Summary: Having conquered the China-controlled Taiwan and the two Korean giants, Microsoft now goes deeper into China and demands payments for Linux-powered products
A few years ago we found out Microsoft’s strategy for patent extortion, thanks to a legal leak. The company behind this leak continues to protest to its government about the USPTO and contrary to what it said after Microsoft had bribed it, it continues with Android, not Windows, at least based on reports such as this. For those who cannot quote remember, B&N (Barnes & Noble) brought out the NDA-concealed extortion proposition (nastygram) with a list of patents included therein and then it got bribed by Microsoft for silence and lack of further legal challenges.
Microsoft is worried about its total defeat in the mobile world. “MS percent of the US market is larger than its percentage of the World market,” tells us a reader. So Microsoft decided to extort Android, maybe even bribing companies to make it appear feasible (financial details are never disclosed, but it’s about FUD). It recently went after Foxconn, based in Taiwan where patent collusion might be brewing. We don’t know if Foxconn pays anything. Now Microsoft got a patent deal with ZTE, another Chinese company. One site says:
For several years now, Microsoft has been asserting that any company making Android phones owes it money, because Microsoft has patents that cover various aspects of those phones.
Last week, the company said that the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, which makes 40 percent of consumer electronics worldwide including a variety of Android and Chrome-powered products, had agreed to license its patents. Today, the company announced a patent-licensing deal with another huge Asian electronics company: Chinese telecom ZTE.
A reader sent us “more coverage” such as this, but there is nothing to suggest they pay Microsoft. Remember that another Chinese giant, which reportedly spurned Microsoft’s attempts to tax Android phones, rejects the US market and refuses to sign such a patent deal for Android. Disguising extortion as “licence” is not an acceptable business practice. Microsoft increasingly uses proxies like Nokia, too, either to litigate in Europe or to feed patent trolls such as MOSAID. Nokia itself recently attacked a Taiwan-based company, HTC, in several places in Europe.
Over at IDG, software patents promotion continues with lobbyists for this cause, such as Martin Goetz [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], getting a European platform. Shame on IDG. The patent lawyers, a tiny minority of the overall populations, already have their platforms where they try too find rarity like developers who favour software patents. Groklaw, despite its strength in this area, also gives a platform for trolls but only as means of balance.
In order to stop Microsoft’s patent extortion we need either to kill software patents or take Microsoft executives to prison for RICO Act violations. In a system controlled by corporations, both are hard goals to attain. █
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Summary: Response to claims that GNU/Linux is “hard”
Difficult it sure can be to become a high-speed racing/Formula 1 driver. Arduous it is to become an advanced computer user. Virtual desktops are hard to grasp conceptually or practically for those who never saw them in a Microsoft-dominant computer lab, so how can one expect to popularise multiple desktop activities the way KDE does?
The concept of extreme abstraction and removal of features has been popularised more recently by the advancement of smartphones and tablets (I write many of my posts while walking in the streets with my tablet). The general philosophy is that users are dumb and they should be treated as such. The problem with this is not that it’s insulting (in disguise) but that it discourages learning and self improvement.
In the past decade, with the hype of ‘i’ things gaining a foothold, the class of ‘simplicity elitists’ got a lot of mindshare. The idea of excessive simplification was famously chastised by Linus Torvalds who used the “Nazi” word to call attention to the reason he was leaving GNOME. Sometimes more is less, but it has become a stubborn cliché which is hard to leave behind.
When I was a teenager and used KDE the environment was still a tad cluttered and many of the presented settings I could not make sense of. KDE had already gained a reputation as desktop made by geeks, for geeks. By the time KDE3 was out and more so in KDE4 (once many bugs were out of the way) most of the daunting settings had already been ‘shelved’ in Advanced menus and the GUI laid out more intuititively. But the stereotype never died. To this date, one of the prominent patterns of Linux FUD is that it’s hard. Well, the kernel sure is hard, but the user barely ever interacts with it. A command-line user interacts a lot with GNU and GUI users often prefer GNOME or KDE.
When people tell you that “Linux is hard” ask them, “which desktop?”
My father had no issues when I switched him from Windows XP to KDE and he is not even so technical; he is a store manager who likes sports. Since the real barrier is that Linux desktops are different we should ask ourselves not how we make GNU/Linux easier but how to make people easier to change. It’s not about coercion but about diplomacy. People need to be patient when they adapt. Is GNU/Linux hard? It’s hard for impatient people to adapt to. █
Originally posted in Linux Advocates
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Summary: Now that Microsoft controls Nokia and its patents portfolio there is more direct hostility towards Android, this time with action rather than just words and directly rather than through Microsoft/Nokia-armed trolls like MOSAID
Apple recently suffered a bit of a blow in the anti-Android litigation war, which a US judge too is eager to put constraints on. Android is growing very rapidly even in China; a vast place like Africa, where Nokia has long enjoyed some low-end devices domination, is now being penetrated by Android. Samsung Rex series is poised to take on Nokia in low-end segments according to this recent report, so we are hardly surprised to see Nokia joining Apple in the war against Samsung. Here is one article about it and another about Nokia, now led by one of Gates’ cronies (Gates is disappointed by Microsoft’s “mistake” and lack of innovation in mobile) making not a rational decision but an idealogical one, made by a mole who surrounded himself with more moles after he had infiltrated the company. Having, together with Microsoft’s involvement, armed patent trolls like MOSAID (we should boycott Nokia for this), Nokia is now showing yet more malice. To quote: “Nokia and Apple are competitors when it comes to moving hardware off the shelves, and the two companies even opposed each other in a patent trial in 2009 (ending in Apple settling with Nokia for an undisclosed sum). But Nokia has been vocal about supporting its patent rights recently, even discussing its decision to sell some of its intellectual property to patent-holding company Mosaid at the Federal Trade Commission in December.”
Here is an earlier report about it:
Apple vs. Samsung initially ended with a billion-dollar verdict in favor of Apple, but there have been plenty of wrinkles since. This week brought about another, as Nokia filed an amicus brief on behalf of Apple, Inc. in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In the brief filed Monday, Nokia asked the court to permit permanent injunctions on the sale of Samsung phones that were found to infringe Apple’s patents.
Post-trial proceedings haven’t been as kind to Apple after the company was awarded $1.05 billion in damages in August. US District Judge Lucy Koh nearly halved those damages in a ruling on Friday, and in December she denied Apple a permanent injunction against Samsung which would have barred the sale of Samsung phones found to be infringing.
We have long argued that Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft are very much aligned against Android. They engage in patent-stacking. According to this new report, Microsoft seems to have pretty much taken over the whole of Nokia already:
Nokia announced that it expects to receive more in support payments from Microsoft this year than it pays the software company for licensing its Windows Phone operating system. Nokia provided more details on the terms of the long-term cooperation in its SEC filing on 2012 results. The Finnish company said the support payments, which amounted to USD 250 million per quarter last year, will “slightly exceed” the minimum software royalties it pays Microsoft in 2013.
The matter of fact is, Microsoft pretty much abducted Nokia without ever paying for a takeover. And there has been massive regulatory failure to spot and counter that. What we have now is a patent cartel determined to destroy Android. Everyone should be concerned about it because everyone loses from it, except perhaps managers of the cartel. █
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Summary: Samsung’s phones alone outpace iPhone sales (at 1:2 ratio) and Android tablets approach majority market share
Apple must be nervous. Its fake apology (court-mandated retraction, for lying about Android) is rather telling. I convinced several friends and also my wife to buy Android and avoid Apple simply because Android is better; it’s no longer just a matter of price. The bad PR Apple has been getting for its frivolous lawsuits is not helping either. Here is a new example of bad PR:
Apple was recently slapped with a court order in UK, after losing an appeal, to apologize on its UK website that Samsung did not copy it’s iPad design. Apple has complied with the judgment and posted a link at the bottom of their UK website which takes a user to the Samsung / Apple UK judgment page.
But all the news sites we come across slam Apple with headlines like “Apple Publishes Non-Apology To Samsung On Its Website To Comply With U.K. Court Ruling” or this article:
So Apple posted an ‘apology’ on its website today, and as you can probably guess, it’s not much of an apology at all.
“9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001,” Apple’s half-arsed apology reads, although there’s no mention of the word “sorry”, or even the word “regrets”, anywhere to be seen.
The cheeky apology goes on to point out that Samsung didn’t copy the Ipad because it isn’t “cool” and uses a quote from the UK judge that says Samsung’s tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design”.
By not apologising Apple has only gotten yet more negative publicity. Pamela Jones, who used to defend Apple, calls it “bratty”:
Apple has posted on its website, as ordered by the UK court, and upheld on appeal, a rather ungracious notice that Samsung did not copy Apple according to the UK court (but Apple adds it still thinks it does and other courts agree with it). I would like to show it to you, so you can see the kind of legal advice Apple is following, because what the UK court held was that nobody would imagine that a Samsung phone is an iPhone.
Apple did not provide you with a link to the order telling Apple to publish a notice on its websites either, so here it is. Ask yourself as you read it and then read Apple’s notice if it followed the order’s spirit or even its letter, except in the most strained way.
It is rather amusing to see this. It helps validate stereotypes about Apple. Since Microsoft destroyed Nokia — a tragic story in its own right — and took it down to obscurity we find that Android is marching strong and Apple sales disappoint. Android is growing at Apple’s expense in tablets, not just smartphones, with high profits and an impressive sales rate. Dominic Kennedy writes:
Samsung has maintained its leadership position in the worldwide smartphone market, posting another record quarter for itself and the industry, and more than double the total volume of Apple. It’s the first time since 4Q09 that a single company has held more than 31% market share in a single quarter.
Gartner, typically an Android- and Linux-hostile firm, admits that Android will also beat Windows, but it says it can take four years. This is nonsense. Android is activated about half a billion times per year (and growing). It can outpace Windows by the end of next year in terms of installbase. In terms of sales, it might already be the number one OS.
Jim Zemlin recently noted Android’s amazing growth. It brought Linux to many fingertips, but let us go further and aspire or push for freedom at the applications and hardware level, not just the OS. Peripheral networks, e.g. carriers, spectrum, are another key area for activism. Techrights intends to take it up a notch when it turns six, hopefully with more coverage just like in the old days. Celebrations are premature in a world full of moles, corrupt politicians, and a patent system turned into government-imposed protectionism (e.g. against South Korean firms). █
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Summary: More evidence of a malicious trend at patent trolls like Acacia (hiring Microsoft veterans), not to mention patent trolls that are entirely created by Microsoft veterans
The abusive monopolist from Redmond patents yet more nonsense as the fight against Linux and Android intensifies. Microsoft sues the Google-owned part of Motorola, as we noted the other day.
It is a Google lawsuit and some news sites point this out as they ought to:
Microsoft Corp said on Friday it plans to add Google Inc as a defendant in Germany in one of its patent actions against Google’s phone maker, Motorola Mobility, marking the first time the two tech giants have come into direct legal conflict over Google’s Android mobile software.
Microsoft contends that Google’s Android infringes its software patents but so far has pursued handset makers rather than Google itself for payment of royalties.
This is not the first such lawsuit against Google if one counts patent proxies. Let us also remember Nokia and MOSAID, not to mention Acacia which takes yet more Microsoft staff now: “Acacia Research Corporation, one of the most litigious and notorious patent trolls wasting valuable space on this planet, today announced that it has rounded out its management team with the appointment of Paul Bawel as Vice President.
“The move is notable, because Bawel has over 13 years of patent licensing experience, having previously worked as Sector IP Law Director at Motorola. Most recently, he was a Senior Attorney for Microsoft, where he was responsible for managing patent and IP issues for the Windows Phone division.”
Perfect position from which to sue Google?
Recall other notorious patent trolls and some of the latest from the world’s biggest patent troll, created with heavy Microsoft involvement. Here are some new details: “In an initial assessment of the patent, which was applied for in 2008, Michael Weinberg from the Public Knowledge digital rights organisation told Technology Review that Intellectual Ventures, led by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, is attempting to secure the ownership of a Digital Rights Management (DRM) system for 3D printing. The patent is “very broad” and also includes printing on “skin, textiles, edible substances, paper and silicon”, said Weinberg.”
This troll, along with Paul Allen’s, has already targeted Android. It is not just Microsoft suing Android; it uses proxies too.
Judge Posner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] has just publishes an article titled “Patent Trolls Be Gone”. In it, Posner suggests a fix for this type of scenario and this new interview helps show others from the legal system who got fed up with it all:
Having formerly practiced as a patent attorney and advocated before the US Patent and Trademark Office with Darby and Darby, Cheryl Milone has become quite an expert on all things “patent”. She now sits affront of her 5 year old startup company: Article One Partners. Article One Partners is the world’s largest patent validation community. What makes Article One Partners so unique is that the company adds a crucial level of review to the US patent system – strengthening legitimate patents and reducing unjust patent monopolies (surely she doesn’t mean us Patent Trolls right?). Upon further discovery of Article One’s success, we we’re fortunate to have an opportunity to discuss Article One Partners, Patents, Patent Trolls, the Patent System with none other than the patent expert herself – Cheryl Milone.
We ought to note that this new site,
patenttrolls.org, is worth subscribing to. The site has been supporting/endorsing our work. The goals overlap to a degree. █
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Image contributed by Beranger
Summary: Microsoft is promoting Mono (.NET) inside GNOME, taking over a part of GNOME development
HEAD over to Phoronix to see what we warned about all along. Microsoft uses Mono to infilitrate GNU/Linux and interfere with the competition that it is contantly attacking with patents and other means. This is nauseating, but for those who followed Miguel de Icaza in recent years this oughn’t be shocking. █
“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”
–Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist
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Summary: Another quick look at the patent play against Android/Linux and who is behind it
Regarding a story that was mentioned here before (because Microsoft lobbyists were trying to spin it ) Muktware states that it should really be blamed on Apple’s own aggression, not on Google or Android:
Apple has created a hostile environment in the mobile world by dragging almost every Android player to the court. We are noticing that Apple has started to lose legal battles in the courts, which is a good sign for the growth of the industry. Apple has used every kind of patents they can, even the rectangular design of a tablet, to exhaust their competitors and monopolize the market. Now, the tables have turned, Motorola, the inventor of cell phones has sued Apple, seeking an injunction against the iPhone4S and the iCloud.
This is a deterrent against Apple’s attacks. Nokia, having signed a deal with Apple and Microsoft, proceeds to feeding patent trolls as we covered last week:
Nokia sells more than 450 patents to patent troll
Following a long history at the forefront of the wireless industry, Nokia holds more than 30,000 patent licenses and applications. On Thursday, the Finnish vendor’s portfolio was confirmed to be slightly lighter as patent troll Sisvel International announced that it had acquired more than 450 Nokia patents.
It would not be shocking if Sisvel went after Android vendors, along with MOSAID (also fed by Microsoft/Nokia). Nokia is controlled by Microsoft and Apple signed an agreement with Nokia last year. Nokia itself, led by a mole from Microsoft, keeps imploding based on this news:
Nokia’s Windows Phones not selling
Nokia Oyj reported a 73 per cent fall in fourth-quarter earnings as sales of its new Windows Phones failed to dent the dominance of Apple Inc.’s iPhone or compensate for diving sales of its own old smartphones.
Apple itself cannot quite get its way causing an embargo against Android; there are new software patents coming from Apple, but patent proxies (perhaps Oracle too) are likely to come. Here is a new article that speaks of a new Apple patent: “This SDK would act as a sort-of “interpreter” of language between a mobile device and another gadget. It would make it possible for accessory makers to build apps for the iPhone or iPad that could communicate directly with their devices. For example, it would be like using your phone to control a desktop radio.”
A Microsoft lobbyist, Florian Müller, is working to weaken (at least in the press) the case for Android by feeding Android-hostile claims (fuelled by Apple), but fortunately enough not many journalist pay attention to him anymore (all the stories, including this latest one are consistently anti-Android). Perhaps they finally realised who was paying his wage. He is still a lobbyist for hire. █
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Summary: How news reports serve as a reminder of Microsoft’s real strategy which is abrasive and non-productive, especially in the area where it commands just 1% market share (whereas Linux has nearly a majority)
TECHRIGHTS had been expecting the patent troll MOSAID to be used against Linux long before this became very apparent [1, 2] and even an antitrust concern. Microsoft-friendly news sites keep whitewashing patent trolls by painting as “trolls” practising companies that are aggressors and not really trolls, but they are not truly fooling anyone (not even Motley Fool). The public in general is against patent trolls because these are a massive toll [1, 2, 3].
“The public in general is against patent trolls because these are a massive toll.”According to several reports (e.g. [1, 2]), Microsoft will not only use MOSAID (through Nokia) to tax Android if it can; Microsoft itself keeps patenting smartphone ideas even if Microsoft hardly sells any smartphones at all. A lot of design-related patents which apply to tablets and phones were in fact conceptualised, implemented and even sold well beforehand by others (just not patented). But the patent system, being as defective-by-design as it is (run by patent maximalists for patent maximalists) will carry on ushering such madness.
Novell’s role in what Microsoft has been doing is particularity relevant to us and we shall cover some Novell news shortly. In the news we are reminded of how Novell relates to the attack on Android:
The CPTN Holdings consortium has reared its head once again – initially formed as a patent holding company led by Microsoft, which acquired patents from Novell, CPTN’s members are now believed to include Apple, Oracle and EMC, which Google accuses of an orchestrated and hostile attack on the Android operating system waged through “bogus patents”.
Also from the news, titled “Are patents all that great in IT,” we see that the author mentioned Novell for its role: “That raises a question: Every so often a vendor will boast about how many patents it owns, and indeed patents are the reason Google acquired Motorola, and Apple, Sony and others collaborated to outbid Google for Novell patents. Those are all public knowledge, and the nature of technology is that an R&D budget can look into a patent, and at some point, improve on it.”
“A lot of deception is being spread by Microsoft folks disguised as ‘reporters’.”Another new article says: “Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft, EMC and Oracle are seeking regulatory approval to buy about 800 wireless-technology patents from Attachmate for $450 million, which the latter now owns as a result of its acquisition of Novell. Microsoft has said Google rejected an invitation to join the consortium in acquiring these patents.”
That’s what Microsoft said, but it’s shameless spin. What we saw with CPTN is the passage of monopoly power to a cartel of Android foes. Google oughtn’t have any interest in joining, as it explained at the time. Microsoft’s booster Matt Rosoff is currently trying to give Google antitrust problems using his appointment as a ‘journalist’. Rob Enderle too has been given a spot at Forbes Blogs. Watch the AstroTurf war. A lot of deception is being spread by Microsoft folks disguised as ‘reporters’. █
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