lead researchers on CALO.”
“Wait a second,” wrote Pamela Jones. “How does Apple get to sue people over Siri, if my tax dollars invented it? I don’t want my tax dollars used for fodder for patent infringement lawsuits.”
It is the same with NASA. Always remember the circumstances under which Apple snatched Siri. Apple also uses the patent system to drive wages down. Surely we covered this before, but here is some more.
Pamela Jones calls it “The smoking gun that supports what I’ve been telling you,” namely “that Apple (and Microsoft) are going after Android with patents not because they care about the patents but that they are using patent law as an anticompetitive club. The nice detail is that the class action lawsuit is happening in Judge Lucy Koh’s courtroom, just like the Apple v. Samsung litigations are, so she gets a peek at what’s really going on. Here’s the affidavit as PDF.”
Apple has been colluding with Microsoft for years, so for The Guardian to say this is rather curious:
Apple has one challenge to learn: do not become the next Microsoft.
Apple is already becoming like part of Microsoft. It is evident when it comes to patent blackmail, but sometimes they hide behind patent trolls. This new article recognises the issue. “The recent indications from the FTC, the DoJ and the PTO,” says the blog, “might reinforce the view that in the case of trolls, the public interest counsels against the issuance of an injunction. If a valid patent belonging to a troll is infringed, a royalty should be paid by the user but the threat of injunction produces some of the same anti-competitive effect that the DoJ and PTO identified for patents included in standards.”
How about patents that are de facto standards, meaning patents that cover functionality that the public expects to see in, for example, a smartphone. Why wouldn’t it be in the public interest to insist on no injunctions for those kinds of patents too? Apple and Microsoft have opened the door of our minds to many possibilities. If you can remove a property right, the right to enforce via injunctions from one set of patent holders, why not others?
The pathetic behaviour from Apple has its shares collapse. Apple tried in vain to block Android devices through the ITC. ITC is a misnomer. It’s not international, it’s imperialistic. All it does is, it blocks non-US products at behest of US companies, with few exceptions.
Apple boosters try to tell us, unlike the Korean press and more like dedicated Apple boosting sites, that Apple gets the upper hand. Jones has more objective analysis
Judge Koh Rules in Apple v. Samsung – No Willfulness, No Enhanced Damages for Apple but No New Trial Either ~pj
The presiding judge in the Apple v. Samsung litigation in San Jose, CA, the Hon. Lucy Koh, has issued four rulings on the parties’ post-trial briefs. No to a new trial for Samsung, as she views the trial as fair. No to more money for Apple. They failed to prove they were undercompensated by the jury, she writes without conscious irony. And she has ruled that Samsung did not willfully infringe.
Next stop, appeals court, where we will find out if they agree with Judge Koh that the trial was fair. Meanwhile, poor Apple will have to make do with a mere $1 billion as its jury award. We’ll see if that stands on appeal too. A billion dollars for infringement that was officially not willful. Your US patent law at work. How do you like it?
Apple has been making Europe a battleground too and the trend is disturbing. Steve Jobs used patent troll MPEG-LA against Ogg and WebM. The recently-disgraced (for Internet censorship) ITU now provides more patent ammunition against free codecs:
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has signed off on High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), a video compression standard expected to succeed the wildly popular H.264.
ITU-T H.265 / ISO/IEC 23008-2 HEVC, to give the new standard its full name, is seen by the ITU as “designed to take account of advancing screen resolutions” and “is expected to be phased in as high-end products and services outgrow the limits of current network and display technology.”
This was also covered here. Apple must be proud because it’s a big proponent of this. █
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Time to sue Microsoft?
Summary: New lows for Microsoft’s low blow against Linux
Now starts the sabotage stage. Microsoft should be seriously nailed for this obstruction of fair competition, but instead we see spin while cowardly Canonical and Red Hat play along (it is not clear if Red Hat really intended for this now that Dr. Garrett no longer works there). See this seminal report:
Booting Linux using UEFI just once on various Samsung laptops is enough to permanently stop them working. Several reports have been posted on the Ubuntu bug tracker, but the problem is likely to also be present in other Linux distributions, as it appears to be caused by a kernel driver for Samsung laptops. Kernel developers are currently discussing a change which would disable the driver when booting via UEFI.
Ubuntu developers were informed of the problem by one user last year, after he had tried to UEFI boot Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.04.1 on a Samsung 530U3C live from a USB flash drive. He had prepared the drive with Ubuntu’s Startup Disk Creator, which sets everything up for booting via BIOS or EFI. Ubuntu froze shortly after loading the kernel and the user then powered down by holding down the power button. Thereafter the laptop refused to boot and the firmware would not even show basic startup information. Samsung repaired the laptop, which was under warranty, by replacing the motherboard. When the same thing occurred with the repaired machine, the user alerted the Ubuntu development team.
This has spread to more news sites [1, 2], one of which says:
Ever since Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS arrived, many Linux users have been asking which distribution they can download and install that will just work out of the box on their new certified Windows 8 machines. That’s been a difficult question to answer, thanks to the whole UEFI Secure Boot BIOS implementation found in Windows 8 machines, which prompted last year’s post “Will Windows 8 Lock Linux Out of PCs?”
The Linux Foundation and others have been slow about delivering solutions to the problem, but some Linux distributions have appeared that provide a reliable workaround. Now, though, there are reports that Samsung machines–which are popular among Windows 8 users–can be completely bricked if you attempt to boot just a single time via UEFI into Linux.
Garrett tells his story where there is focus on recent work that legitimised UEFI. How proud is he now? To quote the SCALE Web site, “We had a chance to sit down with Matthew Garrett, SCALE 11x keynote speaker, to discuss his upcoming keynote “The Secure Boot Journey” as well as a host of other topics including the future directions of Linux.”
UEFI was widely opposed by many while Garrett helped make it seem legitimate. As Will Hill puts it: “Don’t let anyone tell you Restricted Boot is something people are getting around.”
There is another new nightmare story:
Setting up multi-boot on UEFI-based systems has turned out to be quite an ordeal. Here is what I have learned so far.
Linux backers should file complaints against Microsoft, not explore workarounds. █
“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”
–Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée
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Summary: How a software patents- and patent trolls-friendly system prevents import of innovation
THE USPTO is probably the biggest suppressor of innovation, substituting innovation with protectionism that depresses creativity and productivity. Patents on software are back to the headlines in New Zealand and IDG says:
Call centre software specialist Zeacom might have joined the small list of technology companies on the New Zealand stock exchange if the sharemarket analysts hadn’t stood in the way.
Instead, the company was sold to Enghouse Systems, a Canadian enterprise software company, for US$30.6 million ($36.9 million). Zeacom founder Miles Valentine says that when he needed to raise capital for expansion into the US market, his first choice was the NZX, but the reception he received from the stockbrokers was unwelcoming.
Guess what he says? Patent trolls in the US are blamed. The punch line is, “the patent holder sued 86 companies on the same day and they nearly all (including Zeacom) paid out. He won’t disclose the amount paid but he says that case was settled five minutes before the Enghouse deal went public.”
Watch a new patent troll being created with a massive arsenal:
In other words, Ericsson will profit from any litigation or settlements Unwired Planet manages to extract from tech companies. Pretty good money, if you don’t mind being part of the problem. Mulica was on hand again to put lipstick on the troll-pig with plenty of words that dance around the shakedown-and-sue “business model” Unwired is calling a “corporate strategy” these days.
We covered this before. █
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Summary: Microsoft and an ally want DRM in web standards
After Microsoft had infiltrated W3C [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] Microsoft pushed DRM fonts and now there is this (also Microsoft proxy Netflix):
A few days ago, a new proposal was put forward in the HTML Working Group (HTML WG) by Microsoft, Netflix, and Google to take DRM in HTML5 to the next stage of standardization at W3C. This triggered another uproar about the morality and ethics behind DRM and building it into the Web. There are good arguments about morality/ethics on both sides of the debate but ultimately, the HTML WG will decide whether or not to pursue the specification based on technical merit. I (@manusporny) am a member of the HTML WG. I was also the founder of a start-up that focused on building a legal, peer-to-peer, content distribution network for music and movies. It employed DRM much like the current DRM in HTML5 proposal. During the course of 8 years of technical development, we had talks with many of the major record labels. I have first-hand knowledge of the problem, and building a technical solution to address the problem.
This is the fundamental reason why DRM is doomed and should be discarded: the only people it annoys are the ones who have tried to support creators by acquiring legal copies. How stupid is that?
Microsoft infiltrators seeking to hijack the voice of FOSS (recent examples in [1, 2, 3]) are an equally disturbing problem, but let’s not let Microsoft ruin the Web again. Microsoft is a ruthless, unethical company. Never trust its claims that it “changed”. █
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Tell us all about it, Walt
Photo by Joi
Summary: Microsoft sympathisers too are unable to make the trainwreck run
SO Vista 8 is a pile of trash (yes, I tried it) and Mossberg, a Microsoft booster of sorts, cannot make it work for him. He still tries to sound optimistic:
I only wish that, as a laptop, it had more storage and a snappier processor.
Well, even financial manipulations cannot hide losses in cash cows [1, 2] and Linux gains at Windows’ expense, as we showed days ago. █
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Summary: Microsoft-tied entities which help Microsoft irritate and abuse the industry
The company known as Microsemi has been turned into a 'customer' of Microsoft's patent troll if the Microsoft spinners are to be believed. John Cook pretends that trolls have customers. Where Intellectual Ventures “turns them into a customer” we should note anti-spin, such as this reply which says: “Hey, @geekwire I think the word you’re looking for is “victim”” (don’t start laughing, the choice of word is deceptive).
Microsoft is working through proxies and often enough we see Microsoft boosters embellishing extortion. Speaking of proxies, Microsoft can now spy on many people using Skype, which it acquired with help from a proxy. As the EFF points out, there is too much secrecy around Skype surveillance:
Open letter from privacy advocates, Internet activists, journalists, and others calls on Microsoft to provide public documentation about the security and privacy practices around Skype.
There is no transparency, so users hardly know for sure what is being done to them when they use the software. It is already confirmed, however, that spying in Skype is happening. Microsoft, unlike Google and Yahoo, also refuses to comment on privacy violations in its E-mail service. Here is how one journalist put it in a story about E-mail hosts requiring a warrant:
The nation’s other major consumer-facing e-mail provider — Microsoft — which markets the Hotmail and Outlook brands, declined comment for this story.
Yahoo, like Skype, was approached by a proxy before Microsoft tried buying it, That proxy is Silver Lake, which we covered here before.
Silver Lake Partners and Microsoft, it seems, really like each other’s company.
With the potential buyout of Dell edging toward an announcement this week or next, now comes word that Silver Lake and Dell founder Michael Dell are in talks with Microsoft ab out teaming up to bid for the computer maker. It’s unclear what form Microsoft’s investment might take, but a person familiar with the deal deliberations said the software giant might put up a couple of billion dollars in financing.
Yes, now Dell too. According to this and this, they seek takeover or at least derailment of GNU Linux efforts, as we saw in Yahoo (FOSS was harmed there by Microsoft infiltration). Another Microsoft takeover proxy seems to to be Ignition Partners, stuffed with former Microsoft executives who prop up Mono and Moonlight by passing money to Xamarin
Last but not least, HP is silently attacking Linux in Germany and elsewhere while publicly pretending to embrace Linux. HP does this because Microsoft apparently paid for it [1, 2, 3].This form of AstroTurfing is hinged upon Microsoft kickbacks or gentle bribes. To quote IDG, ‘”I would struggle to see how a Windows deployment would be cheaper than a Linux installment,” said Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, who added that he couldn’t imagine why Microsoft wouldn’t release a study that actually proved that Microsoft is cheaper than Linux. “I would suspect that they read it and they suspected that there are some errors in there,” he said.,
Pamela Jones wrote: “Think they might use it in private business negotiations? Hahahaha. Microsoft is still Microsoft. Full o’ Fud. But the world has gotten smarter, I see, which might explain Microsoft’s refusal to release the study.” █
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