10.20.20

Bill Gates Explains How Microsoft and Apple Leverage Software Patents in Their Cross-Licensing Deals (to Perpetuate Duopoly/Shared Monopoly)

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 12:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The princess and the frog so very much in love?

Frog

Summary: A look back at Apple’s and Microsoft’s use or misuse of bogus software patents in bargaining (in effect excluding those who have not amassed tens of thousands of patents)

THE Bill Gates deposition reveals how Netscape was excluded or pushed out, elbowed from the market in spite of technical advantages, including its cross-platform nature. As it turns out, patents too were leveraged to achieve this monopolisation. But patents are “innovation” (they keep insisting), right?

“As it turns out, patents too were leveraged to achieve this monopolisation.”We’ve isolated (below) the part about Apple and patents (we’ve also highlighted “patent” aspects for hurried readers; note that Mr. Maritz went on to lead a company which blatantly violated the GPL):



4 Q. My question to you now, sir, is whether
5 you believed that cancelling Mac Office 97 would do a
6 great deal of harm to Apple?
7 A. Well, I know that Apple would prefer
8 that we have a more updated version of Mac Office,
9 that that would be a positive thing for them, and so
10 that's why it was part of the negotiation relative to
11 the patent cross license.
12 Q. And did you believe that cancelling Mac
13 Office 97 would do a great deal of harm to Apple?
14 A. I told you I think it would be better
15 for Apple to have everybody doing major upgrades like
16 this. I doubt -- I can't characterize the level of
17 benefit of the upgrade to Apple, but certainly it's
18 something they wanted us to complete.
19 Q. The next sentence in Mr. Waldman's
20 June 27, 1997 e-mail to you begins, "I also believe
21 that Apple is taking this threat pretty seriously."
22 Did someone tell you in or about June
23 of 1997 that Apple was taking Microsoft's threat to
24 cancel Mac Office 97 seriously or pretty seriously?
25 A. Well, Maritz had taken the position
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1 that it didn't make business sense to finish this
2 upgrade. And it's very possible Apple might have
3 heard about Maritz's opinion there and therefore been
4 worried that we, businesswise, didn't see a reason to
5 complete the upgrade and that they would have the
6 older Mac Office as opposed to this new work that we
7 were part way along on.
8 Q. Mr. Gates, my question is not what
9 position Mr. Maritz did or did not take. My question
10 is whether anyone told you in or about June of 1997
11 that Apple was taking pretty seriously Microsoft's
12 threat to cancel Mac Office 97?
13 A. Apple may have known that senior
14 executives at Microsoft, Maritz in particular,
15 thought that it didn't make business sense to
16 complete that upgrade.
17 Q. Mr. Gates, I'm not asking you what
18 Apple may have known or may not have known. What I'm
19 asking you is whether anybody told you in or about
20 June of 1997 that Apple was taking pretty seriously
21 Microsoft's threat to cancel Mac Office 97?
22 A. Those particular words?
23 Q. Told you that in words or in substance.
24 A. I think I remember hearing that Apple
25 had heard about Maritz's view that it didn't make
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1 sense to continue the upgrade, but -- and that, you
2 know, they wanted us to continue the upgrade. But
3 I -- I don't remember any of the -- it being phrased
4 at all the way you're phrasing it.
5 Q. Well, the way I'm phrasing it is the
6 way that Mr. Waldman phrased it to you in his e-mail
7 of June 27, 1997; correct, sir?
8 A. Well, in reading it, I see those words,
9 yes.
10 Q. And you don't have any doubt that you
11 received this e-mail, do you, sir?
12 A. I have no reason to doubt it. I don't
13 remember receiving it. I do remember in general
14 sending an e-mail like the one that's at the top
15 there.
16 Q. Do you recall anyone telling you in
17 words or in substance in or about June of 1997 what
18 Mr. Waldman is writing here in this e-mail?
19 MR. HEINER: Objection.
20 THE WITNESS: This is a very long piece
21 of e-mail. Have you read the whole e-mail yourself?
22 MR. BOIES: I think my question was
23 imprecise. I was trying to avoid quoting something
24 for yet another time, but I accept your counsel's
25 view that the question was probably defective. I
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1 thought it was clear what portion of the e-mail we
2 were talking about, but I will make it clear.
3 Q. Mr. Gates, Mr. Waldman on June 27,
4 1997, sends you an e-mail that says, "The threat to
5 cancel Mac Office 97 is certainly the strongest
6 bargaining point we have, as doing so will do a great
7 deal of harm to Apple immediately. I also believe
8 that Apple is taking this threat pretty seriously."
9 Do you recall anyone --
10 A. Do you want to finish the sentence or
11 not?
12 Q. You can if you think it is necessary to
13 answer the question.
14 Do you recall anyone telling you what I
15 have just quoted in words or in substance in or about
16 June, 1997?
17 A. No.
18 MR. HEINER: It's just about 10:00 now.
19 Can we take a break?
20 MR. BOIES: If you wish.
21 MR. HEINER: Yes, thanks.
22 VIDEOTAPE OPERATOR: The time is 9:57.
23 We're going off the record.
24 (Recess.)
25 VIDEOTAPE OPERATOR: The time is 10:21.
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1 We are going back on the record.
2 Q. BY MR. BOIES: What were the primary
3 goals that you personally had, Mr. Gates, in terms of
4 getting Apple to agree to things?
5 MR. HEINER: Objection. Can you be
6 just a bit more specific on that?
7 MR. BOIES: Sure.
8 Q. In the period of 1996 forward, after
9 you concluded that Java, or as you put it, Java
10 runtime threat and Netscape were competitive threats
11 to Microsoft, what were your goals in terms of
12 dealing with Apple? What were you trying to get
13 Apple to agree to do for Microsoft?
14 A. Well, the main reasons we were having
15 discussions with Apple in this '97 period was that
16 they had asserted that various patents that they had
17 applied to various Microsoft products, and so our
18 primary focus in discussing an agreement with them
19 was to conclude a patent cross license of some kind.
20 Q. I want to be sure that the question and
21 answer are meeting. I asked for a period of 1996 to
22 the present and you answered about 1997. Were your
23 goals in 1996 or after 1997 any different than the
24 goals that you've just described in dealing with
25 Apple?
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1 A. There's only one agreement with Apple,
2 so I don't know what you're talking about.
3 Q. Okay. Do you understand the word goals
4 or objectives?
5 A. You talked about agreeing with Apple --
6 there's only one agreement with Apple that I know
7 about that we're discussing and that was one that was
8 concluded in I think late July or early August, 1997
9 and there's no other agreement that I know was even
10 discussed or considered.
11 Q. Okay. Let me ask you to look at a
12 document previously marked as Government Exhibit 369.
13 The second item on the first page of this exhibit
14 purports to be an e-mail from you dated June 23, 1996
15 to Paul Maritz and Brad Silverberg with copies to
16 Messrs. Higgins, Bradford, Waldman and Ludwig on the
17 subject of "Apple meeting."
18 (The document referred to was marked by
19 the court reporter as Government Exhibit 369 for
20 identification and is attached hereto.)
21 Q. BY MR. BOIES: Did you send this
22 e-mail, Mr. Gates, on or about June 23, 1996?
23 A. I don't remember it specifically, but I
24 don't have any reason to doubt that I did.
25 Q. In the second paragraph you say, "I
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1 have 2 key goals in investing in the Apple
2 relationship - 1) Maintain our applications share on
3 the platform and 2) See if we can get them to embrace
4 Internet Explorer in some way."
5 Do you see that?
6 A. Yeah.
7 Q. Does that refresh your recollection as
8 to what your two key goals were in connection with
9 Apple in June of 1996?
10 A. First of all, June of 1996 is not in
11 the time frame that your previous question related
12 to. And certainly in the e-mail to this group I'm
13 not talking about the patent thing, but believe me,
14 it was our top goal in thinking about Apple for many,
15 many years because of their assertions.
16 Q. My time frame in my question, sir, was
17 a time frame beginning in 1996 when you began to view
18 Netscape or the Java runtime threat as a competitive
19 threat to Microsoft.
20 A. And that was after June of 1996.
21 Q. Is it your testimony that in June of
22 1996 you did not consider Netscape to be a
23 competitive threat to Microsoft?
24 A. Netscape was a competitor, but in terms
25 of Java and all the runtime related issues, we didn't
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1 have a clear view of that at all.
2 Q. So that -- I want to be sure I've got
3 your testimony accurately. It is your testimony that
4 in June of 1996 you considered Netscape to be a
5 competitive threat but you did not consider Java or
6 Java runtime to be a competitive threat; is that your
7 testimony?
8 A. We considered Netscape to be a
9 competitor and I told you earlier that until late '96
10 we were unclear about our position on various Java
11 runtime things and what other companies were doing
12 and what that meant for us competitively.
13 Q. Do you agree that in June of 1996 the
14 two key goals that you had in terms of the Apple
15 relationship were, one, maintain your applications
16 share on the platform, and two, see if you could get
17 Apple to embrace Internet Explorer in some way?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Do you have any explanation for why you
20 would have written to Mr. Maritz and Mr. Silverberg
21 on June 23, 1996 that those were your two key goals
22 in the Apple relationship?
23 A. They weren't involved in the patent
24 issue at all. So when I write to them, I'm focused
25 on the issues that relate to them. I do mention
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1 patents in here, but that certainly was the primary
2 goal at this time and in subsequent times.
3 Q. Let me be clear. When you write to
4 Mr. Maritz and Mr. Silverberg, you talk about
5 patents, do you not, sir?
6 A. Where do you see that?
7 Q. Well, did you talk about patents?
8 A. Do you want me to read the entire mail?
9 Q. Have you read it enough to know whether
10 you talk about patents?
11 A. I saw the word "patent" in one place.
12 If I read the whole thing, I can find out if it's in
13 other places as well.
14 Q. You do talk about patent cross license,
15 do you not, in this memo? And if you want to look at
16 the last page, five lines from the bottom.
17 A. Yeah. They weren't involved in the
18 patent issues at all, so it looks like in this mail I
19 just mention that in a summary part, but it was our
20 top goal in our discussions with Apple.
21 Q. When you write to Mr. Maritz and
22 Mr. Silverberg, you don't describe that as your top
23 goal, in fact, you don't even describe it as one of
24 your two or three key goals; correct, sir?
25 A. This piece of e-mail doesn't talk about
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1 the patent goal as the top goal. It's most likely
2 that's because the people copied on the mail don't
3 have a thing to do with it and I wouldn't distract
4 them with it.
5 Q. I want to be sure I have your testimony
6 correct. In June of 1996, what was Paul Maritz's
7 title?
8 A. He was involved in product development
9 activities.
10 Q. He was involved in product development
11 activities. What was his title?
12 A. I don't know. Systems.
13 Q. Systems?
14 A. Uh-huh.
15 Q. Did he have a title that went with
16 that?
17 A. Senior vice-president systems. I don't
18 know.
19 Q. Senior vice-president systems, I see.
20 Did Mr. Silverberg have a position in
21 June of 1996?
22 A. He worked for Mr. Maritz.
23 Q. Did he have a title?
24 A. I don't know what his title was at the
25 time. He would have been an officer of some kind.
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1 Q. An officer of some kind.
2 So you're writing a memo to Paul
3 Maritz, a senior vice-president, and Brad Silverberg,
4 an officer of some kind, and you're sending copies to
5 four other people on the subject of the Apple
6 meeting, and you say, "I have 2 key goals in
7 investing in the Apple relationship."
8 A. That's quite distinct than any goals I
9 might have for a deal with Apple. It says, "I have 2
10 key goals in investing in the Apple relationship,"
11 not "I have 2 key goals for a deal with Apple."
12 Q. Well, sir, at the bottom you say what
13 you propose in terms of a deal and you talk about
14 what Apple will get out of the deal and what
15 Microsoft will get out of the deal; correct, sir?
16 A. Do you want me to read you the e-mail?
17 I mean I don't know anything more than just what it
18 says in the e-mail. I'm glad to read it to you.
19 Q. Well, sir, does it say at the bottom of
20 the e-mail that you are proposing something with
21 Apple and you are identifying what Apple would get
22 under your proposed deal and what Microsoft would get
23 under your proposed deal?
24 A. Yeah, that's at the bottom of the
25 e-mail.
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1 Q. In fact, the bottom of the e-mail
2 talking about a proposed Apple-Microsoft deal, you
3 say, "The deal would look like this," and then you've
4 got a column "Apple gets" and a column "Microsoft
5 gets" and a column "Both get"; right, sir?
6 A. I'm reading that.
7 Q. Now, in this e-mail of a page or a page
8 and a half in which you are proposing this deal, you
9 describe your two key goals as maintaining
10 Microsoft's applications share on the platform and
11 getting Apple to embrace Internet Explorer.
12 A. No, that's wrong.
13 Q. That's wrong, okay.
14 A. The word "deal" and the word
15 "relationship" are not the same word. This says, "I
16 have 2 key goals in investing in the Apple
17 relationship." This down here is an agreement which
18 I thought we could reach with Apple.
19 Q. Is it your testimony here today under
20 oath that your two key goals in investing in the
21 Apple relationship, which you mention in the second
22 paragraph of this e-mail, is different than your two
23 key goals in the proposed deal that you describe five
24 paragraphs later?
25 A. I don't see anything in here about the
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1 key goals -- two key goals in the deal. I've told
2 you that I'm certain that my primary goal in any deal
3 was the patent cross license.
4 Q. Mr. Gates, my question is whether it is
5 your testimony today here under oath that when you
6 talk about your two key goals in investing in the
7 Apple relationship in the second paragraph of this
8 e-mail, that that is different than what your key
9 goals were in the deal that you proposed five
10 paragraphs later?
11 A. That's right. Investing in a
12 relationship is different than the deal.
13 Q. Now, you don't tell Mr. Maritz or
14 Mr. Silverberg that your goals for investing in the
15 Apple relationship are different than your goals in
16 the proposed deal, do you, sir?
17 A. But the goals and the deal are quite
18 different, so obviously they would have known they
19 were quite different.
20 Q. Well, sir, you say the goals and the
21 deal are quite different. One of your two key goals
22 that you talk about in your second paragraph is to
23 get Apple to embrace Internet Explorer in some way.
24 And the very first thing under what Microsoft gets in
25 your proposed deal is, "Apple endorses Microsoft
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1 Internet Explorer technology." Do you see that, sir?
2 A. Uh-huh.
3 Q. Now, does that refresh your
4 recollection that the deal that you were proposing
5 had some relationship to the two key goals that you
6 were identifying?
7 A. Some relationship, yes, but they aren't
8 the same thing at all.
9 Q. All right, sir.
10 Did you ever prepare any e-mail to
11 anyone, Mr. Maritz or Mr. Silverberg or anyone, in
12 which you said that your primary goal in an Apple
13 deal was obtaining a cross license?
14 A. I don't remember a specific piece of
15 e-mail, but I'm sure I did with at least Mr. Maffei
16 and Mr. Maritz.
17 Q. You're sure you sent them e-mail saying
18 that?
19 A. I'm sure I communicated it to them in
20 some way.
21 Q. Do you believe you sent them anything
22 in writing or an e-mail?
23 A. I think it's likely, but I don't
24 remember a specific document.
25 Q. You certainly haven't seen any such
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1 document in being prepared for your deposition; is
2 that fair?
3 MR. HEINER: Objection. You're not
4 seeking to intrude on the attorney-client privilege?
5 MR. BOIES: No. I want to know if he
6 has seen any such document, this document he says he
7 thinks exists that wasn't produced in document
8 production. I want to see if he has ever seen it, if
9 he recalls ever seeing it now or any other time.
10 THE WITNESS: I didn't say anything
11 about what may or may not exist at this point. I
12 said I'm sure I communicated to Mr. Maritz and
13 Mr. Maffei that our primary goal in doing the deal
14 with Apple was the patent cross license.
15 Q. BY MR. BOIES: And I had thought, and
16 perhaps I misunderstood, I thought that you had said
17 that you believed that you actually communicated that
18 not merely orally but by e-mail or in writing.
19 A. I think it's likely that I communicated
20 it in e-mail.
21 Q. And if you had communicated it in
22 e-mail, would that e-mail have been preserved?
23 A. Not necessarily.
24 Q. A lot of these e-mails were preserved
25 because we now have copies of them; right?
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1 A. That's right.
2 Q. How did Microsoft decide what e-mails
3 would be preserved and what e-mails would not be
4 preserved?
5 A. Individuals get e-mail into their
6 mailbox and they decide.
7 Q. Do you have any explanation as to why
8 people would have decided to keep the e-mail that
9 described your two key goals in the Apple
10 relationship as being what they are stated to be here
11 and not have preserved your e-mail that you say you
12 sent saying you had a primary goal of a cross
13 license?
14 MR. HEINER: Objection. Lack of
15 foundation.
16 THE WITNESS: You're missing --
17 MR. HEINER: Hold it. Objection.
18 Those facts are not established. There could be 100
19 e-mails that talk about a patent cross license and
20 you may have them or you may not have them or they
21 may not have been called for. There is a range of
22 possibilities. That question is unfair and I object.
23 MR. BOIES: Okay, you've made your
24 objection. The witness will now answer the question.
25 MR. HEINER: Let's have it read back.
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1 MR. BOIES: And if you come up with
2 those hundred e-mails, we will read them with
3 interest. I don't think you're going to and you
4 don't think you're going to either.
5 MR. HEINER: I disagree with that.
6 MR. BOIES: Okay.
7 Q. I'll restate the question to just be
8 absolutely certain that it's a fair question,
9 Mr. Gates.
10 If it were the case that neither your
11 counsel nor myself, after diligent search, can find
12 an e-mail that says your primary goal in dealing with
13 Apple was a patent cross license, do you have any
14 explanation as to why that e-mail that you say you
15 think exists would not have been saved, whereas the
16 e-mail that describes one of your two key goals as
17 getting Apple to embrace Internet Explorer was
18 preserved?
19 MR. HEINER: Objection. It's not a
20 sensible question. You asked a hypothetical. How
21 can the witness explain what the facts might be in
22 your hypothetical?
23 MR. BOIES: He is not being asked to
24 explain what the facts are in a hypothetical, I think
25 that's clear. If the witness tells me he cannot
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1 answer the question, he can do so and we will go on
2 and take that up with everything else we'll take up
3 at a subsequent time.
4 THE WITNESS: When you say "dealing
5 with Apple," there were a lot of things we were
6 dealing with Apple on. I've told you in terms of the
7 deal, the deal I was involved in discussing in '96
8 and under another management at Apple in '97, there's
9 no doubt the primary goal was the patent cross
10 license.
11 Q. BY MR. BOIES: And by "the primary
12 goal," what you mean is the primary goal that you,
13 Mr. Gates, had; is that correct?
14 A. I don't think I'm the only one who had
15 it, but certainly yes, that was the primary goal of
16 myself and for the company.
17 Q. And when you said in your June 23, 1996
18 e-mail, "I have 2 key goals in investing in the Apple
19 relationship," you were talking about yourself
20 personally; is that correct?
21 A. Yeah. When I say "investing in the
22 Apple relationship," that means spending time with
23 Apple and growing the relationship.
24 Q. And when in describing the deal five
25 paragraphs later the very first thing that Microsoft
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1 gets is, "Apple endorses Microsoft Internet Explorer
2 technology," did that indicate to you that that was
3 an important part of what you were getting in terms
4 of the deal?
5 A. No such deal was ever struck, so I'm
6 not sure what you're saying.
7 Q. Was that an important part of the deal
8 that you were trying to get, sir?
9 A. We never got as far as trying to get
10 that deal, unfortunately.
11 Q. You never got as far as trying to get
12 that deal; is that what you're saying?
13 A. No. Well, in this time frame Gil
14 Amelio's total focus was on his new OS strategy, so
15 what I outlined here we never got them to consider.
16 Q. Well, sir, your e-mail begins, "Last
17 Tuesday night I went down to address the top Apple
18 executives;" correct, sir?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. And down at the bottom when you're
21 introducing the deal, you say, "I proposed." Now,
22 you're referring to what you proposed to the Apple
23 top executives, are you not, sir?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. And what you proposed was
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1 "the deal" that you then describe at the bottom of
2 the first page and the top of the second page;
3 correct, sir?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. And that was a deal that you proposed
6 the Tuesday night before June 23, 1996 to what you
7 describe as the top Apple executives; correct, sir?
8 A. I put forward some of those points.
9 Q. Well, you put them forward and you
10 describe them as proposing a deal, correct, sir?
11 A. That's how I describe it here, yes.
12 Q. All right, sir. Now, you'd said that
13 the deal that you were talking about never got done.
14 Did you ever get Apple to endorse Microsoft Internet
15 Explorer technology?
16 A. You're trying to just read part of
17 that?
18 Q. I'm actually -- what I'm doing is
19 asking a question right now, sir. I'm asking whether
20 in 1996 or otherwise, at any time did you get Apple
21 to endorse Microsoft Internet Explorer technology?
22 A. Well, you can get a copy of the
23 agreement we reached with Apple and decide if in
24 reading that you think it meets that criteria or not.
25 Q. Sir, I'm asking you, as the chief
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1 executive officer of Microsoft, I'm asking you
2 whether you believe that you achieved that objective?
3 A. We did not get some exclusive
4 endorsement. We did get some -- there's some part of
5 the deal that has to do with Internet Explorer
6 technology.
7 Q. Do you know what that part of the deal
8 is?
9 A. Not really. It has something to do
10 with they will at least ship it along with other
11 browsers.
12 Q. Does the deal prohibit them from
13 shipping Netscape's browser without also shipping
14 Internet Explorer?
15 A. I'd have to look at the deal to
16 understand.
17 Q. It is your testimony sitting here today
18 under oath that you simply don't know one way or the
19 other whether Apple is today free to ship Netscape's
20 browser without also shipping Internet Explorer?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. When you identify things as key goals,
23 do you typically tend to follow up and see to what
24 extent those goals have been achieved?
25 A. In a very general sense, yes.
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1 Q. Did you ever follow up to see whether
2 one of the two key goals that you identify in your
3 1996 e-mail to Mr. Maritz and Mr. Silverberg and
4 others of getting Apple to embrace Internet Explorer
5 technology in some way had been achieved?
6 A. Well, certainly what I said here,
7 "I have 2 key goals in investing in the Apple
8 relationship," that -- those weren't achieved because
9 the investments I made were with Gil Amelio, who was
10 fired from Apple very soon thereafter.
11 Q. Was there something about Mr. Amelio
12 getting fired that changed what your goals were for
13 the Apple relationship?
14 A. I said, "I have 2 key goals in
15 investing in the Apple relationship." The form that
16 investment took was spending time with Gil Amelio.
17 That turned out to be wasted time because he was
18 fired from Apple rather abruptly within about, oh,
19 eight months of this.
20 Q. When he was fired, did that change what
21 goals you had for the Apple relationship, Mr. Gates?
22 A. It was basically a complete restart
23 because we had to understand what the new management,
24 what they were going to do with Apple and where they
25 were going.
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1 Q. Did your goals change?
2 A. Goals for what? For investing in the
3 relationship?
4 Q. You say in this e-mail you have two key
5 goals for investing in the Apple relationship. One
6 of --
7 A. In investing in the Apple relationship.
8 Q. One of them is to get Apple to embrace
9 Internet Explorer technology in some way. What I'm
10 asking you is whether that changed after this person
11 got fired?
12 A. We re-evaluated all of our thoughts
13 about working with Apple based on what the new
14 management was going to do, whether they were going
15 to target the machines, what they were going to do
16 with their machines. Since they continued to say we
17 were in violation of their patents, it continued to
18 be our top goal to get some type of patent cross
19 license.

They used this sort of patent collusion also with IBM, not just with Apple, to reinforce control over fonts, codecs and GUIs, among other things, as we noted in past years. If this is the net effect of patents, what good are they to the rest of us?

Billionaires don’t even have to compete when they call their rivals “pirates” (Gates uses this word a lot), then blackmail them in courtrooms, or just threaten them out of the market with threats (‘legalised’ extortion) alone, as we noted earlier today. No wonder the rich keep getting so much richer. They make up rules that perpetuate and accentuate this gross injustice/inequality.

10.12.20

Microsoft 2020 Spin: We’re a Tiny Little Startup Challenging Giant and Evil Monopolies

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Deception, Google, Microsoft at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Florian Müller  on Microsoft hypocrisy

Florian Müller  on Microsoft hypocrisy

Summary: Florian Müller, who studied this case in great depth and was even paid by Microsoft at one point, calls out Microsoft’s bluff, as does the judge

08.06.20

Miseducation

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:30 am by Guest Editorial Team

2020 figosdev

Index

Who's programming who?
Who’s programming who? Chapter 3: Miseducation

Summary: “…the real crime (OLPC founder Nicholas Negropontes word for it) is that schools aren’t teaching computers at all — they’re doing application training.”

Given that attendance is mandated, you would hope that the school curriculum was harder to turn into a subsidised marketing opportunity for large corporations. The snack machines in the halls when I was in high school tell another story. Don’t get me wrong, kids love junk food and so did I, and I was a customer of those machines. Whether they are closer to a public good or subsidised marketing is another matter entirely.

“Although the library is a great place to promote freedom and so an ideal place to use Free software, training everyone in the use of Microsoft products at school helps Microsoft to maintain a monopoly — to the point where Microsoft is willing to lower prices to encourage school purchases.”Where else can you find schools marketing products of questionable public value? The computer labs and libraries are two examples. Although the library is a great place to promote freedom and so an ideal place to use Free software, training everyone in the use of Microsoft products at school helps Microsoft to maintain a monopoly — to the point where Microsoft is willing to lower prices to encourage school purchases.

There was another well-known situation where Microsoft was willing to lower prices — anti-competitively, to keep OEMs (brand computer companies) from offering a choice of operating systems. If OEMs sold only computers with Microsoft products, Microsoft would keep the OEM licenses at a rate that ensured OEMs wouldn’t consider the threat to their bottom line by giving choices to the customer. Tapping into schools is just another way for customers to gain the impression that Windows and computing are the same thing — unless you have a Mac.

“The iPad is a primarily a device for “consuming” data as a product.”Apple is no saint in this regard either, sweetening deals for iPads when Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his own children have one. He wasn’t being stingy — Jobs simply didn’t want his own children raised with the computing equivalent of crack cocaine; something habit-forming and lower value than a real computer. The iPad is a primarily a device for “consuming” data as a product.

It’s a shame that Apple went in this direction, because in their earlier days, Apple products were better for education. With BASIC on startup, not unlike the C64, and countless other products from Logo to “edutainment” games for school, to HyperTalk, Apple was once a platform almost ideal for schools.

I say this not as a fan — I hated the company for their condescending advertising campaigns — for acting like there was no such thing as a good car with a manual transmission, or the computer equivalent of that. For all their offerings related to education, their branding was based on celebrating and encouraging the cluelessness of the user. Apple was (and still is) an odd company.

“By the time they’re out of school, these companies will have changed the tools nearly as much as if they were different products from different companies, so what schools are really doing is conditioning future customers — doing free marketing for Microsoft and Apple, at a cost to the schools.”The argument for doing all this is that schools are simply training students in the tools they will use outside school. By the time they’re out of school, these companies will have changed the tools nearly as much as if they were different products from different companies, so what schools are really doing is conditioning future customers — doing free marketing for Microsoft and Apple, at a cost to the schools.

Schools would ideally be an opportunity to enhance education, not merely train corporate workers. Many of the applications used in corporate settings will differ from Word and Excel, and the “training workers” argument has the same problems as Pascal’s wager — how are you preparing workers with Microsoft products, if they end up in an Apple workplace?

But the real crime (OLPC founder Nicholas Negropontes word for it) is that schools aren’t teaching computers at all — they’re doing application training. And it’s one thing to teach people how to use tools from the workplace, but quite another to teach people how to be helpless.

“For years, starting with the 1990s, education shifted from teaching about computers to focusing on applications; and this shift is the real way in which schools have sold out their students.”When computer education in schools began, they weren’t merely learning to use applications — they were learning more universal computer skills. For years, starting with the 1990s, education shifted from teaching about computers to focusing on applications; and this shift is the real way in which schools have sold out their students.

Progress is being made, with schools that teach all students about coding instead of merely offering it as an elective. But Microsoft has a history of corralling skills into Windows-only silos, even when it takes years to do so. If you let Microsoft teach coding, they will shift this universal skill into coding for Microsoft. It’s what they do.

People who can code are qualified to work with Free software. Whether their skills are basic or advanced, The biggest problem with using Free software is the fear of breaking something. Computers did not always come with operating systems pre-installed; there were plenty of customers who could install an OS who couldn’t even write code.

“We owe the entire world better than this, but at least let’s not condition children to depend on unethical corporations for their computing. We could be teaching them how to create their own future, instead of preparing them for the one some corporation wants.”While coding won’t necessarily directly help with operating system installation, the skills you learn while coding (including debugging) are skills that can be applied to managing a less familiar software platform — the OS included.

Denying students this opportunity makes them more dependent on proprietary software, and schools that only offer Microsoft or Apple products (while more people have Android on their phones) are shortchanging both the students and the future. This is not an endorsement of Android or Google, both of which are nearly as terrible as the iPad itself. Another way in which it is terrible to subject students to these products is the limitless corporate surveillance it puts in schools.

We owe the entire world better than this, but at least let’s not condition children to depend on unethical corporations for their computing. We could be teaching them how to create their own future, instead of preparing them for the one some corporation wants.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

07.27.20

Contrary to Common Myths, Free Software and GNU/Linux Are Typically Way Ahead of Proprietary Software (Which Copies and Then Patents)

Posted in Apple, Deception, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

But there’s no time to properly assess prior art and GNU/Linux sites like Techrights are blocked by the European Patent Office (EPO)

Office Poznan

Summary: Examiners are urged/pressured to assess so-called ‘inventions’ in the domain of software; not only are these not patentable (patent-ineligible) but most of the time they’re not novel either (the real inventors never patented these and would not bother, either)

THE TRUTH of the matter is, software patents should not be granted in Europe. But corrupt management nowadays compels examiners to do so anyway; both António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli block Techrights and, as Florian Müller pointed out half a decade ago, this means that they limit examiners’ access to prior art. What kind of patent office is this? Great Firewall of China? Eponia’s copy of it?

Free software enthusiasts will likely be able to explain the history of GNU, which predates Linux by nearly a decade. Well before Windows 95 or even Windows 3.11 (when the monopoly started to gather momentum) there were already decent systems, both from the GNU and BSD camps (the UNIX/POSIX realm). There was also Apple, but it was very expensive. Nowadays it seems increasingly evident that Apple and Microsoft mostly imitate and rarely innovate; but guess who gets the patents at the end? The first to apply, not the first to implement or ‘invent’…

A meme with examples:

Star Trek Vs MCU superheroes: I now have a 'dark mode'; GNU/Linux did that in the 1991-95 era; You can now install anything from one place; Ever heard of apt-get? We only have $100,000,000,000 in debt and 100,000 patents; We borrow and patent nothing

“We borrow and patent nothing…”

That sums it up.

Free software isn’t crafted based on proprietary code, whereas the opposite is sometimes true. Companies like Apple and Microsoft habitually ‘borrow’ code that’s Free/libre to craft proprietary ripoffs. The opposite isn’t possible, at least not legally, and it’s easy to get caught; it’s almost unavoidable because a Free software developer’s code lays bare for all to see (and for companies to compare to their own). Remember the SCO lawsuit? How did that work out for SCO?

Software patents are in general a very dumb idea because software changes very fast and things are copied a lot, typically without it infringing any law. It’s time to put an end to such patents, completely.

06.27.20

Shopping and Materialism on the Demise, Just like Proprietary Software

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Star Trek Black Friday: Proprietary Software 'consumers' fighting over everything while Free software enthusiasts download stuff for free and don't get what the whole fuss is about

Summary: The old way of doing business may be coming to an end; but the monopolists of the past are now increasingly eager to hijack whatever renders them obsolete

APPLE is closing stores again. Too much of COVID-19. Apple is also blasting its own foot, or pulling the rug from under developers’ and users’ feet by changing hardware interfaces.

Microsoft is shutting down whole units. It’s laying off staff. It’s faking its financial results to appease gullible investors who find buzzwords like “cloud” alluring. A reader sent us this article from yesterday (screenshot below):

Microsoft Is Permanently Shutting Down All 83 of Its Retail Stores

Yes, that means many more layoffs (but unannounced perhaps, due to the temping/contracting loophole).

We already know, based on numerous independent data points, that GNU/Linux is gaining. OEMs have witnessed the same thing and the biggest OEMs increasingly offer GNU/Linux as a default option. That’s good. It’s definitely better than those OEMs offering no choice other than Windows.

“We already know, based on numerous independent data points, that GNU/Linux is gaining.”Almost a fortnight ago shops reopened here in the UK. The ‘non-essential’ type. I went to Town within one hour of them reopening and found the whole experience depressing at best. Not because it was overcrowded (after nearly 3 months’ shut-down) but the exact opposite. I went to those stores twice more since then. The shopping malls, the stores around Town (outdoors), the kiosks… all of them mostly empty (and strict rules for those that actually reopened; many did not). My wife saw the same thing yesterday and was disappointed if not frustrated, not because she enjoys shopping (we’re not into consumerism) but because it looked like businesses would not survive. Not enough shoppers, barely any demand. Perhaps people learned to just pursue the basics while reusing and recycling what they already had. That’s very good for the environment, but with no job prospects we may need something like the “New Deal” (lots of people are unoccupied or grossly under-occupied; some occupants, as in tenants, cannot even pay rent).

“With the abduction of the Linux Foundation, the OSI and so on their vision is almost fulfilled.”Critical thinkers and sceptics alike would likely say that the writings are on the wall; people can barely buy stuff, let alone rent anything (the short-term contingency when ownership isn’t feasible). In these arduous, difficult conditions Free software, of which GNU/Linux is a subset, is set to thrive. People have a lot of time, but not a lot of money. They’re willing to learn new things, but not to spent/waste a lot of money. The corporate coup against GNU/Linux will most certainly carry on. Microsoft will tell us that it “loves” what replaces Windows (more so if you use that thing under Windows and pay for alleged patent infringements). IBM will put systemd in everything and outsource to Microsoft, as it did 3 decades ago.

There should be no question about it in anybody’s mind; the old world of software is dying, so right now those companies are preoccupied with hijacking what replaces them. We, as a community, need to react and respond to that. Otherwise we’ll have another prison or 4 more walls around us, disguised as “Open Source”, promising us not Freedom but a free GitHub account so we can become some volunteer workforce for Microsoft, for Facebook, for IBM…

With the abduction of the Linux Foundation, the OSI and so on their vision is almost fulfilled. We need to take back control. This recession if not depression may kill some of them; let’s not drown together with them.

05.22.20

Fiduciary Technology: Why It’s Often Impermissible to Use Microsoft (But It’s Done Anyway)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original by Mitchel Lewis at Medium (reproduced with permission)

Drake Microsoft

Summary: “As such and if your CTO isn’t actively moving tooling out of the Microsoft ecosystem like bailing water out of a sinking ship, then you should probably be looking for a new CTO.”

Leadership of public companies have one job: maximize shareholder value. Although the roles and governance of executives can vary wildly, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CSOs, and CTOs all operate in capacities that serve as a means to maximize value in their own way. Try as they might to muddy the waters and minimize this objective with discussions of ethically grounded missions and humanitarian causes, this is all done for PR purposes and executives of major corporations could be fired, fined, and possibly even thrown in jail for placing anything above shareholder value. It is their fiduciary duty; their modus operandi; their north star; their prime directive; their alpha and omega; their mecca; their great white buffalo; their holiest of holies; etc etc.

Since competitive trade is a form of war that is won with efficiency, CTOs, in particular, are tasked primarily with outfitting their company with the most efficient, secure, and reliable (dare I say best?) tools available in an effort to give their company a competitive advantage against their market competition. Quality isn’t cheap nor is it very objective in a world dominated by pervasive marketing where everyone markets themselves as the best, so a bevy of experience, tact, and research is required to navigate these waters successfully. In their world, minor insights can save millions while minor mistakes can cost millions just the same. Put simply, it’s the CTOs job to maximize shareholder value by constantly optimizing their tooling in favor of efficiency and revenue per employee metrics.

Ironically, the IT solutions that are the most complex, least secure, most unreliable, and most expensive over their lifespan, the worst solutions if you will, tend to be inexpensive upfront while the best solutions tend to be their inverse in that they are the simplest, most secure, most reliable, and least expensive over time tend to have higher financial burdens for entry. In comparison to the worst solutions, the best solutions also tend to be more agreeable for end users which maximizes revenue per employee while also minimizing downtime, the #1 IT expense for most organizations, along with reducing the labor required to maintain said technology to prevent downtime which is the #2 IT expense for most organizations; the initial cost of hardware and software licensing is a distant 3rd.

Based on this alone, one might expect that executive decision-makers in IT to be keeping companies on the simplest, most secure, and most reliable solutions available but this is hardly the case. Despite sparing no expense on IT and having grizzled veterans at the helm, anyone working in corporate America can confirm that the opposite often appears to be true. Almost as if they have pedestrians at the helm, most corporations can be found locked into a complicated hellscape of poorly implemented and virtually unsupportable IT solutions with a hodgepodge of cloud solutions that barely work while paying 3–5x more than they should be for their IT infrastructure as a consequence of all of this. In turn, this artificially limits user productivity and requires them to employ more people than they would otherwise have to if they were standardized on more efficient tooling; better tooling, less labor.

For example and even though both Apple and Linux solutions have been humbling Microsoft solutions for decades by generating anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of their ownership costs over their lifespan, you can still find that most major corporations and small-medium businesses are standardized on Microsoft solutions as if the opposite were true. In most scenarios, Microsoft solutions create more downtime, require more labor to implement and maintain, and are generally more complicated and more expensive than their market competition. In fact and when remembering that the majority of IT expenses occur after purchase, there is so much of a quality disparity between Microsoft solutions and their market competition that they often still wouldn’t financially competitive even if their licensing costs were free.

“Put simply, the implementation of Microsoft solutions puts any company at a significant competitive disadvantage from the perspectives of productivity and reliability while leaving them vulnerable to security breaches in comparison to competitors in the same market that are standardized on more efficient and secure Linux and/or Apple solutions.”Oddly enough, even when comparing Microsoft and Apple, both of which are standardized on their products, you’ll find that Apple generates 2–3x more revenue per employee on an enterprise scale. Although purely a coincidence, when IBM made the move over to the Apple ecosystem in 2016, they noticed their total ownership costs reduce to 1/3 that of their PC infrastructure. In doing this, support cases along with the requisite labor, downtime, and degraded productivity associated with them dropped dramatically as well when compared to their PC infrastructure. As far as CTOs are concerned, this is

On top of the added costs from downtime and labor inherent to standardizing on Windows, 99% of all ransomware attacks occur on Windows while half of all of their users in their vulnerable cloud services are actively being poked and prodded by various exploits and attacks at any given time. Microsoft solutions are also the most exploited in the industry and require more ancillary services and layers of defense to fortify their integrity which introduces even more complexity into the environment while reducing convenience and driving costs even higher. Put simply, the implementation of Microsoft solutions puts any company at a significant competitive disadvantage from the perspectives of productivity and reliability while leaving them vulnerable to security breaches in comparison to competitors in the same market that are standardized on more efficient and secure Linux and/or Apple solutions.

Drake not Microsoft

When considering the fiduciary duty of CTOs along with the the financial and operational shortcomings of Microsoft solutions in today’s market, one might think that a large component of a CTOs role is to avoid Microsoft solutions altogether as if they were sitting in a box labeled “COVID-19 Mucus Samples” or at the very least keeping their implementation to a minimum, and they would be right to some degree. But Microsoft’s market position indicates that this is clearly not happening and Microsoft PCs along with their sketchy suites of productivity and server software persist as the industry standard when no objective measure can merit such a reception.

From another angle, it seems as if the vast supermajority of CTOs are failing miserably at fulfilling their fiduciary duty by continuing to militantly implement Microsoft solutions to the point of them being the status quo throughout industry. There could be several potential reasons for this, sheer ignorance possibly being one of them.

At the level of CTO, one might think that an aptitude with the philosophy of technology, IT architecture, and IT finance is skills is must, but as is the case elsewhere in life, it’s often more of a question of who you know, how loyal you are, and how well they tow the company line in these positions. As such, many of those being paid to be experts in IT architecture and finance as a CTO is may not be as polished as they’d like you to believe. Although it may be news to people who don’t live and breathe IT finance and architecture that the majority of IT expenses occur after purchase and that focusing on initial price alone is a fool’s game, such understanding is fundamental in the realms of accounting and architecting information technology.

Alternatively, it could also be a simple case of bygones in leadership positions and old habits dying hard. To their credit, there was a time when the above was not true about Microsoft solutions and their dominant market position was earned but those days are gone. Despite working in technology, a word that is almost synonymous with change, anyone in the industry can recall instances with people with a devout preference for the status quo and an overt fear of change; especially among leadership; regardless of how sound the math is. CTO or not, like it or not, we tend to become bygones as we age and the continued prominence of Microsoft products could be a consequence of the tendency of CTOs to be of an older demographic *cough* boomers *cough*.

Another possibility is that they could also be conflicted. Rather than having to learn new technology and architecture, decision-makers can also ensure both their relevance and necessity by continuing to deploy solutions that require their expertise. Those with decades of experience in the Microsoft ecosystem can ensure both their continued relevance and necessity by continuing to implement these products while embracing newer technologies that they’re unfamiliar with can put them at a competitive disadvantage. Just as consultants recommend solutions that generate further necessity for their services, CTOs could be doing the same.

To be fair, CTOs are humans prone to error and technical change is also hard. In the world of enterprise change, it can often feel as if users are so change-averse that they will hate you regardless of whether you deliver them a better solution or a worse one just the same and this is often true. Over time, the pushback one can get from employees and execs by simply trying to improve employee and company efficiency can be astounding. In turn, this pushback can wear on the best of us and suffocate the ambition of entire IT departments.

“…it’s foolish to expect an unambitious CTO to radically change both their mindset and philosophy towards technology at the pinnacle of their career, let alone at their average senior age.”After all, why try to make things better when people resent you for it and potentially jeopardize your job when you can instead safely maintain the status quo and have people praise you for fixing the same problem on a daily basis like some nerdy version of Groundhogs Day? However, mitigating this kind of change apathy is part of the job and those that fail to do so consequently fail to do their job effectively. Although enterprise change is difficult and not for the faint of heart, no one said it was easy, this is why they make the big bucks, and they can always quit if they don’t like it.

Regardless of their reasoning, it isn’t difficult to determine which category your CTO falls into though; it’s just a career limiting move. For example and if your CTO can’t even tell you the proper order of IT expenses, then they’re most likely ignorant; chances are they won’t even be able to tell you what technology is. If they’re spouting off old debunked rhetoric about Apple or Linux solutions not having a place in the enterprise in response to the mere notion of implementing Apple or Linux solutions, then they’re most likely a bygone. And if they’re compromised, then they’ll likely avoid this conversation altogether or become incredibly petulant when cornered on the subject.

But whether they’re some combination of an ignorant, jaded, and compromised bygone is of little consequence as the result is still the same regardless of the road they travel on. That said, CTOs are seemingly failing to fulfill their fiduciary duties throughout industry by continuing to implement Microsoft and other antiquated solutions as if they were everything that they clearly are not. Few seem to have the chutzpah to adhere to their fiduciary duty to the point of obsoleting themselves and jeopardizing their relevance by implementing better solutions beyond their expertise.

In summary, it’s the primary role of a CTO to give their company a competitive advantage by ensuring that it has the most efficient tooling which many in these roles are failing at presently. Given Microsoft’s market stance and prominence throughout industry and since the name Microsoft is effectively anti-correlated with word quality while their products lack a competitive advantage or value proposition, a large component of a modern CTOs job is naturally to reduce Microsoft’s footprint within their infrastructure as much as possible and replace their tools with better alternatives from Apple, Linux, and the like; which again, many are failing at. Reasons such as this are why Microsoft has had to resort to the lock-in and anti-competitive tactics that they became notorious for

As such and if your CTO isn’t actively moving tooling out of the Microsoft ecosystem like bailing water out of a sinking ship, then you should probably be looking for a new CTO. Just as it’s a fool’s game to emphasize on initial price instead of the total cost of ownership or to expect the tired solutions produced by a tired monopoly propped up by the same tired lawyers to magically get better by several orders of magnitude any time soon, it’s foolish to expect an unambitious CTO to radically change both their mindset and philosophy towards technology at the pinnacle of their career, let alone at their average senior age. Many have generous exit packages while countless people under their employment have been let go under similar performance-related circumstances, so they shouldn’t take it personally.

05.14.20

The World Class Sins of GIAFAM

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 12:54 am by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

Sins

Summary: “They corrupted Torvalds and the Linux Foundation, they slander free software activists — and while comparing real activism to “religion” they themselves have an unholy army of shills called “Evangelists” who produce and follow script-like screeds on how to lie to, manipulate and exploit customers and competing developers and CEOs alike.”

Techrights is not a political blog, and this article is not about partisan politics. Yet the moment you put the word “free” in front of “software”, you unavoidably become political because freedom is a political matter.

This article is really not (at all) about Donald Trump, and I have the option of knowing that here is a perfect illustration — one where the entire world is watching, pitying and commenting, and not bringing up the name of a corrupt CEO just because he happens to (post impeachment) occupy the White House.

“Yet the moment you put the word “free” in front of “software”, you unavoidably become political because freedom is a political matter.”Yet the world is well aware of his crimes, just as they are aware of the crimes of GIAFAM and the DOJ that used go through the motions of preventing them from taking over the world, or at least the country. These are not small things, and some may pose an existential threat to the Constitution of the United States. At the risk of sounding Americentric, it’s a known fact that the world cares about some aspects of this. The regime does not represent the feelings of most Americans, the majority of which do not wish the world to suffer for any corrupt government, world power or otherwise.

Of oft and substantial relevance to the tech world is that government in question does not represent The People. It foremost represents multinational corporations, cartels and weapons manufacturers. It represents war for profit, death for profit and the impoverishment and exploitation of everyday people for profit. It represents crushing citizen journalism and the freedom of the internet — it tortures people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, simply for making the world more aware of the truth. But try to remind people that the tech companies play a significant role in this corruption and injustice, and just watch what happens!

Matters like these are where the “politics” we don’t talk about here carry over into the world of “politics” that we do talk about — because Free software is indeed about freedom, including the freedom of speech, the press, and by extension the Internet and computing in general. You really can’t have user rights or digital rights without Human rights.

“You really can’t have user rights or digital rights without Human rights.”Some people will imply that you have no right to disagree, on a number of topics which are increasingly considered sacred. I think it’s very important to point out that in a democracy people have not only a right to disagree, but without that right democracy cannot have any meaning.

Science cannot (does not) happen if we are forced to agree on the outcome. Politics are not of The People, if the people are not allowed to represent their own points of view. Since not everyone agrees in the first place, disagreements are a hallmark of a free society. So if there is any doubt as to whether we should have the right to disagree, just read that part again.

I am also aware of the fact (it is one of the complaints of this article) that many people who reserve the right to voice their opinion are manipulated and misled. This manipulation has many levels, from a very natural baseline (simply caring what your closest family and friends think, even if you don’t always agree) to the most egregious and sinister. None of this negates the right to speak, but that is not the point of this article either — it is merely a preface.

It’s John Stuart Mill who is quoted as saying “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” If worded today, it would probably be (more explicitly) gender-neutral and remain just as valid, but the point is the real moral issue of apathy, and misplaced neutrality.

“We should do everything we reasonably can to base things on evidence and proof, that’s a hallmark of due process.”There is a certainly a place for neutrality, and situations where it is absolutely necessary. Neutrality is where all real justice begins — setting aside your prejudices to the greatest of your ability, and looking at issues themselves over names and accumulated personal baggage. This is how we judge fairly — by wiping the slate before looking at the evidence.

Some people have turned this into an insane, fatalistic kind of neutrality where the slate remains clean no matter what — at least for certain wealthy and well-connected parties. Such people expect us and tell us as much to examine every fact as if no other context exists at all, as though everything they’ve ever done (which is already public knowledge) is off the record.

It’s as if someone accused of beating 15 people to death with a hammer is defended by saying “we don’t know anything about this person, really — it’s not as if we live out every day with them, is it?” when we have not only a signed confession from the accused, but the fact that they served 28 years previously for an identical crime.

Let’s be as fair as we possibly can be about this. The prior history indeed does not prove guilt. But it’s not irrelevant, either. When we have mountains of proof and very little evidence to the contrary — the least we can do is admit to ourselves that it’s not a silly question to ask if the party might be guilty!

“Linus Torvalds calls it extremism, and “hate”.”We should do everything we reasonably can to base things on evidence and proof, that’s a hallmark of due process. But when people defend the worst of these corporations in their efforts to sell out the users that pay for the privilege of being under constant surveillance and manipulation — the response is often akin to “You have NO RIGHT to accuse my client of such things!”

No right — really, now? With all we know, I would say we have more than a right, we have an obligation. Yet we are constantly being “informed” that to be a “decent person”, to “be nice”, to avoid being labeled a “zealot” we must assume good intentions from the worst offenders. In other words, the slate must always remain immaculate. That’s a circular argument they’re foisting on the world: “My client MUST be found innocent!” It’s wrong to even suggest otherwise. “How dare you, Sir!” Jim Zemlin, without a hint of irony, compares it to “kicking a puppy”. Linus Torvalds calls it extremism, and “hate”. What the F$$$, Linus?

“You know it’s a corporate cult when they leave no aspect of your life alone.”This is indeed a cult tactic, and we should be troubled by how far it has encroached on our lives and even our personal relationships (Facebook) hobbies (Software development), Art (extreme copyright laws and RELATED technical measures; damn you, lxo) and activism (bribery and gradual takeover of non-profit organisations).

You know it’s a corporate cult when they leave no aspect of your life alone. Yet if they had kooky beliefs about God or aliens, we would treat it as a cancer on society, but if the kooky beliefs are about letting CEOs overhaul every single aspect of our own lives solely so their companies can profit and control people, we don’t treat this as far something more threatening. We have allowed this cult to enter — and own — the mainstream.

I am not (as of yet) anti-capitalist, anarchist or communist. I lean libertarian, but without question more towards the left of libertarianism’s centre. I think we need the anti-capitalists, we may well need the anarchists, if only for their point of view, and I may even get along with a self-proclaimed communist on occasion — but we come from different worlds and they can certainly tell. Above all, there is a fierce humanitarianism in my politics, with strong devotion to the diversity of ideas and freedom of expression — of control over your own life. If you can’t say you have control over your own life, then what is freedom?

“If you can’t say you have control over your own life, then what is freedom?”With regards to speech, some people now say “people just want to have speech without consequences” — and exactly what “consequences” do you promote just for having and stating an opinion? That says a great deal about a person’s real attitude towards freedom.

Not that this freedom negates our responsibility to use it wisely and ethically. In my opinion, you have every single right to say something foolish. But you have a responsibility to use your head (whatever the outcome of that) and to use your voice, when you know that something is wrong. The right to free speech also implies a need to listen — but that’s not something that our culture excels at. To be fair, our culture is constantly bombarded with nonsense.

I believe there are exceptions to a responsibility to express ourselves, of course — there is a time for diplomacy, and a time to stay strategically quiet. But these are still exceptions, and we all suffer greatly when they instead become the rule. Everything we care about suffers, when we decide to become overly quiet and self-censor as a way of life.

“So the danger of letting career criminals determine every facet of our culture is truly existential — they will not only literally pollute and poison our planetary ecosystem to death, but they will ultimately (and gradually) demand that we all cease to advocate for anything good at all.”We become a lesser humanity, a weaker, more pliable (more naive) culture when we let institutions take over our own jobs of determining our identities, and outsource our moral decision-making to them. When these institutions take over the job of speaking for us, no one speaks for us at all. We must participate, in an active, self-determined role at least sometimes, or our will itself is something dead — to say the least of our freedom.

So the danger of letting career criminals determine every facet of our culture is truly existential — they will not only literally pollute and poison our planetary ecosystem to death, but they will ultimately (and gradually) demand that we all cease to advocate for anything good at all.

When you ask yourself how anybody could defend the unfettered madness of the Trump regime, ask yourself how by contrast you can remain quiet, complacent and even overly and openly sceptical about the following:

Google bribes non-profits — thousands (sometimes 10,000 or more, from what I’ve read lately) of dollars at at time. Like the other tech giants, it participates in a cynical brand of “Open source” (the only kind of Open source that ever existed, in my opinion — not that it hasn’t gotten notably worse of late, on which the FSF says practically nothing) where some components are thrown on a heap of freely-licensed projects that often have little purpose outside their own ecosystem — most developers in practice will not adapt them to anything else.

These projects are used predominantly as social currency (openwashing) and bait for non-free offerings. But because of the social currency aspect, they develop large scale (widely perceived) immunity to criticism. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you! Not even if it feeds you poison.

Not content to merely track everything you do online via their ad system, they want to track your phone, your fitness tracker whether you have a Google phone or not, and they listen in on your conversations with so-called “smart” speakers. (Amazon does the same, and Microsoft is getting into this as well). Google is creating an absolutely textbook dystopian sci-fi future in the present — but who cares?

“IBM taught Microsoft everything it knows about how to play the Monopoly game — how to take out all competition with tactics that antitrust law should prevent, but doesn’t.”Former Google social network fanboys who demonstrate no qualms with their surveillance in practice like to regularly talk down to free speech advocates on what freedom of speech really means, as though such freedom could ever exist even hypothetically in Google’s corporate fascist surveillance state — all while Google and the Chinese government alike continue to hone and promote their content analysis and censorship systems.

IBM taught Microsoft everything it knows about how to play the Monopoly game — how to take out all competition with tactics that antitrust law should prevent, but doesn’t. How to stay on top when competitors are doing things that are better, using lawyers and market saturation and by simply being bigger to start with.

It has a deal to pay Holocaust survivor organisations that depends on not being forced to admit to or apologise for its role in the Holocaust, and today (through its purchase of Red Hat) it preaches “tolerance and diversity” while developing algorithms to flag people on surveillance camera by race — to activists that have no real problem with diversity in the first place (who are regularly defended by members of disenfranchised groups as being helpful and inspiring, but continue to be accused of wrong-doing by corporate P.R. people to destabilise political movements in tech).

The result of this slander by corporations is people leaving behind more grassroots organisations for ones that have greater sympathy to and cooperate more with monopoly tech giants. They continue to support lawsuits over bogus software patents, though Techrights (really) is the best place I know to follow where they stand on that matter. I’m aware of my bias there, but I can’t find a competing outlet (unless it’s one that Techrights already quotes, cooperates with and speaks well enough of).

“The result of this slander by corporations is people leaving behind more grassroots organisations for ones that have greater sympathy to and cooperate more with monopoly tech giants.”Apple is Apple. Like other corporations (HP, Red Hat) that started literally in a garage or flat, Apple exists to get you to pay for perceived luxury items that thumb their nose at standards and compatibility. They somehow managed to turn BSD into a convoluted, relatively insecure platform that focuses on the GUI design over any other sane implementations, informally joined Microsoft’s war against the GPL and successfully imposed the idea of an “App Store” where being able to rely on your phone or tablet largely depends on letting one company decide whose software you can run, whether you like it or not.

The details always change, but what doesn’t is the way that this hurts the user’s ability to run the software they want. Only Apple could have gotten away with imposing such restriction on users initially. Once successful, this concept has spread to Microsoft, Google (who still doesn’t abuse it to the level that Apple has) and even Ubuntu with Snap packages and (less restrictively, but still problematically) Red Hat with Flatpak. All of the solutions are more restrictive than traditional packages, most are justified with a cynical take on what “security” really means.

Apple also deliberately sabotages existing operating system installations to make them more obsolete (a bit like those damned speakers that brick themselves) though Apple users (like some Microsoft fanboys) tend to internalise and ultimately sympathise with so much corporate abuse that they rarely even complain about it.

Facebook has not only a penchant for, but is built on a foundation of sheer dishonesty, manipulation and exploitation. Like the Gates Foundation and many notably corrupt and unethical billionaires, it tries to buy goodwill by throwing funding at initiatives that appear charitable on the surface — which just happen to lend themselves to further control, influence and indirectly (but not too indirectly) profit for the people “investing” in such “charity”.

Meanwhile, its founder (who has such a good idea about how much privacy you really have, he tapes his own laptop camera) got away with so much from Facebook’s inception that he was astonished how gullible his own users were. He also expressed a shameless intent to exploit them further. People know the quotes in question, but they still don’t treat Facebook like the digital plantation and surveillance platform (complete with deliberate psychological manipulation of users, for research and profit) that it is.

“If you can make use of something you know is deliberately destroying your privacy and manipulating you — and that’s the bulk of what it does — you’ll rubber-stamp this if it also has video chat and a way to post cat pictures to more people?”THIS horrible thing is treated as some kind convenience — which says as much about the modern world as anything does. If you can make use of something you know is deliberately destroying your privacy and manipulating you — and that’s the bulk of what it does — you’ll rubber-stamp this if it also has video chat and a way to post cat pictures to more people? And this is in real life, not some weird, dark sci-fi romantic comedy?

Amazon is easily worse than Apple, not only destroying (through brilliant business acumen, though not without staggering violations of what would be antitrust if such a concept still existed in real life) commerce in general, but posing a serious threat to all libraries by creating a world where publishers (or booksellers) retain the control and surveillance of your personal library after “purchase”. Librarians are some of the fiercest defenders of privacy and free speech and “readers’ rights” on the planet Earth, but they are powerless if the books they offer are encrypted and the keys are controlled by the companies that sell the titles. Richard Stallman wrote about a culture not entirely unlike the one we inhabit now, in “The Right to Read”, but the Kindle did not yet exist. Ever since they unleashed it on the world, I have striven to avoid all business with the company.

If that weren’t enough, they fit their workers with low-level torture devices, the modern equivalent of the old slave-worker cliche of beating a drum to force a certain speed of production. Amazon is not shy about their ambition to fill our skies with the noisy, flying equivalent of the Ring video doorbell, and they turn their workers into desperate android-like machines. We should treat all goods from Amazon as the product of slave labour. Quite a lot of it would be anyway, of course — this approach “merely doubles” the amount of slave-like labour (or slave labour) involved.

Which brings us to Microsoft, a company so terrifying and powerful (or so “convenient”, whatever you like) that all the other companies mentioned have a “Verified” Microsoft Github account with them. Google, IBM, Apple, Facebook, Amazon — all develop software on GitHub. Microsoft paid to help George W. Bush in the 2000 election that ultimately changed American democracy and global war for the next 20 years, they hold the “JEDI” defense contract coveted by Amazon, they have spent literally decades fighting against the very notion of Free-as-in-freedom software, and whenever we let them, they take possession of our computers, deleting and installing whatever software it pleases them to, changing whatever settings they like, even deleting our personal files at times.

“They corrupted Torvalds and the Linux Foundation, they slander free software activists — and while comparing real activism to “religion” they themselves have an unholy army of shills called “Evangelists” who produce and follow script-like screeds on how to lie to, manipulate and exploit customers and competing developers and CEOs alike.”There are still many websites dedicated to criticising Microsoft alone, and while they never got more ethical than before, they have gotten more powerful and better at destroying competitors. They promised to fight Open Source in the late 90s, and easily everything they ever hoped to do to counter software freedom, they have accomplished, with perhaps the sole exception of completely wiping out our software. They don’t need to do that, if they can gain control of it instead.

They continue to prop up bogus patents so that some fraud can “own” software that is already leased in NEAR de facto perpetuity (by the GPL — which is only “in perpetuity” per certain conditions, to be certain) to the public, and they have engaged in the most successful campaigns to water down protections and protests against non-free software of anyone. They corrupted Torvalds and the Linux Foundation, they slander free software activists — and while comparing real activism to “religion” they themselves have an unholy army of shills called “Evangelists” who produce and follow script-like screeds on how to lie to, manipulate and exploit customers and competing developers and CEOs alike. I’ve dealt with such evangelists personally, and many fanboys emulate their tactics.

Microsoft doesn’t just hate user freedom, it openly hates all competitors and all competition that it can’t exploit and bring under its own control. “Control” is synonymous with what Microsoft calls “Love”, a twisted concept consistent with the psychology of the sort of powerful narcissist that Microsoft is merely a world-spanning, techno-financial encounter-suit-like extension of. How utterly poetic then, that the logo for Microsoft GitHub has actual tentacles.

Through “charitable” manipulation and sheer market power, Gates has interfered with and gained influence of countless institutions that society relies on, from hospitals to libraries and schools — much to the chagrin and protest of teachers and administrators alike. To top it off, there is a most disturbing trend of the FLAGSHIP of free software — the GNU project, migrating further and further towards the event horizon of Microsoft GitHub.

“Through “charitable” manipulation and sheer market power, Gates has interfered with and gained influence of countless institutions that society relies on, from hospitals to libraries and schools — much to the chagrin and protest of teachers and administrators alike.”I have a good idea (it’s something I’ve looked unto but haven’t said much about — and YOU can look into this too) just how many current GNU developers continue to trust Microsoft with their own personal software development projects, more than a year after Microsoft took control of GitHub and more than half a year after Stallman was encouraged to step down from leadership of the FSF — while people (likely current or past employees or interns) tried to hack his own blog as a prelude to trying to get him to step down as head of the GNU Project itself.

We have facts on this — with occasional errors but an overall good quality data set, and unless they start covering up the traces, you can check on some of this data yourself. It’s hard to imagine how they would make it impossible to check, but perhaps they could start by making it harder to get information that is now publicly available, perhaps by (as companies sometimes do) moving it to an area that only logged-in subscribers can access. But that’s not enough to stop most journalists, only the general public.

The keystone defense of all this madness is — as with the current American regime, lying constantly. Bribing and even harassing journalists — which Techrights covers, has been subjected to, and which isn’t any real stretch of the imagination in a world where Assange is slowly dying for showing you a video of civilians being murdered against all international law. It shouldn’t surprise people anymore when this very corporate regime does not treat journalists as heroes — it treats them like terrorists.

The principle defense of such a regime is to lie, lie, and lie again. We accept regimes that lie for running our lives, so we should of course accept that anyone who critiques them is a liar, so say we all. This has to be said twice and perhaps a third time, because the first time left someone still questioning it. They will never stop lying, and the critics will always be wrong.

Of course “wrong” is such a strong word, my favourite variety is “unhelpful”. I have no desire to “help” corporations that have done everything possible to earn the label of evil. We should be helping users, not monstercorps, and turning these crimes around on the user being “unhelpful” is really helping what, exactly?

So let’s all divide our shill tactics into two parts — one part that comes right out and tells the most outrageous lies to your face, and other that preaches “moderation” in the face of valid critique. “Be nice”, he says, while robbing everyone to give that much more to his fans. Don’t be unhelpful — that’s not nice.

“A conspiracy theorist begins with facts, discovers “secrets” and quickly spirals out of control.”On the matter of journalists vs. conspiracy theorists, I think there is certainly a line to be drawn. A conspiracy theorist begins with facts, discovers “secrets” and quickly spirals out of control. Some are misinformed or sloppy, others have actual, literal mental problems, and many are doing their best to make sense of a world that they have learned not to trust.

I maintain a distance from conspiracy theorists myself at most times, as most (not all) of them are impossible to sustain a rational conversation with (not all of their conclusions are rational, but some of them are rational in contexts outside their pet theories). But I don’t wish to tar them all with the same brush, and I think the line between conspiracy theory and journalism is relevant to this article.

What makes journalism differ really is that it is more passionate about facts and maintaining context than the mere connections between ideas. Any random two things can be connected in some shape or form — and like a scientist, the most responsible, highest-quality journalist will put more effort towards sorting the real connections from the nonsensical ones, than they put into the discovery of such connections in the first place.

Of course whether you are a scientist, journalist, historian or conspiracy theorist (or just a raving nut) it all begins with drawing connections between ideas and events. Einstein believed there was a direct, mathematical connection between matter and energy, and many peers thought he was insane or at least stupid. It took a lot of work to eventually prove he was right, though he managed. We too can only manage if we have a society that continues to asks honest questions and demand honest answers.

The only difference between reason and raving is what you do with those connections. Many of us try to have (and are capable of) rational, reasonable conversations about them — some of us can really only gibber about random facts and random things they’ve read, but their ability to arrange it into a coherent, consistent pattern or argument is lower than average.

I’m really not making fun of those people, the only time I feel the need is when one has spent the afternoon (or late night) harassing me about something. I don’t think my opinion of them is as low as what many people have, simply because I think they only differ from the rest of us in a single regard.

“When the things being talked about aren’t theories, but things we all know these corporations were taking part in, the people bringing those facts up aren’t conspiracy theorists, they’re journalists.”None of that changes the fact that corporate shills will try to conflate all investigation of corporations with nutty conspiracy “theory”. When the things being talked about aren’t theories, but things we all know these corporations were taking part in, the people bringing those facts up aren’t conspiracy theorists, they’re journalists.

The fact that 5 corporations own 90% of the media companies helps to explain why only a fraction of journalists ever bring these facts up for more than a few days, before speaking dismissively as though such things never happened. Sure, we know about what happened “in the 90s” but that was different! Things have changed.

The people doing the very most to conflate the comparison of commonly known history and current events with “conspiracy theory” tend to be (or tend to favour) marketers, P.R. sleazeballs and anti-journalists. They aren’t standing up for freedom, or for truth — they’re defending freedom’s destruction and trying to make simple facts into things we don’t talk about. They aren’t helping journalism — instead, like the current government regime, they’re attacking it for actually doing its job.

These corporate shills are not people we should emulate, for their purported monopoly on all that is considered “reasonable”. They are people that society must defeat on moral and ethical grounds, or we will not be a society.

“The fact that 5 corporations own 90% of the media companies helps to explain why only a fraction of journalists ever bring these facts up for more than a few days, before speaking dismissively as though such things never happened.”To provide commentary on the subject and also to remind people how pervasive copyright has gotten, the following two or three lines (quoted in a manuscript) would prevent nearly any large publisher from taking it on for printing. Techrights may eventually be forced to remove these few simple lines from a Rod Stewart single, which took me years and years to fully appreciate. They tell the story of a controlling person’s effect on a now disillusioned lover or family member, who knows they’ve been exploited all along — for the sole benefit of the person using them:

If I gave you time to change my mind
I'd find a way just to leave the past behind

I really do love Stewart for recording it, but it was actually written by Tim Hardin as a folk song in 1965 and performed at the Woodstock music festival, so it’s sort of ill-fitting that a giant media corporation will control these 19 (to 28) words in de facto perpetuity — under a flag that Lawrence Lessig once noted before the Supreme Court, constitutionally forbids perpetual copyright.

“These corporate shills are not people we should emulate, for their purported monopoly on all that is considered “reasonable”.”We will be told these companies can change, will change, even have changed — but nothing ever changes except their image, and the bat-$$$$ insane amount of reach they have into all of our lives. On that, Stallman was not just a little bit, but incredibly, unbelievably right. Still we look to find a reason to believe.

Long live rms, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)… minus/sans the wonderful and immortal three lines by Tim Hardin.

12.31.19

Like Zemlin, Like Linux.com

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The editor of Linux.com posted this tweet some hours ago. It explains or helps clarify what the Linux Foundation is (and stands for).

Mac and Linux.com
Notice who liked it; SJVN, who as recently as yesterday wrote praises about Microsoft over at ZDNet (with shameless openwashing of the proprietary software giant)

Summary: We’ve long thought of the sole editor of Linux.com as a marketer lying about being a "journalist" and "filmmaker" (no films made). But he’s no marketer; he’s a MAC-eter, just like Jim Zemlin. Linux Foundation people are using Windows and Macs, not Linux. And they’re repeatedly bragging about this in public. That’s how grim things have become.

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