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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.

04.15.14

Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile

HALF A DECADE after the Bilski case, where SCOTUS helped legitimise software patents by not striking them out, SCOTUS gets another chance to kill software patents in their country of origin.

The SFLC wrote about its role a few days ago, noting: “In each Supreme Court brief that SFLC has filed over the years we have included a little note on the first page declaring that the brief was made using only free software. This point was particularly important in our most recent brief, for a case named Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank, which was argued in front of the court last week. Our use of free software was particularly important this time because we argue in our brief that free software has been responsible for the major software innovations of the modern era. In partial support of that claim I want to show you our document creation process and tell you about the free software we use to take text from an email and turn it into a camera-ready Supreme Court brief, then a website, then an eBook.”

Watch how Microsoft and Apple work to eliminate the possibility that software patents or even patent trolls will be eliminated. As TechDirt put it some days ago: “Back in December, we noted that the House Judiciary Committee had approved an unfortunately watered-down, anti-patent troll bill. It was better than nothing, but we hoped that the Senate would approve a much stronger version. For a while it seemed like that was likely to happen, but… those who abuse patents are pretty damn powerful. Even those who have been hit by patent trolls in the past, like Apple and Microsoft, have decided to join forces in lobbying against meaningful patent reform. They’ve been pushing to water down the Senate’s bill, taking out nearly everything that would make the bill useful — and it appears that they’re succeeding.”

04.09.14

A Call to Ban/Stop Big ‘Patent Trolls’ Like Nokia, Microsoft, and Apple

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 5:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent stooges

Summary: Reporting in corporate media generally lacks focus on patent abuse by large companies, but Topix has a long noteworthy article

PATENT coverage has been scarce here recently because corporations won. They warped the debate in such a way that almost no articles criticise software patents anymore; the focus has been shifted to small trolls and politicians are, accordingly, ignoring the big issue, instead pursuing fake ‘reforms’ that hardly address any concerns, other than the concerns of big corporations (it’s like Obama’s so-called ‘reform’ of the NSA). Here for a change is a good Topix article titled “How to Really Fix Patents – and Why Congress Is Unlikely to Do It” (via Glyn Moody).

The article says: “The total loss to the economy caused by junk patents far exceeds $29 billion per year when one takes into account that big companies act like patent trolls too, by obtaining junk patents to keep out their competitors.”

It also states that: “The real costs of junk patents are easy to imagine when you consider some of the egregious patents that should never have existed to begin with. Patent No. 5,851,117 was granted in 1998 to a company for using an illustrated book to teach janitors how to clean a building. Clearly that is not such an original idea that it deserves to be patented. Luckily the economic impact of that patent was likely very minimal.”

And finally: “Patent trolls should be dealt with, but if big companies are able to continue to obtain junk patents for things that are not inventions and then act like patent trolls, then they will be able to continue to corner markets and ensure that new emerging technologies can’t compete with them.”

We recently wrote about Apple's "holy war" against Linux/Android — a subject that was mentioned by a lot of media [1, 2, 3, 4]. Nokia‘s patent deal with Apple, which had already cross-licensed with Microsoft for quite a long time (we have written about this triangle for a number of years), helped show how this “holy war” was going on. This new article states that “Nokia makes up about 80% of them [...] the vast majority of licensing fees Microsoft collects — about $15 per device — comes from the Finnish company. Those fees are about to become an internal exchange once the acquisition deal closes between the two companies.”

The ultimate victim will be Android. They are working on it.

To make matters worse, Microsoft and Nokia feed Android-hostile patent trolls like MOSAID, passing patents for no purpose other than harassment (patent-stacking).

This is trolling. The European authorities have already warned/reprimanded Nokia.

What needs to change right now is the debate. We need to reject the idea that there is this thing called “patent trolls” which basically means small companies with patents and that this alone is the issue with patents. There are much bigger issues.

04.07.14

Both Apple and Microsoft Compare Their Corporate Causes to Religion

Posted in Apple, FSF, Google, Microsoft at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Binondo Church

Summary: Steve Jobs calls competition (litigation) with Android a “holy war” whereas Bill Gates calls undermining Linux a “Jihad”

TECHRIGHTS is the recipient of various smears that claim the site or its authors to be something that they are not (misrepresentation). We wrote many articles about it about 5 years ago, having seen smears as bad as “Taliban”. A very common pattern of smears is to call your rival/opponent in a debate “religious” about an opinion, as in dogmatic and detached from logic (there are other similar labels like “tinfoil hat” or “conspiracy theory”, as noted years ago). The FSF, despite being mostly atheistic, is a regular recipient of the “religion” smear (Stallman’s parodies of religion may contribute to this). Microsoft sometimes smears Free software by characterising it as a religion and we, as vocal Novell critics, received similar smears from Novell apologists/staff (Microsoft Linux is still alive by the way and it is spreading to Google). Calling/labeling “religious” those who are non-religious makes no sense. It’s a cheap shot and those who use such cheap shots are often the ones who are irrational and detached from an alternative (opposing) point of view. When logic doesn’t work in an argument, then cheap shots get used, or ad hominem attacks.

Now, similar arguments have been made by some Apple “fanboys” (a label in itself) when they were accused of following Apple like it’s a religion (or cult, i.e. small religion). Those jokes about Apple being followed like a religion and Jobs being treated like a Messiah are not so far fetched anymore. And why?

The proponent of "thermonuclear" action turns out to have referred to his war on Android/Linux as a “holy war”.

Holy?

Really?!

Holy crap.

To quote CNBC: “Steve Jobs warned Apple’s leadership a year before his death that the company he founded faced an “innovator’s dilemma” over the growing threat from Google and promised a “holy war” on smartphones running its Android software, according to evidence shown in court on Tuesday”

This is almost as bad as Bill Gates' allegory/wording when he asked “where are we on this Jihad?” (referring to Microsoft’s war against Linux inside Intel).

Next time you see Free software proponents being referred to as “religious” or something along those lines remember the words of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. They themselves seem to define/characterise their companies as religious movements.

It is clear why Apple is so afraid of Android, as now revealed by documents from inside Apple [1], noting that people are moving to Android and never coming back to the “holy” Apple (not even if they work for a company that’s a partner of Apple [2]). The other Steve from Apple (Wozniak) is now an Android user and he likes to brag (publicly) about Android phones, which based on some new study [3] are technically better and more stable.

People need not have a religious-type faith to choose GNU/Linux or Android; they do, however, need to have a strong belief in Apple in order to choose an overpriced iPhone.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. iPhone becomes victim of Android’s success, makes Apple worry

    Internal Apple documents show that the company’s sales department is anxious about growing competition from Android-powered devices amidst declining iPhone sales, Re/code said in a report.

  2. Why I’m glad I never abandoned Android for an iPhone

    I’ve written about and reviewed mobile phones for almost a decade and a half. Everything from flip phones, to BlackBerrys, to today’s hottest Android models, and yes, Apple iPhones, have passed through my hands. That experience is why, more than anything, I’ve ultimately settled on Google Android as my smartphone platform of choice.

  3. Android more stable than iOS: Study

    For long we have been hearing strories that Android is unsafe, unstable, while iOS is reliable. But new data that has emerged will totally change the picture. A study conducted by Crittercism, a performance monitoring company has revealed that while iOS 7.1 is the most stable version of iOS to date, its Android counterpart is far more stable.

04.02.14

Google and Apple: Doing Evil Together

Posted in Apple, Google at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gentlemen’s attack on workers

Jobs and Schmidt

Summary: Details of correspondence between Jobs and Schmidt reveal how deep the price-fixing over workers (fixing the salaries lower) really goes

WE recently learned how Google and Apple had screwed engineers and drove their wages down by colluding. We posted some news links about it. Well, now there are unsealed documents showing us sociopaths at work.

Apple is an undisputed king of evil, but watch Google’s Schmidt acting not much better than Steve Jobs, who is laughing at the firing of staff (guess who’s fired in Hell right now). To quote some background to this: “In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the “Google.com Engineering” group made a career-ending mistake: She cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email, violating the secret and illegal non-solicitation compact that her boss, Eric Schmidt, had agreed with Apple’s Steve Jobs.

“What happened next is just one of many specific examples of how people’s lives were impacted by the Techtopus wage-theft cartel that was taken down by the Department of Justice antitrust division, and is currently being litigated in a landmark class action lawsuit.

“The Google recruiter’s email—in which she identified herself as “a Recruiter for the ‘Google.com Engineering’ team formerly known as the ‘Site Reliability Engineering’ team”— was sent out on the morning of March 7, 2007.”

Seeing how those companies have colluded and the executives never sent to prison (let alone put on trial) helps us remember that we live in a society where corporations are above the law and white-collar business crimes are so commonplace that we take them for granted (banks are a good example of it). Watch this other news report where iFixit boss Wiens is quote as saying: “They [Apple] have done everything they can to put these guys [third-party repairers] out of business.”

Also mind this new article which floats Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller‘s old FUD, saying that “Apple wants Samsung to pony up $40 per smartphone for patents.”

At this stage, to be absolutely frank, defending Google from Apple’s aggressive litigation and Steve Jobs' thermonuclear delusions seems like an exercise in futility. Google is starting to do evil not just in patent practice and law; the company which was once hailed as the best place to work with is not an enemy of IT workers. Just ask Tim Bray (a manager in Android) why he quit Google earlier this year.

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