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06.12.14

Apple Hopes to Enjoy Inherent Corruption in the Patent System and the Legal System

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple

Summary: Apple is reportedly trying to start a new wave of patent attacks on Android/Linux — a plan which failed after misconduct at the legal system had been made publicly known

The USPTO not only lost the ability to protect its reputation; this long-lost reputation or credibility loss is bound to get worse because scope is expanding and the number of approved patents is rising, to the point where almost every application is successful at one point or another (e.g. after resubmission). Recent numbers showed just how bad it was getting all around.

Here is a good new example of patent scope gone awry, even expanding to software (IBM to blame here). Here is another new example from
Apple, which enjoys support from the USPTO (it grants Apple patent monopolies on almost everything Apple wishes).

Apple continues using patents as a weapon against Android/Linux, seeking to tax and eliminate features. Apple pretty much lost the case, with just under a dollar charged per phone from Samsung, so any additional patent the USPTO grants Apple will almost certainly pose a threat to Free software. Apple wants billions from Samsung’s sales of Android devices, and that’s just from Samsung alone. Apple is pursuing patents on all sorts of exotic ideas that Samsung is not pursuing for aggressive purposes like Apple does. In pro-Apple sites one can find the expected bias (portraying Samsung as some kind of thief) as a new trial is expected, this time perhaps without a foreman conflict of interest (only corrupt trials have worked in Apple’s favour).

There is a good new article where a conflict of interest has led to a judge stepping down, proving perhaps that in the area of patents we rely on people in gown ideologically deciding on stuff with their dogma and vested interests.

The USPTO’s conflicts of interest (e.g. profit from patents) and conflicts of interest in the courtroom (e.g. Jury moles) may be beneficial to Apple at one stage or another, but if justice prevails one way or another (eventually), then Apple’s war on Android will always fail miserably at the end.

05.28.14

Apple Debacle a Timely Reminder That Any So-called ‘Kill Switch’ is a Dangerous Back Door

Posted in Apple, Security at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Smartphone kill switches, which by definition require remote control of systems, turn out to be Trojan horses that reduce security by facilitating crackers (not just government-sanctioned crackers)

AMID lots of advocacy and inane promotion of kill switches (claiming that they were “against theft”) we repeatedly called them back doors, which is technically what they are.

Now that “Apple”-branded phones get hijacked by crackers we are reminded that these back doors (incorporated by design) are nothing but trouble and for Apple iPhone ‘users’ who don’t know it yet, Snowden released evidence to show that iPhone (more than other phones) has NSA back doors. It’s no coincidence that Obama was barred from using iPhone. Back doors (and so-called “kill switches”) are now being exploited by crackers who try to use ransom for profit. Microsoft’s NSA back doors are equally problematic, but in this post we will focus just on Apple. As iPhones are being “frozen” by crackers demanding ransom we should again ask ourselves, is it really safe to let so-called ‘security’ agencies acquire back doors? Should anyone other than the physical user have access granted to the system and subsystems? These are the questions which motivated the Free Software Foundation to battle against DRM, proprietary software, and for privacy, freedom, etc.

According to the corporate press: “It appears that the hacker [sic] … has managed to exploit the Find My iPhone feature which can track and remotely lock stolen devices. Users have been told to send ransoms of between $50 and $100 Australian dollars (up to £55) to a PayPal account in order to have their devices unlocked.”

Watch CBS (which Apple pays) trying to relay the Apple ‘damage control’. Apple tells users to change passwords as if back doors can be circumvented by choice of passwords. Apple should apologise to (and compensate) users for helping to build back doors that are now falling into the hands of non-government crackers. The kill switch is the ultimate weapon against people whose phones have back doors. It’s not about thieves and security; it’s the ability to destroy/switch off phones at protests and other venues, of course in the interests of “national security”. So much for security, eh?

05.22.14

Apple is Abandoning Steve Jobs’ Thermonuclear War on Linux/Android

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, Samsung at 10:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple is reportedly folding and moving away from the counterproductive war that Steve Jobs started before his death

There are indications in the media (both large and small outlets) that after vicious attacks against HTC Apple may end litigation against Samsung, quite similarly. As one person put it: “The long and drawn out battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple over the ownership of various intellectual properties may be coming to a close.”

Samsung and Apple have been in the courts for years (only lawyers won). Apple started it all because Apple is silly and it was headed by an arrogant man at the time. To quote HBR:

Look out across today’s ultra-competitive smartphone market and you’ll see something resembling the religious wars of the Middle Ages. This is no quaint summer-weekend reenactment. The weapons being brandished are devilishly constructed patents; the rules of engagement the arcane procedures of federal courts. And the havoc being wreaked — in higher prices, banned devices, and stifled innovation — is laying waste to the industry landscape.

The central battle pits Apple against everyone and everything involved with Android, Google’s open source operating system.

Android’s release, for Apple’s late founder and CEO Steve Jobs, was the ultimate heresy. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to,” Jobs is quoted as saying in a series of jeremiads, “and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

And so Apple has. Between 2006 and 2012, the company was involved, sometimes as plaintiff and sometimes as defendant, in nearly 150 patent lawsuits around the world over various features of its iPhone — including hardware, software, and product design.

Like the religious wars of old, a complex web of alliances, side agreements, and mutual defense pacts have conspired to draw the entire industry into open warfare. Sony is suing LG. Nokia is suing HTC. Motorola (owned by Google since 2011) is suing and being sued by everyone.

Based on this other new report, Apple is close to giving up, having failed to tax Android in any significant way. Reuters says the following:

Apple Inc and Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility unit have agreed to settle all patent litigation between them over smartphone technology, ending one of the highest profile lawsuits in technology.

In a joint statement on Friday, the companies said the settlement does not include a cross license to their respective patents.

“Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform,” the statement said.

Apple and companies that make phones using Google’s Android software have filed dozens of such lawsuits against each other around the world to protect their technology. Apple argued that Android phones that use Google software copy its iPhones.

It is starting to look like Apple is admitting defeat and abandoning Jobs’ aggressive legacy. It is worth noting that Apple has launched no new major cases since Jobs died. It is a good sign because it may mean that Apple as an aggressor in the courtroom might be a dead legacy.

05.07.14

Apple’s Patent Plot a Failure, But It Still Hurts Free/Libre Software

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Further examination of the conclusion of that baseless Apple vs. Samsung case

RUMOURS are abound that Apple might sue Amazon using patents [1], as Amazon sells many devices with Android/Linux on them. If Apple was to embark on such a tactless journey, it would not gain much or anything at all. Recently, the biggest Apple patent case derived/extracted only small amount from the company that sells the lion’s share of Android devices (less than a dollar per device). As Alter Net put it: “Although the weekend’s headlines read that Apple was victorious in its latest patent suit against Samsung, nothing could be further from the truth. The $119.6 million Apple won for having two of its patents infringed upon was less than 10% of the $2.2 billion it was seeking. In addition, Apple had sought a $40 per-unit fee for each Samsung Android phone it said infringed on its patents. Some legal analysts are calling the latest legal showdown between the smartphone giants a victory for Samsung, saying that Apple likely spent close to the amount it won in legal fees.”

We wrote about this Apple case a few days ago, noting more or less the same thing. ‘For its part, Samsung claims the jury verdict is “unsupported by evidence,”‘ says this other report, stressing that the loser here is everyone other than Apple and Samsung:

The jury foreman in the latest round of the Apple v. Samsung patent showdown said Monday that the “consumer” was clearly the biggest loser following the conclusion of the month-long trial.

“Ultimately, the consumer is the loser in all this,” foreman Thomas Dunham, a retired IBM supervisor, told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’d like to see them find a way to settle. I hope this (verdict) in some way helps shape that future.”

Suffice to say, the ruling presents trouble for Free software. “Apple’s patent aggression against Android resulted in a loss for free software,” wrote Richard Stallman, “even though Apple did not get the big money or the injunction it sought.” Any kind of patent payment impedes free distribution. For that — although not exclusively for that — we need to shun Apple.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Will Apple sue Amazon for copying the iPhone?

    Let’s face it, Apple has never been shy about suing other companies that they think have infringed on their intellectual property. The recent legal fights with Samsung are a good example, but there have been others over the years. At one point Steve Jobs even vowed to use Apple’s billions to destroy Android in court because he regarded it as a stolen product.

05.04.14

Apple’s ‘Thermonuclear’ Strategy Backfires as Apple Found to be Infringing Patents That Relate to Android

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve Always Been Shameless About Stealing Great Ideas”Steve Jobs


Direct link

Summary: Steve Jobs and his ‘genius’ plan of starting “thermonuclear” war against Linux/Android turns out to be a colossal failure

Two companies, namely Apple and Samsung, command the lion’s share of the mobile market, so it should come as no surprise that there is fierce rivalry there. But Apple was the company which chose to start with lawsuits, perhaps realising even years ago that it was losing to Android on several fronts, including smartphones and tablets. Apple first sued HTC (which had few patents) and later took on the giant Samsung, which had a huge number of patents and also produced components for Apple. Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung was in many ways a sign of desperation and at the same time arrogance (claiming that the manufacturer and innovator was “copying” Apple). Google is like Apple in the sense that it doesn’t really manufacture anything, but it works on software and has got hardware partners. Samsung is doing a whole load of stuff, with staff that’s like 10 times (an order of magnitude) bigger than Google’s and Apple’s. Production helps make it all happen. Google focuses on server-side development/hosting and Apple does marketing.

When it comes to the mobile market, another non-hardware-producing company exists but hardly counts. That company is Microsoft and unlike Apple and Google, it is a loss leader. It’s an utter failure, subsidised in part by governments for snooping, back doors, etc. Here is a new article about Microsoft:

Microsoft‘s hopes of establishing a sizeable presence in the tablet market continue to be thwarted, new figures reveal.

And it seems as though Microsoft loses money on every Surface it sells, despite the relatively high retail price of the machines.

Notice this towards the end: “Chitika analysed the tablet web usage habits of tens of millions of North Americans found that Surface users generated a slightly greater share of their total online traffic during working hours when compared to iPad or Android tablet users.”

It probably means that those using a Microsoft-branded product are forced by employers to use it. To Microsoft, litigation against Android (often by proxy) is the only resort left, or racketeering tactics which attempt to make Android a cash cow of Microsoft.

What’s noteworthy at the moment is the outcome of this trial, which granted Apple only 5% (i.e. only cents on each Samsung device sold) of the amount of money it wanted to grab from Samsung. As one report put it:

The Cupertino company can notch a second win, but with far less damages than it requested. Apple wanted $2.2 billion, and the jury awarded it $119.6 million, or just over 5 percent of what Apple had requested.

Samsung won as well as both parties were guilty of patent infringement. Apple wasted its time and tarnished its reputation. Android will only be boosted by this. Wait and watch.

As a side note, Techrights was approached for an interview by the Linux Foundation, so we shall soon have some coverage about the rise of Linux in the embedded/device space.

05.03.14

The European Union Legitimises Software Patents by Intervening in Android Patent Case

Posted in Apple, Google, Patents, RAND, Samsung at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mistakes made in the EU as well

Made in EU

Summary: Software patents make an appearance in Europe again, this time in FRAND form

SOMETHING troubling has happened in the Apple vs. Samsung case, which is how Microsoft’s subversive club of Android foes (Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft plus smaller trolls for the most part) has been trying to make Android expensive, undermining its principal selling point, The patent-stacking battle, which Microsoft has been wittingly and visibly involved it (Microsoft supports Apple and Oracle of course), now reaches a phase of EU intervention:

EU moves to end smartphone patent wars in landmark ruling

The ruling will help to draw a line under long-running feuds between smartphone makers

Apple propaganda sites have been covering this case, saying that “jurors deciding the outcome of the second Apple vs Samsung trial haven’t yet returned a verdict, but their options are limited to a few possible outcomes, ranging from a fiery thermonuclear blast to a wintery new Dark Ages.”

Well, “thermonuclear” is a term borrowed from Steve Jobs himself. He strives for thermonuclear outcome. He is as apocalyptic as he is “visionary”.

Anyway, here is Richard Stallman’s response to the EU’s intervention:

The European Union is stopping Apple and Samsung from suing each other for patent infringement.

Unfortunately, its “solution” is a terrible mistake: imposing “reasonable and nondiscriminatory” terms. In practice, this means patent licenses that discriminate against free software by charging license fees per copy, which free software developers can’t possibly pay. There is nothing “reasonable” about that.

FRAND, as we have argued for years, is a Trojan horse for software patents in the EU and elsewhere. We need to reject this. Ideally, the EU should just send Apple and its “thermonuclear” ambitions somewhere far away — a place where the Sun won’t shine. Apple is the aggressor here and it is part of a broader plot to undermine Android and Linux rather than outwit or provide technical competition.

04.29.14

Microsoft Killed Nokia, Turned It Into a Pile of Android-hostile Patents

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surely a ‘new’ Microsoft

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer

Summary: Stacking patents with patent trolls and Apple (including Nokia patents) the strategy Microsoft currently has against Linux/Android

MICROSOFT keeps on killing companies, having left a long line of carcasses at the entrance of its cave. People who haven’t been paying attention might carry on observing, not participating, keeping apathetic towards the destructive force which is Microsoft. “I was expecting them to go under more than 10 years ago,” writes iophk, “but they seem to keep getting government contracts and finding ways to block competitors.”

“Nokia is currently being buried with yet “more revisionism”, as iophk calls it.”Microsoft’s latest big victim is Nokia, which was killed after a Microsoft mole had been put in charge of it. According to this, Microsoft now uses Nokia to spread its spyware and surveillance platforms. As Jim Lynch put it the other day: “I can’t help but wonder about the wisdom of blending elements from Windows Phone into Android. The two mobile operating systems are so different that it might come across as a franken-os that just doesn’t fit together properly. If somebody really wants the Windows Phone user interface then doesn’t it make more sense for them to just buy a Windows Phone and skip Microsoft’s Android phones altogether?”

Nokia is currently being buried with yet “more revisionism”, as iophk calls it. Writers at CNET (part of CBS) are not blaming Microsoft and Windows, only blaming or accusing in hindsight what was actually working out much better (Linux). Since Android (Linux) is now victorious we know that Nokia had much better options, but CNET reports give Elop (the Microsoft Trojan horse) a platform and one article is titled “Microsoft’s Elop: Nokia brand soon to vanish from smartphones” (so much for loyalty to Nokia).

Nokia is soon going to be just a pile of patents for trolls to tax phones with, especially Android phones (Nokia and Apple have patent peace and Nokia is becoming part of Microsoft). Microsoft has already fed some of these patents to trolls.

It is easy to see what Apple and Microsoft are trying to achieve here. Microsoft has hidden its financial problems for a number of years and Apple too is going down the same route. Android is eating Apple’s lunch and Microsoft is not even a contender, so Microsoft is passing prohibitive costs to Linux-powered phones, through trolls and partners such as Apple. It’s a strategy known as patent-stacking and it should be treated as a antitrust violation.

Patent litigation has cost as much as a trillion dollars in a quarter century based on some new research from James Bessen. As Glyn Moody put it:

Techdirt recently wrote about the ever-growing flood of patents being granted by the USPTO. As we’ve emphasized, more patents do not mean more innovation; nor do they necessarily lead to greater overall benefits for business. That’s clear in an important new paper from a team including James Bessen, whose work has been mentioned here several times before. It builds on the approach described in the 2008 book “Patent Failure” by James Bessen and Michael Meurer, and seeks to estimate both the private costs and private benefits accruing from patents in the US during the years 1984 to 2009.

In the coming years watch how Microsoft uses Nokia not just to interfere with Android markets but also with the price of Android, using patents that it is passing to patent trolls. Nokia is the newer Novell.

04.25.14

Apple Gets Closer to Microsoft While Both Companies Are Rotting

Posted in Apple, Microsoft at 2:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Evil assimilated to evil

Summary: Dwindling sales and financial concerns (in addition to buybacks) lead Apple to pretty much the same horrible policies as Microsoft, including enormous aggression and back doors

“Cook [is] promoting Microsoft,” iophk wrote. “He did not need Microsoft before for Apple to grow to what it has become.”

Indeed, based on this article, Apple is following Microsoft’s financial ‘crookery’ [sic] by buying its own shares to create an illusion of stability. Microsoft seems to be relying on government help (being a surveillance mole) for its existence and Apple too joined PRISM right after Steve Jobs had died. Given the patent strategy, it has become hard to distinguish between Apple and Microsoft. Like Microsoft, Apple is now a giant in decline [1] and there is no sign of turnaround. Apple is now focused on just ‘innovating’ more “Rounded Corners” and “Curved Display”, based on a pro-Apple site [2] (Apple uses such patents in litigation against Android/Linux) and back doors are consciously left open in both iOS and OS X, confirming what we learned from last year’s NSA leaks (claiming that Apple was providing back doors and making its software easy to infiltrate).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Q1 Apple Results: iPhone market share down to 15% – plus some other bloodbath news
  2. New iPhone 6 Renderings Highlight Curved Display, Rounded Corners

    Following a report from Mac Otakara yesterday claiming the iPhone 6 will feature a curved glass display and an all-aluminum rear shell, French website Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] and designer Martin Hajek have partnered up to showcase renders visualizing such a device based off of the recent information.

  3. Apple Leaves Users Vulnerable By Not Fixing iOS and OS X Security Issues Simultaneously

    Notable computer security researcher Kristin Paget, who worked on Apple’s security team before leaving for Tesla in early 2014, has taken to her blog (via Ars Technica) to criticize Apple for fixing more than a dozen security flaws in iOS weeks after patching them in OS X.

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