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Microsoft Continues to Use Software Patents to Extort/Blackmail Even More Companies That Use Linux, Forcing/Coercing Them Into Preinstalling Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 9:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘new’ Microsoft is more like a new Mafia, albeit with much better marketing/veneer for secret patent deals

Patent deal spin
How Microsoft announces patent deals now (covering Android and Linux), sparingly using newspeak and euphemisms (“Agreements” actually means patent settlements)

Summary: Acer is the latest large OEM to have become a victim of Microsoft’s witch-hunt against Android/Linux preloaders, whom Microsoft is coercing into becoming Microsoft’s carriers (or face litigation over software patents, with high legal fees if not injunctions or high damages upon secret settlements)

THIS article covers a subject I have been writing about for at least a decade, often in a dedicated manner (especially when it involved Novell’s patent deal with Microsoft, which put the whole of GNU/Linux in jeopardy).

“The frequently-repeated (usually by Microsoft advocacy sites) claims that “Microsoft loves Linux” are of course baloney. Everyone who has followed the news for more than a year or two surely knows this.”This article will no doubt upset some people at Microsoft, which has already been trying to silence this site in various ways (they even contacted my employer). In this article I intend not to be alarmist but merely to explain the latest embrace, extend, extinguish (E.E.E.) strategy of Microsoft, especially against the market leader (exceeding Windows in terms of market share), Android. It’s everything to do with patents, or to be even more specific, software patents. The EPO‘s dubious practices which Microsoft caused (by pressuring officials) to become the 'norm' also relate to this, but we shall leave that angle aside for another day (we already write a lot about the EPO, not only regarding software patents in Europe).

More Microsoft patent extortion has just been revealed. Microsoft is still fighting against Linux (which nowadays is mostly embodied in relatively closed systems such as Android) using patents as a weapon by which to impose spyware on everyone. Once again, software patents or monopolies on software algorithms are being used for extraordinary leverage and Microsoft puts a misleading label on patent deals, much like corporations bribe politicians but disguise the under-the-table payments as speech engagements or campaign contributions, among other semantic loopholes. The frequently-repeated (usually by Microsoft advocacy sites) claims that “Microsoft loves Linux” are of course baloney. Everyone who has followed the news for more than a year or two surely knows this. We wrote some articles about this last year, for example:

“He is basically a successor to the likes of Joachim Kempin, who not only illegally shot animals (and got arrested for it) but also famously said “I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. [...] they should do a delicate dance”.”The above discuss and link to articles about 5 large companies which Microsoft extorted (even quite explicitly) using patents in very much the same way that Microsoft now does Acer, a relatively fine supporter of GNU/Linux, even on some desktops. Is Microsoft really threatening to sue? Yes, see what it did to Samsung. It reached a settlement almost exactly one year ago, whereupon Samsung agreed to become Microsoft's vassal (this was confirmed later). It’s not hard to see what’s happening here; even a Microsoft booster like Mary Jo Foley acknowledges the role of patent blackmail, using unnamed software patents which Microsoft has been using to hunt down OEMs all around the world, even where software patents are not at all valid. The Microsoft booster wrote this just a few hours ago, citing Nick Parker (Corporate Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division, Microsoft). He is basically a successor to the likes of Joachim Kempin, who not only illegally shot animals (and got arrested for it) but also famously said “I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. [...] they should do a delicate dance”. Based on Microsoft’s current OEM Chief, in the words of Mary Jo Foley:

As of last May, there were 31 OEMs agreeing to preload Microsoft apps and services on their Android tablets and phones. Some of the other bigger names on the list include Samsung, Dell and Pegatron. As of today, there are now 74 hardware partners in 25 countries on the list. (I’ve asked Microsoft for an updated roster of those Android device makers who are part of the group.)

Though Microsoft officials don’t explicitly say that these preinstallation deals are tied to the company’s ongoing patent campaign via which Microsoft has stepped up its collection of patent royalties from Android device makers, today’s blog post does mention that “IP alignment is an important feature” of these agreements.

Last October, Microsoft’s deal with ASUS combined Office app licensing with an Android patent deal.

This isn’t even Microsoft software being put on these devices. Microsoft does not really make software anymore, it just makes malware/spyware like Vista 10 (the NSA’s dream come true, an always-on keylogger) or Skype (always-on wiretapping), with inability to opt of secret ‘updates’ [1] or even disable the mass surveillance on the desktop [2], based on new articles (see below).

“Microsoft’s latest strategy against Linux — as I foresaw it way back in the Novell days — is “do as we tell you or we shall sue you with patents.””Remember that Android distributors don’t include Microsoft malware by default/out of the box because they want to. Microsoft threatens to sue. Microsoft’s latest strategy against Linux — as I foresaw it way back in the Novell days — is “do as we tell you or we shall sue you with patents.”

Where’s the RICO Act when it needs to actually be enforced?

Microsoft’s love of Linux is the love of a python for a sheep. It just loves sheep. It’s delicious. It’s about devouring. When I said this in Twitter one person responded by saying “this industry has short memories; we’re at the “embrace” stage of embrace, extend, extinguish” (E.E.E.).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft quits giving us the silent treatment on Windows 10 updates

    After effectively giving everyone the silent treatment on changes to its operating system, Microsoft has created a webpage that briefly lists stuff inside the software updates as they are released. It’s not so much bowing to pressure from users as tossing a ball over a pier and hoping you’ll all chase after it and then the whole fuss will just go away.

    “After listening to feedback regarding the level of disclosure for Windows 10 updates, we decided to implement a new system for communicating updates to the operating system,” a spokeswoman for Redmond told us earlier.

  2. Windows 10 spies on you despite disabling tracking options or installing anti-spying app

    Analyst reveals that Windows 10 is amassing huge amount user data despite of user disabling the three tracking options

    We all know that Windows 10 spies on users. We had reported spying issues associated with Windows 10 even as Microsoft had released the Windows 10 Technical Preview Version in August, 2014. After almost a year after when Windows 10 Final Build was released, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 spied on users in November 2015. It had added at that time that even it cant stop Windows 10’s telemetry program used for spying on users.

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