Summary: The patent troll which Microsoft has created to attack Android/Linux is now doing the predictable and Microsoft (mis)uses legal instruments like DMCA as well
Microsoft is not a scapegoat. Microsoft is a criminal company thriving in bribes, sabotage, litigation, racketeering, etc. For anyone who thinks that Microsoft will die peacefully or has somehow become any more benign than before, there’s news to pay attention to. This post is just a quick summary of events which were mostly covered — fairly well in fact — by other sites.
Here is an accurate assessment of where Microsoft stands right now and what it is trying to do. As FOSS Force put it:
About a month ago we decided to speculate on where Microsoft would be five years down the road. Obviously, the company is in transition and is trying to reinvent itself fast. The traditional desktop market, where Windows dominates, isn’t going anywhere and reports of it’s demise are premature, but it is shrinking and becoming much less important, especially in consumer space.
Well, it oughtn’t neglect how Microsoft tried to reinvent itself as just a racketeering company, making money from other people’s work using patents. “Apple/Microsoft-backed Rockstar Consortium suing Samsung and Google over old Nortel patents Rockstar now owns,” says this article, noting that Nokia too has a role to play:
On the heels of the Apple/Microsoft-backed Rockstar Consortium suing Samsung and Google over old Nortel patents Rockstar now owns, Samsung is tying up patent negotiations on another front. Today Flinland’s Nokia announced that it has extended a patent license agreement with the Korean handset giant for another five years, and that the two had entered into binding arbitration to settle additional compensation related to this, expected to be concluded in 2015.
Microsoft staff that’s just “following orders” says that: “We will know that day has arrived when Microsoft quits threatening every open source project under the sun with patent litigation.”
Well, if he feels this way about Microsoft, then why does he work for Microsoft and help it infiltrate the FOSS community? As FOSS Force put it:
The legal papers were filed by Rockstar Consortium, a patent troll owned by Microsoft, Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony. They hold 6,000 plus patents purchased in an auction for $4.5 billion from bankrupt Canadian telecom Nortel. Google had been bidding against Rockstar for the same patents, but dropped out after placing a $4.4 billion bid that didn’t hold up. Not long afterwards, Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, in large part for its vast patent portfolio–just in case a patent war broke out.
Again, the patent wars have now gone nuclear.
Rockstar is suing Google and just about every manufacturer of Android phones. The suit against Google seems to be mainly against their search technology. The Android makers are accused of infringing on patents dealing with issues such as “Managing a Virtual Private Network” and “System and Method for Notifying a User of an Incoming Communication Event.” To determine infringement, Rockstar engaged in a lot of reverse engineering.
Like all good patent trolls, Rockstar is using everything it can find as a weapon–even Googles $4.4 billion dollar bid to purchase the patents that are now being used against it. Rockstar claims that to be proof that Google already knew it was in violation, paving the way for a finding of willful infringement–meaning damages can be multiplied by three.
Here is what Linux Insider said about it: “Another legal battle between tech titans is brewing. The winners of the Nortel patent bidding war — Microsoft, Apple, et al — have filed a batch of lawsuits against Google and several Android smartphone manufacturers, charging infringement of a number of those patents. Though a good deal of money may change hands, this will be “a road bump in the smartphone wars,” said IP attorney Peter Toren.”
A good take came from TechDirt:
Patent Troll Shell Company Owned By Microsoft And Apple Launches Massive Patent Attack On Android
About a year and a half ago, we wrote about “Rockstar Consortium,” a shell company set up by Apple and Microsoft (and a few other companies), in which they placed many of the patents they received when they outbid Google to get Nortel’s patents. We noted at the time that one of the reasons regulators let Apple, Microsoft, RIM and others team up to buy these patents without it being an antitrust concern was that they promised that all the patents would be able to be licensed on “reasonable terms.” Except… once they handed them off to Rockstar, that company’s CEO, John Veschi, noted that this promise “does not apply to us.”
Microsoft is misusing laws against Google not just when it comes to patents; here is another new example:
Gmail Stays Up as Google Rejects Microsoft DMCA Takedown Notice
While Google receives millions of DMCA notices for its search service every week, that’s not the only part of its system to be targeted by rightsholders. Working on behalf of entertainment companies, over the past year several anti-piracy companies. Microsoft included, have regularly identified and reported URLs used by Google’s Gmail service as infringing copyright. Fortunately, the system hasn’t come crashing down.
For those who say that Microsoft is just worth ignoring it should be made apparent that it’s not GNU/Linux picking on Microsoft; it’s Microsoft that’s constantly picking on GNU/Linux. Any dislike of Microsoft is very much defensive and for Microsoft to be loathed is a well-earned status. We wrote about Rockstar a long time and we foresaw the above action. It’s cartel with racketeering and Apple plays a role in it too, showing its growing proximity to Microsoft. █