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12.02.10

Vail is Fail: HP Dumps Windows in Storage Server Space as Another Microsoft Product Faces Imminent Death Due to Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows Home Server logo (joke)

Summary: Another sign that Linux is winning against Windows comes from HP, which has had enough of Windows Home Server

WE ARE almost back to normal coverage (yours truly has been coding more than usual recently) and one reader sent us this pointer which shows that Microsoft’s dead products continue to pile up. It was around Thanksgiving, i.e. just very recently, that we spoke about Windows Home Server (WHS) being a candidate for deletion. HP has been essential for Microsoft in this space [1, 2]. It is their main if not only hope in this area and that’s about to end too:

“HP has told us they do not plan to provide a platform for Windows Home Server code name ‘Vail’. HP has told us they will continue to sell the existing version of MediaSmart Server through the end of the calendar year 2010 and will honour service and support agreements,” said Microsoft in a blog post yesterday.

“This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server ‘Vail.’”

[...]

According to MediaSmartServer.net, which quotes HP marketing manager Allen Buckner, the move away from Vail was due to “shifting additional resources to focus on webOS initiatives”.

All of which has got to hurt Microsoft, which already took a sizeable bruising from customers following its decision to kill the Drive Extender feature.

That’s despite Apotheker being in charge [1, 2] after Hurd got ousted by HP [1, 2, 3, 4]. As another reader, Ziomatrix, put it last night in IRC: “Dell starts selling laptops bundled with Linux again (look under Tech Specs): http://dell.to/idOer6 and HP drops its Windows Home Server line amid feature crisis and claims to focus more efforts on WebOS based Linux: http://engt.co/i8PsuP” (which further confirms that other report).

10.10.10

Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal Swiss Contracts to Take People to Court Again

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, HP, Microsoft at 12:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coat of Arms of Switzerland (Pantone)

Summary: Microsoft’s practices of blocking competition through abolition of a proper procurement process is going to end up in court again

THE LAWSUIT over Microsoft’s deal with the government of Switzerland was last mentioned in relation to this story about Canton of Solothurn. Links to resources about the case can be found in (chronological order):

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
  13. When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”

According to this new report, free/open source service providers appeal the procurement case in Switzerland. We may finally see some justice, assuming the courts in Switzerland can be shown sufficient evidence.

Microsoft “Squeezes OEMs”, says Pogson in one of his latest posts which specifically names HP (now occupied by more Microsoft-sympathetic managers [1, 2]).

HP is bargaining so hard with OEMs that some are refusing to supply machines to HP. This is because M$ rakes in far too much for software licensing. The margins of manufacturers are just too thin. It is the end-game of monopoly when suppliers no longer accept the dictates of monopoly. They can make other products and sell to other customers. Once the monopoly concedes to the first OEM, there is no place to go for licence fees but down.

Microsoft is rarely selected for any merits; it very often gets selected due to lock-in, chokehold (obstruction of competition), corruption, and entryism.

10.06.10

As Expected, Nokia and HP Betray Linux Under Microsoft-sympathetic New Leadership

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Vista 7, VMware at 1:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Greek military junta of 1967–1974
Greek military junta of 1967–1974

Summary: Microsoft may be organising a coup against Linux, especially inside some of its very top supporters, and evidence from the news concurs

“Nokia’s MeeGo device chief quits,” reports Engadget. This is the type of thing we have been expecting ever since a Microsoft president was made the CEO of Nokia, right after Nokia had become one of the top developers of Linux (the kernel) and told the press that its future crown jewel phones would run MeeGo. And now, just 2-3 weeks after Microsoft’s Elop comes to Nokia:

Nokia’s MeeGo device chief quits

[...]

In case you’re keeping track, Jaaksi’s departure follows the high-profile exits of Nokia’s former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo (replaced by Stephen Elop) and the head of Nokia Mobile Solutions, Anssi Vanjoki. Notably, Nokia’s MeeGo team picked up Palm’s Peter Skillman as the head of MeeGo User Experience and Services during the same period.

Nokia can whitewash this all it wants, but in recent weeks we learned that Nokia had allegedly started playing with Vista Phone 7 [sic] and the commitment to MeeGo was weakened. Microsoft comes in as CEO, Linux comes out, eh? Sounds like potential entryism to us, unless the import from Microsoft only came after a strategic decision from ‘old Nokia’ (perhaps the board). Microsoft would not mind it so much if Nokia carried on with Symbian because Symbian development — unlike Linux development — does not help hundreds of Microsoft competitor at the same time. It is “the Linux phenomenon” — not Symbian — which Steve Ballmer called “threat number one” 9 years ago.

A key partner and co-developer of MeeGo, Intel, appears to be procrastinating as a result of all that news from Nokia. “Intel Says No MeeGo Handsets Until 2011,” reports a Forbes blogger and David Wood, known for his old role in Symbian, says “(sounds like Q2?)”. That’s a whole year from now. From the informal article:

MeeGo, the open-source mobile operating system that Intel and Nokia are jointly creating, recently took a hit with the departure of its Vice President of Devices, Ari Jaaksi. In the wake of that announcement, an Intel executive who oversees MeeGo development insists the project is on track, but concedes that MeeGo-powered smartphones–and tablets, for the most part–won’t debut until next year.

The news could disappoint gadget fans that have been anticipating the release of a portable MeeGo device since Intel and Nokia joined forces in February. It could also have implications for Nokia. Though the Finnish mobile technology giant is still the world’s largest handset maker, it is struggling to reinvent itself under a new Chief Executive and has been looking to MeeGo to rekindle interest in its high-end smartphones.

MeeGo is very important because of relative LSB compliance which Android, for example, does not have.

Having expressed some concerns after the “pee in the pants to get warm” remark from Nokia (about Android), Glyn Moody told me that “Eric [Schmidt] is not stupid: that just makes his poker hand stronger” when he contacts Nokia:

As MeeGo VP Quits, Nokia CEO Taking Calls From Eric Schmidt

News broke this morning that Nokia’s executive in charge of MeeGo devices, Ari Jaaksi, resigned last week. This continues a string of high-profile people leaving the world’s largest mobile phone company as it attempts to establish an identity in the quickly-evolving mobile space. The internal turmoil and the recent hiring of former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop to be Nokia’s new CEO has led to quite a bit of speculation that Nokia may turn away from its own operating systems and go with the new Windows Phone OS — or at least fork its products to have this OS as an option on top of the upcoming MeeGo. But don’t rule out Google’s Android OS just yet either.

We’ve heard from a good source that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has called Elop to discuss the possibility of Android running on Nokia phones. We actually heard this information about a week ago, but today’s news makes it potentially more interesting. Around the time Jaaksi was resigning, Elop and Schmidt were talking.

Why would a CEO who came from Microsoft embrace the same platform which Microsoft is zealously suing? This whole affair is somewhat depressing and worth keeping track of. We previous covered it in:

Nokia is not the only company which seems like a victim of Microsoft entryism. “HP-SAP merger talk considered far-fetched,” opines a writer from IDG, but the Microsoft boosters now report that HP “Windows 7 slates [come] ‘this Christmas,’ touch optimizations in 2011″ (as a reminder, HP sort of abandoned Vista 7 when it comes to slate, but then top appointments were made from SAP and Microsoft [1, 2]). Are we seeing Nokia and HP going through a phase similar to the one Yahoo! and VMB_ware went through (they became occupied by Microsoft executives who brought more Microsoft executives, over time)?

Never underestimate Microsoft’s willingness and ability to compete against Linux using dirty tactics like FUD, lawsuits, and entryism. HP and Intel (of MeeGo) were both distinctly named in Microsoft’s SEC filing as threats, specifically because they were promoting Linux. Gary Clow, a famous victim of Microsoft, once said that “[a] lot of people make that analogy that competing with Bill Gates is like playing hardball. I’d say it’s more like a knife fight.”

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates (about removing Linux support at Intel)

10.04.10

Entryism Watch: Yahoo! Keeps Being Abducted by Microsoft Executives, HP Cancels Android Projects After CEO Appointment From SAP

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Search, SLES/SLED, VMware at 11:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Troy wall
Site of the Trojan War

Summary: The more Microsoft executives enter other companies, the less committed those companies become to projects that use GNU/Linux and the more receptive they become to other Microsoft veterans (friend brings a friend)

Entryism is much cheaper than buying an entire company (rather than taking over it from the inside). Entryism is usually a zero-cost means of converting a rival into an ally, with examples that in Microsoft’s case include Novell, Corel, Xandros, and XenSource. One of the most recent examples is VMB_Ware, which now wants to buy SUSE. VM_Bware is filled with former Microsoft executives at the top. Other ongoing cases of entryism appear to be Yahoo!, Nokia, and HP. These are the ones we deal with in this post.

Microsoft’s multi-year shakedown of Yahoo! has had Yahoo! hijacked by Microsoft from the inside. We documented this in many dozens of posts since 2008. What usually happens is that old Yahoo! managers leave or get expelled, only to be replaced by managers from Microsoft. It becomes like a Microsoft alumni reunion inside the newly-conquered company, whose old logo and name remain even though the agenda is different.

Many top managers are fleeing Yahoo!, still.

Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) is finally confirming the departure of a trio of top executives, including Americas head Hilary Schneider. In a just-filed statement with the SEC, Yahoo says Schneider will “be leaving after a transition period.” And, in a statement provided to us, the company says it expects to appoint Schneider’s successor by year-end.

Yahoo is also confirming that SVP of audience, mobile and local David Ko and Yahoo Media Head Jimmy Pitaro are both also leaving. The company isn’t saying why, but Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz says in a memo sent to staff (via AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher) that all three are leaving for “different reasons that suit their life.”

Here are the terms of Schneider’s departure from Yahoo! [via Joseph Tartakoff] and here is indication of more of this exodus (“Yahoo In Disarray: Schneider, Ko, Pitaro All Reportedly Leaving”). There is more coming later today, based on the now-AOL-owned TechCrunch. The third paragraph is quite revealing:

Yahoo is in shambles right now. You’ve likely already heard about the most recent SVP exits, which CEO Carol Bartz has tried to spin. Now we’ve heard another one is leaving as well — Jeff Kinder, the SVP of Media Products and Solutions. And you know what that means — time for a massive re-org at the top of Yahoo. Yes, again.

Based on what we’re hearing, this re-org will take place next Tuesday. Of course, us reporting on this means that it could possibly be moved (as has happened in the past with Yahoo deals), but as of right now that’s the plan.

Based on what we’re hearing Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving may be the big winner of this re-org, as he’s been seen as the rising star in the company. Word is that he’ll be bringing some of his old Microsoft chums in to join him in high-up positions at this new-look Yahoo.

So, according to this, the Microsoft VP who became Yahoo Chief Product Officer “may be the big winner of this re-org, as he’s been seen as the rising star in the company. Word is that he’ll be bringing some of his old Microsoft chums in to join him in high-up positions at this new-look Yahoo.”

Yahoo! is making it all quite stealthy. Joseph Tartakoff, who has been somewhat of a Microsoft watcher (especially in the past) and a Yahoo! watcher more recently, writes: “So, if this report of another Yahoo SVP leaving is true … umm … why didn’t Yahoo announce his departure with the others yesterday?”

He also says: “Like, if Yahoo announced it, then people would cover that. Instead, people are being forced to write all these analysis pieces.”

“It seems like Yahoo is just asking for yet ANOTHER story about how top people are leaving the company in droves”
      –Joseph Tartakoff
The rants go on as he argues: “It seems like Yahoo is just asking for yet ANOTHER story about how top people are leaving the company in droves”

“But instead it seems we’ll have another week of stories about all the troubles at Yahoo,” he adds.

Lastly, says Tartakoff, “Yahoo will continue to leave their external PR/messaging to bloggers instead of taking control of it themselves.”

Microsoft is having problems and suffering many notable departures too (cannot be good for orientation); the issue is that these departing executives help Microsoft occupy some of its direct competition, due in part to HR mistakes. The thing about these seniors is that they land inside other companies and in the case of the mobile, entertainment, and Office businesses, we already see the negative impact. Microsoft appears to be poisoning Nokia these days, as we covered in:

Chips B. Malroy alerts us that following the latest news about SAP inside HP [1, 2] there are signs that HP is indeed losing some of its Linux direction, just like Yahoo! and Nokia. “If the headline is true,” wrote Malroy in IRC, “this is what Roy has been saying.” The headline says “HP Officially Drops Plans For Android Phones and Tablets” and here is a portion from the article:

The decision isn’t surprising, particularly as HP already announced it had no plans to make a phone running Windows Phone 7. However, the company still plans to sell that slate that Steve Ballmer was waving around back at a CES in January. Albeit, only business customers will see that still-unnamed slate.

This — combined with the lawsuits from Microsoft (against Android) — may lead to all sorts of conclusions or at least speculations. There was a lot more discussed in IRC (some parts to appear tomorrow as it went on past midnight). To quote some portions, Malroy said that “it looks like HP is only doing one Windows tablet” and Ziomatrix replied by saying that “it’s only logical considering [that] if the new CEO proclaimed to not use acquired Palm assets for future projects that’s worth $1.2B, the BoD would have him thrown out faster then you can say sexual harassment.

“I as well as other analysts foresee the new CEO forging a deeper relationship between SAP and MS in enterprise packages while competing more fervently with the likes of Oracle…”
      –Ziomatrix
“HP as an OEM has plenty of room to continue to accommodate MS products in PCs and Enterprise. I as well as other analysts foresee the new CEO forging a deeper relationship between SAP and MS in enterprise packages while competing more fervently with the likes of Oracle, like this: http://tinyurl.com/2c8wudg Perhaps we’ll be surprised, don’t forget most of the folks who re-vitalized Palm came from Apple and they wanted to be as un-Apple as possible as far as software openness is concerned.”

“We are at the point where computer tech is changing at a faster rate and it becomes increasingly harder for Microsoft to hide both it’s failures and it’s decline,” Malroy remarked later on and Ziomatrix responded with the claim that “perhaps this is the start of HP wanting to assemble an executive dreamteam to pen a strategy that will take them on their own path with exclusively their own assets such as Pheonix or HP-UX 11i+. One can dream…”

10.02.10

Hewlett-Packard Very Likely to Turn More Hostile Towards GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, Windows at 8:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Willem van Miieris - Der Apotheker (~1710)
Der Apotheker

Summary: HP has been poisoned by Apotheker, whose long career took place in the “Microsoft of Europe” (SAP)

AS FAR as GNU/Linux at HP goes, the latest news (CEO appointment) is terrible for reasons we gave yesterday, but Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke pretends that the Windows versus GNU/Linux dimension does not exist at all (HP is a platforms company too) and instead he just apparently tries to make Oracle look bad (Oracle picked Hurd right after HP had ejected him under mysterious circumstances [1, 2, 3, 4]). Clarke for example suggests:

Apotheker’s hiring would suggest HP hasn’t forgiven Ellison’s remarks or forgotten. In fact, it has put a big fat reminder in Ellison’s face about who it’s dealing with by hiring some SAP blue blood. Apotheker’s presence reminds Oracle that HP is its own company and his presence suggests HP will leverage its business’ relationship with SAP in joint customers and work to deliver SAP apps on HP hardware as an alternative to Oracle.

Citing articles like the above and also this one, Mr. Pogson is surprisingly optimistic. He thinks that “Apotheker will no doubt have a global view of IT and may be friendly to GNU/Linux on desktop and server. They could increase margins by pushing GNU/Linux instead of that other OS. At SAP, Apotheker had no problem with customers running SAP on GNU/Linux.” (as long as it was Microsoft’s GNU/Linux, aka “Ballnux”). As the only comment on the post puts it, “If anything, I think Apotheker will make HP more unfriendly to free software. It is really debatable why Hurd was ousted. I happen to think he is removed by Microsoft because he engaged HP in free software “too much”. Acquisitions of Palm and Phoenix Linux BIOS tech as well contributions to GNOME and Linux kernel put HP on Microsoft’s hit list. Microsoft declared HP a threat in SEC fillings. Now Apotheker comes from proprietary company which is Microsoft ally. Make no mistake, SAP is enemy of free software. They feel the burn, and their business practices are incompatible with free software as much as Microsoft’s. SAP had a try when they released MaxDB under GPL, but they abandoned it after some time and continued supporting proprietary version. Since Apotheker lack experience with being a CEO (he was SAP CEO for only about a year) he will probably leave lots decision making to his underlings. And chief of HP software division is a Microsoft guy, appointed right about after Palm acquisition.”

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates talking about eliminating Linux at Intel

09.30.10

Dark Day for HP: Microsoft Ally Becomes Its New CEO

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 9:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Open source is great for debugging, but it’s crucial not to touch [the code...] Intellectual property [IP] socialism is the worst that can happen to any IP-based society. And we are an IP-based society. If there is no way to protect IP, there is no reason to invest in IP.”

Shai Agassi, SAP president

Summary: A SAP CEO becomes the CEO of HP after HP began to explore Linux very seriously, just like Nokia had its CEO canned to give way to a Microsoft President after it had moved aggressively and strongly in MeeGo’s (Linux/LSB) direction

WHAT WE dreaded the most is becoming a reality. One of the biggest OEMs in the world — just like the world’s biggest mobile phones manufacturer — seems to have become somewhat of a victim of Microsoft entryism and assimilation after supporting Linux ‘too much’. The CEOs got thrown out under mysterious circumstances. The subject was discussed in IRC a few hours ago, but here is just a preliminary summary (more information to come later).

For those who know not so much about Hurd’s departure, it turns out not to have been caused by sexual harassment at all [1, 2, 3, 4] (and it’s not surprising that Oracle immediately hired him after he had been ousted). The CEO who replaces him will be far less sympathetic towards Linux at HP because it is a SAP CEO, Leo Apotheker:

Today was the day eh? HP has chose Leo Apotheker as CEO and President. Who is Leo? Well, for the last 20 years he has been the CEO of a tiny little company called SAP.

HP has already hired some top guns from Microsoft, even a ~20-year veteran who became a Vice President at HP earlier this year. Microsoft must not have liked seeing Hurd drop Vista 7 like a rock Slate, putting instead on his tablets a nice touch of Linux, which performed a lot better (Vista 7 on the Slate is a subject of ridicule at the moment). When Hurd got canned Microsoft seemed to have managed to reverse Hurd’s judgment. And who exactly is this new CEO? It’s the top man from SAP (see our Wiki page about SAP). Microsoft wanted to buy SAP some years ago because it’s Microsoft’s #1 ally in Europe, perhaps if only large companies are accounted for. SAP is also the major party among the few lobbyists for software patents in Europe. As for its relationship with Microsoft at present, they recently signed yet another partnership (right after lobbying together against SUN), building upon other relationships that they had (there are many past deals between this pair). They are close to Novell because Microsoft-taxed SUSE is the main GNU/Linux distribution SAP would dare to touch these days (it was solidified last week). It’s all rather telling and there is a lot more ugly stuff about SAP (see the Wiki and today’s IRC logs).

“Imagine what they can do with their own as well as acquired IP, including Palm. WebOS will pay the MS. tax?”
      –Ziomatrix
To quote Ziomatrix about SAP: “They seem like MS’s minime concerning European lobbying. What’s their market cap? [...] Hurd was no saint but who knows what this CEO may unleash onto HP. He could be their Nero. [...] either that or HP will gain abundant market share by becoming a key patent hoarder. Imagine what they can do with their own as well as acquired IP, including Palm. WebOS will pay the MS. tax? [...] you think Nokia’s fate is as much sealed?”

Well, that’s the thing though, there are similarities there too. Nokia was assimilated to Microsoft right after it had moved a little ‘too close’ to Linux (MeeGo) and declared its intent to put Linux on the future crown jewel handsets (N series phones). In Nokia too the CEO got ousted, as if putting a Microsoft President instead of him and then exploring Vista Phone 7 [sic] would provide a lifeline somehow. For background see:

Getting back to HP, Hurd was canned (some would say “framed”) not so long after Microsoft had identified HP as a “risk” and its executives said this to their investors; HP was labelled a threat specifically for ‘daring’ to support GNU/Linux on sun-notebooks/netbooks (see the SEC filing for MSFT) and so was Intel, which built Moblin at the time (now it’s merged with Nokia’s Maemo and Microsoft has influence inside Nokia, the more dominant steward of MeeGo).

“Microsoft’s Elop does not even come from a mobile background, he comes from the Microsoft Movement and Steve Ballmer’s announcement of Elop’s departure seemed so optimistic that it aroused suspicion of it being arranged.”What are we trying to suggest here? In order to counter Android/Linux Microsoft seems to be invading companies which very much promote Linux and develop for Linux. In some cases, Microsoft signs Linux-hostile patent deals with those companies (e.g. HTC, Samsung, and LG), so Microsoft seems to have achieved a lot with this distasteful strategy. Just days ago it seemed like HP put Vista 7 on the HP Slate, even though Hurd had decided to call off this project (or focus a lot more on the Linux-based WebOS, which he bought along with Palm, expending billions). And then there’s the recent news about Vista Phone 7 on Nokia phones. Seriously, how much more evidence does one need to say that the Microsoft Movement is dealing some tricks? Companies don’t just reverse their strategies and return to old, discarded strategies overnight. Management can change in all sorts of ways and just as cats can be shaved in all sorts of ways, CEOs too can be disgraced and canned in many different ways. There was no reason for Nokia, for example (a longtime Microsoft sceptic/foe) to appoint a Microsoft President to become CEO. Microsoft’s mobile business is an utter disgrace and sheer failure, despite huge spendings on it. Microsoft’s Elop does not even come from a mobile background, he comes from the Microsoft Movement and Steve Ballmer’s announcement of Elop’s departure seemed so optimistic that it aroused suspicion of it being arranged.

The following timely links from Pogson may help explain why Microsoft had to prevent HP and Nokia/Intel (MeeGo) from releasing Linux-based products. Published today:

  • Tablets vs Netbooks

    The OEMs are seeing that that other OS is holding them back. They can make more money by cutting prices and selling machines without that other OS but with no OS or GNU/Linux.

  • Taiwan market: Vendors cutting older netbook models to below NT$10,000
  • China white-box tablet PC rush may fail like netbooks; white-box makers disagree

    White-box players also believe that even though they have inferior quality over hardware and software, with the addition of GPS, WiDi, micro projector and e-book reading capabilities, as well as a price point of half the mainstream tablet PC’s price, their products can still attract consumers from emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle-East.

  • Netbooks will not die, says Acer Taiwan president

    As for Intel’s new Atom N550 processor, based on Acer’s internal testing, the new processor performs 50% faster than the previous generation model, but the price is at about the same range. Since new netbooks are priced at US$300-400, about the same as previous models, while having better performance, Lin believes the price/performance ratio should help attract consumers.

  • Volume shipments of tablet PCs to not start until 2011, says CPT executive

    While a number of IT companies and handset vendors have unveiled tablet PC products, volume shipments are unlikely to hit the market until 2011 as most of the newly developed tablet PC products are still in sampling or small volume production, as well as low yields in lamination of medium-size touch panels, according to Lin Sheng-chang, president of Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT).

  • Netbooks are Doing Well

Microsoft is left out of these market segments.

Another question worth asking is, what will happen to HP’s role in GNOME (Stormy Peters et al.) and Free software? Why would a SAP guy be committed to it? SAP hates GNU/Linux (not Ballnux), it loves Microsoft, and it loves software patents (it still lobbies for them in Europe). SAP has a very Free software-hostile history, with notable remarks that include some from Shai Agassi (see the top of this post).

09.29.10

Microsoft’s Patent Offensives, Patent Trolls, and Other Patent Agitators

Posted in Apple, FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I see gnomes

Summary: A roundup of news about software patents with increased focus on the weakness of the patent system and its ill effects on software freedom

HP’s use of GNU/Linux scared Microsoft enough to put the company under “risks” in its SEC filings, warning investors that HP had become a threat. Then HP bought Palm, which used Linux its flagship product. Soon afterwards a Microsoft executive was put in charge of software at HP, Hurd got the boot [1, 2, 3, 4], and Slate saw Vista 7 returning, possibly at the expense of Linux/WebOS. Joseph Tartakoff, a Microsoft booster, was unimpressed by Vista 7 on Slate. He wrote:

Is this the HP Windows 7 Slate? Let’s hope it’s a joke news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-2… #pcbuzz

BackWeb, which Microsoft paid some money to settle a patent case [1, 2, 3], is now suing IBM and HP:

Looks like IBM and HP have just been hit with patent infringement lawsuits. According to a release, BackWeb Technologies has filed separate lawsuits in the United States District Court in San Francisco, California against IBM and HP, alleging patent infringement.

The patents seems to deal with technology for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer and distributed client-based data caching systems. BackWeb alleges that IBM’s Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM’s recently acquired BigFix products infringe four U.S. patents owned by BackWeb. BackWeb also alleges that HP’s Client Automation product infringes three U.S. patents owned by BackWeb covering methods for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer.

When it comes to Android, Microsoft has been trying to put a patent tax on it. Dana Blankenhorn provokes a little by suggesting that Google cannot defend Android’s good name although he is not referring to the patents issue. He wrote:

“Don’t be evil” may drive cynics away, but it’s a powerful message many people believe nonetheless.

Google is risking nothing less than its brand through its passivity over Android. Carriers have hijacked the mobile Linux distro and turned it decidedly evil, sometimes even preventing buyers from accessing Google without jailbreaking their phones.

CEO Eric Schmidt’s response has been completely passive. Were we to restrict the use of the code, we’d be violating the principles of open source, he says.

It is being claimed that Google is now infringing on Yahoo! patents, because of Google Instant [1, 2] (trivial idea, just bandwidth- and server resources-consuming).

Yahoo! owns several patents covering Google’s new Instant search engine, according to Shashi Seth, Yahoo!’s senior vice president of search and a former search product leader at Google.

The Microsoft-dominated Yahoo! was said to be such an issue a couple of years ago. Some sites argued that Microsoft wanted control of Yahoo! only/mostly because of its patents.

The most effective solution right now would be to eliminate software patents. The FSF is working towards that and Stallman campaigned on the issue down in Australia this month [1, 2]. Here is some more coverage about that [1, 2] (the latter is a Slashdot discussion). Stallman carried other messages too, basically about the importance of sharing.

Looking at some patent news from around the Web, here is another update on Newegg’s battle against a notorious software patent [1, 2, 3]. Patent trolls still roam free in land of the free (but with low success rates when it comes to patents in software) and TechDirt has a lot more to say about that:

Digging deeper into the report, it looks at and tests a variety of different concepts around patents and litigation. In theory, if a patent is used in multiple patent cases, you tend to think that it must be a pretty solid patent, and one that has been vetted plenty of times. And yet, when the researchers looked at the 106 patents that have been involved in eight or more lawsuits since 2000, they found that the patent holder wins such cases only 10.7% of the time. For patents that have only been brought to litigation once, the patent holder wins 47.3% of the time — an astounding difference.

My first thought on hearing such numbers is that the data could be misleading in that many companies may be a lot more willing to settle when sued by a serial patent litigator. However, the researchers tested that and while they did find that a higher percentage of those sued will settle in cases involving a “most-litigated” patent as compared to a “once-litigated” patent, the higher settlement rates don’t offset the huge difference in win rates.

[...]

On the whole, the results certainly seem to suggest that patent trolls with software patents do very much view the system as a lottery ticket, and they’re willing to use really weak patents to try to win that prize. That is not at all what the patent system is designed to do, but it’s how the incentives have been structured — and that seems like a pretty big problem that isn’t solved just by showing how many of these lawsuits fail. The amount of time and resources wasted on those lawsuits, as well as the number of companies who pay up without completing a lawsuit, suggest that there is still a major problem to be dealt with.

WIPO is under scrutiny from singing legend Mr. Wonder, who continues to make them look bad, even in the UN. Here is an update on the “pay-for-delay” patent lawsuit, courtesy of TechDirt:

Among the many, many nasty things done in the name of patent law is the rather disgusting practices of “pay-for-delay”, where a big pharma firm sues a generic pharma maker for patent infringement, with no legal basis, and part of the “settlement” that is then worked out is that the big pharma will pay off the generic pharma not to enter the market with a generic for a certain period of time. Basically, it’s a (by definition and government support) monopoly player in the market paying off competitors to keep the market exclusive. It’s difficult to see how that’s not a blatant violation of anti-trust law. But, alas, apparently the Second Circuit doesn’t see it that way. In April it tossed out a lawsuit over this issue, because the pharma companies involved put in a few worthless other things into the deal that acted as “cover” for the real anti-competitive move — and, since the “monopoly” was from a patent, the court didn’t see it as an anti-trust issue.

Apple turns out to have just gone suppressing rivals using a trademark on “Pod”. [via]

The trademark battle centers on independent entrepreneur Daniel Kokin (right), founder of startup Sector Labs, and his in-development video projector called Video Pod. Apple had previously filed oppositions against Kokin’s usage of “Pod,” alleging that it would cause customers to confuse it with Apple’s iPod products.

Apple, which sued Linux via HTC, is also using patents to exclude competitors right now. “Apple sues ‘HyperMac’ accessory maker over MagSafe, iPod cables,” reports Apple Insider:

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sanho Corporation, maker of the HyperMac line of accessories, alleging violation of patents it owns related to the MagSafe charger and cables that use the iPod 30-pin connection.

TechDirt wonders, “Is It Patent Infringement To Reuse Recycled Apple Magsafe Connectors?”

AppleInsider has the details of yet another patent infringement lawsuit filed by Apple, who has become a lot more aggressive on the patent front lately. This lawsuit is against Sanho, a company that makes a variety of external batteries for Apple products. There are six patents listed in the lawsuit, but two are design patents, which are pretty narrow.

Apple is just killing competition using patents and in another new story the same tricks are being used quite blatantly (to drive a competitor into bankruptcy also). [via]

Football gear maker files for bankruptcy after losing patent-infringement suit

[...]

The phrase “bet-the-company litigation” is an overused metaphor to describe high-stakes cases. But once in a while the survival of a business is hanging in the balance, as in the case of Schutt Sports Inc.

The Illinois-based maker of football helmets and other sports gear filed for bankruptcy on Labor Day, a month after it was sacked with more than $29 million in damages for violating its rival’s helmet patent. Schutt Sports said in bankruptcy court papers that the verdict was the final hammer, as the company already was struggling with deteriorating revenue and profit margins and an overleveraged balance sheet prior to the jury decision.

Instrumental in blocking competition is the ITC (International Trade Commission), whose role we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Here is Sony meeting the ITC wall because of “alleged patent infringements” (mere allegations).

THE US ITC (International Trade Commission) will investigate complaints from a Taiwanese manufacturer about Sony regarding some alleged patent infringements.

The accusations about patent toe-stepping come from Chimei Innolux, one of the biggest LCD manufacturers in Taiwan, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, and Texas based Innolux Corporation, all of which appear to be related companies and are complaining that Sony has ridden roughshod over their patent rights on gadgets ranging from Sony’s televisions to its games console, the PS3.

Innolux Corporation is a company of just 5 or so people and its Web site lists no products.

09.24.10

Who Put Vista 7 Back in HP’s Slate Strategy?

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Vista 7 at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

HP Slate - Steve Balmer holds GNU/Linux

Original photo here (“HP Slate officially alive, ditching Windows 7 for Palm WebOS”), fair use for humour purposes

Summary: Former Microsoft staff seems like a possible reason for HP Slate running Vista 7 (even just in a prototype phase, assuming the new video is authentic)

Y

ESTERDAY we wrote about Ballnux tablets, which are still a threat (but also somewhat complementary) to GNU/Linux tablets (which Microsoft makes no money from). A new survey shows that one in four Americans would want an Android/Linux tablet (sub-notebooks are another growth area for GNU/Linux and not for Apple); sadly, only the Ballnux-based Galaxy Tab is named at the start:

With the coming of the Galaxy Tab and possible releases of a number of Android tablets at the end of the year, the question still remains: do most consumers really want or need a tablet device? We have seen the success of the iPad but have yet to see anything really go up against it, Android or otherwise. It’s a bit hard to judge sometimes what “real consumers” in the market place want as opposed to us Android fanboys, but a recent Zogby pole may clear some of this up.

Then there is the tablet-class device called “Slate”. Watch the following new video of Vista 7 choking on it:


Direct link

Assuming that it’s not fake or just experimental, how come it doesn’t run Linux as promised? HP deemed Vista 7 unsuitable at one point. A Microsoft booster — not just GNU/Linux advocates — says that the “HP Slate video shows all that’s wrong with Windows 7 on tablets”. He also writes:

But then HP bought Palm, and with it webOS. webOS may be a phone operating system, but ever since news of the purchase came out, there has been widespread conjecture about a webOS-powered tablet. The appeal of webOS on such a device is that webOS is designed around a touch-screen, and built for low-power hardware—ideal for battery life.

As we pointed out throughout the HP-Hurd scandal [1, 2, 3, 4], Microsoft has apparently increased its level of influence inside HP thanks to high-level staff that went there. Might this explain a return to Vista 7 (see the Windows elements hard-coded on the device)?

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