SCOTUS says no entry!
Summary: SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-’protected’, despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software
FOR anyone who has been paying attention, Oracle‘s hostility towards Android is not hard to understand. It is a CPTN member along with Microsoft and Apple and it has shown on numerous occasions over the years that it is eager to antagonise and badmouth Free software. Oracle killed many of the projects that it bought from Sun. Google, on the other hand, is at least trying to appease the Free software community and it has made Android (AOSP) an ‘open’ platform, even if most developers contribute just proprietary software to run on it.
Many of our readers have probably heard the big news by now. SCOTUS has aligned itself with foes of software development [1, 2, 3] (not just Free software development), reaffirming the ridiculous judgement from CAFC. Now that SCOTUS reaffirms the status of APIs as copyrightable, adding to mass surveillance with NDAs and software patents in the United States, why would software companies still choose to be there?
To give Google some credit, it did fight over this matter for nearly half a decade. After pressure from the clueless White House (exactly one month ago), however, reuse of APIs may be impossible and collaborative development with forking may soon be toxic. Today is a horrible day for software development in general and it’s not too clear to us what Google can do next. Some certain types of lawyers probably know Google’s next steps or options and knowing that this ‘legal’ system favours the deeper pockets, there is usually something someone can do given the correct fees (just see how long the SCO case goes on for).
“Google will hopefully continue to fight that case, whatever its options may be.”One reader of ours was disappointed with this article that FOSS Force published today, comparing Google to Microsoft. “Revisionism,” he said, “especially that closing sentence. People hate Microsoft not for the sake of hating Microsoft but because of how it (and its people) behaves and has behaved. It has held computing back at least 20 years and the damage spreads into all domains where desktop computers are used.
“It’s just that Microsoft pays for constant whine against Google. While Google has many shortcomings, it is not a problem like Microsoft has been and continues to be.”
“But on the topic of Google,” he continued, “here’s something fairly current with yet another ****up by SCOTUS” (he linked to the above news).
Google will hopefully continue to fight that case, whatever its options may be. As for Microsoft and Apple, they surely will keep trying to harm the market. They often work together these days (mostly true when it comes to patents, OOXML, DRM, and so on) and as this article by Galen Gruman reminds us:
If you thought Microsoft was finally treating the Mac as an equal citizen, you’ll be disappointed in the reality
Remember that Microsoft and Apple are both on Oracle’s anti-Android side (even publicly, on numerous occasions). These are all proprietary software giants, aspiring to control the entire market by patents, copyrights, litigation, and intimidation. Google simply does not fall under the same category. It deserves the public’s support in this particular case. █
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Microsoft uses patent/royalty stacking strategy to abuse and game the market
Summary: Nokia is now gunning down or picking on Linux-centric (and/or Android-focused) companies, extracting patent tax from at least some of them after Microsoft left this dead company with many of its patents, scattering the rest to strategic (Microsoft-leaning) patent trolls
WE ARE truly troubled to have just found out that Nokia, which was destroyed by Microsoft’s Elop (now outside of Microsoft again), is officially extracting money from LG. LG uses only Android for its phones (WebOS for other products and this too is Linux-powered) and since Nokia is Microsoft’s proxy and LG already pays Microsoft, this is a bit like double-dipping; this is patent stacking (the official term for this practice is sometimes “royalty stacking”, as this paper from Mark Lemley explains). According to CBS, “Nokia Technologies and LG have agreed to a smartphone patent licensing agreement, the companies announced on Tuesday. Under the terms of the deal, LG will pay royalties to Nokia for use of its patents on mobile communications.”
“Microsoft is quickly becoming more and more like patent troll and its sidekick, Nokia, sure works hard to ensure that Microsoft’s rivals cannot get a breath of fresh air.”So it’s not so much of a deal. It is hardly mutual because it’s LG which is said to be paying Nokia, the company which was already warned by European officials about becoming a troll like this (after Microsoft practically took over). Microsoft is now an almost non-practising firm, just a troll, directly and by proxy, attacking Android from many directions in an effort to increase its cost. According to this one new roundup of articles (relating to Nokia and Microsoft) “Microsoft Lumia phones are DEAD”, leaving Microsoft and Nokia in more of a “patent troll” status (but big trolls, not the stigma thereof). They hardly have any market share, but they sure attack the market’s winners.
To quote IDG: “Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s reorganization of the company is causing some serious head-scratching. Commentators — including this Humble Blogwatcher — are reaching the inescapable conclusion that the ex-Nokia Lumia business is dead (or, at least, mortally wounded).
“Redmond certainly seems to be sidelining the perpetually loss-making Windows phone devices group. And the departure of two notable scapegoats seems to confirm the view: Yes, Stephen Elop is out, along with one of his trusted lieutenants, Jo Harlow. Do you hear echoes of the KIN débâcle?”
Microsoft is quickly becoming more and more like patent troll and its sidekick, Nokia, sure works hard to ensure that Microsoft’s rivals cannot get a breath of fresh air. Free and fair competition is apparently not an option because Microsoft cannot cope with real competition. If “Microsoft loves Linux”, then it’s equally reasonable to say that I love Microsoft. █
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The Scorpion and the Tortoise
Summary: Microsoft pretends that it is ‘embracing Android’ whilst actively trying to delete Android from Android devices
IT was only months ago that media sources said that Microsoft would work on ways to delete Android from Android devices. The sources were not wrong. They were at least partly right because Microsoft now “takes a free ride of Android hardware,” to quote the headline from Linux Veda. “Tables have turned,” it says, “gone are the days when Linux users used to buy Windows hardware to run their OS. Now Microsoft is doing the same. Since no one is interested in Windows phones Microsoft is trying to put Windows on Android hardware.” Microsoft is only dominant if ones ignores devices, telephones, tablets, servers, supercomputers, various gadgets, televisions, home utilities, and so on. Android and Linux are now more dominant than Windows.
SJVN covered this latest news without chastising Microsoft, instead quoting Microsoft. Windows is for “power users”, according to Terry Myerson from Microsoft, who wasn’t even joking. As if Android is easier to use and only “power users” can handle Windows. Nice shot in the foot there.
“Windows is for “power users”, according to Terry Myerson from Microsoft, who wasn’t even joking.”Windows on phones (or tablets for that matter) is rubbish. I saw it for myself. I saw it running on the most expensive hardware. It requires rebooting, it is buggy, and it has almost no apps, except malware (which unlike with Android, the user does not need to willingly download and install).
Microsoft loves Linux for the same reasons a deer hunter loves deer. It is now trying to delete Linux while telling us that everything has changed and that it finally “loves Linux”. It is telling us that it is adopting “Open Source” while a Free/Open Source-leaning software policy in India comes under attacks from Microsoft, still. India’s watered-down policy is a result of lobbying primarily from Microsoft, but corporate media now tells us that Cisco, IBM and Oracle also play a role:
Industry bodies US-India Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry have urged the government to reconsider its push for open source software that will cut the cost of licensing from big companies such as Cisco, IBM and Oracle.
In submissions to the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), which were seen by ET, the two bodies suggested the government replace the clause on mandatory use of open software with “best-fit and best-value technologies that support interoperability through open standards”.
Let’s not forget what Microsoft's direct lobbying (and lobbying by proxy) has done. Does anyone really think that Microsoft has changed? To such people we would kindly offer a Darwin Award. █
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Fool of the day
Photo via Wikipedia
Summary: US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli urges the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to let APIs be covered by copyrights, rendering almost every program a potential copyright violation
YESTERDAY we received some disturbing news from iophk, who sent the official page and original material pertaining to Google’s fight against API copyrights — a subject that we covered here before. It’s like an extension of the patent threat to Free software.
“Superficially,” Simon Phipps wrote, “the Solicitor General’s advice to SCOTUS to find against Google and reject its appeal looks like bad news. But there are some substantial straws to grasp” (see the role of the Obama administration and the Justice Department). That is very disturbing because non-technical people, who never wrote a computer program in their entire life, want API monopoly and they are actively interfering with the process of courts of justice, even the highest court, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
“People in suits (sometimes with ornaments and white wigs), who obviously don’t know how computers work, always get to decide on what’s allowed and what’s not allowed.”SCOTUS now helps trolls and even says “patent troll”, which means that it knows what it’s doing. Jeff John Roberts from the corporate media which helps trolls (Fortune) wrote: “The term “patent trolls” is controversial, mostly because certain companies object to it. Now, a Supreme Court Justice has embraced it.”
Trolls are going mainstream with help from the top judges. What a corrupt system. It is inherently rigged against Free/libre software, even once it has managed to beat the FUD, the lobbying, etc. People in suits (sometimes with ornaments and white wigs), who obviously don’t know how computers work, always get to decide on what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. They are figureheads because they are influenced behind the scenes. It’s unthinkable, but that’s how it goes.
Marc Andreessen (the man behind Netscape) wrote: “Obama administration to software programmers: Drop dead!”
Even the Microsoft booster from Business Insider (owned in part or at least funded by Marc Andreessen) wrote about it, stating that “Oracle won another battle in its epic war with Google, and the whole computer industry is nervous about it”.
Our reader iophk wrote: “In a foaming at the mouth rabid desire to screw Google for any and all activity they are going to get the rest of us as collateral damage if APIs become copyrightable in the US. It boggles the mind. The very purpose of APIs is violated.”
This is what it looks like when a government is clueless about technology and is lobbied (at times bribed) by large corporations such as Oracle. █
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“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”
–James Plamondon, Microsoft
Summary: Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google’s event where major Android announcements are being made
ANDROID, which runs Linux at its core, is now the world’s most widely used operating system, not just the most commonly ‘sold’ (if that word is applicable to Free software) operating systems. Microsoft is very annoyed by that. Apple is jealous.
Android is expanding from phones to tablets, watches, and even cars. Right now there’s a lot of talk about Android Auto (see our upcoming daily links for more information, as well as various links that we posted about Google I/O before) and this means that the reach of Linux is vast beyond imagination. It’s always growing. Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.
“Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.”Microsoft seems to be trying to crash the event of Google, making it all about Apple and Microsoft in a potentially strategic (and timely) way. Farhad Manjoo, who promoted Microsoft in Slate (we mentioned it here several times before, especially in the IRC channels), is now doing a piece on Android in the New York Times. While acknowledging “Market Dominance” of Android he goes on to say that there is “A Murky Road Ahead for Android”. We’ve heard it all before, usually from Microsoft- and Apple-friendly media. As this article is composed by an old friend of Microsoft, we consider it more of that same. For the second day in a row it’s IDG (parent company of IDC, but without disclosure to that effect) that uses IDC-produced figures to bash Android’s dominance as well. Mikael Ricknäs has spread through a bunch of IDG-owned sites an article titled “Android stutters while iOS shines in Q1″. Two Microsoft-bribed firms, namely the Gartner Group and IDC, are being quoted so as to bash Android. They do this by gaming numbers, making it seem like Apple enjoys huge growth while actually it’s Android that continues to gain (at the expense of mostly proprietary platforms). IDC is grossly overstating Microsoft’s role in mobile, but given the long-term relationship of IDC and Microsoft, this is hardly surprising. IDC previously had us believe (using bogus predictions) that Windows would be dominant in mobile by now. How wrong were they! Android is dying/doomed/terrible, say Microsoft- and Apple-connected firms, so maybe the real observation to be made here is that Microsoft is really afraid of Android. It’s nervousness and response.
The conflicts of interest at IDG are not news to us. We have written about them for nearly a decade. Here you see Roger Grimes from Microsoft and IDG (yes, at the same time!) giving poor advice about security (he often blames users for security issues that are Microsoft’s). “Better solution,” wrote iophk to us, would be “OpenWRT or DD-WRT” (Linux).
Incidentally, amid all that Android FUD (vastly increased while Google I/O takes place), Tony Bradley, a Microsoft mole and booster (professionally connected to Microsoft but pretending to be journalist in IDG, as well as other Web sites/news networks) says that “Microsoft Has Hijacked Android In A Hostile Takeover” (his headline).
Rogue players, including Microsoft, tried this before, with examples that include Facebook, Nokia, and Amazon. They always failed. It’s just a misguided strategy that weakens Windows in the hope that somehow it’ll pay off or gradually sink the competition.
Watch how IDG covered this latest case of patent extortion/shakedown. Microsoft’s abuse of patents is not mentioned even once! It’s all promotional. The opening sentence says: “Tuesday’s announcement means Microsoft is now working with 31 device manufacturers to pre-load applications on Android tablets.”
Here again we see the artificially- and misleadingly-inflated number which we alluded to the other day.
“Microsoft has made a killer move,” wrote Pavithra Rathinavel about patent racketeering while glorifying it as some kind of ingenious strategy. He also wrote: “Many observers say Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is making the right moves to cater to all the major platforms used by customers across the globe.”
No, Microsoft uses extortion and blackmail using patents in order to force companies to exclude the competition. It’s bundling by force. That is nothing worth commending. █
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Using blackmail and extortion to ‘bastardise’ Android
Summary: LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft’s campaign to turn Android into ‘Microsoft Android’ using patents-induced pressure/leverage
THERE is an effort by Microsoft to hijack Android and turn it into a Microsoft platform. Cyanogen is a key Trojan horse in this effort (an embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by a Microsoft proxy), but then there are Microsoft-occupied companies like Dell and patent partners like Samsung (patent extortion and lawsuits played a role in this too) which agree to replace Android software with Microsoft spyware. Samsung is now thinking about a Windows-Android mix , having learned nothing from Nokia’s Microsoft-inflicted demise.
Venture Beat has this disturbing news. Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware). This is extortion, plain and simple. It’s based on patent litigation threats and bribes. As Venture Beat puts it: “The news follows Microsoft’s announcement in March that it had gotten Samsung, Dell, and several regional hardware makers to sell Android devices packed with those same Microsoft apps.”
It’s just Microsoft’s patent ally LG and also Sony, which works together with Microsoft when it comes to patents (recall Rockstar). The rest are mostly obscure ‘partners’. “In total,” says the article, “Microsoft has now partnered with 31 global and local OEMs (11 in March and 20 today) to preinstall its apps onto Android devices throughout this year. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s apps end up actually being used more because of these deals.”
The number, 31, sure sounds high, but in reality, only a handful of these have got significant market share. Microsoft is exaggerating here. It’s marketing or even shameless propaganda. A small payment to some of these small companies (a bribe) would be sufficient towards artificial inflation of the number.
Microsoft, an NSA partner, hopes to turn Android into more of a spying platform than it already was, harvesting audio using Cortana, which Microsoft re-announces this week.
“Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware).”Incidentally, Richard Stallman very recently warned about Android as well as Windows. They are both “malware” according to him. Well, one learns something new every day. This news site says Stallman created Linux, despite him making it quite clear that it all started with GNU  almost a decade earlier. Most sites got it right [3-8], responding to his original article (published in The Guardian a couple of days ago).
The article which dubs Stallman “Linux creator” says “Richard Stallman, known for his instrumental role in the creation of Linux, has written an opinion piece arguing that nearly any operating system you might use today can be considered malware, and that goes for popular mobile platforms as well as desktop operating systems.”
Later on it states: “The solution, he said, is to reject software and web services that snoop or track, to support the development of free software that doesn’t track the user, and to design legislation that would criminalize all of these new forms of “malware.””
Microsoft boosting sites don’t agree with Stallman but at least they give his views a mention [1, 2]. It is getting hard to ignore Google’s own privacy violations and even its patents on privacy-infringing things, such as this latest example from the news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (widely referred to as “creepy”). Nevertheless, giving Microsoft control of Android, especially using an obscene bunch of moves and criminal extortion, is not OK.
Microsoft is attacking Android from other angles too, including the FUD angle. A Microsoft-bribed firm, , which said Windows will have become dominant in mobile by 2015, bashes Android again. It also praises Windows. To quote IDG (parent company of IDC reporting on IDC without disclosure): “Windows Phone will remain at about 3.2% market share in 2015, shipping nearly 47 million phones, IDC said. Those numbers will increase to 5.4% in 2019, when Windows Phone will surpass 103 million smartphones shipped, IDC predicted.”
Well, there is a lie there about Windows Phone because it’s actually at around 2%, based on some respectable sources. Any predications of huge Windows growth from IDC were previously laughable and utterly wrong now that we look back. Perhaps it’s not surprising that IDC needs IDG (its parent company) to spread out such nonsensical propaganda.
Microsoft’s attacks on Android are becoming more gross by the day. Defending Android is not a case of defending Google but a matter of defending truth and opposing Microsoft’s criminality. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Samsung has been thinking up new ways to transform smartphones into laptops. In a patent application filed last week, first spotted by Patently Mobile, Samsung describes a mobile device that runs Android and is able to switch over to Windows when inserted into a dock. Individually, these ideas aren’t new — dual-OS devices and docking smartphones have been tried a number of times over the past several years — but they haven’t been put together in a particularly straightforward way. Of course, this is only a patent application, so there’s no guarantee that Samsung will actually make it.
Richard Stallman is the President of the Free Software Foundation and also the founder of GNU or GNU’s Not Unix! operating system that contains only free software. One of his constant claims is that GNU/Linux is a misnomer and that it shouldn’t be used. In fact, he’s now saying that the GNU operating system is often called Linux.
‘Resist gratification’, says super-GNU-man freedom fighter
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“Intellectual property is the next software.”
–Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll
Summary: UCLA and Microsoft-linked media are framing big thugs as heroes, doing a great disservice to both academia and journalism
THREE weeks ago we wrote about a very tasteless move from UCLA, which had resorted to whitewashing thugs. Intellectual Ventures is a Microsoft proxy that attacks many companies and blackmails others (even universities are among Intellectual Ventures’ targets). How can this proxy be considered suitable for a commencement ceremony at a university? Are they paying Myhrvold for this or is he bribing UCLA for the ‘privilege’? It’s hard to say.
Either way, Steph from IP Troll Tracker wrote: “I only wish I had taken myself up on my dreams of attending UCLA so I could write a scathing letter to the Alumni Association, letting them know how I felt about this bad apple choice of a speaker.”
Microsoft’s booster Todd Bishop, an occasional grooming actor for Intellectual Ventures (a tool of Microsoft) and for Bill Gates (friend of Myhrvold and early financier of Intellectual Ventures), uses Intellectual Ventures to smear Google, a leading Microsoft rival. He says that “Google was an early investor in Intellectual Ventures’ patent fund but has since distanced itself from the Bellevue, Wash.-based company, and the companies have faced off over patents in the courtroom.”
Yes, Intellectual Ventures is now suing Android, as we showed several times last month (we highlighted this several times). Intellectual Ventures did not have Google as an “investor”, Google just wanted peace with this parasitic aggressor. Bishop is reversing roles to make Google look like the troll. Isn’t it funny how Microsoft-friendly (and at times Microsoft-funded) media keeps trying to groom Myhrvold and Intellectual Ventures? █
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Summary: A Microsoft intern, who has moved on to journalism, is still showing his affinity for Microsoft with apologetics and spin
Zack Whittaker, formerly Microsoft staff in the UK who is now writing for ZDNet (a CBS-owned technology tabloid), keeps attacking Microsoft's rivals. It’s an habitual thing.
The other day he tossed some FUD at Android (yet again) and repeated Microsoft’s classic talking points (which its boosters had all uniformly spread several months ago). “This year alone,” he wrote, “Google disclosed two security flaws in Microsoft’s software, leaving the software giant fuming. The security team gave Microsoft three months to fix the flaw, or face public shaming.” The article is titled “Google has an Android security problem” and it’s trying to portray Google — not Microsoft — as the problem.
Microsoft was trying to blame Google, so here again we have Whittaker defending Microsoft (his former employer) and shaming Google for revealing how Microsoft exposed users. It’s not hard to find Microsoft bias in sites like ZDNet. All one has to check is where CBS is hiring from. This is a widespread problem as many people from Microsoft (some still working for Microsoft) are writers at ZDNet. █
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