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07.16.19

IBM is a Threat to the Internet, Not Just to Software Development (Due to Software Patents Aggression)

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Backed by exhaustive research, Black’s case is simple and stunning: that IBM facilitated the identification and roundup of millions of Jews during the 12 years of the Third Reich … Black’s evidence may be the most damning to appear yet against a purported corporate accomplice.”

Michael Hirsh, Newsweek

IBM recently published a dataset for facial recognition AI made up of images...

Summary: IBM continues its aggression against technology — a fact that’s even more distressing now that IBM calls the shots at Red Hat

Because of Red Hat we are going to at least try to like IBM (it was a much more benign and FOSS-friendly company a decade ago! Its ODF work is one example among many), but each time IBM advocates and lobbies for software patents at the European Patent Office (EPO) and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) we’ll call IBM out on it. So should Red Hat’s people, whose walkout can potentially sway policy a bit. IBM not only fires people (or sends their jobs to India) but it also lobbies for software patents in India. We wrote many articles about it over the past half decade. India has the most to lose because software is the gem of its economy.

Yesterday Mike Masnick wrote about IBM, opening with the following paragraph: “This perhaps isn’t a huge surprise, but IBM is being disdainful of the wider tech ecosystem, yet again. It has an incredibly long history of this kind of activity — mostly in the patent space, where it is the world’s foremost patent bully. The company gleefully announces each and every year that it gets the most patents of any company in the US. It has done this (no joke) for 26 straight years. Of course, given how many patents it gets, if patents actually were a marker for innovation, you’d think that IBM would still be putting out all sorts of innovative new products all the time. Right? Except, of course, it is not. Instead, it uses the patents to shake down companies who actually do innovate. The most famous of these stories is the one about IBM and Sun in its early days, in which IBM showed up at Sun’s offices with threats of patent infringement…”

“IBM not only fires people (or sends their jobs to India) but it also lobbies for software patents in India.”Masnick then cited a famous old article. This is the new boss of Red Hat, mind you, and what a malicious company it has become in recent years. Again, we must stress, it wasn’t like this a decade ago. The current CEO of IBM is a disaster. Masnick recalled that “[b]ack in 2013, when IBM first went after Twitter, I highlighted how it was an example of how older tech companies focus on litigation when they have no innovation left. In the comments, a few people challenged that claim, saying that IBM was innovative. “Just look at Watson,” the company’s big AI project, they all said.”

It’s disgusting marketing. IBM did more such marketing to hide reports about it racially profiling people for NYPD. IBM is still a highly problematic company and that hasn’t changed since the buyout of Red Hat was first announced. They simply refuse to change. They still push for software patents. They not only apply for these but also lobby/bully/bribe politicians to welcome such patents (in defiance of 35 U.S.C. § 101).

“IBM is still a highly problematic company and that hasn’t changed since the buyout of Red Hat was first announced. They simply refuse to change.”Masnick’s new article (less than a day old) is mostly a rant about IBM’s latest attack on the Net. “Of course,” he wrote, “IBM doesn’t give a shit about the open internet. To them, killing Section 230 opens up all sorts of neat possibilities. First off, IBM doesn’t host any significant online services that rely on Section 230 protections, so it doesn’t increase its own liability. Second, it handicaps the companies who actually have been innovating in AI technology, like Google and Microsoft. Third — and this is the key — you can bet that one way that many companies will try to prove “reasonable care” would be to purchase an expensive filtering technology. Perhaps one based on… Watson? IBM gets to salvage its junk technology and have the government create a market for it. Bonus. [...] IBM has long been a black hole for actual innovation. Now it wants to suck down the open internet with it. Don’t let it.”

We’re trying to be optimistic about Red Hat, but we aren’t able to see IBM changing, certainly not for the better. Over the past week we saw several reports about Fedora that made it seem like IBM already gave up on GNU/Linux (as a laptop/desktop platform). Then there’s the question of public advocacy; the bigger problem for opensource.com (a Red Hat site) is that IBM might not spare it (layoffs) because many positions expressed there, e.g. on software patents and on patents in general, are not compatible with IBM’s patent blackmail agenda. IBM has been preparing some very big “parcels” of patents on blockchain while Zemlin’s PAC (the Linux Foundation) let IBM lead the HyperLedger push. Will IBM leverage that too as a patent trap? Time will tell, but let’s hope not…

Remember that Linux Foundation staff such as Zemlin does not oppose software patents. It has not even brought up this subject in nearly a decade! The same is true for OIN, but we’ll say more about that in our next post, which concerns the Zemlin-led group.

“We’ve long said that when it comes to software patents IBM is hardly more benign than Microsoft.”Yesterday the FFII’s President highlighted this new tweet that said: “In just 1 year the number of IBM blockchain patents has grown by 300%. When one of the largest companies in the world (366,000 employees) spends so much of their resources on developing a blockchain department, this tells a lot about the market potential…”

As we explained last week, we expect IBM to pressure Red Hat staff to apply for software patents; one worker who refused to do so at Red Hat (Oliva) quit his job about a month ago. What we have above isn’t innovation; it’s software with a database somewhere disguised as “AI” and “blockchain” (for lazy USPTO examiners to grant fake patents — patents which IBM then uses in bulk for blackmail). IBM is a real pest or parasite when it comes to patents. IBM makes billions of dollars per year this way. We’ve long said that when it comes to software patents IBM is hardly more benign than Microsoft.

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