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03.20.16

Horacio Gutierrez Has Left Microsoft, But the Patent Extortion Against Linux Continues, Also by Satellites

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 7:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The legacy of Ballmer and Gutierrez remains at Nadella’s Microsoft

Horacio Gutierrez

Picture contributed by a reader in 2008

Summary: Reactions to the exit of Horacio Gutierrez and a reminder that Microsoft has implemented no change of strategy as it pressures Linux (with software patents) not only directly

AS we noted in our previous post, more writers now agree with us that Microsoft’s patent aggression against Linux is not acceptable and probably serves as proof that Microsoft still hates Linux. Nearly a week ago it became apparent that the architect of Microsoft’a patent strategy against Linux was leaving. Mike Masnick retweeted Re/code and wrote: “This guy once spent an hour in a conference room lecturing me on just how *amazing* patent licensing is…”

That was the first time we noticed a report about it. It came from the Microsoft booster (who was among the loudest cheerleaders for the patent extortion even way back in her Novell days/era at CNET). Yes, Ina Fried covered it and her employer wrote “Spotify taps top Microsoft lawyer Horacio Gutierrez as general counsel” (it’s pretty big news and it seems like Re/code may have broken the story).

“Based on reports we have been reading, we don’t know if this Microsoft Mafioso has decided to quit his job or Microsoft simply told him to go (being associated with patent extortion/blackmail is enormously detrimental for Microsoft’s public image).”As we mentioned him just two days beforehand (translation in Spanish was posted the following afternoon) we cannot help but wonder if some of our recent articles served to convince him to change jobs or even had Microsoft rethink its patent strategy. In the past month we got about 30 million hits at the cache level, so surely many people read about Microsoft’s patent aggression (we wrote numerous articles about it, going weeks back) and some even wrote their own articles about it (partly inspired by what we had published).

Based on reports we have been reading, we don’t know if this Microsoft Mafioso has decided to quit his job or Microsoft simply told him to go (being associated with patent extortion/blackmail is enormously detrimental for Microsoft’s public image).

Gavin Clarke (historically a Microsoft apologist) has only just noticed — days late! — that this Mafioso left Microsoft. He called him “Linux Inquisitor” in the headline (strong words!) and said:

Linux and Android device makers can breath a little easier: their IP bête noir has left Microsoft.

The lawyer running Microsoft’s intellectual property inquisition, Horacio Gutierrez, has left after 18 years. He’s jumped to streaming service Spotify.

Gutierrez joined Microsoft in 1998 but ran the company’s LCA innovation and intellectual property group between 2006 and 2014.

He was in charge of Microsoft’s legal team on global patents, copyrights, trademarks, licensing, standards and regulatory compliance.

Someone told us in the comments last week: “So, will Spotify now start suing over software patents now that Gutierrez has moved? It’s bad news for Spotify to get “former” Microsofters.”

“Gutierrez was a Mafioso, and like some in the Mafia he was walking around in a suit.”Will they basically become non-practising patent parasites? They’re mostly in the area of copyrights, not patents. In fact, days ago they signed a high-profile copyright deal (beyond the scope of this article).

IAM, to its credit, was also relatively quick to report on the departure of Gutierrez. To quote: “Microsoft’s current general counsel and former head of IP Horacio Gutierrez, who was one of the major players in the company’s lucrative multi-billion dollar per year Android licensing campaign, is leaving his role to take up the corresponding position at music streaming service Spotify. Gutierrez became general counsel and corporate vice president at Microsoft after a reshuffle in November last year which saw his predecessor Brad Smith promoted to company president and chief legal officer. Prior to that – in July 2014 – Gutierrez was appointed corporate vice president and deputy general counsel in the Microsoft legal function’s products and services division.”

Gutierrez was a Mafioso, and like some in the Mafia he was walking around in a suit.

“One way to stop Microsoft’s patent extortion is to make it financially less viable (economically unsustainable) by convincing technology experts (who choose what to buy for their companies) to drop Microsoft contracts, effectively boycotting the company while clarifying that patent aggression is the cause.”Some may be led to believe that Microsoft will soon stop its patent aggression, but there is no indication of it. Moreover, Microsoft still attacks Linux through patent proxies, including some patent trolls. IAM reminded us of RPX the other day, among other trolls (IAM does not say “trolls”, just NPEs and SEPs, who are paying IAM). Several divisions of Microsoft are both SEPs and NPEs. The company acts little better than a patent troll, with a much broader patents pool. Uniloc is now flirting with the Microsoft-connected Acacia. To quote IAM: “Even with the battering that most public IP companies (PIPCOs) have weathered on the capital markets over the last few years, Uniloc’s $189 million offer for Acacia, which was announced earlier today, seems far too low. A few years ago Acacia was a multi-billion dollar business with a licensing model that investors flocked to, and which produced a steady stream of revenues.”

For Microsoft to demonstrate that it is prepared to enter a peaceful co-existence with Linux it will need to not only stop its patent aggression but also stop proxies such as Intellectual Ventures from doing the same thing. One way to stop Microsoft’s patent extortion is to make it financially less viable (economically unsustainable) by convincing technology experts (who choose what to buy for their companies) to drop Microsoft contracts, effectively boycotting the company while clarifying that patent aggression is the cause.

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