Summary: Microsoft’s shamed proxy “Association for Competitive Technology” (ACT) is reincarnated as “ACT4Apps” and lobbies for software patents, still
HAVING just assaulted Google/Android/Linux by proxy through Rockstar (a patent troll which Microsoft gave patents to  along with smaller Android foes ), Microsoft starts another assault, this time too using software patents. To Microsoft’s service come ACT and the BSA, as usual, plus some Microsoft people who would rather hide where they came from. Leading this assault there’s Jonathan Zuck, as usual. There are lies in their “about” page. Just as Jonathan Zuck and his lackeys pretended to represent thousands of SMBs in Europe they now pretend to be spokespeople for app developers. The site of their new shell says: “ACT has emerged as the leading voice for the app developers who make up the $20 billion app marketplace.”
“If you see “ACT4Apps” mentioned anywhere in the press, be sure to point out to writers/publishers/readers what “ACT4Apps” actually is and who’s behind it.”Really? Liars!
We have already sent a complaint to the FTC about this AstroTurfing parasite, but the FTC is hardly responsive. This disgusting pest called Jonathan Zuck not only works for Microsoft (Microsoft pays him) by promoting software patents; it is the lobbyist who also fought ODF when Microsoft was desperate to defend the monopoly using bribes and all sorts of corruption.
Timothy B. Lee has some people’s testament/information explaining Microsoft’s role in all this. The best article which ties it together comes from Mike Masnick , who also shares a nice new video about patent trolls .
If you see “ACT4Apps” mentioned anywhere in the press, be sure to point out to writers/publishers/readers what “ACT4Apps” actually is and who’s behind it. This isn’t the first time that ACT is nymshifting, moving its staff under a new umbrella with a new name in Washington. This is just another AstroTurf effort, just like “Consumer Watchdog”. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
We’ve seen plenty of skirmishes come and go already, of course, but the latest example — in which that thinly veiled and proprietary minded entity known as “Rockstar” is suing Google and other Android users — is being called nothing short of “thermonuclear” war.
The expression, of course, hearkens back to the words of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who considered Android a “stolen product.” Now, Rockstar — which, not coincidentally, includes Apple — appears to be making good on Jobs’ combative words.
The lawsuit filed by patent troll Rockstar Consortium Inc. on Halloween against Google and at least five makers of Android handsets is about much more than merely the tons of money that would be reaped if the Rockstar cartel prevails. Mainly, it’s about gaining a competitive edge that could result in increased market share down the road.
That letter was actually put together by the BSA (the “Business Software Alliance”), a trade group that pretends it represents “the business software industry,” but which everyone knows takes its marching orders from Microsoft. In a recent interview with a BSA official, Tim Lee at the Washington Post pointed out that Microsoft seems very opposed to the expansion of CBM, and suggests that Microsoft is driving the BSA’s position against this. He also points out that there’s an obvious reason for this: Microsoft has a ton of low-quality patents that it doesn’t want to lose. The BSA official tries to tap dance around the whole thing, but doesn’t make much sense. Basically, they don’t like CBM because there are other ways to deal with bad patents — even though those aren’t working.
Of course, Microsoft is not exactly known for attacking on a single front. Another well-known Microsoft front group is a group called ACT, the Association for Competitive Technology, which calls itself a “grassroots advocacy organization” representing “small and mid-size app developers,” despite the fact that the organization only seems to reflect Microsoft’s interests. ACT has also set up a related organization specifically for app developers, called “ACT 4 APPS” which looks like it’s trying to be what the App Developer’s Alliance actually is, but without actually caring what actual app developers want. For example, last week, it sent a letter to Goodlatte arguing against CBM, just like the BSA, but in complete contrast to the App Developer’s Alliance. The App Developer’s Alliance has hundreds of names signed onto their letter in favor of expanding CBM and being able to knock out bad patents quickly.
In contrast, ACT 4 APPS’ letter could only turn up 14 signatures. And almost all of them appear to have some sort of close connection to… (you guessed it)… Microsoft. One of the signatures is from a former ACT employee, who appears to have just left a few months ago. And with at least ten of the other signatures, they appear to be Microsoft partners.
When you look at the letters from the BSA and from ACT, it seems pretty clear that Microsoft is deathly afraid of this accelerated review of crappy patents, and it’s getting various groups to “front” that effort with letters to Congress. But when you dig deeper into those letters and look, it’s pretty clear this is just Microsoft knowing that an awful lot of its patents are likely to be of very low quality, and easily challenged under such a program. Next time, perhaps Microsoft should focus on actually innovating, rather than betting so much of its strategy on shaking down companies with weak patents.
Over the last few years, Next Media Animation has become something of a cult hit for their famed “Taiwanese animation” of various news events. We’ve written about them a few times, such as when they did a news animation of the outrage over TSA scans and again when they took on SOPA. The folks over there got in touch to let us know that they recently did one on patent trolls…