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07.20.14

Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Bend Software

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software

THE improperly-named AllSeen Alliance recently let Microsoft in, immediately discrediting itself. But it’s not just FOSS foes, proprietary software giants, patent trolls and software patent lobbyists that are among the AllSeen Alliance’s members. It’s even a company that sued Chrome using software patents. It seems like growth for the sake of quantity — not quality — is what the AllSeen Alliance is after. Since the AllSeen Alliance is tied to the Linux Foundation, this bodes poorly for Linux as a whole. Here is the AllSeen Alliance’s latest mistake: “Red Bend Software is a community member of the AllSeen Alliance and a leader in mobile software management. More than 2 billion Red Bend-enabled devices use the company’s software and services for firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updating, application management, device management, device analytics and mobile virtualization. Customers include more than 100 leading manufacturers, mobile operators, semiconductor vendors and automotive companies worldwide.”

Did the AllSeen Alliance bother to check Red Bend’s history? Maybe, but probably not. Having said that, since the AllSeen Alliance even opened the door to Microsoft, it does not seem to bother at all with quality control. Its name seems to insinuate in-house (universal) surveillance and judging by its members, that is the route it is quite likely to take.

07.07.14

Despite SCOTUS Ruling, Microsoft Still Extorts Companies and Product Buyers Using FAT Software Patents, Latest Victim is Canon

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 4:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The FAT police is at it again

Steve Ballmer FAT

Summary: Canon and Microsoft sign a patent deal which relates to patents on FAT file systems and impacts some of Canon’s products, potentially Linux products as well (Canon makes drivers for Linux but does not develop products with Android or GNU/Linux just yet)

While we are unaware of any Android- or Linux-based products from Canon, the company does deliver drivers for FOSS platforms, especially since under a decade ago (we covered this quite often at the time of a turnaround). Therefore it is regretful to learn about FAT patents, which were disgraced by entities and people including Torvalds (there is prior art and TomTom never pushed the case to the end), are used to tax Canon products or legitimise FAT patents.

Linux-centric sites hardly paid attention to it last week, but someone in IRC told us about it. Looking it up very quickly we found Microsoft’s booster Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet saying: “Today’s patent agreement isn’t the first forged by the two companies. Canon previously licensed Microsoft exFAT file system technology for an undisclosed amount.”

Sometimes companies pay for it via Microsoft partners such as Tuxera, but sometimes there are deals like this one. The OIN’s CEO told us over the telephone that Microsoft has been using FAT patents while calling them “Linux-related” or something along those line in the case of LG and maybe Samsung also (Samsung’s deal seems to have been broader than that the second time around).

Nikon's deal with Microsoft was quite different and the booster correctly pointed out: “Today’s agreement also is not part of Microsoft’s ongoing campaign to convince companies using Linux, Android and ChromeOS to license its patents. Nikon announced an Android-related patent licensing deal with Microsoft in February 2013.”

This is not entirely true because the deal practically serves to legitimise exFAT, which is a common attack vector on embedded Linux. The post from the booster (hogwash of sorts) attracts comments from Microsoft sceptics, who know a lot better what Microsoft has been up to. There are comments such as: “Do we need a repeat of FAT? If I see a product’s filesystem using exFAT I will return it.”

Another person says: “The fact the the US Supreme Court recently re-addressed software patents is a move in the positive direction, even though it was not a large move. While much damage has already been done since these huge giants like Microsoft and IBM already have an enormous software patent portfolio, at least there is hope in future software patent releases. Eventually, technology will advance forward and the current software patent portfolios will probably start to become stale, at which point I can see the general public begin to feel the advantages if we make the right decisions today moving forward. But, we must end the monopolies that this huge companies get with their enormous patent portfolios. The trend in software patents granted within the past 30 years or so is staggering, just do some searches on this subject as it is well worth the reads. My hope is that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes moving forward.”

Canon has many patents on physical and mechanical or optical things like lenses. Microsoft has mostly software patents, which may be utterly worthless in the eyes of SCOTUS, as opposed to the USPTO that granted them without scrutiny. The USPTO has just become even more zealous about patents and it approves almost every patent application, even though SCOTUS deems many of those patents too abstract to be patentable (patent lawyers don't quite agree).

Carl Erickson, the “co-founder and president of Atomic Object, a software design and development company founded in 2001,” (based on his introduction) says that “Investors in software startups need to understand that such companies are unlikely to have strong IP protection through patents. Instead, investors should look for evidence of engaged, delighted users, significant market share or the potential for rapid growth, exclusive relationships or special market channels. For a software startup and their investors, these will beat patent pending, any day.”

His whole analysis, however, sometimes (in the text) claims that patents too are needed, with phrases such as:

As I wrote in my last post, protecting your intellectual property isn’t just about patents. It’s important for companies to ensure they own the copyright on their software.

Copyright protects a particular expression, patents protect an idea. The nature of software is such that an idea can be implemented in many different ways, in many different languages, and therefore patent protection on an idea is potentially legitimate and important. So when should you worry about a software patent?

If you’re confused by software patents, you’re not alone. While our legal and business structures will eventually adapt, technology, as usual, is moving faster, and the results aren’t always good or predictable. A recent Supreme Court decision didn’t radically alter the status quo, but reinforced a trend away from some of the sillier past decisions.

Software patents should be dragged to courts and defeated there. There is a valuable precedent now. All these FAT patent deals (Microsoft has been signing them for years) may be as valuable as estate on the Mars.

07.06.14

Internet of Things Alliance Now Has a Mole, Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Squirrel

Summary: The Internet of Things Alliance has just let the mole, Microsoft, dip its finger in the competition, as it so often does in order to derail the competition

The poorly-named “AllSeen Alliance” (or Internet of Things Alliance) is about to find out that it doesn’t pay off to welcome Microsoft. Resistance and antagonism are defence mechanisms here.

OpenStack learned that Microsoft involvement is trouble, as it had ushered in a proprietary culture (secrecy, neglect, technical incompatibilities, and distrust-inducing NSA back doors). The same goes for OpenDaylight, which is another way Microsoft got its foot inside the Linux Foundation (directly, not through Nokia or Novell).

While there is propaganda from Microsoft-bribed circles (e.g. Om Malik, who received Microsoft money and apparently still receives money from Microsoft to publicly openwash them as well as whitewash Nadella) it is clear that Microsoft is not an Open Source friend but a foe. Microsoft is doing so much to harm FOSS, as we shall continue to show perhaps for years to come (if Microsoft is still around).

IDG said that “Microsoft backs open source for the Internet of Things” (widely cited article), but it’s not clear what the word “backs” should be taken as. Microsoft competes with FOSS and Linux in this area, so Microsoft probably “backs” the Internet of Things in the same way that Microsoft “backs” ODF or the NSA “backs” Germany (see related news which fall outside the scope of this one particular post).

Having proprietary software inside a supposedly open initiative, just like in OpenDaylight, is a very dumb idea. In past years we covered examples where Microsoft was revealed to have pressured groups (rival groups) to let them in. Some successfully resisted and some admittedly perished after they had caved in for Microsoft’s manipulative mind game (e.g. complaining about exclusion and intolerance).

“Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” is what one of our readers immediately called the above news. One pro-GNU/Linux pundit stated: “Microsoft, like most companies, does what it is in its own interests, and I think joining the AllSeen Alliance is truly a marriage of convenience. So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t interpret this move by Microsoft as marking some new attitude toward open source. It seems to be something that is clearly rooted in Microsoft’s self-interest rather than any shared open source vision.”

The Linux Foundation has once again let a malicious mole in. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before there are complaints from within. It always happens sooner or later.

The more moles the Linux Foundation brings in (Microsoft or its allies), the harder it will become for it to prevent entryism. Just look what happened to Nokia.

07.05.14

Publicly-funded NHS Would Enjoy Symbiotic Relationship With Free — as in Freedom — Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Public services should use Free/libre software

Medical equipment

Summary: Some of the latest attacks on FOSS and how these relate to the uprise of the affluent (seeking to privatise everything which is public and profit by domination over the state)

WE NOW KNOW and have evidence to prove that proprietary software is used for spying. The NHS should be especially moved by this as privacy in the health sector (patients’ data) is a sensitive matter. Some nations shrewdly move their health sector over to Free software, assuring security, privacy, and domestic control over function, not only data. It ought to have become abundantly clear that the NHS cannot secure patients’ data with Microsoft because both GCHQ (domestic) and NSA (foreign) use Windows back doors and can dig ‘dirt’ on people, even medical ‘dirt’ (with which to punish or marginalise people). New evidence [1-5] teaches us that even GNU/Linux users are specifically targeted (all they have to do is just casually step on a Linux-centric domain name), so this has nothing to do with national security (or even espionage) and everything to do with domination over society.

There is this report right now about Microsoft struggling to get money out of the NHS, which is incidentally adopting more and more FOSS (I know this because of my job). To quote The Register:

Microsoft is finding out that it doesn’t always pay to play nasty with large government customers: NHS procurement bosses are telling authorities and bodies to hold firm against a wave of licensing compliance threats.

As exclusively revealed by The Channel last week, Microsoft wrote to all 160 healthcare bodies across England in early June to warn them they had until the end of the month to cough up for extra licences, via the discounted PSA12 framework, or be charged private sector prices to settle their bills.

Someone new at TechDirt had the following take on it:

As is the case almost every time you let a subscription lapse, the entity on the other hand will cut you a deal just to get you back on the ledger. And like everyone else everywhere, the government — even with all its [well, not really its] money and power — is no different. Microsoft delivers bold pronouncements and dire warnings and the NHS hits the “remind me later” button and goes back to what it was doing.

For [corrupt 78278 agencies like the IRS faulty proprietary software may have worked well] (hiding evidence of misconduct), but the NHS cannot afford this. Sometimes loss of data causes loss of many lives. And speaking of the IRS, it should really tax the rich more, not run after the poor. The rich should contribute more towards services such as the NHS (the US does not have an equivalent yet).

The IRS seems to have gone totally rogue and its attack on FOSS could open the floodgate to trouble. The IRS recently signed a Microsoft deal/contract (we covered it at the time) and now it is making FOSS-hostile decisions which were not made before. This is reminiscent of the FOSS-hostile BBC (also taxpayers-funded), which was made this hostile after many executives from Microsoft UK had taken positions of power over there and Bill Gates paid the BBC numerous times.

“The public sector, and especially the NHS (for high impact on lives), must gradually move to Free/libre software.”Mr. Robert Pogson says that “IRS Attacks FLOSS” and asks: “When will the beast of bureaucracy figure out what it’s left and right hands are doing? I think this is a case where Obama should immediately sign an executive order declaring FLOSS organizations are charitable, educational, and scientific organizations contributing to the public good, rich or poor, a huge net benefit to society. Read the GPL! Is there anything not charitable about it?”

The rich are waging war on the poor, war on public healthcare (welfare of the poor), and war on citizens-funded media (sources of information for the masses), not just Free software that’s often developed by and for the less privileged (financially). While most of these are beyond the scope of this site, it is worth noting the role of FOSS and the impact on it.

The public sector, and especially the NHS (for high impact on lives), must gradually move to Free/libre software. It is imperative because of obligation to taxpayers and also autonomy/security.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. More NSA Fallout, Linux Time Warp, and the Ultimate OS

    In tonight’s news, the Linux Journal publishes more on the NSA surveillance of Linux users and the Electronic Frontier Foundation throws in their thoughts too. Wired.com has a look back at Linux including a funny video. And finally, Gary Newell asks if you want to help fund the ultimate operating system.

  2. Linux Journal is under NSA survillance as ‘extremist’ forum

    If you ever visited websites such as the Tor Project’s home page and even Linux Journal, there is a good chance that the National Security Agency (NSA) added you to its surveillance list. Well, this is according to top-secret source code for the NSA surveillance program called X-Keyscore.

  3. NSA targets Linux Journal as ‘extremist forum’: Report

    The NSA is targeting the Linux Journal as an “extremist forum” and flagging its readers as ‘extremists’, according to source code leaked to German public broadcaster, ARD.

  4. Are you an extremist?

    Since the news broke yesterday that we are an extremist publication according to the NSA, we at Linux Journal have thought a lot about what that might mean to our readers.

    I am one of our readers, and I know many of our readers personally. That said, I can certainly describe many of us as “extreme” in a variety of ways. We’re extremely passionate about our hobbies and professions, extremely excited by innovative technology, and extremely supportive of the open source software community. So maybe we are extremists.

    With these things in mind, we thought perhaps our readers might like to join us in letting our extremist flags fly by “stamping” your online profile pictures with our Linux Journal reader extremist seal of approval.

  5. Dear NSA, Privacy is a Fundamental Right, Not Reasonable Suspicion

    Learning about Linux is not a crime—but don’t tell the NSA that. A story published in German on Tagesschau, and followed up by an article in English on DasErste.de today, has revealed that the NSA is scrutinizing people who visit websites such as the Tor Project’s home page and even Linux Journal. This is disturbing in a number of ways, but the bottom line is this: the procedures outlined in the articles show the NSA is adding “fingerprints”—like a scarlet letter for the information age—to activities that go hand in hand with First Amendment protected activities and freedom of expression across the globe.

06.29.14

Good Nokia (Jolla) and Bad Nokia (Microsoft); or Good Derivatives and Bad Derivatives of Android Hardware

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jolla is what Nokia should have been

Jolla phone

Summary: A reminder of what Nokia has really become (a part of Microsoft) and where people should go if they pursue what Nokia would have been without the mole (Elop)

SEVERAL months ago we wrote about Microsoft’s disturbing attempt to use Nokia’s brand and reputation to ‘steal’ Android. Microsoft will never succeed, but it can do some damage. There are still some fools out there who buy phones solely based on brand loyalty and moreover they are loyal to Nokia. They don’t know what happened to Nokia; They won’t realise that they are giving all their data to the NSA through Microsoft, the #1 PRISM partner (the NSA easily sucks in everything Microsoft has).

Much of the corporate press fails to critically assess what Microsoft is doing to Android, which it is attacking while pretending to embrace it. Here is an example of it and also a technical response that says:

I wish I could say I was impressed with the Nokia X2, but I’m not for the simple reason that it seems to be the worst of both worlds. You have Android of course, but it has been modified to try to make the phone into a hybrid that resembles Windows Phone and promotes Microsoft’s online services.

How many people would really want to buy this thing? If you want Microsoft’s services then the logical thing to do is to simply buy a Windows phone. And if you prefer Android then wouldn’t you go for an Android phone that hasn’t been tweaked to look like Windows Phone?

Sorry, I just don’t see who the market is for this kind of device. I doubt very many Android users are going to bother with it, and I can’t see it having enough appeal for Windows Phone users either. It seems to be a franken-phone with one foot in both camps and I doubt it’ll do much in the way of sales.

Looking at this from a purely technical point of view misses the point. We have already explains what Microsoft is hoping to accomplish here [1, 2, 3]. It’s pretty serious.

Many people are rightly concerned that Android (Google’s and others’) is not privacy-respecting either. For that reason we are still advocating the phoned from Nokia’s Linux proponents, who left the company and started Jolla, basing the work on MeeGo. The latest report [1] says that “Jolla has announced the availability of an Android launcher based on Sailfish operating system for Android devices.”

This is good news. My wife and I are excited about it because buying a Jolla phone has been her plan for a long time, provided it’s sold in the UK and is privacy-enhancing. Last week there were some teasers about this [2-7] and it seems like many Android devices (including ours) will be easily convertible to Sailfish OS devices. Replicant is another interesting option, but device compatibility is still too limited for it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Jolla unveils Sailfish Launcher for Android

    Jolla has announced the availability of an Android launcher based on Sailfish operating system for Android devices. The product will be officially called the “Jolla Launcher,” and the company’s invitation based Alpha phase testing will begin next week.

  2. Jolla Launcher Looking For Beta Testers Before Hitting Google Play Store
  3. Nexus 4 gets Saapunki update for its Jolla Sailfish OS port
  4. Jolla Delivers ‘Saapunki’ Update For Nexus 4; Bugs Included
  5. Android Apps Free Download: Try Out Jolla Launcher When It Gets Released In The Play Store Next Week
  6. Jolla Launcher for Android starts alpha tests next week
  7. Jolla Launcher alpha testing program launching, promises Sailfish OS experience on Android

06.24.14

For Gamers, Not Only ‘Xbox’ Franchise is Dying But Also Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drop

Summary: “Games for Windows Live” may be dead; Steam Machines run GNU/Linux and Microsoft’s attempt to make hardware still fail very badly, and it extends beyond Xbox

THE other day I was approached by someone who had abandoned Windows for games. With Steam OS (and Steam for various other GNU/Linux distributions), one does not need Windows. Historically, many gamers said they kept Windows around just for games, but now the situation is being reversed. There are Windows users who turn to GNU/Linux just for the games. It’s a real problem for Windows and rumours say that Microsoft is officially shutting down “Games for Windows Live”. The ‘damage control’ from Microsoft, or the issuance of face-saving PR, really speaks volumes. “Reports of GFWL’s death have been greatly exaggerated,” says the subheader, but we already know, based on previous dead Microsoft products (many of them games-related), that this is just an attempt to play a linguistic game (semantics) to deny the inevitable. According to this other new review of Microsoft hardware (which has historically been a disaster like Xbox 360), “Microsoft’s latest tablet, the Surface Pro 3 [...] one of the hardest of its kind to repair, giving it a laughably low score of just one out of 10.”

The only thing that keeps Microsoft paid for the time being (and some people locked in) is Microsoft Office, owing to Microsoft crimes that the next post will recall.

06.21.14

China Attacks Microsoft’s Patent Plot Against GNU/Linux and Russia Seems to be Following China’s Foray Into GNU/Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 11:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Amid tightening relationships and collaborations between China and Russia, two common targets of espionage attacks by the West, more moves are seen which rid themselves of Microsoft

WE HAVE been patiently watching and accumulating reports about China’s hostile treatment of Microsoft, including — quite notably — the ban on Windows, which is a serious security risk that should be avoided not only for security reasons (back doors and much more). China is boldly moving to domestically-developed operating systems, based on GNU and Linux (so that China can properly study the source code). Over the past few days there were many articles about China’s attempt to de-fang Microsoft’s blackmail monster, essentially by making a ‘namedrop’ of all the patents involved. This will prove exceptionally helpful to the FOSS community, for reasons we shall explain later.

In our daily links (posted just an hour ago) we included an important link from Phoronix. It indicates that Russia is now dodging x86, probably ensuring that no system will be able to run Microsoft Windows or even proprietary programs for Microsoft Windows. This is potentially huge and perhaps there will be a lot of media coverage on Monday.

Both China and Russia have solid, defensible reasons for abandoning Microsoft Windows. This operating system has been used for political and economic espionage that requires illegal (hence secret, even at the court level) surveillance. Microsoft is the NSA’s software-centric best friend (in telecommunications the NSA has many more good friends) and in another post (tomorrow) we shall say more about it.

So, what exactly has China just done?

Years ago we wrote about what Microsoft had done in China. It’s a sort of political corruption, boosted in part by Bill Gates’ lobbying.

Well, China seems to have had enough of that nonsense and it won’t tolerate Microsoft’s blackmail, either. As The Mukt put it, the “Chinese government exposes Microsoft’s secret patents used against Android” as “Microsoft is one such company which has been trying to abuse the flawed US patent system to extort money from those companies with use GNU/Linux based systems including Android and Chrome OS.”

Here is a report from an Android-hostile site which uses the term “Android patents” (similar to FOSSPatents, which is an absurd FUD term) rather than “patents used against Android” (as put in other sites).

We wish to remind readers that Huawei, now known as a target of the NSA (the NSA attacked Huawei’s network and infiltrated it), was reportedly (since 2012 or thereabouts) pursued by Microsoft for an Android patent extortion deal — one that Microsoft never got. Given the close relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government (in the West too the government is closely tied with telecommunications companies) one has to wonder if Huawei was the source of this new disclosure. Unlike ZTE, Huawei never surrendered to Microsoft’s extortion and blackmail (most likely violations of the RICO Act in the United States). With evidence out there, might there finally be federal action against Microsoft? It might help China’s Huawei and the other giant, ZTE, so it’s easy to see China’s interests here. But it’s not just about China. Many companies in east Asia, west Europe, and even the United States are also victims of Microsoft’s bullying. Many articles correctly pointed out the similarity here to the Barnes and Noble saga, where Microsoft ended up bribing Barnes and Noble to drop the case and almost drop Android/Linux, as well [1, 2, 3, 4].

Days ago we wrote about Microsoft squeezing their own users for money (especially businesses) and now Microsoft is trying to squeeze also those who leave Microsoft (to GNU/Linux). In reference to Microsoft-friendly circles covering the latest incident, one person quoted this bit: “Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties” (because FOSS too is property of Microsoft, apparently).

Now that China fights/ousts world’s largest patent troll (which also spawned Intellectual Ventures) Dr. Glyn Moody writes this insightful piece:

Well, they prove that the Microsoft method of bullying and insinuation works. But despite that, they didn’t prove that Android infringed on Microsoft’s patents because – as usual – the latter refused to reveal what exactly they were. That’s because their power really lay in their vagueness. While companies were unsure which patents Microsoft was talking about, it was more or less impossible for them to check whether they were affected. That meant they would probably be open to an easy deal with Microsoft – better to pay up than have a patent sword of Damocles hanging over you.

And that, until recently, was pretty much the state of play. Many Android manufacturers decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and signed licensing agreements with Microsoft – all secret, and therefore all maintaining the vagueness and the power to threaten. But something dramatic has just happened: in order for Microsoft to gain approval from the Chinese Ministry of Communications (MOFCOM) for the company’s purchase of Nokia, Microsoft was obliged to provide lists of the patents it claims are infringed upon by Android. That’s presumably because so many smartphones made in China use Android or a variant of it, that the authorities there were concerned Microsoft might be able to threaten its local companies.

Here is some more coverage that says:

A Chinese government website has published lists of the patents that Microsoft claims are necessary to the functioning of Android smartphones, the first time such lists have been made public.

The patents were analysed by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) as part of its review of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, which China approved in April.

Pogson correctly points out: “Thanks to inquiries in China, a list is now public. This will permit M$’s competitors to organize a cooperative response rather than suffering under “divide and conquer” conditions.”

China is moving away from Windows rather than pay Microsoft to be spied on by espionage champions like the NSA. Will Hill says: “I’m not sure if Ars is recycling really old fud against gnu/linux or if people in China are going to cut all the FAT out of Android to avoid Microsoft bullshit.”

What Barnes and Noble tried to do before selling out might actually resume with China’s strong lead. This may include resistance to Nokia (e.g. opposition to takeover), which Microsoft plans to use as a patent proxy and a source of patent-stacking (through trolls like MOSAID).

Special credit must go to Joe Mullin. The earliest report we found about this latest development came from him and stated: “For more than three years now, Microsoft has held to the line that it has loads of patents that are infringed by Google’s Android operating system. “Licensing is the solution,” wrote the company’s head IP honcho in 2011, explaining Microsoft’s decision to sue Barnes & Noble’s Android-powered Nook reader.

“Microsoft has revealed a few of those patents since as it has unleashed litigation against Android device makers. But for the most part, they’ve remained secret. That’s led to a kind of parlor game where industry observers have speculated about what patents Microsoft might be holding over Android.

“That long guessing game is now over. A list of hundreds of patents that Microsoft believes entitle it to royalties over Android phones, and perhaps smartphones in general, has been published on a Chinese language website.

“The patents Microsoft plans to wield against Android describe a range of technologies. They include lots of technologies developed at Microsoft, as well as patents that Microsoft acquired by participating in the Rockstar Consortium, which spent $4.5 billion on patents that were auctioned off after the Nortel bankruptcy.

“The list of patents was apparently produced as part of a Chinese government antitrust review relating to Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia. Microsoft described the results of that review in an April 8 blog post, writing that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) “concluded after its investigation that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone.”

FOSS guru Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols correctly points out that “[n]ow that the Chinese government has revealed the patents within Microsoft’s Android patent portfolio, Microsoft may soon be facing challenges from vendors over its Android patent licensing agreements.”

China may have derailed Microsoft’s extortion by removing the NDA barrier (the same trick Microsoft used when dividing OEMs to conquer the industry). Android will definitely benefit from it and so will derivatives of Android, including China’s. Vaughan-Nichols has an explanation worth reading.

We should probably stress that not all derivatives of Android are safe to use. Nokia turns Android into a Microsoft surveillance platform and the CIA’s top partner, Amazon, has reportedly taken surveillance in Fire (Android-based but altered) to new and rather scary levels [1,2]. We don’t know yet if China will do the same, but reports from years ago said that China had put back doors in its own official distribution of GNU/Linux. This was quite likely correct.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Amazon’s Fire Phone might be the biggest privacy invasion ever

    Amazon is a fascinating company, and the Amazon Fire Phone is a fascinating machine for connecting you with stuff to buy. It’s probably also the biggest single invasion of your privacy for commercial purposes ever.

    And no one seems to have noticed.

  2. Is the Amazon Fire Phone the NSA’s wet dream?

06.18.14

Microsoft Scares Away Customers With Misguided, Short-term Strategy of Extortion

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Harvesting by force

Ice

Summary: Microsoft is trying to bribe the defectors and squeeze the existing clients in order to stay relevant in today’s Linux-dominated world

Microsoft is trying to impose its will on companies. Sometimes Microsoft extorts, blackmails, or bribes companies. Having taken control of some of Dell, the company’s gaming division (in a sense), despite its promises to GNU/Linux [1], leans towards Windows again. This is the type of attack we saw in the case of Nokia. This is not sustainable because it requires either buying the partners (sometimes potential competitors) or bribing them. It is a desperate attempt to remain relevant using big spendings; as we saw in the case of Nokia, this is bound to fail. One cannot just buy one’s way out of trouble when the products are fundamentally flawed.

According to Carlo Piana, the man who fought Microsoft in Europe while Microsoft bribed Novell to drop out of his antitrust case, there is another short-term and shortsighted strategy from Microsoft. “Microsoft is becoming annoying with its audits to clients,” he writes, “insisting on charging six-figures clients for menial inconsistencies. From what I hear, they are carpet-bombing with audits, which is not a brilliant marketing move, methinks.”

Citing Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA Will Hill asks himself:

Why might they be doing that? Thanks to Snowden, people are dumping NSA spyware like Windows, so revenue must be down. Microsoft is acting like their OS is going out of style because it is.

Well, this sure is a way to alienate customers, maybe even partners like Alienware. Windows PCs are no longer selling. Android and other Linux-based platform are the present and future. Some newer reports (cited in our daily links) already insinuate that Alienware is turning back again to GNU/Linux. We may revisit this at a later stage when Alienware makes it official.

Later this week we are going to publish an extensive post about China’s action against Microsoft’s patent extortion.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why is Alienware launching a Steam Machine with Windows instead of SteamOS?

    While I can understand the financial difficulties inherent in waiting for a final release of SteamOS, I’m not sure that this is such a great idea on Alienware’s part. Is there really a market for this kind of device based on Windows? It seems to me that SteamOS was the big attraction for users who might buy a Steam Machine. I can’t really see the appeal of a Windows-based Steam Machine.

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