“I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses [...] They don’t act like grown-ups!”
–Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson
Summary: The abusive behaviour of Microsoft continues unabated long after Judge Jackson warned about the sociopathic management and its dangers
ICROSOFT is best known to many as the champion of antitrust abuses. The judge who knows this best has just died (see biography or some corporate press coverage [1, 2, 3]). He left behind him is a lot of paper trail showing how Bill Gates and his goons repeatedly broke the law while trying to marginalise, demonise and incite judges like himself. To quote the book authored by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR leader, Microsoft said “Judge Penfield Jackson’s decision to appoint a “special master” was not appropriate and that the company would challenge it. On December 23 Microsoft did just that and filed a motion to remove Lawrence Lessig from the case. [...] In trying to get rid of Lessig, Microsoft argued the law, but they also argued bias.”
“He left behind him is a lot of paper trail showing how Bill Gates and his goons repeatedly broke the law while trying to marginalise, demonise and incite judges like himself.”See our symbolic list of personal retributions by Microsoft, which at times behaves like a dangerous cult. Microsoft’s antitrust abuses are far from over. Someone from Finland tells us about “The last of that OSS OS” which Microsoft destroyed using its mole in Nokia. In Europe, specifically in Germany, the Microsoft-run Nokia has been suing Android using patents. There is a motion for outright ban of such patents, led by Jimmy Schulz and Matthias Kirschner, the FSFE’s coordinator for Germany. Mr. Pogson and many others write about it because the key to many of Microsoft’s latest competition abuses is software patents.
The Microsoft-Apple duopoly [1, 2] is getting closely tied (search engines too) now that the mission is to destroy Google/Android. Microsoft needs a proxy to make antitrust claims against Google, for it would seem hypocritical otherwise.
Nokia to Microsoft’s rescue! Here is the article “EU to probe Google’s below cost licensing of Android: Courtesy Microsoft Nokia,” stating:
Microsoft, the company which created abusive monopoly in the PC desktop space and did not leave any room for a single player to breath and survive for almost three decades is now crying wolf when competitors are doing better.
Microsoft and it’s pizza delivery boy Nokia filed complaints with the EU, via is proxy body FairSearch, against Google’s free and open source Android OS. According to reports EU is going ahead with the probe.
FairSearch is no ‘independent body. Nicolas Petit, a professor of competition law at the University of Liege in Belgium was quoted by Computer World stating, “FairSearch.org is seen by many observers here as a Microsoft Trojan Horse Everyone understands here in Brussels that it’s Microsoft versus Google.”
As put by Pamela Jones: “This is beyond silly. Microsoft and Nokia a sore losers, and they should put more effort into their products instead of attacking Google via regulators. It’s unseemly. Of course the wrongly named “Fair Search” is involved. It’s here if you want. I hate to give them clicks: http://www.fairsearch.org/mobile/fairsearch-announces-complaint-in-eu-on-googles-anti-competitive-mobile-strategy/ but here’s the thing: every time these guys complain to the EU regulators, they have to look into it, even if it is absurd on its face. It’s how it works, and the article is clear it’s still an “informal” investigation, meaning nothing has happened except Microsoft and its little sidekick Nokia are complaining again.”
The Financial Times reports that it has access to documents indicating that the EU Commission is investigating the licensing practices for the Android mobile operating system. According to the documents, Google is offering Android below the usual market prices. The report also says that the company has been signing exclusive contracts with smartphone manufacturers related to the factory installation of Google’s mobile services. Reportedly, competitors have accused Google of exploiting its dominant market position to achieve this.
Over at CNET, the battle is said to be fought by “a group of companies that includes Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle” (Apple friend and CPTN member). Jones writes: “Do you remember Daniel Wallace, who sued the Free Software Foundation, as well as Novell and Red Hat over the GPL, claiming it was an antitrust violation to offer it for free, because then other software couldn’t fairly compete? The judge specifically ruled that the GPL encouraged competition and innovation and was advantageous for consumers in that prices to go down instead of up, writing: “[T]he GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers. These benefits include lower prices, better access and more innovation.
“And what, pray tell, would the remedy be, if Microsoft and its sidekick Nokia were to prevail? Force Google to charge for Android? Ban it from the market? I mean, what? This accusation, aside from being untrue, reveals that what Microsoft really wants is one of the following: 1) that Android cost more, either through patent royalties paid for Microsoft’s aged and unnecessary, maybe invalid, patents; or 2) Android’s total destruction. That’s not competition in any normal sense.”
Here is how Pogson puts it:
The idea that an owner of copyright cannot give away it’s product is plainly silly. Copyright law says the owner can make copies any way they want, charging money or not.
This just shows that Microsoft continues to abuse and misuse the system while at the same time, as Tim put it, Microsoft wants to be seen as a victim that plays “nice”. The headline says “The writing is on the wall? Microsoft wants to play nicely now?”
The picture is not too great for Microsoft and its future. I’ve said recently that I believe the reason Microsoft plugs away with its phone efforts is so that it can’t be accused of patent trolling when it rakes in the profit from it’s Android licenses and as some people will probably agree, if Microsoft does have a long term future, it will be in the area’s of patents.
The worrying thing about this is (and the Microsoft Advocates are keen to point this out) is that Microsoft is not going anywhere – this is very true. It has a massive warchest of cash, a library of patents and in my view a opinion of “do it our way or not at all”. I think on the way down, Microsoft will bring many others down with it.
Microsoft play nicely with others? In my opinion, there’s more chance of Steve Ballmer spontaneously growing a full head of hair than Microsoft playing nicely with anyone.
Racketeering with patent threats and misuse of regulatory agencies through proxies is not playing “nice”, it’s acting criminal.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said “Microsoft expends a significant portion of its monopoly power [...] on imposing burdensome restrictions on its customers and inducing them to behave in ways that augment and prolong that monopoly power.” He also said that it “is Microsoft’s corporate practice to pressure other firms to halt software development that either shows the potential to weaken the applications barrier to entry or competes directly with Microsoft’s most cherished software products.” This is still true. On another occasion he said that “[t]he period since 1996 has witnessed a large increase in the usage of Microsoft’s browsing technologies and a concomitant decline in Navigator’s share. … The relative shares would not have changed nearly as much as they did, however, had Microsoft not devoted its monopoly profits to precisely that end.”
To summarise in the words of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, “Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft’s core products. [...] The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft’s self-interest.” █