Patent stacking against free (libre and gratis) operating systems such as Android
Summary: How Microsoft, Apple, and of course the Microsoft-led Nokia are now working together against the market leader, which is also a Linux success story, built upon Free/libre software
According to this month’s update from the FRAND boosters, “the second phase of the Microsoft v. Motorola RAND breach of contract trial will take place in Judge James L. Robart’s courtroom in Seattle, WA. A jury will decide whether Motorola breached its SSO-related RAND licensing obligations by offering what Microsoft deems “blatantly unreasonable” licensing terms for its 802.11- and H.264-essential patents, and then following up with patent infringement suits.”
This is not the whole story. What this whole Motorola case is about should be recalled. Microsoft sued Motorola after it had failed to get payments for Android. Motorola then sued back and Microsoft took litigation to its back yard, adding litigation aimed at Google. Motorola was partly bought by Google in the interim. Now, according to this update from Pamela Jones, there are yet more filings.
There are a couple of filings in the Seattle Microsoft v. Motorola case to tell you about.
What we generally find in this case is Apple and Microsoft liaising in patent litigation against Google. They try to tax Android and they openly collaborate on it. If anyone should be sued for copying, it is Apple and Microsoft, not Google. As Groklaw recalls, equipped with this link from last month:
We should expect no less from Apple; after all, Steve Jobs said that good artists copy, great artists steal. Apple’s genius isn’t in inventing entirely new technologies. It’s in taking existing technologies and polishing, commercializing, and mainstreaming them.
Animated wallpapers? Android. Universal multitasking? Android again. The multitasking interface? I’m not the only one who thinks that looks like WebOS. Android has auto-updated apps for years. Car integration is one of BlackBerry’s last great strongholds. iTunes Radio is like Pandora with sales links. I could go on and on.
Apple is sidling with Microsoft, even on search now (the duopoly is aligned against Google). It should be clear that the evidence of collaboration between those two companies is very compelling and strong now. They even appear in their court cases in conjunction.
Apple finds it to be a convenient relationship. Microsoft also recruited Nokia with its massive patent portfolio for this. Having just passed some patents to MOSAID and (one of several such trolls), then expanded this armament of patents, Nokia — like Yahoo — is waiting to receive orders from Microsoft. Here is a long rant about what happened inside Nokia:
Sherlock Holmes and the Hounds of the Basket Case: Clues on the trail of Elop, Ballmer and Nokia’s Board
Elop is the worst CEO of all time, he has personally caused the biggest corporate downfall in the Global Fortune 500 history, after we eliminate management fraud and crimes. For management incompetence Elop is the benchmark. The worst CEO ever. We need not review all his damage, growing smartphone sales turned into history’s fastest collapse. Growing profitable handset business turned into fastest losses ever in this industry. Market share collapse – Nokia was twice as large in market share as the iPhone, four times as big as Samsung’s smartphones when Elop started – and grew more in 2010 than either rival – but now Nokia smartphones (on all of its platforms, combined) is one sixth the size of the iPhone and one tenth the size of Samsung’s smartphones. Nokia share price, Nokia brand value, Nokia loyalty, all destroyed in the past 2 years and four months.
So with that perspective, that this ship was sinking so badly, no way would any sane Microsoft CEO want to buy it. Not from what it had been to what had been done to it. But now, lets turn to Elop. Elop clearly had pitched the idea to the Nokia Board, that Microsoft would like to buy Nokia. Elop knew Microsoft, Elop knew Ballmer, and Elop could privately talk with Ballmer back home in Seattle, where nobody would even know. As we have since heard, for example, in the summer of 2011, Ballmer and Elop conspired to consider buying RIM ie Blackberry, but decided against it. So they’ve been cooking up these plans for a while.
We do not know exactly when it is that the idea was first brought to the Nokia Board (or it might be out there, if someone has seen news reporting on it, please share in the comments and I’ll update the story). We do know that Elop made a long series of decisions and announcements that were seen as ‘stupid’ and often caused severe drops to Nokia share prices (or stopped the growth of Nokia share price, like with the unveiling of the N9 running MeeGo). Why would an idiot CEO want to stop growth of the share price and actually wish for a decline in the share price? If he had some personal play in the share – illegal obviously, insider trading and manipulating the stock price. Or if he wanted to make Nokia more appealing to a buyer – to Microsoft.
So. Lets examine some of Elop’s decisions now with the prism of ‘would this be in the interests of making Nokia more appealing to Microsoft in an acquisition’.
And the picture becomes very clear. Why call Nokia’s own products bad, when in fact they were not. When in fact they were award-winning, market-dominating and where even Apple would only weeks later agree to pay Nokia in royalties for Nokia patents, not the other way around. Why the Burning Platforms memo? To cause a severe drop in Nokia sales, retail sales support, carrier support, Nokia brand and – Nokia share price? That cannot be in the best interests of Nokia owners (shareholders) or Nokia employees or Nokia partners or suppliers, or Nokia retail channel and carriers, and end-users. Any CEO to release that memo would be a madman – but what if its his intention to make Nokia more appealing to be bought by Microsoft? It did help cause a severe drop in Nokia share price. Together with the stupid announcement of the Windows shift and end of Symbian with no phones to sell – helped push Nokia share price to under half what it had been in less than half a year. A big achievement, if the objective is to get
Nokia ready to be sold to Microsoft?
“Here is more about Nokia’s rating,” wrote a person from Finland, pointing to these articles [1, 2] about Nokia reaffirming its “junk” status. Nokia is selling patents to trolls Microsoft asks Nokia to sell them to. The target is Android, Microsoft is just forming a patent front against Google and Linux. People oughtn’t lose sight of which company originally commissioned this cartel. █