Rules of imperialism
Summary: Microsoft continues to distort the market by sending trolls, lawyers and politicians to impede Google’s business
Patent trolls using standards bodies to assault businesses with real products is what some people fear more than the occasional troll lawsuit. The cost of products depends heavily on innovation coming about in peaceful environments without patent tolls and filing of patents. Some companies feel like it’s fair to change the way the industry operates naturally and they fund entities that achieve this. Patent pools are one type of cartel which offers peace to members and extortion for the rest. MPEG cartel members are willing to get aggressive, too and they have just taken a shot at VP8:
In recent years, MPEG LA has been accused of inhibiting the innovation that it was designed to foster. Notably, the company’s practice of charging high licensing fees for patents that are near or past expiration has led critics to assert that the firm has placed profit above its core mission of cheap and accessible licensing of digital video patents. Technology market players have also alleged that MPEG LA has violated the terms of its original agreement with DOJ by failing to invite oversight of its licensing practices by independent experts, and neglecting to adhere to FRAND guidelines. A firm that was once a model (at least in theory) of the potential benefits from collaboration has morphed into one of the industry’s most notorious and most harmful players….
Notice the role of FRAND there. MPEG-LA is a patent troll in disguise (led by the troll Larry Horn) and it extorts WebM. Microsoft booster Peter Bright, who was spreading FUD against WebM for a while, whitewashes an extortion by Horn while Pamela Jones shows how close Horn is to Microsoft:
Cf. Mr. Horn’s involvement on behalf of Microsoft and once again against Motorola/Google in Microsoft v. Motorola in Seattle.
The news is not VP8 getting devoured but WebM getting extorted. Here is one report on the matter:
With the clearing of the patent issues that have cast a shadow over VP8′s acceptability to open standards organisations as a open, royalty-free video codec, it is likely that its next major stop is becoming an MPEG standard. According to Rob Glidden, video patent analyst, Google proposed VP8 as the codec for MPEG’s IVC in January. IVC is the name of one of the tracks that the ISO/IEC MPEG working group was exploring in its search for a royalty-free codec for web video and other uses. It had been looking at technologies where the patents were expiring.
What we see here is a law-bending move designed to derail patents-free standards. It is similar to what happened in the OOXML saga, where ISO too got used as a Trojan horse for patent-encumbered so-called standards. It is a vicious and corrupt battle where clueless politicians are often just used as tools for corporate profits and power. Not too long ago we saw Microsoft Facebook lobbying politicians to incite them against Google. Microsoft has far more lobbyists than everyone else in Europe (in the technology sector) and 17 lobbyists of Microsoft are identified in this article, lumping some of them together:
The biggest makers of Spyware are not Hackers… They are Companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft that make billions selling your personal likes, dislikes and opinions to an enormous glut of advertisers and social programmers. They would rather fight piracy on their collective own than have the Government regulate their blatant invasion of the public’s privacy.
Microsoft, the hypocrite, has for a long time been trying to use “privacy” against Google and it is using lawmakers to selfishly render their competition “illegal” again in Massachusetts. See this new report (the “think about the children!” strategy):
Microsoft is after Google again with a school privacy bill that could wipe out Google’s cloud-computing services for students.
Microsoft is backing a bill that targets Google’s Apps for Education, saying that these cloud-computing services are collecting data from schoolchildren for the purpose of creating better advertising or other commercial means.
“We believe that student data should not be used for commercial purposes; that cloud-service providers should be transparent in how they use student data; and that service providers should obtain clear consent for the way they use data,” said Mike Houlihan, a Microsoft spokesman. “We expect that students, parents and educators will judge any proposed legislation on its merits.”
The bill was unveiled in January, and is currently being considered by Massachusetts’s lawmakers. Microsoft has been very direct with the fact that it is behind this bill, and that Google is the target.
This is classic Microsoft, using lawmakers to help where Microsoft is losing. It is one form of corruption among several similar ones. █