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07.02.15

Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Indian CEO, but still bullying India, just like Steve Ballmer

Satya Ballmer
Superimposing Nadella and Ballmer

Summary: Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely ‘dare’ to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.

Back in May we wrote about Microsoft's lobbying India (both directly and by proxy) because it ended up weakening a Free software policy. Microsoft is single-handedly attacking India’s independence, albeit it is sometimes assisted/accompanied by IBM, Oracle, Cisco, etc. Microsoft is by far most prominent in this line-up because it is even eager to go public in the press, trash-talking Free software in cheeky/sleazy ways (accusing/ridiculing messengers), whereas IBM is more careful not to be seen doing that. All of these companies are hoping to water down India’s Free software-favouring policy to just about nothing, but Microsoft now has the nerve to talk trash [1, 2, 3], including a quote that led to the headline “I am a firm believer of open source, says Microsoft’s Bhaskar Pramanik” (don’t laugh yet!).

This is the most misleading headline (click-bait) we have found, possible chosen by the editor for an interview that has nothing at all to do with “open source” and was already refuted by other sources in India anyway. Here is the key part:

Q. Your comment the government almost mandating open source technologies for projects? Any response from the government to your communications?

A. I am a firm believer of open source. I feel it creates innovation and leads to lots of opportunities for new startups. But it’s not the only solution and to believe that it is the only solution for India is, which the current policy seems to imply, I think is incorrect. My position is very clear – you go anywhere in the world the policy is all about technology neutrality. I think the challenge is to make it mandatory for somebody to used open source. While the government is saying we have not made it mandatory under the optional, they have said very clearly that if you don’t use open source, you have to justify. As far as the government is concerned, in this in this day and age, which government offices is going to say otherwise. There has been no formal response from the government so far.

Basically the quote in the headline is just a preparatory lie. The truth starts after the word “but”. He basically says that “the only solution” is to maintain the status quo of being prisoner of Microsoft (India as a client state, effectively colonised in the digital sense as if it lacks engineering talent). He would have us believe that allowing proprietary lock-in with no qualms would level the competition by continuing to assure Microsoft monopoly and Free software a few scraps (if anything). Microsoft keeps painting itself as the victim here, as if Microsoft has a God-given right to anti-competitively dominate the market and anything which challenges this is inherently anti-competitive.

“Microsoft keeps painting itself as the victim here, as if Microsoft has a God-given right to anti-competitively dominate the market and anything which challenges this is inherently anti-competitive.”Expect Microsoft to continue to bully the government of India, directly and by proxy (as it has already done so). Given how Microsoft was caught blackmailing British politicians only months ago (while Microsoft claims to have changed), expect much of the same to be at least attempted in India. Putting in virtual charge an Indian liar in chief without tact won’t be enough for Microsoft to win back India, perhaps the world’s biggest hub of software developers. Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government is quickly eroding because truly talented developers want code, not binary blobs with BRIC-hostile back doors.

06.09.15

Microsoft’s Government Stranglehold Collapsing: As Expected, British Government Departments (Tax Authorities First) Dump Microsoft, Will Likely Embrace ODF; India and Sweden Likewise

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OpenDocument at 3:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Digital sovereignty gradually being restored

Flags

Summary: Despite Microsoft blackmail of British politicians, HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) moves to Google’s ODF-supporting office suite, dumping Microsoft’s biggest cash cow and notorious lock-in; India and Sweden too move in a positive direction with more Free software, despite Microsoft lobbying and bullying

THE BEGINNING OF this week has been great. It had lots to offer in terms of good news. It really started with a bang and hopefully it won’t end with a just a mere whimper.

Microsoft is evidently getting desperate in convincing people to sign its horrible deals (because fewer are willing to sign these) and it is losing some very major clients right now, including governments in wealthy and/or large countries. It’s not some home users and a company or two. It’s now a growing trend, including the world’s second population (by size) and the world’s biggest empire ever, in addition to a top GDP/capita economy. There are literally billions of dollars at stake.

Microsoft is still actively trying to derail Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in voting systems in the United States and it often gets away with it because it has plenty of influence in the United States government. Controlling the voting system and bribing political candidates (as it does, even personally) ensures interference in elections and thus government decisions regarding IT procurement. We are still seeing it in this new article from IDG, stating: “Microsoft’s new system not only provides for easy transmission of election results, but it also allows party administrators to view results as they come in and will automatically identify potential problem areas. Election officials can then contact the precinct representative to clear anything up. It also means that tech experts will be lending their security know-how to the process, which is a good sign since the Iowa Democrats’ press release announcing the system included spammy advertisements Friday for discount pharmaceuticals.”

We recently showed how Microsoft interfered not only in voting but was seemingly inserting anti-FOSS provisions into the law, via ‘trade’ agreements. Now our suspicions are further defended, seeing articles like “Revealed Emails Show How Industry Lobbyists Basically Wrote The TPP”. This shows sick jokes, bribery, government capture, and how corporations (through their lobbyists) are writing the law. “One for Techrights stories,” wrote a reader to us regarding this news from TechDirt, summarising it with “How Industry Lobbyists Basically Wrote The TPP”.

“Watch has a full writeup showing how industry lobbyists influenced the TPP agreement,” he wrote, “to the point that one is even openly celebrating that the USTR version copied his own text word for word.”

Here is the direct quote: “Hi Barbara – John sent through a link to the P4 agreement. I have taken a quick look at the rules of origin. Someone owes USTR a royalty payment – these are our rules. They will need some tweaking but will likely not need major surgery. This is a very pleasant surprise. I will study more closely over the weekend.”’

TechDirt recalled: “Back in 2013, we wrote about a FOIA lawsuit that was filed by William New at IP Watch. After trying to find out more information on the TPP by filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and being told that they were classified as “national security information” (no, seriously), New teamed up with Yale’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic to sue. As part of that lawsuit, the USTR has now released a bunch of internal emails concerning TPP negotiations, and IP Watch has a full writeup showing how industry lobbyists influenced the TPP agreement, to the point that one is even openly celebrating that the USTR version copied his own text word for word.”

“We recently showed how Microsoft interfered not only in voting but was seemingly inserting anti-FOSS provisions into the law, via ‘trade’ agreements.”Here is the original article. “Leaked TPP emails talks about software patentability,” Benjamin Henrion (FFII) noted about it.

To quote IP Watch: “While a full range of stakeholders would be affected by the outcome of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement under secret negotiation by the United States and a dozen trading partners, corporate representatives have had a special seat at the negotiating table, as shown by hundreds of pages of confidential emails from the US Trade Representative’s office obtained by Intellectual Property Watch. The emails give a rare and fascinating perspective on how policy is developed in the trade office.

“Years into the negotiation, the TPP is said to be nearing completion and is the subject of a US congressional debate over renewal of fast-track negotiating authority for the president (limiting Congress to a yes or no vote). But the TPP text has never been made available to the public of the countries negotiating it, except through periodic leaks of parts of the text, making these emails timely for the debate.

“Through a US Freedom of Information Act request, Intellectual Property Watch has obtained some 400 pages of email traffic between USTR officials and industry advisors. Most of the content of the emails is redacted (blacked out), but they still give insight into the process.”

“The emails give a rare and fascinating perspective on how policy is developed in the trade office.”
      –IP Watch
This is significant because we recently found out about anti-FOSS parts in these agreements, likely to have been the result of lobbying by Microsoft or the likes of it. If so-called ‘trade’ agreements pass with the anti-FOSS sections and ISDS, then Microsoft can sue ones like the Indian government for choosing FOSS as a matter of policy. There is a lot of Microsoft lobbying in India, objecting specifically to this [1, 2, 3], but how about lobbying around trade agreements? Wouldn’t that be clever? It would demolish FOSS globally in one fell swoop, as long as corruptible politicians remain quiet enough and citizens are therefore too ignorant to prevent the signing of nasty (but secret) agreements.

India’s move to FOSS, or the increasing embrace of FOSS (with a FOSS-leaning procurement policy) was covered by Red Hat’s OpenSource.com the other day, noting: “The Government of India has implemented a remarkable new policy-level change for open source software (OSS) deployment. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has asked that open source software-based applications be included in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for all new procurements. Note there is not a plan at this time to replace existing proprietary systems with open source software.”

This is still going on while Microsoft fights back viciously. If the aforementioned ‘trade’ agreements pass, Microsoft might even be able to sue the government, not for discrimination but for not obeying so-called ‘trade’ laws (newly-introduced). It’s a back door trick, negotiated behind closed doors.

Here in the UK the government is now in a good position to move to GNU/Linux, despite Microsoft's blackmail of British politicians. Dependence on Windows is already being reduced because, according to this article, “HMRC ditches Microsoft in favour of Google Apps”. To quote some relevant bits:

HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) has become the first major government department to dump Microsoft in favour of Google.

The Register reported that 70,000 HMRC staff will adopt Google’s cloud-based productivity apps over Microsoft’s Office 365 offering, joining 20,000 government employees who already use Google’s Gmail service.

HMRC has since confirmed the move in a statement. A spokesperson said: “HMRC has an ambitious digital future planned. This contract will make it easier for staff to collaborate on internal documents, providing greater flexibility and efficiency while reducing costs.

HM Revenues and Customs (British tax) dumping Microsoft is huge news; blackmailing politicians didn’t work out and one wonder if there are more government offices poised to follow suit. Surely they’ll watch how HMRC gets along. It has become abundantly clear that Microsoft is so scared/worried about FOSS and ODF (also Google) in the UK that it’s willing to blackmail or bribe.

Meanwhile, as revealed by Andy Updegrove, Sweden follows the UK government’s footsteps by choosing standards, including ODF. This is why Microsoft was so scared and then became aggressive over the decision that might later spread to the rest of Europe. One might wonder about Swedish politicians who led to this; will Microsoft blackmail them too?

“While the current list of approved standards in Sweden is short,” wrote Updegrove, “it does (as in the U.K.) include the ISO standard PDF/A-1, for uneditable documents, and OASIS’s ODF 1.2, for editable text. The ODF standard (adopted in an earlier version by ISO in 2004) was the subject of perhaps the most vigorously fought standards war of the last 20 years, raging on a global basis for several years. The contest was sparked by the decision of the Commowealth of Massachusetts to approve ODF, but not Microsoft’s competing XML-based standard, referred to as OOXML. That standard was also adopted by ISO, following Microsoft’s contribution of the original text to another standards body, called ECMA.

“Massachusetts ultimately adopted OOXML as well as ODF after severe lobbying pressure. Since then, the question of whether ODF, OOXML or both meets with the approval of cities, states and nations making such determinations has continued to be a contentious and closely watched matter.

“For this reason, it will be interesting to see whether additional EU countries follow the lead of the U.K. and Sweden.”

Scandinavia as a whole (not just Sweden it seems) is ‘plotting’/’scheming’ (to use negative terms) to embrace standards and dump proprietary blobs. North Europe seems to be eager to emancipate itself from NSA-leaning, Empire-serving blobs. There is a shift to FOSS, fostering local jobs and improving trust (no back doors from across the Atlantic). Open standards, suffice to say, tend to lead to FOSS.

05.29.15

Microsoft Lobbying in India Shoots Down or At Least Weakens Free/Libre Software Policy

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 7:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Gates and Nasscom
Photo from NASSCOM’s Web site

Summary: Microsoft’s covert efforts (lobbying with the help of public partners like NASSCOM) to eliminate an India-leaning software policy in India is finally paying off

After Microsoft lobbying (both directly and by proxy) against Indian sovereignty we seem to have ended up with a watered-down Indian policy, which briefly favoured Free/Open Source software (FOSS). This happened in many nations before (especially in Asia) and given Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government we pretty much expected this to happen once again. Let’s not forget that Microsoft is blackmailing British politicians (as it always did). If Microsoft can do this to the empire which ruled India, why not India too?

“It’s not just Microsoft doing it because one must recall OOXML pressure in India (usually done by proxy, as in this case, via NASSCOM).”The latest article from the corporate media in India (Business Standard in this case) makes it very clear that Microsoft leads in lobbying against the policy which favours Free software. “Government says open source software use not made mandatory” is the headline and Microsoft is all over it:

Business Standard had reported earlier this month that software firms such as Microsoft had expressed concerns over the policy, unveiled in March, as it had a clause that stated use of anything other than open source software had to be justified by the official concerned.

Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India, had said, “The government needs to be technology-neutral. You should be able to adopt the best technology, the most economical and the most appropriate technology for the problem at hand. Let’s not have biases one way or the other.” Because of this policy, he added, a company might end up choosing a technology solution that’s not the best and this might take the “country back”.

The corporate media is doing it again, relaying Microsoft talking points and using straw man arguments. Microsoft needs to maintain the illusion that it is not fighting FOSS while it actually does fight it. Here’s why we need to watch out. As Sir Humphrey Appleby famously said in Yes Minister: “It is necessary to get behind someone in order to stab them in the back.”

Indian politicians now come out with statements about the FOSS policy which suggest they either got intimidated or bribed by Microsoft et al. It’s not just Microsoft doing it because one must recall OOXML pressure in India (usually done by proxy, as in this case, via NASSCOM). To remind readers what NASSCOM has been doing:

Microsoft “loves Linux” and supports FOSS like BP loves nature and supports wind power.

05.21.15

Gartner Group and NASSCOM: Will Lie for FUD, on Behalf of Microsoft and Proprietary Software

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is like a political party

Bill Gates and Nasscom
Photo from NASSCOM’s Web site

Summary: Some of the latest arguments against Free/libre software turn out to be arriving from couriers of Microsoft and its agenda

LAST NIGHT’S article about Microsoft's lobbying in India sure made a lot of a splash. It had impact. It has been widely circulated by now, even by former Microsoft managers who had grown tired of the company’s abuses. Upon further research we found out the role of NASSCOM.

For those who cannot recall the historic role of NASSCOM, here is a quick summary of posts of ours, covering NASSCOM:

NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy. Techrights is unusually popular in India (based on various Web metrics like Alexa) and our Indian readers have often been cynical about the integrity of their officials/politicians. They probably recognise Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government and right now Microsoft appears to be doing its lobbying (against FOSS) in India using a group that is tied to Bill Gates (not just Microsoft) and masquerades as non-commercial. This is gross distortion of justice, even corruption.

“NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy.”Another Bill Gates-backed (and Bill Gates-funded) group, the Gartner Group, recently spread a lot of FUD against FOSS and advertised Windows using lies (some Gartner staff came from Microsoft). One very recent piece of FUD against FOSS (there is some against containers, using ‘security’) says that there is a lack of skills. Gartner recently injected these claims into a lot of Web sites, assisted by gullible writers. Mike Olson, speaking to the media, shoots down Gartner’s latest FUD, noting that Gartner cites a non-existent dilemma. And to use his own words: “The reason I think Gartner’s report is off base, enterprises don’t need to build deep data science skills if they can buy solutions and applications that run on top of the platform that allows them to solve business problems.”

The problem with Microsoft is that it is well connected and a lot of the talking points against Free software come from buddies, partners, former staff and mouthpieces of Microsoft. This cannot be conveniently ignored and refuting the lies isn’t a case of shooting the messenger, just showing who the messenger works for/with.

05.20.15

Microsoft is Again Showing Its Hatred of Free/Open Source Software by Lobbying the Indian Government to Drop a Rational National Policy

Posted in Asia, Deception, Microsoft at 6:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Public display of hatred

Narendra Modi

Summary: Microsoft decides to attack Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in India, where the corporate media is very much complicit in misleading the public

E

ARLIER this year we repeatedly wrote that upon India's adoption of a Free/Open Source software-leaning policy Microsoft would attempt to paint itself "Open Source", or misleadingly associate Windows with "Open Source" (Microsoft is now openwashing Windows by throwing some Windows Communication Foundation code out there). We were only partly right because Microsoft is now making the decision to actually attack the judgment of India’s government.

Big mistake. It’s offensive and potentially offending.

Microsoft pretends to be “Open Source”-friendly but at the same time it lobbies India government’s against rational, pro-India policy — a policy that would create many jobs in India and improve national security. India, being a software-producing giant, needs Microsoft as much as Norway needs lumber imports from the Sahara. It is worth reminding readers that several months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to the US and met Microsoft’s CEO in person. See our past articles about Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government, where officials are notoriously corruptible.

Corporate Media to Microsoft’s Rescue

Here is the Business Standard (corporate press of India) helping Microsoft to get its message (lobbying) out. To quote: “The technology-savvy Narendra Modi government may have upset large software firms, especially Microsoft, in its bid to be more efficient and transparent. In March, the government announced an open-source policy that makes it mandatory for all future applications and services to be designed using the open-source software (OSS). In case of an exception, where proprietary or closed-source software (CSS) is deployed, officials have to justify their decision.

“Microsoft pretends to be a victim merely because governments want Free/libre software code and open standards.”“Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik told Business Standard the government’s preference for open source is not an issue. However, putting a clause where use of anything other than open source has to be justified is an area of concern.”

How so?

This is a reminder of Microsoft’s unique stance (no other company is named here) and feeling/sense of entitlement. When the British government chose to go with open standards for document formats (ODF) Microsoft attacked the government’s decision rather than comply by properly supporting the standard. Microsoft is upset not about the policy but about rivals of Microsoft getting more of an opportunity. Microsoft pretends to be a victim merely because governments want Free/libre software code and open standards. What’s good for taxpayers is very seldom good for Microsoft.

Calling Proprietary “Open Source”

Speaking of India and its submissive corporate media, the Indian press is wrong yet again (just earlier today). Cyanogen, a proxy of Microsoft (classic embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by Microsoft), is not “open source” as this headline from the Economic Times (corporate media) foolishly claims. “US-based Cyanogen,” says the article, “the developer of an open-source mobile operating system, will open an office in India within the next three months, and plans to acquire startups, according to a senior company executive.”

“Microsoft is unable to bring Android apps to Windows, so it is trying to steal Android itself.”It is not an “open-source mobile operating system” because the company, Cyanogen (not to be confused with CyanogenMod), plans to put Microsoft proprietary software in the operating system of another company (Google), exploiting Google’s FOSS-friendly nature. Here is a new reminder (from yesterday) regarding what Microsoft wants/hopes to turn Android into: “Today, they’ve added phone support for beta testers – those who’ve joined the Microsoft Office Preview community on Google+ and sign up for the apps you want to try. You’ll then be able to find them on the Google Play Store, where the apps have dropped “for tablet” from their name.”

So Microsoft is now using Google+ to screw Google and take away Android from Google, turning the platform into just a carrier of Microsoft’s proprietary software, with extra spying of course. Based on [1] (below), there is a grand plan. Microsoft is unable to bring Android apps to Windows, so it is trying to steal Android itself. It takes something which is Free software and turns it into proprietary software that spies on users (turning them into products to be sold to spies, advertisers, and so on).

Microsoft Wants Everyone’s Data

Based on this new article, StackStorm is now playing along with this kind of agenda, giving Microsoft data to spy on. To quote: “StackStorm CEO Evan Powell says StackStorm can be used to not only automate that management of application workloads on the Microsoft Azure cloud, but also other cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services or an OpenStack-compatible cloud.”

“Indian officials would have to be out of their minds (or corrupt) to continue procurement of Microsoft software after the NSA leaks, among other revelations about Microsoft’s crude business practices.”How foolish. Microsoft is increasingly trying to exploit users for their data and based on this new article from PopSci, Microsoft is now trying to lure children into proprietary software that spies on children. As the article puts it: “This grim declaration is a part of [Microsoft's] De Cicco Remu’s push for pencil-less classrooms. She believes pencils, paper, and chalkboards are all outdated methods of teaching. If De Cicco Remu has her way, “inking”, or using a stylus and a tablet, will be the new handwriting. Also, kids need to have the appropriate products–all Microsoft, of course. (She plugs Office 365 and OneNote as being helpful for classroom settings.)”

These are surveillance products and it is worth recalling Microsoft’s special relationship with the NSA. Indian officials would have to be out of their minds (or corrupt) to continue procurement of Microsoft software after the NSA leaks, among other revelations about Microsoft’s crude business practices.

Modi is renowned as somewhat of a nationalist (as in, looking after his nation’s interests) and he holds a Master of Arts degree in political science. He should be wise enough to know that Microsoft is no friend of India.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Developers ‘uninterested’ in tweaking iOS and Android apps for Windows

    Developers are said to be reluctant to modify iPhone and Android apps for Windows Phone over doubts over app quality and how easy the process will be

05.03.15

Microsoft India’s Unofficial ‘Branch’ Infosys is Torturing the Meaning of Open Source Software

Posted in Asia, Microsoft at 4:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Disinformation system of Microsoft

Book

Summary: Infosys, which is best known for its promotion of Microsoft in India, is distorting the meaning of ‘Open Source’ and joins a non-profit that is supposed to promote programming, not binary blobs

Open Source software, which is basically another label for Free/libre software (but with a different agenda), is essential for distinguishing not between brands but between development and distribution philosophies. Attacking the meaning of “Open Source” is means for confusing and impeding rational judgment. It is quickly becoming essential for proprietary software players in India. The government is increasingly stubborn on issues like software freedom and this government sometimes makes it imperative to share code.

Infosys is generally loathed here for all the dirty work it did for Microsoft in India over the years. It’s like Accenture in the UK. They may both seem like independent and local companies, but they are de facto salespeople or distributors of Microsoft. They are like channel partners. They are middlemen.

Yesterday we saw that “Infosys partners with Microsoft to offer Finacle on Azure”. Well, Infosys does not need to “partner with Microsoft”, it is already an integral part of Microsoft in many ways (Microsoft even outsources some of its jobs to Infosys). Finacle is therefore a horrible trap that not only makes people dependent on proprietary software but also spies on the users all across in India (Microsoft works with the NSA, so it is foreign surveillance via Microsoft/PRISM). In the midst of many articles about it — basically a load of promotional rubbish with minimal variation in wording [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] — we found ourselves distracted by a non-Indian news site going with the headline “Infosys turns to open source to drive data innovation”. So many buzzwords must mean it’s more like promotional rubbish and it most likely is. To quote the opening: “Infosys has released details of its Infosys Information Platform (IIP), which includes new pre-packaged solutions from Infosys Finacle and Infosys BPO.”

“Infosys is about code and non-profit to the same degree that BP is about ecology and charity.”Why does the headline say “open source”? It’s nothing of that kind. There is nothing at all that is Open Source about it. Infosys is doing something disgusting by even trying to exploit that angle. Claiming to make an “Open Source” platform when in fact using proprietary software with spying is beyond shameless, it is not just false marketing. Alas, being a Microsoft proxy in India, Infosys’ openwashing of proprietary software is only to be expected, especially because of new government policies in India (favouring Free/Open Source software, as we noted here before and above).

Watch another appalling move from Infosys, mimicking the likes of Facebook. Yet another Microsoft pusher, Infosys (also see what its Web site runs), makes code.org (Computer Science education push) a proprietary software plot. Infosys is about code and non-profit to the same degree that BP is about ecology and charity.

In order for Microsoft to fail in India it is probably very important that activists take action against Infosys. It’s a parasite and a leech. It harms India’s interests, not just the interests of Free/Open Source communities.

11.28.14

Microsoft Found to Have Broken the Law in China (Tax Evasion), Just Like Practically Everywhere

Posted in Asia, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Things must be grim when China is upholding the law whereas the West refuses to

HK, China

Summary: China is reportedly taking action against Microsoft’s notorious habit of tax evasion and fining the company well over $100 million

NOW THAT Microsoft has been found to be evading tax (a crime, but not one that executives of large corporations often go to jail for) and fined for it in a nation as large as China (just like in India half a decade ago, as well as in other places) is the US going to follow suit? Last week we showed that the IRS was on this case, so Microsoft began bullying the IRS (the vanity of corporations that control their government).

“”Remember when Microsoft China offices were raided (just earlier this year on numerous occasions and its patent extortion plot was targeted by the Chinese authorities? Well, it sure seems like China enforcing the law against massive criminals like Microsoft, setting a good precedent that US and Europe should follow. To quote the new report: “Microsoft has reportedly been issued with a charge for £87 million in back-taxes following an investigation into alleged tax evasion by the Chinese authorities.”

For those who still associate Microsoft with something other than crime and corruption, the news report above can serve as a valuable wake-up call.

10.14.14

Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 3:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gavel

Summary: It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States’ USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?

YESTERDAY we wrote about the measurably huge decline in the number of patent lawsuits in the US. There is some more good news in the form of figures.

Andrea Peterson, writing for the Bezos-owned Washington Post, says that “Software patent approval rates sink in months following Supreme Court case”. The patent lawyers, understandably, are stressed about this. They spent so much time attacking the decision or trying to characterise it as anything but a game changer. We gave dozens of examples at the middle of this year. Here again are a couple of patent lawyers using a straw man: “it is doubtful that all software, computer-implemented and business method inventions will be affected by Alice. For example, software inventions that improve the functioning of a computer, or improve other technical fields, may still be eligible for patent protection. Still, while the full effect of Alice is yet to be determined, entities seeking to patent inventions directed to software, computer implementations, and business methods, need to ensure that inventions are sufficiently innovative and directed to concrete ideas.”

“The patent lawyers, understandably, are stressed about this.”Mike Masnick already caught the news from the morning and wrote: “The impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank continues to reverberate around the industry. We’ve already noted that courts have been rapidly invalidating a bunch of patents, and that related lawsuits appear to be dropping rapidly as well. And, now, a new analysis from a (pro-patent) law firm suggests that the US Patent Office is rejecting a lot more software patents as well.”

Software superpower India does not have software patents, but after meeting executives from Microsoft (which has enormous influence over the Indian government), Amazon, Facebook and other patent aggressors it looks like things may change. According to this article about Modi’s trip to the US:

The US-India Joint Statement signed during Modi’s visit to the US has opened the doors for two Indian laws that have been passed by the Indian Parliament. One is on patents – the Indian Patents Act – that contain some measures to keep drug prices low for the people, which the US and its pharmaceutical industries have been trying to change for the last decade. The second is on nuclear liability, again anathema to the US nuclear industry.

Here is a little something about privacy too: “The Modi visit is also important for what he did not raise with the US government. There was no mention of the NSA spying in India, which included the BJP as well. There were six political entities in the world that the NSA spied upon officially, and one of them was the BJP. India is also one of the 33 countries that have signed a 3rd Party agreement with NSA giving it access to our telecommunications and Internet infrastructure. That means India not only allowed NSA to spy on any entity or any person in India but also provided them the physical access required for such spying. Modi not only did not utter one word of protest against such spying against his own party, but also made clear his intention to continue such relationship under Defence and Homeland Security clauses of the Joint Statement.”

It is sad to say this, but India seems to be assimilating to the US system when it comes to patents and also when it comes to militarisation and surveillance.

As we showed before, the corrupt EPO is bringing Europe closer into alignment with the corporations-run USPTO while the USPTO itself is moving away from software patents these days. We covered this aspect of the situation several weeks ago.

Our next post will focus on some more scandals from the EPO.

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