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10.20.14

Is It Google’s Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

Posted in America, Google, IBM, Patents at 4:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michelle Lee
Photo from Asian Pacific Fund

Summary: The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests

IT IS no longer just rumour or suspicion that USPTO nominates Lee as new director. This is possibly going to result in an appointment, showing us yet again that corporate stewards are truly in charge of the government, not just in the United States. Industrial bodies are full of “revolving door”-type scenarios and altercations.

This probably is not as bad as nominating Philip Johnson (it didn't go down well) or David Kappos from IBM (both big and vocal proponents of software patents), but it’s still not a good thing, either. As we showed in past years, Google had hired many patent lawyers rather than fight software patents; Michelle Lee may therefore be part of the problem. Not much is known about her to Wikipedia. He career at Google was very short (going back to when Google hired patent lawyers) and her career before this is not even mentioned. We wrote about her when she was appointed and even in 2012 when sources said she might lead a Silicon Valley patent office (hence software patents). According to a USPTO press releases, “Lee worked as a computer scientist at Hewlett-Packard” (a proponent of software patents). But much of the private sector stuff is usually omitted. To quote this press release: “Prior to becoming Director of the Silicon Valley USPTO, Lee served two terms on the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee, whose members are appointed by the U.S. Commerce Secretary and serve to advise the USPTO on its policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees.”

A site that acts as a CCIA front (as well as CCIA itself) and which wrote about her before has worked with Google and for Google, so no wonder it endorses Michelle Lee. CCIA is more concerned about patent trolls but not about abuse by its members (such as Microsoft), so it continues to treat only small abusive companies as the problem, e.g. for lack of evidence. Here is what the CCIA front said:

The White House announced yesterday that it’s nominating current Deputy Director Michelle Lee to be Director of the USPTO. By all accounts, she’s done a good job during a difficult time at the USPTO. This is definitely a smart move by the Administration.

How about appointing someone who is not supporting software patents and has not come from companies that accumulate software patents? Well, that might be too “revolutionary” for the USPTO and for the White House to do.

05.13.14

David Kappos Fatally Killed Quality at the USPTO and Killed Fairness in Industries as a Result

Posted in IBM, Patents at 10:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legacy of Obama and monopolistic corporate players

David Kappos

Summary: A look at what happened to the US patent office under Obama and under the leadership of IBM’s pro-software patents mole, David Kappos

THE awful USPTO hardly needs discrediting; it discredits itself. This is the office where almost every silly idea that a small child can come up with becomes a patent. It’s not even a joke, it’s factually the case.

Some people are obviously digusted by such Obama appointees like David Kappos and one of our readers called it “revolving door”, noting the following article that unmasked the real rate of acceptance of patent applications (nearly 19 out of 20 get accepted):

Yes, President Obama’s Patent Office Started Approving Basically All Patent Applications Again

Want to know why there are bad patents? Because there’s no such thing as a true “final rejection” of a patent (i.e., you can always keep refiling and try, try, trying again and again until it’s approved) and because the former head of the Patent Office, David Kappos, saw it as his main challenge to get rid of the giant backlog in getting patents approved. And thus, soon after Kappos took over the USPTO, we noted that patent approval rates started shooting upwards. Over the previous six years or so, the approval rate had been in a gradual decline, with it really starting to drop off around 2004, just as the Supreme Court started hitting back on a bunch of bad patent rulings, and making it clearer that, no, not “everything under the sun” should be patentable. However, Kappos never appeared to view patent quality as important, merely patent quantity and ending the backlog — and thus, the patent office started to take an approve anything mentality.

[...]

Basically, in 2013, the true allowance rate for patent applications was 92% (much higher than the USPTO’s officially reported number of 54%). The discrepancy is because the USPTO’s number counts “rejections” for patents as if the patent was truly rejected, and doesn’t look at how many patents actually make it through the full process.

People should lose their respect for patents granted by the USPTO. These don’t deserve much serious attention when every silly thing becomes a patent. Software developers should waste not even a minute looking into individual software patents. A system so corruptible will, sooner or later, be defeated. Fairness in competition will be greatly harmed by what companies like Microsoft and IBM made out of the USPTO.

05.03.14

The Debate About Software Patents is Still Dead Because Large Corporations Killed It

Posted in IBM, Law, Patents, Red Hat at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pheasants

Summary: Corporate overloads have successfully shot down any chance of attaining freedom for software developers

HAVING spent about a decade of my life fighting against software patents, it is just too hard to let the cause go. I sometimes revisit relevant news sites and blogs, hoping to find some relevant coverage, parliamentary action, activism, etc. Over the past year or so this has been a depressing exercise because on people’s lips there’s no longer (or rarely) the goal of eliminating software patents. Companies like Google joined the ranks of IBM and are now hiring patent lawyers, acquiring software patents, and so on. I had warned managers at Google about it and their responses to me were largely defeatist. The SCOTUS, which historically is just a plutocrats’ tool for authorising the plutocrat’s will, continues to support the USPTO’s patent maximalism (the USPTO is headed by corporations such as IBM).

There is no substantial bill seeking to truly reform the patent system and those which exist, including corresponding press coverage, are focusing on trolls, costs, and other side issues. The EFF, which once upon a time promised to fight against software patents, recently hired some more lawyers whose articles on the matter tend to be a waste of time (and whose focus is truly bizarre, misguided at best). Here is one new example, the latest of many that we covered last year:

The Supreme Court heard oral argument today in another patent case, Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. In this case, the Court considers what to do when one party performs some steps of a patented method and another party performs the remaining steps. Specifically, Akamai wants to hold Limelight liable for patent infringement even though its customers perform one of the steps of the patent (i.e. four steps are performed by Limelight, one by the customers). The Federal Circuit had ruled for Akamai and effectively held Limelight responsible for the actions of its customers.

But that’s not the point. The point is, patents like these should be out of scope, it doesn’t matter who performs which action, who pays for litigation, who the plaintiff is, and so forth. Even Red Hat, which takes pride in “Open Source” (not so much in freedom) focuses on “trolls” in this latest post on the topic:

Patent trolling—the aggressive assertion of weak or meritless patent claims by non-practicing entities—is a frequent target of disdain from open source enthusiasts. Thus it may be of some comfort to readers that the highest court in the US has recently decided the issue is worth looking into. Three cases have already been heard, but decisions are, as usual, still a ways off.

When even entities like the EFF and Red Hat waste their efforts (if not hijack the voice of patents opposition) trying to tackle the wrong question it seems clear that activists against software patents (that’s software developers, both free/libre and proprietary) are pretty much alone. We oughtn’t expect corporations, corporate press or even politicians to help our cause. They don’t understand, they don’t care, and if they care, then it’s not because they want to see software patents abolished. IBM is probably one of the worst pretenders; unlike Microsoft, it also tries to convince us that it’s on our side and many people fall for it.

03.12.14

IBM Turns Into More of a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs, Gradual Demise of Real Products

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: IBM turns out to be using software patents in order to make money at the expense of much smaller companies; the threat of software patents resurfaces in India

IBM, the company which promotes software patents in Europe. is reportedly going after relatively small companies (not Sun) with patent demands. Citing this report, an expert in this area (Mullin) says: “Twitter’s first annual financial results were revealed on Thursday. Buried deep in the document is the price it paid IBM after it was confronted with a patent infringement threat by Big Blue: $36 million. Bloomberg was first to highlight the price tag.

“IBM sent a letter to Twitter in November saying it was infringing at least three IBM patents. That resulted in a negotiation that ended up with Twitter getting a license to IBM’s patents, acquiring about 900 of them for itself, and (we now know) paying $36 million.”

Shame on IBM.

Just as the US begins thinking about getting rid of software patents the #1 patent holder in the US (whose former staff headed the USPTO until recently) takes us back in time, demonstrating that IBM (with OIN) is not much different from those patent trolls we keep hearing about (OIN is powerless against trolls as well). Here is a new report about a troll: “Personal Audio LLC has recently become one of the more well-known “patent trolls” due to its broad claims to owning basic podcasting technology. The company has filed lawsuits in East Texas, claiming that its patents on “episodic content” technology, which stem from founder Jim Logan’s failed “Magazines on Tape” business, entitle it to royalties from podcasters large and small.”

How is that so different from what IBM is doing? iophk says: “Burning through the EFF’s scant resources playing whack-a-mole with patent trolls. That won’t do anything to solve the underlying problem which is that of patenting software. Get rid of software patents and the trolls will be gone.”

There is actually a correlation between software patents and trolls, as demonstrated by Mullin some years ago. Many boosters of software patents are also trolls (Microsoft, IBM and Nokia for example) and many trolls are using software patents in litigation (about 70% of the time).

IBM recently laid off many employees in India (we covered this thoroughly) as it’s moving into more of a surveillance business [1,2] (IBM is already a surveillance giant) and considers offloading more of its hardware business [3]. Meanwhile, suggests this new post. the threat of software patents in India is back. Spicy IP says: “The reason why I am limiting the issue only to the term software per se is because of the recent discussions draft guidelines issued by our Patent Office on the topic, and the subsequent discussions on the same.”

The term “software per se” is similar to the phrase “as such” in Europe or even New Zealand. It is a trick. To quote further: “As we know that the term per se did not come into the act directly. It came in on the recommendation of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (“JPC”). The JPC inserted the term to address the patentability of inventions relating to computer programs that may include certain other things that were ‘ancillary thereto’ or ‘developed thereon’. Accordingly, if computer programs per se are not patentable, something that is ancillary thereto or developed thereon is patentable.”

This is bad and it deserves more media attention. Much of the anti-software patents lobby, however, is quiet or defunct now, in part because corporations hijacked the debate and shifted focus to small trolls (not large ones like Microsoft, Nokia, and IBM).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM ‘as a service’ cloud pieces fall into place

    IBM has acquired a bevy of cloud companies and built a Big Blue cloud stack. Here’s a look at the moving parts and how they fit together as IBM moves from hardware to the cloud.

  2. IBM in the Cloud: More Method Than Meets the Eye?
  3. IBM reportedly considering sale of chip manufacturing operations

    IBM is considering a sale of its chip manufacturing operations, the Wall Street Journal reported last night. The company would not stop designing its own chips, however. Just as AMD outsources manufacturing of the chips it designs, IBM “is looking for a buyer for its manufacturing operations, but plans to retain its chip-design capability,” according to the Journal’s source.

03.07.14

IBM Not the Only ‘Sugar Daddy’ of GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Servers at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As IBM declines it is worth remembering that GNU/Linux no longer rests on the shoulders of few giants

LAST month we wrote about IBM's not-so-secret NSA relationships causing massive issues for IBM in China (mostly because the NSA’s secrets have leaked), resulting perhaps in some of the latest layoffs, which now include “up to 25 percent of ‘hardware’ division” [1]. IBM recently sold yet more of its hardware business to China (after it had sold some to Lenovo) and it remains one of the most dominant GNU/Linux players. Its commitment is very real [2] even if self-serving, e.g. for “Watson” PR [3,4] and use of Free/libre/gratis software to sell super-expensive hardware. We oughtn’t treat IBM as an enemy, even if it often lobbies for software patents and spreads proprietary software [5] while looking for volunteers [6]. Famed journalist Cringely, who wrote many damning posts about IBM around 2012 (a series which predicted much of what’s happening to IBM right now), has just published somewhat of a strong-worded criticism of IBM [7] in relation to GNU/Linux.

With or without IBM’s support, GNU/Linux is going to do just fine on servers. OpenStack is massive [8], DigitalOcean (GNU/Linux servers) has just bagged a lot of venture capital money [9], banks and stock markets around the world depend on GNU/Linux servers [10], and the Internet as a whole is predominantly GNU/Linux-based [11] (at all levels, including back-end computational servers [12]). The fiction that IBM is synonymous with Linux or that Linux depends on IBM is about 14 years old and it’s out of date. IDC claims that the servers business is in decline [13] (maybe just better use of virtualisation and GNU/Linux efficiency for automation and provisioning [14]) and the days of UNIX are quickly ebbing away [15], taking away the lustre from UNIX giants like IBM.

The mobile (phone/tablet) interaction with servers will continue to be a top trend — one that IBM failed to forecast or at least capitalise on. What remains of IBM may not be much a decade down the line (it looks somewhat grim), but that oughtn’t be much of a factor as far as GNU/Linux is concerned. Google and Android (with servers and phones) make much of IBM with its mainframes, laptops and office suites/collaboration tools obsolete. Google is far from the only player using GNU/Linux to that effect.

GNU/Linux is the tool of no single company. It’s the foundation of many platforms and the unifying system that becomes ubiquitous (universal).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM laying off up to 25 percent of ‘hardware’ division

    Big Blue confirms it’s commencing workforce cuts, but declines to put a number on the job losses. A source tells CNET the layoffs entail up to 25 percent in the Systems and Technology group.

  2. IBM’s Mike Day: KVM More Visible Through Collaboration

    About a year ago IBM doubled down on its commitment to the open source cloud, announcing that all of its cloud offerings would be built on OpenStack and renewing its investments in KVM, the Linux-based kernel virtual machine. Since then, both projects have undergone major changes, including the move last fall of KVM and the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) to become a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

  3. IBM’s megabrain Watson to make mobe, slab apps smarter? Not so fast
  4. IBM courts mobile developers for Watson platform
  5. IBM Announces BlueMix – The IBM PaaS
  6. Free cloud access to IBM Power servers for Linux Developers

    Free IBM Cloud Platform for developers…yeah, that’s a big deal. That platform being based on the latest IBM POWER7 and POWER7+ processor-based servers running Linux, AIX and IBM i operating systems…very big deal indeed!

  7. pCell is only as good as the Linux it runs on

    Typically with new technologies like this the inventors haven’t thought much about security or they rely on a small installed base to keep the product or service under the radar of the bad guys. But pCell, for all it’s high tech loveliness, is a Software Defined Network proudly running in a data center on plain old Linux servers.

  8. Ubuntu is the most used OS for production OpenStack deployments

    According to an official OpenStack User Survey Ubuntu is the most used Operating System for production deployment of OpenStack. OpenStack is an Open Source project to build a framework for the creation of cloud platforms, predominately Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms. The survey found that Ubuntu accounts for 55% of the host Operating Systems used for OpenStack deployments, CentOS accounts for 24% and Red Hat for 10%. These results are not completely surprising as Canonical invests heavily in Ubuntu’s OpenStack development, it was one of the founding members of The OpenStack Foundation and is a Platinum Sponsor of the foundation.

  9. Linux cloud world’s best kept secret DigitalOcean just bagged $37m

    Cut-price virtual-server hosting biz DigitalOcean has banked a whopping $37.2m from Andreessen Horowitz and other valley investors.

    The mammoth series-A funding round was announced on Thursday and will give the 50-person company the funds it needs to aggressively hire talented developers and expand globally, while keeping its Linux cloud server prices as low as $5 a month.

  10. Three events that moved Linux forward

    Friday evening can be a very busy time in Citibank’s Changi Business Park office in Singapore. Hundreds of mission-critical applications hit the production servers, security patches are applied, hundreds of professionals including developers, systems engineers, Linux gurus, and management professionals spend the whole night on the conference calls ensuring the smooth functioning of servers at this financial giant. The applications that get life over the weekend have monetary value and therefore require robust servers to host them. These servers need to maximize the utilization of the applications and should have the stability to run for a longer period of time without a reboot. These servers should also have the capability to be scaled up as the infrastructure grows. The bottom line: these enterprise level boxes need to be tough.

  11. eWEEK at 30: The Lamp Stack Switches on Large-Scale Web Development

    Linux is the foundational bare-metal operating system on which the stack runs. The Apache web server first came on the scene in 1995 just as global Web use was starting to grow explosively, tracing its roots back to the very first NSCA HTTPd webserver. From April 1996 to the present day, the open-source Apache HTTP Server has held the enviable distinction of being the most widely deployed Web server on the planet.

  12. Big data, cloud boost Linux adoption

    The rise of big data, cloud computing, mobility and social media — what IDC dubs the ‘third platform’ — represents a big opportunity for Linux and open source more broadly, analyst Sally Parker this morning told the SUSE Open Forum in Sydney.

  13. 2013 Global Server Market Continues to Decline

    The server business had a mixed 2013. According to IDC’s fourth quarter 2013 Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, global revenue came in at $14.2 billion, which is a 4.4 percent year-over-year decline. In contrast, analyst firm Gartner reported that fourth quarter server revenues declined by 6.6 percent.

  14. Are your servers pets or cattle?

    Under the old-fashioned “enterprise computing” infrastructure model, servers were given cutesy names like “Cookie,” “Dakota,” “Reagan,” or “Aardvark.” Each server was procured individually and configured by hand (often by several different people). Because each server was configured manually, no two servers were exactly like. Each machine was like a special snowflake.

  15. Watch people explain UNIX in 1982

    If your knowledge of the UNIX operating system is basically the line from the 1993 movie “Jurassic Park” (where Lexie goes, “It’s a UNIX system! I know this!), you might want to brush up a bit more on the subject. Sure, there’s Wikipedia, but if you’re a video fan, you’ll want to check out this film, published today on YouTube by the folks from the AT&T Tech Channel.

02.03.14

USPTO Still a Sham; Microsoft, Apple and IBM Still Part of the Problem and Google/Linux a Common Victim

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Where innovation comes to get burned

Summary: How software conglomerates continue to hammer on Free software and GNU/Linux, adding even hypocritical attempts an antitrust action

The USPTO is still the same sham is has been over the past decade or two. It is designed to serve large corporations and it is even run by some of them. Like the espionage specialist NSA, it is about protectionism for few large companies (oligarchs) at the expense of people in the nation it purports to be serving. This isn’t only unjust; it’s corrupt.

There is no lack of shocking patent news. There’s depressing news out there, including Slashdot‘s coverage of Apple’s creepy patents. A former Microsoft booster from CNET said that a “freshly published Apple patent application envisions the delivery of targeted ads based on your mood, behavior, and other seemingly intangible characteristics.”

Apple then uses its patents to attack Linux with embargoes and Google is trying to catch up (Lenovo gets part of Motorola) by doing rational things, not extortion using software patents but instead reacting with Motorola and OIN-pooled patents (connections with IBM). The thing about IBM is, despite pretending to be pro-FOSS, it continues to promote software patents [1], making the USPTO even worse than before [2] and leaving civil rights groups to clean up the mess [3]. OIN has Oracle as a member and despite that Oracle is suing Google/Android/Linux. Then there are Microsoft-armed proxies/trolls like Vringo and 'Beneficial' 'Innovations' (both suing Google over its core business), which FOSS Force mentioned the other day as follows: “When Beneficial Innovations began taking legal action against websites using Google’s Doubleclick ad technology, the search company took the troll to court for suing their customers. It seems that in 2010 Google had settled with Beneficial and that settlement specifically covered their customers. According to Ars Technica, Google made it easy for the court to find in their favor.”

Microsoft must be really worried about Google because Marissa Mayer threatens to dump Microsoft from search after Microsoft hijacked Yahoo. “Thus the noise about the CEO choices,” wrote iophk. “It buries the real news.” And then there’s this in the news: “A Microsoft-backed lobby group is urging Brussels’ competition chief Joaquin Almunia to open up Google’s latest revised offer of a conciliatory package of tweaks to its search biz to the ad giant’s rivals.

“Earlier this week, it was reported that the European Commission was closing in on a settlement deal with Google that would apparently allow the company to dodge admittance of any wrongdoing and a fine that could be as high as 10 per cent of its annual global turnover.

“Almunia’s office has declined to comment on the claim that it had received a fresh package of concessions from Google to try to end a three-year long antitrust investigation into the multinational’s search business practices in Europe.”

Acually, it was Google that originally complained about Vista diverting users away from Google. Funny how some Microsoft lobbyists and proxies from the most criminal company now attempt to make Google look like the antitrust violator, while adding some patent attacks to Google, both directly and indirectly (through trolls and partners). Microsoft and its proxies also started antitrust complaints against Android, alleging anti-competitive behaviour in operating systems (yes, Microsoft accuses others of that).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft And IBM: If Patent Office Can Do A Quick Review Of Our Crappy Patents, You’ll All Die In A Car Crash

    Last fall, we wrote about how the BSA, the Business Software Alliance, famous for being basically a Microsoft-front organization whose main job is to publish absolutely, hilariously misleading “piracy” numbers each year, had been taking on the issue of the so called “covered business method (CBM) patent” program that was being pushed in patent reform. The covered business method patent program is pretty straightforward. It allows certain types of patents — currently financial patents — to undergo a faster review, allowing the USPTO to dump bad patents faster. Senator Chuck Schumer, who had put the original CBM tool into the last round of patent reform, is now championing expanding it to cover software patents as well. While very heavy lobbying from Microsoft (and some from IBM) convinced the House to drop the plan from its patent reform bill, there’s still a battle in the Senate, and Schumer doesn’t show any interest in giving it up.

  2. Ill-Conceived, Even If Competently Administered: Software Patents, Litigation, and Innovation—A Comment on Graham and Vishnubhakat

    The number of patents has increased dramatically in the past three decades, as has the number of patent-related lawsuits, particularly in the field of software. Industry and academic experts have expressed concern that many of the patents being issued are of low quality. Writing in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Stuart Graham and Saurabh Vishnubhakat have defended the United States Patent and Trademark Office, arguing that the PTO has acted responsibly in issuing patents that are legally valid and that it is handling problems constructively. We accept some of Graham and Vishnubhakat’s defense of the PTO, but argue that the most important issue is not whether the law is being competently administered but whether patent law, particularly as applied to software, is creating patents that are overly broad and ambiguous. We maintain that it is, and that the results are less innovation and more costly and unproductive litigation.

  3. Podcasting “patent troll” fighting EFF wants donors’ names

    Personal Audio LLC is a patent-holding company that became famous (or infamous, depending on one’s point of view) by claiming that it owns things like playlists and podcasts (or “episodic content,” in the words of one Personal Audio patent). Its wild claims led the Electronic Frontier Foundation to raise more than $76,000 from donors to fight the patent.

01.30.14

Almost Nothing Changes With Passage of Hardware Businesses to Lenovo

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, IBM, Microsoft at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Shortly after Lenovo was confirmed to have taken IBM’s x86 server business it is also confirmed that Google’s hardware business is to be devoured by Lenovo

A LOT OF PEOPLE may not remember this, but Google explained that it bought part of Motorola because it could not afford to let Microsoft and Apple (which had reportedly put a bid in) get yet more Android-hostile patents after they got most of Novell’s and all of Nortel’s, among others’ (AOL’s and other smaller companies). Patent stacking is an abusive, obvious collusion against software freedom in this case.

Moreover, as we pointed out before (in our many posts about Motorola), Google automatically inherited a patent case that determines the future of Android. Microsoft later sued Google over patents, simply because Motorola was no longer independent (at least the mobility part).

For Google, using Motorola to produce actual phones was not necessarily a good idea; it would alienate OEMs/partners at OHA, notably Samsung (which started to explore other operating systems like Tizen as an insurance policy). By stopping to explore the hardware side of things, Google would appease some partners, and even some regulators (notably the Chinese regulators, who gave Google a hard time at the time). Rather than develop nothing using Motorola’s skills and facilities, Google should pass the development side to real producers. And Google did the right thing!

Google is now offloading much of Motorola and the substance goes to a giant hardware company [1,2,3]. As Muktware put it, “All’s not lost” because “Lenovo has risen from the ashes to become the biggest pc vendor for a few years running, and we hope that they continue the ingenious path that Motorola has embarked on while under Google’s care. In the mean time, we anxiously wait to see what other crazy ideas Dugan and her team will come up with.”

Lenovo also took another chunk of IBM earlier this month. This demonstrates the “China Rising” trend and there’s not much one can do to resist it (many phones these days are made in Taiwan, mainland China, Korea, and so on). In a way, the news about Motorola and Google means not much will change when it comes to patents and litigation. Google may need those patents to create a strong enough deterrence against the cartel which includes CPTN, Rockstar, Nokia (becoming part of Microsoft), etc.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Google Passes Motorola to Lenovo
  2. Google Keeps ‘Vast Majority’ Of Motorola Mobility Patents In Sale To Lenovo
  3. Google to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $3 billion: Confirmed

    In a strange twist, it has just been reported that Google is set to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for a sum of 3 billion dollars. Google purchased Motorola in 2012 for a sum of 12.5 billion. From the surface, it seems like it’s a loss of 9.5 billion if the deal does go through, but there’s more to it. Lenovo has purchased patents and parts of IBM in the past, and have been linked with a bid for Blackberry among others as recently as last year. This news in particular comes as a major shock to us because Motorola was just turning things around with the Moto X, G and their wide variety of customizations.

01.26.14

IBM Shows That Collaborations With the NSA Are a Company’s Death Knell

Posted in Asia, IBM, Servers at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: China refuses to buy from IBM because of its “special relationship” with the NSA and shortly thereafter China takes over IBM’s server business

IBM recently reported a sharp decline in sales, blaming this on a slump/collapse of contracts with China after the NSA leaks. Perhaps realising that trust is impossible to regain now, IBM, which does not exactly support software freedom on its servers [1], is selling its server business — just like the desktop business — to China [2-4]. It shows the ongoing decline of IBM, which added NSA-oriented extensions such as TPM to Linux-centric agenda. IBM claims to be “hardening the Linux server” these days [5], but historically its agenda inside Linux has been even more dubious than Red Hat's or Intel's because it pushed into Linux (the kernel) software patents agenda and artificial limitations, as we have demonstrated here for years. Linux is used extensively for server security [6], but when Linux itself becomes less secure, then we have a real issue in our hands. Air France now turns to HP [7] — not IBM — for its private server farm needs. Knowing that Boeing is the benefactor of industrial espionage (aided by US diplomats and the NSA), Air France would be wise to dodge IBM. HP has back doors too, but suffice to say, this is less obvious than IBM’s publicly-advertised NSA collusion.

“For many years now IBM has been outsourcing its workforce to India and China and now it’s actually selling parts of its business to the East.”Techrights has historically been friendly towards IBM but also highly critical of the company's patent agenda (lobbying for software patents), marketing tactics, and promotion of freedom- and privacy-infringing technology. The impact of the NSA on IBM is not at doubt [8], and it’s far from negligible [9,10]. For many years now IBM has been outsourcing its workforce to India and China and now it’s actually selling parts of its business to the East. Can clever people in the West (perhaps former IBM workers) outdo IBM by providing a freedom-respecting stack and consulting services around GNU/Linux and Free software? The term FUD comes from IBM, as IBM used these tactics to demonise a former employee who had gone independent with IBM expertise.

At this stage, despite deceiving marketing, IBM needs GNU/Linux and Free software more than GNU/Linux and FOSS need IBM. Recently, the President of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) called IBM a patent troll. IBM can carry on openwashing its business with OpenStack [11,12], Hadoop [13] and so on (even OpenOffice.org), but until it stops serving the NSA, the software patents agenda and various other conflicting interests (causes that harm software freedom and GNU/Linux) we are better off nurturing “true” (as in completely) Free software companies.

Going a few months back (as we mentioned at the time), we have reports such as:

IBM found black budget from the military/surveillance industrial complex too intoxicating to refuse. It sure it alluring to many companies and IBM is no exception; in the 1930 IBM famously did business with the Nazis, helping Hitler’s party profile people (before the data was used for imprisonment and genocide).

For those who did not know about the IBM/NSA relationship, here is a quick wakeup call. It’s not news. It was made known even in the NSA’s Web site. IBM boasted about it. To quote the page about TAPO:

What the Trusted Foundries have to offer:

Accreditation of Trusted Suppliers, with the list available at the DMEA website http://www.dmea.osd.mil/trustedic.html. Potential customers should engage directly with the listed suppliers (except IBM) for all services.
Through TAPO, a contractual relationship with IBM to produce leading-edge microelectronics parts in a trusted environment. IBM maintains world-class facilities in both Vermont and New York, providing a broad range of capabilities to the government in support of the Trusted Foundry contract.

Who can use TAPO services?
Any government-sponsored program can use TAPO to access the IBM Trusted Foundry:

DoD Sponsored Programs may qualify for subsidized pricing on specific MPW runs, provided funding is available.
Other government agencies will need to provide full funding for access.
Contractors working on IR&D projects may access the foundry provided they have a government sponsor.

What services are available?
Through industry partnership at IBM, TAPO offers:

Foundry Services including Multi Project Wafer runs, dedicated prototypes, and production in both high- and low-volume models.
Intellectual Property (IP) development, including standard prepurchased IP.
Packaging and test services.
Custom Logic Service: Cu-08, Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32.

Foundry Services:
TAPO offers several production options in the foundry business area depending on the schedule and the quantity desired. Designs up to the secret level are accepted.

Multi Project Wafer (MPW) Prototyping – MPW prototype runs have multiple designs on a single reticle and are targeted to customers in need of low volume with no production quantities.
Dedicated Prototype is a dedicated single design prototype run that includes the mask build. IBM guarantees a minimum of two wafers will be delivered to the customer.
Production phase produces unlimited chip quantities, following a successful prototype phase.

Custom Logic Services:
TAPO now has a contract in place for IBM’s commercial Custom Logic flow on digital chips. The customer provides a netlist of RTL hand off and IBM will do the physical layout, package, design, and GDSII generation, and provides tested packaged parts. Design submissions are accepted in Cu-08 Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32. IBM’s Custom Logic methodology is also available for classified designs.

Intellectual Property:
TAPO has bought pre-paid access to certain roadmap IP that it makes available to customers on an as-needed basis. A complete list of available IP can be obtained from TAPO. IP orders can also be placed for existing IBM IP, custom IP, and certain non-IBM IP.

No company should brag about working with above-the-law spies who engage in industrial espionage, lists for assassination, political coups, etc. IBM’s affairs with the NSA are not new; what’s news is public disapproval (even inside the US) of the NSA and its actions.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM Stays Committed to the Cloud, But What of OpenStack?

    While there have been questions about IBM’s true commitment to the OpenStack cloud computing platform, the company definitely remains focused on cloud computing. Today IBM announced plans to commit more than $1.2 billion to significantly expand its global cloud footprint. The investment includes a network of cloud centers that clients can apparently leverage, including allowing businesses to run their IT operations in the cloud.

  2. Lenovo Confirms Purchase Of IBM x86 Server Business For £1.4 billion
  3. Lenovo Agrees to Buy IBM Server Business for $2.3 Billion
  4. IBM Sells Server Business to Lenovo for $2.3 Billion
  5. Hardening the Linux server
  6. A10 Networks Debuts Thunder DDoS Hardware

    ACOS is a Linux-based networking operating system.

  7. Air France builds private cloud with HP for Linux server farm

    Air France says it has automated and increased the reliability of its 1,500 Linux servers by deploying a private cloud solution.

    The deployment is based on HP’s Cloud Service Automation (CSA) software to accelerate deployment times for physical and virtual infrastructures.

  8. IBM’s Full Year Revenues Hit by NSA Scandal
  9. IBM Earnings – Don’t Expect Big Blue to Get Out of Its Slump
  10. IBM: At Least 10% Downside To Fair Value
  11. IBM Explains Its Participation on the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors

    Todd Moore, director, IBM Standards and Partnerships, discusses his participation as a member of the OpenStack board of directors.

  12. IBM Optimizes OpenStack Cloud Performance with Scheduler

    In a nod to the need for more efficient resource management for public and private cloud computing, IBM (IBM) has unveiled a new product for its OpenStack platforms. Called the Platform Resource Scheduler, the resource provides a virtualized programmable interface for automating the allocation of cloud resources.

  13. IBM’s Watson Fails To Compute In A World Of Open-Source Hadoop

    IBM has big plans for Watson, but its proprietary, developer-free approach is under-delivering.

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