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Microsoft’s Patent Extortion of Linux Comes to China (ZTE)

Posted in Asia, GNOME, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Having conquered the China-controlled Taiwan and the two Korean giants, Microsoft now goes deeper into China and demands payments for Linux-powered products

A few years ago we found out Microsoft’s strategy for patent extortion, thanks to a legal leak. The company behind this leak continues to protest to its government about the USPTO and contrary to what it said after Microsoft had bribed it, it continues with Android, not Windows, at least based on reports such as this. For those who cannot quote remember, B&N (Barnes & Noble) brought out the NDA-concealed extortion proposition (nastygram) with a list of patents included therein and then it got bribed by Microsoft for silence and lack of further legal challenges.

Microsoft is worried about its total defeat in the mobile world. “MS percent of the US market is larger than its percentage of the World market,” tells us a reader. So Microsoft decided to extort Android, maybe even bribing companies to make it appear feasible (financial details are never disclosed, but it’s about FUD). It recently went after Foxconn, based in Taiwan where patent collusion might be brewing. We don’t know if Foxconn pays anything. Now Microsoft got a patent deal with ZTE, another Chinese company. One site says:

For several years now, Microsoft has been asserting that any company making Android phones owes it money, because Microsoft has patents that cover various aspects of those phones.

Last week, the company said that the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, which makes 40 percent of consumer electronics worldwide including a variety of Android and Chrome-powered products, had agreed to license its patents. Today, the company announced a patent-licensing deal with another huge Asian electronics company: Chinese telecom ZTE.

A reader sent us “more coverage” such as this, but there is nothing to suggest they pay Microsoft. Remember that another Chinese giant, which reportedly spurned Microsoft’s attempts to tax Android phones, rejects the US market and refuses to sign such a patent deal for Android. Disguising extortion as “licence” is not an acceptable business practice. Microsoft increasingly uses proxies like Nokia, too, either to litigate in Europe or to feed patent trolls such as MOSAID. Nokia itself recently attacked a Taiwan-based company, HTC, in several places in Europe.

Over at IDG, software patents promotion continues with lobbyists for this cause, such as Martin Goetz [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], getting a European platform. Shame on IDG. The patent lawyers, a tiny minority of the overall populations, already have their platforms where they try too find rarity like developers who favour software patents. Groklaw, despite its strength in this area, also gives a platform for trolls but only as means of balance.

In order to stop Microsoft’s patent extortion we need either to kill software patents or take Microsoft executives to prison for RICO Act violations. In a system controlled by corporations, both are hard goals to attain.

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