“I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses [...] They don’t act like grown-ups!”
–Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson
Summary: The abusive behaviour of Microsoft continues unabated long after Judge Jackson warned about the sociopathic management and its dangers
ICROSOFT is best known to many as the champion of antitrust abuses. The judge who knows this best has just died (see biography or some corporate press coverage [1, 2, 3]). He left behind him is a lot of paper trail showing how Bill Gates and his goons repeatedly broke the law while trying to marginalise, demonise and incite judges like himself. To quote the book authored by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR leader, Microsoft said “Judge Penfield Jackson’s decision to appoint a “special master” was not appropriate and that the company would challenge it. On December 23 Microsoft did just that and filed a motion to remove Lawrence Lessig from the case. [...] In trying to get rid of Lessig, Microsoft argued the law, but they also argued bias.”
“He left behind him is a lot of paper trail showing how Bill Gates and his goons repeatedly broke the law while trying to marginalise, demonise and incite judges like himself.”See our symbolic list of personal retributions by Microsoft, which at times behaves like a dangerous cult. Microsoft’s antitrust abuses are far from over. Someone from Finland tells us about “The last of that OSS OS” which Microsoft destroyed using its mole in Nokia. In Europe, specifically in Germany, the Microsoft-run Nokia has been suing Android using patents. There is a motion for outright ban of such patents, led by Jimmy Schulz and Matthias Kirschner, the FSFE’s coordinator for Germany. Mr. Pogson and many others write about it because the key to many of Microsoft’s latest competition abuses is software patents.
The Microsoft-Apple duopoly [1, 2] is getting closely tied (search engines too) now that the mission is to destroy Google/Android. Microsoft needs a proxy to make antitrust claims against Google, for it would seem hypocritical otherwise.
Nokia to Microsoft’s rescue! Here is the article “EU to probe Google’s below cost licensing of Android: Courtesy Microsoft Nokia,” stating:
Microsoft, the company which created abusive monopoly in the PC desktop space and did not leave any room for a single player to breath and survive for almost three decades is now crying wolf when competitors are doing better.
Microsoft and it’s pizza delivery boy Nokia filed complaints with the EU, via is proxy body FairSearch, against Google’s free and open source Android OS. According to reports EU is going ahead with the probe.
FairSearch is no ‘independent body. Nicolas Petit, a professor of competition law at the University of Liege in Belgium was quoted by Computer World stating, “FairSearch.org is seen by many observers here as a Microsoft Trojan Horse Everyone understands here in Brussels that it’s Microsoft versus Google.”
As put by Pamela Jones: “This is beyond silly. Microsoft and Nokia a sore losers, and they should put more effort into their products instead of attacking Google via regulators. It’s unseemly. Of course the wrongly named “Fair Search” is involved. It’s here if you want. I hate to give them clicks: http://www.fairsearch.org/mobile/fairsearch-announces-complaint-in-eu-on-googles-anti-competitive-mobile-strategy/ but here’s the thing: every time these guys complain to the EU regulators, they have to look into it, even if it is absurd on its face. It’s how it works, and the article is clear it’s still an “informal” investigation, meaning nothing has happened except Microsoft and its little sidekick Nokia are complaining again.”
Many articles about this subject cite this original report and a FOSS-oriented site says this:
The Financial Times reports that it has access to documents indicating that the EU Commission is investigating the licensing practices for the Android mobile operating system. According to the documents, Google is offering Android below the usual market prices. The report also says that the company has been signing exclusive contracts with smartphone manufacturers related to the factory installation of Google’s mobile services. Reportedly, competitors have accused Google of exploiting its dominant market position to achieve this.
Over at CNET, the battle is said to be fought by “a group of companies that includes Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle” (Apple friend and CPTN member). Jones writes: “Do you remember Daniel Wallace, who sued the Free Software Foundation, as well as Novell and Red Hat over the GPL, claiming it was an antitrust violation to offer it for free, because then other software couldn’t fairly compete? The judge specifically ruled that the GPL encouraged competition and innovation and was advantageous for consumers in that prices to go down instead of up, writing: “[T]he GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers. These benefits include lower prices, better access and more innovation.
“And what, pray tell, would the remedy be, if Microsoft and its sidekick Nokia were to prevail? Force Google to charge for Android? Ban it from the market? I mean, what? This accusation, aside from being untrue, reveals that what Microsoft really wants is one of the following: 1) that Android cost more, either through patent royalties paid for Microsoft’s aged and unnecessary, maybe invalid, patents; or 2) Android’s total destruction. That’s not competition in any normal sense.”
Here is how Pogson puts it:
The idea that an owner of copyright cannot give away it’s product is plainly silly. Copyright law says the owner can make copies any way they want, charging money or not.
This just shows that Microsoft continues to abuse and misuse the system while at the same time, as Tim put it, Microsoft wants to be seen as a victim that plays “nice”. The headline says “The writing is on the wall? Microsoft wants to play nicely now?”
The picture is not too great for Microsoft and its future. I’ve said recently that I believe the reason Microsoft plugs away with its phone efforts is so that it can’t be accused of patent trolling when it rakes in the profit from it’s Android licenses and as some people will probably agree, if Microsoft does have a long term future, it will be in the area’s of patents.
The worrying thing about this is (and the Microsoft Advocates are keen to point this out) is that Microsoft is not going anywhere – this is very true. It has a massive warchest of cash, a library of patents and in my view a opinion of “do it our way or not at all”. I think on the way down, Microsoft will bring many others down with it.
Microsoft play nicely with others? In my opinion, there’s more chance of Steve Ballmer spontaneously growing a full head of hair than Microsoft playing nicely with anyone.
Racketeering with patent threats and misuse of regulatory agencies through proxies is not playing “nice”, it’s acting criminal.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said “Microsoft expends a significant portion of its monopoly power [...] on imposing burdensome restrictions on its customers and inducing them to behave in ways that augment and prolong that monopoly power.” He also said that it “is Microsoft’s corporate practice to pressure other firms to halt software development that either shows the potential to weaken the applications barrier to entry or competes directly with Microsoft’s most cherished software products.” This is still true. On another occasion he said that “[t]he period since 1996 has witnessed a large increase in the usage of Microsoft’s browsing technologies and a concomitant decline in Navigator’s share. … The relative shares would not have changed nearly as much as they did, however, had Microsoft not devoted its monopoly profits to precisely that end.”
To summarise in the words of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, “Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft’s core products. [...] The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft’s self-interest.” █
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Angry at FOSS
Summary: Microsoft publicly steps forward as part of Apple’s war on Linux/Android, making the anti-FOSS alliance more visible than before
The FRAND debate has been inadvertently dealing with whether software patents have backdoor-like legitimacy around the whole world. FRAND opposer Judge Posner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] did the right thing, seeing perhaps how the Microsoft-Apple patents alliance uses FRAND against Google/Android. Now we see those two companies in cahoots more clearly than before: “Microsoft’s Amicus Brief in Support of Apple in Appeal of Posner Ruling – A Change in Tune on Injunctions”
Microsoft has now filed an amicus brief in support of Apple in the appeal of Judge Richard Posner’s ruling in which the judge tossed out both Apple and Motorola’s claims with prejudice, saying neither had proven damages and saying injunctive relief when there was no demonstrable harm would be against the public interest. Interestingly, Microsoft here argues in its brief that the judge didn’t rule out injunctive relief for FRAND patents.
Nice to see those duopolists so openly showing their collusion against a competitor. They are ousting their conspiracy (e.g. CPTN) to destroy Android. Will President Obama pay attention or will he only try to tackle small players? █
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Ballmer to Myanmar: what’s in your wallet?
Summary: Microsoft is seeding a culture of begging — begging for middle- and low-classed people to pay Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates in exchange for rights-violating binaries
THIS news about Microsoft greed is nothing illegal like EDGI, but it sure shows how desperate Microsoft is becoming. The Microsoft boosting site (a tabloid called ZDNet) is quoting Microsoft talking points and “[k]icking a country when it’s already down,” to quote iophk, who brought this despicable PR to our attention. What it’s all about is trying to derive revenue from some of the world’s poorest people while of course elbowing Free/libre software.
“…it looks like Microsoft is scared of chromebooks showing up at the universities and dorms in September.”
–iophkBut wait, there’s more from the Microsoft boosters. Microsoft-funded folks from GeekWire (previous employers had received money from Microsoft) kept doing their Microsoft advocacy, noting that in order to stop Chromebooks/Linux in education Microsoft is trying a new strategy similar but not identical to the infamous laptop bribes (expensive gifts in exchange for positive reviews). Here is how Slashdot put it: “Q. What do Chris Brown and Steve Ballmer have in common? A. They both want you to Beg for It. GeekWire reports that Microsoft is touting its new Chip In program, a crowdfunding platform that allows students to ‘beg’ for select Windows 8 PCs and tablets that they can’t afford on their own. Blair Hanley Frank explains, ‘Students go to the Chip In website and choose one of the 20 computers and tablets that have been pre-selected by Microsoft. Microsoft chips in 10% of the price right off the bat, and then students are given a link to a “giving page” to send out to anyone they think might give them money. Once their computer is fully funded, Microsoft ships it to them.’ Hey, what could go wrong?”
iophk adds: “About the Slashdot link, it looks like Microsoft is scared of chromebooks showing up at the universities and dorms in September. I haven’t looked but figure the ‘approved’ models might be quite locked down. However, there is a risk for the students not only do they look bad spamming their contact list if things go wrong they could end up with a Vista8 laptop.”
Changing the subject a bit, it could be even worse. Maybe they could end up with a Microsoft-taxed Dell laptop running Ubuntu (legitimising Microsoft’s patent tax on GNU/Linux). Not too long ago Ubuntu’s community leader/manager was given a gift by Microsoft (which had tried to hire him), buying itself some valuable PR. He has a long history of visits to Microsoft, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. After apparent entryism Ubuntu is no longer competing with Microsoft on the desktop, Its new bug #1 is Android having majority market share.
If this is the appalling company that Ubuntu/Canonical is liaising with, then it oughtn’t get away with excusing itself based on claims that Microsoft has changed. Microsoft and Canonical are partners now. █
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Legal loopholes exploited
Summary: Lawsuits by proxy still a preferable strategy at Microsoft, the company which made racketeering a key business model
According to this article from Groklaw, “Microsoft Assigns Six Patents to Patent Troll Vringo — Is This an Antitrust Issue?”
Yes, well, it is not the first time, either. The article says: “A couple of things about this Vringo affair. First, Mark Cuban — who set up the chair at EFF to fight against stupid patents — also bought a 7% interest in Vringo, back when they were dreaming their Big Dreams. Blech. Gambling on litigation. That’s what patents are being used for, and that’s only part of what’s wrong with the US patent system.”
“The American Antitrust Institute is getting involved now, but it should be noted that the above is not unprecedented.”The American Antitrust Institute is getting involved now, but it should be noted that the above is not unprecedented. Nokia gave Vringo some patents before. We wrote about a Nokia boycott exactly when Vringo got fed by Nokia. When another troll, MOSAID, got fed by Nokia, we know for a fact Microsoft was directly involved. It did not even hide it, so this would not be the first time when Microsoft uses one proxy (Nokia) to feed another proxy (patent troll) to harass Google. It would be valuable to have the “smoking gun” showing why Mr. Elop (Microsoft’s mole in Nokia) gave patents to Vringo.
“It would be valuable to have the “smoking gun” showing why Elop (Microsoft’s mole in Nokia) gave patents to Vringo.”Microsoft paid Vringo an additional one million dollars. As Million put it: “The settlement also provides for Microsoft to transfer six patents to I/P engine, the patent-holding subsidiary of Vringo. “The assigned patents relate to telecommunications, data management, and other technology areas,” stated Vringo in its filing.
“Microsoft confirmed that Vringo’s description of the settlement was accurate, but declined further comment when asked about the case by Reuters.”
Here is more coverage for future record [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], inclusive of the Reuters article.
“These are very real conspiracies of common interests. What’s not in their interests? Android.”Microsoft uses some other proxies to harm Google, e.g. this long-going patent troll called MPEG-LA, which based on this analysis is compromising free multimedia codecs. As VAR Guy put it: “From headline-grabbing threats by Microsoft (MSFT) to more subdued court battles involving the cloud, the open-source ecosystem has a pretty good record of winning patent challenges. But a crushing defeat has now tarnished that record with Google’s (GOOG) grudging surrender in a campaign to make the open-source VP8 video codec ubiquitous across the Web. Free-software stalwarts need not panic, though: In this case, they can blame Google, not a systemic failure by the open-source world itself.”
No, to blame here are companies like Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft, which are behind MPEG-LA. We wrote about it in [1, 2, 3]. These are not unsubstantiated rumours or theories. These are very real conspiracies of common interests. What’s not in their interests? Android. █
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Summary: Setbacks for branding giant Apple and its affiliates, having just failed — yet again — to knock the Linux-powered market leader (Android) off course
“Apple”-branded products are not as perfect as Apple fans prefer to believe. As this new settlement shows, Apple too acknowledges this. To quote: “Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has filed a $53 million preliminary class settlement agreement in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, potentially allowing $200 refunds to iPhone and iPod Touch customers who claim they should be covered under warranties but were not because of liquid indicators in their devices.
“The copyright case against Android is without merit.”“A group of four class representatives were upset over Apple’s liquid damage policy prior to Dec. 31, 2009, in which the company would deny coverage under the standard warranty and purchased AppleCare Protection Plan for an iPhone whose headphone jack or dock connector was pink or red, indicating water contact, and for an iPod Touch with the same description before June 30, 2010.”
Apple has been very desperately trying to stop competing products, not by making better products but by litigation aiming at embargo. Seemingly, based on our interpretation and gradually-gathered evidence [1, 2, 3, 4], Oracle’s action against Android ties in with CPTN and the strong bond between Apple’s leader and Oracle’s leader. The copyright case against Android is without merit. It’s like SCO, thus it’s aptly named SCOracle sometimes. Just ask the many innovators and entrepreneurs who attest to it. Oracle is even antagonised by the CCIA, which we wrote about many times before. Even lawyers, or Law Professors, are against Oracle here. As Groklaw put it: “Bit by bit, the amicus briefs on behalf of Google in the Oracle v. Google appeal about the uncopyrightability of Java APIs are becoming available. They are all interesting in different ways, but they all agree — Oracle is wrong on the law and if it prevails, it will be a sad day for innovation. Copyright protection doesn’t extend to procedures, processes, systems, or methods of operation, and it shouldn’t.”
“This is bad news for Apple and Microsoft, fellow CPTN members. They were counting on patent-stacking and rising cost burdens for Android.”This is bad news for Apple and Microsoft, fellow CPTN members. They were counting on patent-stacking and rising cost burdens for Android. Joe Mullin, an excellent reporter in this area, shows Apple getting nailed by its own law firm now. Funnily enough, Muillin describes one troll there as “someone who no longer had much of a business beyond lawsuits.” Actually, that sounds like Apple, which is losing everything from technical leadership to market dominance to Samsung, including this embargo attempt. To quote the news, “The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 doesn’t infringe on the design of the Apple iPad, according to reports. Although Apple does hold a European design patent, the Court has limited the applicability of the patent based on prior art. The iPad has predecessors, such as a Knight Ridder concept tablet dating back well over a decade before Apple’s product was released. The iPad may have a “unique character,” the court adds, but the Galaxy Tab is sufficiently different that an informed person can tell.”
Here is the news is Dutch. Apple is losing it fast.
It should be noted that in 2011 we asked readers to boycott Apple primarily because the company has become a direct, offensive threat to Linux, nothing less. Over time we realised that Mr. Cook, who had started some of Apple’s flirtations with patent threats (against Palm), would do nothing to reverse Steve Jobs’ legacy as a patent bully. Don’t expect Apple to change any more than Microsoft has ‘changed’ (from serial abuser to serial racketeer). █
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Summary: Apple is running out of ideas in the long fight against Android — a fight which it is now trying to wage using patent monopolies
More and more Apple ‘fans’ whom I know are turning to Android. I saw another example of it earlier this week. Conversions the other way around must be rare and I never saw any. Apple knew why it was suing HTC in 2010 and now that demand for iStuff decreases, Apple is left with nothing to show but hype and tax evasion. Slashdot put it like this: “Apple traditionally has big product announcements in the early spring, so around February both the mainstream press and the tech blogs began to circulate their favorite rumors (the iWatch, iTV). They also announced the date of the next Apple event, which this year was in March — except it didn’t happen. ‘Reliable sources’ then confirmed it would be in April, then May and then — nothing. In withdrawal and with a notoriously secretive Apple offering no relief the tech journalists started to get cranky. The end result is a rash of petulant stories that insist Apple is desperate for new products, in trouble (with $150 billion dollars in the bank, I should be in such trouble) and in decline. The only ones
desperate seem to be editors addicted to traffic-generating Apple announcements. Good news is on the horizon, though, as the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference starts June 10th.”
“This is a great example of how patents ruin the market and impede competition.”Samsung is complaining about Apple’s ITC complaint, alleging that Apple is lying in a desperate attempt to block Android phones which by far outsell iPhone. This is a great example of how patents ruin the market and impede competition.
Don’t expect lawyers’ sites to point this out though. Instead, they give a platform to career clowns like David Kappos — people who sell the idea that protectionism is a good thing. █
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Summary: VP8 is freedom-respecting even after the deal with a patent troll, according to a leading authority in this area
The SFLC, a recognised authority in the area of free (as in freedom) licences, analysed the licence (draft) of VP8 following the MPEG-LA deal, refuting what Simon Phipps had said [1, 2].
“Mr. Phipps is not hostile towards Free software. He even uses this term despite being the head of the “open source” camp.”The announcement says: “SFLC, like its client the Free Software Foundation, believes that software standing alone should not be patentable subject matter. We join skeptics of the VP8 license and the broader FOSS community in rejecting software patents in all forms, and we will continue to oppose them. But until software patents no longer threaten FOSS, we will look for every opportunity to preserve community development from their destructive effects. The VP8 cross-license provides such an opportunity, in an area of particularly active patenting. It’s not perfect, but no other modern web video format provides nearly the same degree of protection for FOSS implementations.”
Pamela Jones notes: “This is important news, because there have been several articles claiming the opposite, and it’s good to be precise and careful. It’s why I waited until the Software Freedom Law Center could tell us whether Google’s VP8 patent cross-license is or is not compatible with FOSS licensing.”
Mr. Phipps is not hostile towards Free software. He even uses this term despite being the head of the “open source” camp. A response from him might therefore be imminent, maybe a “mea culpa“. █
Update: Mr. Phipps has clarified his position by stating: “I just had a long talk with Aaron and we actually agree. I said that if it were part of a license it would render the license non-free. He agrees, but points out that it’s not part of a license and further that the clauses of GPLv3 that deal with patent license have a loophole that makes Google’s patent license technically OK.
“I still maintain that the Google license needs a great big sign over it saying “we don’t think you actually need this, it’s just to stop OEMs and pro-patent lowlife saying there’s a problem”.
Update #2: This new report from The H takes Phipps’ reaction into account. Privately, or rather publicly (available for viewing in Twitter/Identi.ca [1, 2, 3]) in a few exchanges with Phipps, I was told a couple of times that Microsoft Florian was behind some of the smears against him.
Update #3: Phipps has just published “Google’s VP8 codec license is OK after all” over at IDG.
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Summary: How Microsoft and the partly Microsoft-owned Facebook are harming everyone’s privacy far more than Google ever did
FOREIGN/GLOBAL intelligence is a big business and Facebook keeps getting more menacing as a surveillance operation, which is partly owned by Microsoft and ties into spyware such as Skype, relaying calls through the United States with its notorious data-hoarding NSA. A few days ago we explained why Microsoft’s Xbox One should get seriously berated by consumers groups, especially after this “ambiguous claim from Phil Harrison that the Xbox One would have to ‘check in’ to Microsoft’s servers every 24 hours.”
“Microsoft just needs a whipping boy, and it is desperate to stop Google one way of another (Google is crushing Microsoft’s two biggest cash cows).”Other consoles do not have such spyware, but this is hardly the main privacy concern here.
Xbox One has spying capabilities, which Microsoft patents already reveal, as they have for years. Pamela Jones called these “Three things I detest all in one noxious bundle: having my privacy invaded, method patents, and Microsoft. Here’s the patent application, and it includes this creepy sentence: “The computing system 102 may be configured to track the viewing behaviors of one or more viewers. The computing system 102 may then compile one or more user-specific reports of the viewing behaviors, and send the user-specific reports to a remote device to determine whether the user-viewing goal has been met. If the viewing goal has been met, an award may be granted to the viewer.” And Microsoft complains to regulatory bodies about Google privacy issues? This is 1984 on steroids. A device in your house that watches you watching it and judges your conduct.”
Here is some more news of interest about Facebook and Microsoft:
It is stuff like that which helps remind us Google is not worst when it comes to privacy. Fog Computing is privacy-infringing. Google is big in Fog Computing. But it doesn’t mean that Google alone is privacy-infringing. The company behind anti-Google complaints (with help from Facebook) is far ahead of Google when it comes to spying. Even its desktop software is spying on users.
Microsoft members of staff (working as media moles, e.g. Mr. Perlow) and corrupting PR agencies have been chastising only Google for projects like Google Glass (which I can acknowledge raises privacy concerns), but they are doing after small violations of privacy, distracting from Microsoft’s own limitless surveillance. Microsoft just needs a whipping boy, and it is desperate to stop Google one way of another (Google is crushing Microsoft’s two biggest cash cows). █
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