Retarding innovation in the name of profit
Summary: A look at recent developments in the fight against mobile Linux (notably Android these days) and whoever is behind the patent attacks (not always as obvious as people are led to believe)
THERE IS A lot to be said about the impact of software patents on Free (as in freedom) software, such as Linux or Android. Yet another OIN ‘ad’ (among others) has just been published because the OIN turned 10 and decided to start a publicity campaign, approaching journalists and yanking out press releases in a lot of Web sites. The OIN is, in simple terms, a conglomerate of software patent holders, led by lobbyists for software patents (notably IBM). It is trying to make software patents and Free software look mutually compatible, reconciling or ignoring the fact that the two are inherently in conflict. SJVN wrote that “One reason why Linux weathered patent attacks and trolls to become today’s dominant server and cloud operating system is because the Open Invention Network united its supporters into a strong patent consortium.”
No, that’s not the reason. OIN might try to take credit for it, but that’s utter nonsense. Free software and GNU/Linux succeeded despite OIN and software patents. In many ways, Free software and GNU/Linux continue to suffer from software patents and this will be the subject of today’s post.
IBM is not the only company that supports GNU/Linux and software patents at the same time. As patent maximalists remind us right now, other large companies, even in China, are doing this. Consider Xiaomi’s story. “Responding to a question about recent high-profile executive hires,” writes IAM, “Lei said: “Former Qualcomm global senior vice president Wang Xiang joined Xiaomi in July. He’s in charge of our IP. We should be able to make progress in this. Xiaomi pays great attention to innovation. Last year we applied for 2,700 patents. This year’s goal is 4,000.””
This won’t protect them. The matter of fact is, those overall (aggregate) numbers are low compared to the likes of Microsoft, which uses patents to extort GNU/Linux and Android backers like Xiaomi (it’s allegedly, based on numerous recent reports, working on a GNU/Linux laptop, not just Android devices).
Microsoft Versus Android
Microsoft continues to attack Free software using patents. Ewan Spence wrote about this the other day. He is syndicated in some large sites and most prominent was probably this article from Forbes, titled “Microsoft’s Slow Yet Successful Infection Of Android”. Spence is right to claim that “Once more Microsoft has announced an updated patent licensing deal around smartphone technology, and once more a Microsoft deal includes the pre-loading of Microsoft’s productivity software on a smartphone. As more partners come on board, Microsoft’s cloud-based services and applications are becoming more prevalent within the Android platform.”
As we explained at the time, this is not a “patent licensing deal” but an extortion which targets a company from Taiwan, PRC. Microsoft is using blackmail (with patents) to get its way. Spence continued: “The more occasions that users encounter the software, the better the sign-up rate will be for Microsoft. Look back over the last year at Microsoft’s deals and you will find that many of the major manufacturers in the Android space have deals that include bundling Microsoft apps, with Sony, LG, Dell, and a number of other smaller manufacturers all signed up.”
This is a large-scale campaign of extortion and it continues to widen. If it wasn’t for software patents, this probably wouldn’t be possible. China’s government is trying to counter this (e.g. by publishing a secret list of Microsoft patents asserted against Linux/Android), but will this really help shield Chinese giants like Xiaomi and Huawei? It has not protected ZTE.
Speaking of patent attacks on Android, how about patent trolls? How about Microsoft’s troll, Intellectual Ventures? It has been attacking Android backers over their use of Android this year. Such patent bullies obviously help Microsoft against Android while Microsoft says it opposes these (Microsoft is clearly supporting them, even arming them, or at least those that are working for Microsoft or attacking Google, e.g. MOSAID and Vringo).
There is a silent war on Android and Google going on, paralleling Microsoft’s war on privacy.
Apple Versus Android
Several weeks ago the appeals court granted an injunction to Apple, banning some features from Samsung‘s Android phones, which are the world’s best sellers. Here is another take on it, aptly titled “Appeals Court: It Is In The Public’s Interest That Samsung Not Be Allowed To ‘Slide To Unlock’ Devices” (software patents).
To quote TechDirt: “The patent fight between Apple and Samsung has been going on for many years now with Samsung being told to pay a lot of money to Apple. But on one point Apple has been unsuccessful: getting an injunction barring Samsung from offering products for sale that include the “infringing” inventions — such as the concept of “slide to unlock.” I still have trouble understanding how “slide to unlock” could possibly be patentable, but there it is: US Patent 8,046,721 on “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.””
It’s a very simple concept, much like opening a gate that keeps cattle confined. The CAFC (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) is once again helping software patents and Android antagonists like Florian Müller are visibly jubilant [1, 2, 3], even though this lobbyist with history of doing activism against Android (for money) seemingly flip-flops at times and occasionally criticises Apple, though not yet Oracle.
Just remember that Apple uses software patents against Linux. Here is an article titled “Samsung Infringed Apple Software Patent”. It was very big news at the time. Even the BBC covered it, but poorly (too shallow). Britain’s leading technology news site chose the clever headline “Apple VICTORY: Old Samsung phones not sold any more can’t be sold any more”.
What Apple did to Linux with patents in this case is more or less the same as patent trolling, except the size of the plaintiff is a lot larger and there are phones with the “Apple” name/logo on them (even though it’s not Apple that makes them, Apple is not an Asian company and it has no factories of its own).
Watch this space for followups as this legal fight is far from over. Apple won this round [1, 2, 3], but Samsung continues to outsell Apple.
At the end of last month some people were left with the false impression that Google and Microsoft had reached some kind of peace. See this analysis titled “Microsoft: Sacrificing Android Patents Licensing In Favor Of Platform-Agnostic Growth”.
Well, Microsoft is not “Sacrificing Android Patents Licensing”, it still attacks (with software patents) many companies. The Microsoft-Google deal is only applicable to the Motorola litigation; every other company that uses Android is still attacked, sometimes by proxy.
FOSS Force wrote that “[a]lthough it’s certain that some money is exchanging hands in the process — an appeals court in July ruled against Motorola in a case Google was defending — no terms of the agreement have been released.”
This kind of patent ‘peace’ between Microsoft and Google means that Microsoft proxies will do more suing. Android OEMs (not Google) will take the burden of extortion.
There were many articles about this, e.g. [1, 2, 3] and Müller, whom Microsoft had paid for Android FUD, wrote: “There’s nothing in it that would suggest Microsoft made any headway in five years of suing. This one is structurally reminiscent of the second-class settlement Google reached with Apple last year from a position of mutual weakness: neither do Android’s enemies hold patents that would represent a serious threat to the world’s most widely-distributed mobile operating system nor are the patents for which Google bought Motorola powerful enough to force Apple or Microsoft into a cross-license covering the entire Android ecosystem.”
The part that we didn’t like to see reappearing is this: “Microsoft has the industry’s best IP licensing team and is generating billions of dollars per year in Android patent licenses.”
This is not true; nobody has evidence to that Microsoft earns anything this way. It’s a leverage card for extortion and FUD.
BlackBerry Edging Towards Patent Trolling
BlackBerry is moving to Android these days (it won’t admit that its own proprietary operating system is on its death throes yet), but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be using patents to attack competitors who use Android (like Sony does for instance). It is still possible that BlackBerry will become a patent troll based on some recent reports [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], the most principal of which came from Reuters and was titled “BlackBerry CEO sees company patents as key to turnaround strategy”.
BlackBerry’s CEO has spoken of other things too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It may be premature to judge BlackBerry’s future direction, but either way, just like Nokia, it has the potential to do a lot of harm with its patents arm.
What we sorely need right now is a universal (global) end to software patents. Our next post will focus on India’s patent policy and US patent policy we shall cover some time in the coming days. █
Send this to a friend
“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”
–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive
Windows are famously easy to smash
Summary: Security flaws and even blatantly obvious loopholes for surveillance are identified in several of Microsoft’s so-called ‘products’, which turn users (and their data) into the real product (to be sold to private companies or shared with spies)
THOSE who pay close attention to the news (as we typically do) have lost count of the number of Microsoft back doors, affecting a large number of products and vast number of people. The whole spectrum of application has a plethora of ways to take over PCs and intercept messages. That’s not even an accident.
Neel Gupta wrote a month ago about Microsoft and the NSA, including the way this relates to UEFI (remote takeover at hardware level, aided by secret software and keys). Gupta wrote: “As Microsoft Windows has already lost this ‘trust’ through Spams, Blackmails, _NSAKEY, and not fixing critical bugs. So Microsoft changed it’s definition of ‘trust’ in computing: devices with dedicated microprocessor designed to secure the hardware against consumers, and only allow software signed(authorized) by the device manufacturer to run on the device.”
“There is not even a denial that there are back doors and wiretapping (without warrant). They just excuse themselves by saying “law enforcement”.”Curiously enough, based on  (below), Microsoft continues to expose users on the Web, making its use of HTTPS a total sham, almost definitely by design (and intention). When users go to Outlook to read their E-mails things get even worse [2,3]. “Backdoor in Outlook Web Application operates inside target’s firewall,” to quote a Microsoft-friendly writer/publication.
Microsoft ‘privacy’ is a lie, as software like Skype serves to demonstrate. There is not even a denial that there are back doors and wiretapping (without warrant). They just excuse themselves by saying “law enforcement”. The FBI never complains about encryption in Microsoft or Windows because there is none that’s truly effective.
Don’t believe what the media is saying right now about Vista 10 figures (e.g. number of devices or users) because these are lies, as we explained last week (many who tried Vista 10 moved away from it afterwards).
As Gupta’s SAP blog concludes: “Note that Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 are all going down. With the exodus from Windows, if we as SAP don’t create solutions on Linux and Mac/iOS, we will loose customers to those who do.” █
Related/contextual items from the news:
If you think using secure HTTP would be enough to protect your privacy when checking webmail, think again. When users connect to their Microsoft user account page, Outlook.com, or OneDrive.com even when using HTTPS, the connection leaks a unique identifier that can be used to retrieve their name and profile photo in plaintext.
A unique identifier called a CID is exposed because it’s sent as part of a Domain Name Service lookup for the address of the storage server containing profile data and as part of the initiation of an encrypted connection. As a result, it could be used to track users when they connect to services from both computers and mobile devices, possibly even identifying users as their requests leave the Tor anonymizing network.
SECURITY RESEARCHERS FROM Cybereason have sounded a klaxon over a problem with the Microsoft Outlook Web Application (OWA) that could let attackers swoop in and tag and bag data and documents through the use of APT techniques.
Cybereason discovered the bug when a customer with some 19,000 endpoints suspected that it was the victim of infection.
Backdoor in Outlook Web Application operates inside target’s firewall.
Send this to a friend
Credit: unknown (Twitter)
Summary: Reports and patent applications serve to show that Microsoft not only tries to infiltrate (“embrace”) Android to put its apps there (“extend”) but ultimately to delete (“extinguish”) Android
MICROSOFT LOVES LINUX…
Like rabbits love snakes.
Microsoft is open…
Like a bear trap.
Microsoft is still trying to delete Android from Android phones, based on speculations such as this new one, citing a patent application from Microsoft, a company with financial troubles whose last remaining chance may be playing dirty, even blackmailing companies (using patents) into pre-installing Microsoft software. To quote the report:
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a seemingly strange partnership with Xiaomi for beta testing Windows 10 mobile. The company proved that it can easily install a Windows ROM on an Android device, suggesting in the future it might decide to compete against Google this way. Rather than launch new Windows hardware, Microsoft might one day provide just the software that would make possible installing Windows on any Android handset.
Titled User Selectable Operating Systems, a new patent application published a few days ago describes smartphones and tablets that would let users select what operating system to boot.
Microsoft’s technology would let phone makers preinstall multiple operating systems on a device in a compressed form, with the user able to select which operating system he or she would like to boot. For example, a phone could have Windows 10 and Android ROMs – though the patent doesn’t explicitly mention any of them – and users would be able to select which OS they prefer and perform a full install for one of them. There would also be the option of deleting the others.
Microsoft is also using patents against Android, still. CBS continues to spread the sanitised take from Microsoft’s Mouth on the latest example of Microsoft racketeering. Is nobody paying attention to what Microsoft does to Android these days, other than "embrace, extend, extinguish"? ASUS is just the latest victim among several (after Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell).
Microsoft hates Linux, Android, and Free software (especially copyrleft). It feels this way and it shows it every week. It takes a blind man’s wishful thinking to pretend otherwise. █
Send this to a friend
The United Kingdom — and by extension Europe — now a platform of choice for some major patent trolls
Summary: Worst-case scenarios are becoming a reality as Android backers officially attacked by patent trolls using standard-essential patents in London, England
SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS across Europe hate software patents. Ask them. Seriously, just ask them. Programmers in general (with rare exceptions) don’t want software patents; they already have copyright law (or copyleft for Free software). It helps protect them and assert that their own work cannot be exploited/ripped off. That’s just the nature of software, which is a lot like poetry or musical compositions.
The Danish creator of Ruby on Rails (RoR), David Heinemeier Hansson, wrote the other day: “Software patents are a racket used by trolls/BigCos to shake down/stifle competition. If you file for patents, you’re arming the racketeers.”
“Programmers in general (with rare exceptions) don’t want software patents; they already have copyright law (or copyleft for Free software).”As we have shown here before, no software patents are “good”, hence there is no such thing as “bad patents” or “bad software patents” (a term often used by apologists of them, such as IBM). Patents in the hands of “good” companies are not secure either; they can be sold and fall into hostile hands. See Sun and Oracle for example (Sun patents are now being used against Linux/Android). See Novell’s patents, which fell into Microsoft’s hands through CPTN. There are many more examples like that.
“Software patents are a racket used by trolls/BigCos to shake down/stifle competition. If you file for patents, you’re arming the racketeers.”
–David Heinemeier HanssonRoR’s creator, a hugely popular developer (not just in Europe), said a couple of days ago: “Shame on Ericsson for arming a patent troll with a large stockpile of outdated yet weaponized patents for a cut” (he spoke about Unwired Planet).
For those who are not familiar with Ericsson and Unwired Planet, here is an article from 3 days ago. It makes everything quite easy to follow: “Unwired Planet Inc. has 16 employees and no products. What it does have is a portfolio of more than 2,000 patents, mostly acquired from Ericsson AB, which it says on its website are “considered foundational to mobile communications.” The Nevada-based firm wants more than just recognition.”
So a European company, Ericsson, is now the motor of patent trolls, much like Nokia after Microsoft took over. How did this happen? Well, we covered this over the past few years and we warned that this was going to happen, despite software not (officially) being patentable in Europe.
London is now serving as the venue for patent trolls, attracting the litigation ‘business’ just like Eastern Texas. Huge damages are at stake and the target is Free software, not some proprietary software, hence free distribution itself is being threatened. Believe it or not, this may have the same impact on Free software on phones in Europe as the FCC on Free software on routers/hubs in the US. The Ericsson-backed troll is now attacking Android (Free software and Linux-powered). Making it impossible to dodge the lawsuit, we are dealing with standard-essential patents (SEP) here, meaning that in order to conform with standards one must infringe. The patents boosters say that Huawei, Google and Samsung are the target of the lawsuit. To quote: “Tomorrow Unwired Planet is scheduled to begin a series of face-offs against Huawei, Samsung and Google at the Patents Court in London. At issue are alleged infringements of five standard essential patents (SEPs) owned by the NPE that were transferred to it as the result of a deal done with Ericsson back in 2013.
“London is now serving as the venue for patent trolls, attracting the litigation ‘business’ just like Eastern Texas.”“Over on the ARS Technica website, Joe Mullin talks about coming to a UK court being “a high-cost, high-risk scenario that’s unappealing to trolls”. He’s right. And that’s why trolls – whose business model is based on asserting poor-quality patents to leverage the high cost of US patent litigation to extract relatively low-cost, pre-trial, licensing-based settlements from alleged infringers – would never take a case as far as a courtroom in the UK (or anywhere else for that matter).
“Unwired Planet, though, is not a troll. It is a patent licensing business looking to secure a global agreement from entities it believes are infringing high-quality SEPs. It may not like trials (who does?), but it is not afraid of them because it feels it has a good chance of winning and is willing to pay to find out if it is right, especially as the ultimate prize is potentially a collection of eight or even nine figure global licensing deals. Seen in such a light, its choice of the Patents Court in London makes a fair bit of sense.”
The proponents of software patents, people such as IAM's biased (for their own financial gain) writers, helped patent trolls come to Europe. IAM said that “Unwired Planet patent suit in London against Huawei, Google & Samsung again shows Europe is now NPE venue of choice”. Patent Buddy, a more moderate voice, noted the importance of this: “Unwired Planet Will Fight SEP Suit Against Huawei, Google and Samsung in London, Not a US Court” (where this typically takes place).
It’s easy to see what patent lawyers find desirable here. They can make money from the legal aftermath and the proceedings themselves, irrespective of the outcome (who wins). Now that there are some software patents in Europe, authorised by the corrupt EPO, large companies are using loopholes and cheats to get more of them and then sue. As Patently German clarified the other day, “the German court essentially follows the EPO, the language even being a bit more generous” (but it’s the EPO that led to it, even back in Brimelow’s days).
“It’s easy to see what patent lawyers find desirable here. They can make money from the legal aftermath and the proceedings themselves, irrespective of the outcome (who wins).”Germany’s exceptional lenience on software patents granting was mentioned here this morning and it is likely to be a topic we will revisit in the near future. Jonas Bosson (FFII Sweden) wrote that “#TPPA is “all fields of technology” a trick force patents on abstract matters, such as math and data processing? http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Partnership_Agreement …”
These terrible ‘treaties’ play a growing role in corporate takeover of Europe and based on this latest update, “The UK has joined the Unified Patent Court (UPC) protocol agreement, representing a ‘milestone’ for the country.”
Yes, a ‘milestone’ for corporations taking over the country and most of the continent it’s technically a part of.
The FFII’s President expressed his concerns earlier today by stating: “FSF, despite its 30 years, still spending too few of its resources on fighting software patents and the unitary patent court #FSF30″
Australia Dubs It “Innovation Patent System”
This whole software patents and ‘treaties’ chaos (laws rewritten in bulk) is becoming a growing problem not just in Europe but also in Australia, where activists like Sturmfels (mentioned before in [1, 2, 3]) oppose a push for software patents. The patent maximalists ridicule the likes of him with insulting weasel phrases and belittling words. To quote a new blog post titled “‘Free Software’ Advocates Aside, Submissions to IP Australia Overwhelmingly Support Innovation Patent System”:
Needless to say, such comments lack anything resembling either evidence or detailed reasoning. They also fail to address the fact that abolition of innovation patents would affect all industries, and not just the ‘software industry’ (whatever that may be), including those represented by other submissions in support of innovation patents. In any event, these near-identical submissions are so clearly the result of an orchestrated campaign that they can hardly be regarded as constituting independent contributions to the consultation process. Furthermore, they are at odds with the submission made by BSA | The Software Alliance as noted above.
Other parties making submissions in favour of abolition of the innovation system include Melbourne-based free-software advocate Ben Sturmfels, on behalf of a group of nine like-minded individuals, and Open Source Industry Australia Ltd, which argues that ‘abolition of the innovation patent system will be an important first step towards delivering a more efficient, effective and equitable patent regime for Australia’.
Even Microsoft front groups like the Business Software Alliance (BSA) play a role in the lobbying. To quote:
“BSA | The Software Alliance, which represents the global commercial software industry (counting among its members Adobe, Altium, ANSYS, Apple, ARM, Autodesk, AVEVA, Bentley Systems, CA Technologies, Cisco, CNC/Mastercam, DataStax, Dell, Intel, Intuit, Minitab, Oracle, PTC, salesforce.com, Siemens PLM Software, Symantec, Tekla, The MathWorks, and Trend Micro), and which argues that the innovation patent system should be retained, and improved in line with a number of the recommendations in ACIP’s original report”
The above are all proprietary software giants, hardly small businesses. It’s clear whose interests are served by monopolies on algorithms.
IAM Not Speaking for India
IAM is meanwhile returning to the situation in India, claiming that India’s small businesses want software patents (citing this article which doesn’t really focus on patents) and saying in Twitter: “Limited scope of patent protection, rather than cost, is what is driving high-tech Indian SMEs out of the country” (total nonsense).
“Microsoft reportedly lobbies regarding the UPC in Europe, despite being a foreign company with no personal affection for Europe.”The patent lawyers (like the people who operate IAM) want patent trolls and large corporations that hire them to just carry on with patent chaos because patent lawyers profit from it. This is true not only in Europe but also in the US. Watch how IBM is lobbying for software patents in just about every country, India included. The same goes for Microsoft and other patent aggressors. Microsoft reportedly lobbies regarding the UPC in Europe, despite being a foreign company with no personal affection for Europe. Microsoft is not a person. It is also treated like a V.I.P. by the increasingly corruptible (up for sale to corporations) EPO. █
Send this to a friend
A Windows train wreck of unprecedented proportions, despite zero-cost and sometimes forced ‘upgrades’
Summary: In a desperate effort to spread Vista 10, sometimes even against people’s will, Microsoft really upsets loyal customers, who are eventually eager to explore alternatives
THE WORD we often hear on the street* (or online) is that many people whom Microsoft counts as Vista 10 users actually abandoned it and either went back to previous versions of Vista or to another operating system, such as Chrome OS, Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux. Considering how aggressively Microsoft tries to spread Vista 10 — sometimes forcing it on people — Vista 10 is a failure like nothing before it. People inside Microsoft know this, but they won’t publicly admit it.
Microsoft’s problems go well beyond just Vista 10. Microsoft’s extensive products shutdown will result in Windows machines becoming bricks, or unsupported by Microsoft itself. Vista 7, which some people passionately hold on to, has its days numbered. Microsoft is trying to phase out Vista 7 by tacitly forced ‘upgrades’, i.e. transition to worse malware and even spyware (“10″). Genuine users with real names and registered accounts at Microsoft are moaning about Vista 10 bricking their PCs, defying their will, wasting their time, their bandwidth etc. Here are some examples from a thread at Microsoft’s forums:
This new, “great” operating system has ruined my computer. After a short period of time, my computer stops working. Nothing. Not a thing works. I am forced to do hard restarts several times a day. This is terrible. Windows 10 has ruined my computer. I am devastated.
Me too im trying to do a recovery now for 3 hours. This is a crock!!
My Acer 8930G suffered the same problem. I rolled it back to windows 7 and like magic it now performed as smooth as it ever did.
But it has left a legacy.
Microsoft keeps sending updates for a “new Windows 10 installation”, which I do not want; in fact I never need to know anything about Windows 10 EVER.
My machine has now been corrupted again with these upgrades, even though I am still running Windows 7, and it looks like I shall have to restore Windows 7 again.
Can someone tell me how I can prevent Windows Update from sending me unwanted Windows 10 updates because all it does is kill my machine.
Also will Microsoft please take note that updating to Windows 10 is not mandatory, and they should be aware that there are millions of private, enterprise and government users who will not want to touch Windows 10.
Will Microsoft please also consider that universal Windows 7/10 updates are not acceptable because they destabilise Windows 7 machines.
I’m sure Microsoft will get it right eventually, but they must listen to what people are reporting and saying about them, their software and the effect on third party hardware and associated drivers. It makes life so much easier for us all.
There are many more threads like it, but this one comes from Microsoft. The operating system was released very prematurely with many severe bugs and it was designed not to serve users but to serve Microsoft and to give it unjust power over users. Remember the marketing slogan Vista 7 “was my idea”? Well, Vista 10 was likely the idea of Microsoft and the NSA, even judging by the EULA alone. It disregards the needs of actual users.
Our message to the above people: Give a chance to GNU/Linux. It does not cost anything to try and it won’t spy on you. It won’t possibly render the PC dysfunctional. Try a Live CD first and see if you like it. █
* I sometimes speak to Microsoft staff on the street, where eavesdropping is hard or impossible.
Send this to a friend
Summary: The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over
Microsoft is cooking the books (see our reports about Microsoft’s financial manipulations and abuses) and is changing the way it reports financial results to its investors yet again, making year-to-year (or quarter-to-quarter) analyses virtually impossible. Well, after reporting billions in losses in the last quarter one can understand the effort to dodge bad publicity for the second time in a row. The company has just been downgraded by Citigroup.
“As Microsoft continues to fall into the abyss expect it to try to drag the competition down too.”Android and Linux are selling a lot more than Windows, or put another way, newly-sold devices running Linux easily outnumber devices running Windows. Microsoft, which is nowhere outside of the aging x86/Wintel empire, was hoping to disrupt ARM but failed miserably (its products got cancelled). ARM is where Free software tends to thrive (it’s a Linux turf), but Microsoft pretends people need it to certify ARM with Microsoft. What a bizarre infiltration and an effort to enter the “IoT” hype (billions of devices) from the back door…
Speaking of infiltrations, Mesos and Microsoft get even closer right now [1, 2, 3]. Readers may recall that Microsoft is likely to take over Mesos/Mesosphere, based on recent reports. It’s about proprietary software, but it’s being falsely advertised as “open” (openwashing).
As Microsoft continues to fall into the abyss expect it to try to drag the competition down too. It means that Linux in particular ought to watch out. Microsoft is not an ally, not even an ally of convenience. █
“I’m not one of those who think Bill Gates is the devil. I simply suspect that if Microsoft ever met up with the devil, it wouldn’t need an interpreter.”
–InfoWorld Editor Nicholas Petreley
Send this to a friend
Credit: unknown (Twitter)
Summary: A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way
MICROSOFT’S attacks on Linux never stopped. Anyone thinking otherwise must not have paid attention. To make matters worse, Microsoft is manipulating the media into pretending that “Microsoft loves Linux” and that there is “peace”. In this post we are going to share some stories of interest to assure readers that nothing has changed except Microsoft’s rhetoric and some of the attacks have become more discreet.
“The FTC is wrong about antitrust fears over Android,” writes Microsoft's booster Bill Snyder in IDG, summarising it as follows: “Microsoft can’t develop a successful mobile operating system, so it’s making a crybaby case against Google”
If Android (Free software) is an antitrust violation, what does that make proprietary software? Microsoft and its proxies, as we have shown over the years, were behind these complaints. Remember that back in the SCO days, i.e. around 2003-2005, the Microsoft minions (and few others) tried to frame the GPL itself as anti-competitive. They failed, but it took time and cost money. One of the first questions that the FTC must tackle here is, who is behind the complaints? They may find that it’s little more than a Turf War. (Mis)Using Feds as pawns in the battle (a Turf War), as in using the government to derail one’s competition (even Free software), should be a crime. It is a waste of resources. When the media claims that Microsoft and Google now have “peace” (on patents) be sure to reminder the reporters of what Microsoft has done to cause Google (and Android) antitrust trouble. It is very well documented and we wrote over a dozen articles touching on this subject alone.
“Tell Mary Jo Foley that this is not a “deal” but an extortion.”As we noted the other day (and many people read this article, some news sites even linked to our analysis), Microsoft under Nadella is no different from Microsoft under Ballmer, at least when it comes to patents. The monopolist, under Nadella specifically, has already attacked Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell (over Linux/Android). Where is the love? Does Microsoft have patent peace with Android now? No, of course not. There is no peace even with Google, there is just a settlement in the Motorola case. Microsoft is leaving Motorola aside and is just attacking the OEMs instead, continuing with this latest assault on ASUS. Microsoft is still blackmailing companies, using patents, into bundling Microsoft spyware with non-standards (lock-in). This is extortion. Tell Mary Jo Foley that this is not a “deal” but an extortion. Tell this to others who believed that we have a ‘peace’ for our time after Google and Microsoft reached one settlement (regarding Motorola).
Android is being infiltrated by Microsoft now. It wouldn’t have worked without patent extortion. As Microsoft’s Mouth (Mary Jo Foley) put it: “As nearly two-dozen Android, Chrome OS and Linux vendors are doing, ASUS seemingly is licensing Microsoft’s patents to cover anything that is in those operating systems which potentially infringes on Microsoft’s intellectual property.
“But ASUS also is agreeing, as part of the deal announced today, to pre-install unspecified Microsoft “productivity services” on Android smartphones and tablets. When I asked, a Microsoft spokesperson said the services included the Microsoft Office suite.”
“Patents are being used for leverage.”So Microsoft is embracing and taking over Android inside ASUS. Remember the ASUS EEE? It used to run GNU/Linux before Microsoft intervened. Microsoft calls it EEE, which also stands for “embrace, extend, extinguish” — Microsoft's currently principal strategy against Android. Mark Hachman chose the headline “Microsoft strikes a deal with Asus: We won’t sue if you put Office on your Android devices” (we fought for years against it, starting with the Microsoft/Novell deal). Untimately what we are seeing it is a strategy that first became publicly known after Microsoft had done this to Samsung (earlier this year). Threatening to sue companies if they don’t serve Microsoft’s agenda is not a new strategy even when it comes to GNU/Linux as a whole, Android set aside. See the Microsoft/Novell deal (2006). Patents are being used for leverage.
The media has hardly covered this scandal. Reuters is busy writing about the Microsoft/Google settlement and Microsoft propagandists are everywhere to be seen. Why does ECT, for example, keep quoting its occasional writer Rob Enderle as an ‘expert’ regarding Microsoft, which paid him for Linux FUD? It’s gross. ETC talks about “Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.” It’s a one-man group and he gets paid by ECT and Microsoft. Why is he approached for his views on Android and Google? Do they think the readers are this dumb? Here is some promotional Microsoft messaging found therein: “There’s strong, scientifically verifiable evidence indicating Microsoft’s move to join the rest of the tech world in open source and collaboration was propelled by a compelling force: the Nadella effect. While tech analysts and reporters had fun with CEO Satya Nadella’s odd “cloud first, mobile first” mantra last summer, his much less concise — yet more encouraging — message has been one of collaboration, and meeting consumers on their terms. For example, Microsoft pushed Office 365 to all major platforms.”
ECT quoted Enderle not just once but at least twice last week, in both cases regarding Linux matters, e.g. in this article titled “Microsoft Pushes Deeper Into Linux, Containers, IoT”. In it, ECT asks Hilwa, who used to work for Microsoft, about Microsoft and Linux (no disclosure in the article about his Microsoft background). Rob Enderle, who also worked for ECT and is notoriously close to Microsoft, is simply described by ECT as “Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”
“Rob Enderle, who also worked for ECT and is notoriously close to Microsoft, is simply described by ECT as “Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.””What a sham. Richard Adhikari basically interviews Microsoft moles regarding Linux when he’s not busy writing his lots of anti-Android articles (usually regarding security). Al Hilwa and Rob Enderle being his “sources” tells us a lot more about him, perhaps his agenda too. Well, to be fair and to give him the benefit of the doubt here, quite often when it comes to so-called ‘analysts’, everywhere you look it’s proprietary software (e.g. Microsoft) and its minions. Even Dana Blankenhorn, who used to cover Open Source for ZDNet (sometimes being an apologist for Microsoft), has just said in the financial press that “Microsoft has stopped fighting with open source” .
Well, that is complete and utter nonsense. It didn’t stop, Microsoft still does all sorts of things to both Linux and Android. Other financial press says that Microsoft “has finally succumbed to the free OS Linux” because Microsoft copies Linux code, raising all sorts of GPL-related questions and potential issues [1, 2].
the bottom line is, don’t believe for even a second that Microsoft is some gentle aging giant. It’s a vicious abusive monopolist, as its actions against Android (in particular Android because of the platform’s market share) continue to demonstrate. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%
Developers from Microsoft privately told me that Microsoft wants to keep Vista 10 figures secret. Why? Because it’s embarrassing. If people knew the truth, it would be damaging to Microsoft’s business and stock. Our Vista 10 Wiki page has been accessed more than 10,000 times since the release of the operating system, so there is clearly a thirst for real facts, not marketing, regarding Vista 10.
Boosters of Microsoft are now working quite hard (maybe overtime) to change perceptions about Vista 10 adoption rates. Microsoft Emil (Emil Protalinski) uses data from Microsoft’s partner in order to make Vista 10 look bigger than it is whilst also making fun of GNU/Linux, with the snide remark “Linux finally passes Windows Vista” (right there in the headline!).
“I’ve read the article,” told me this one person, “and the guy belittles Linux, saying now it surpassed Vista… What a moron.” Well, he is a longtime Microsoft booster, a predecessor of Microsoft Peter at the increasingly Microsoft-leaning Condé Nast (Microsoft literally pays them for this). Microsoft Emil isn’t being honest; he may be trying reinforce the myth of Linux as a failure, despite Android, Red Hat, etc. Recall what Microsoft said in internal evangelism documents
[PDF]: “Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” 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. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”
There is generally a lot of Vista 10 propaganda right now, always citing Microsoft-linked data and usually coming from Microsoft-linked people, e.g. from Lance Whitney, who used to work for a Microsoft publisher before joining CNET, i.e. CBS. Well, he does the same as Emil, using the same disgraced firm with its biased data.
Gregg Keizer too cites Net Applications, despite his history being somewhat sceptical of Microsoft. Does he know that Net Applications is not a reliable source of web statistics? It’s biased by selection (e.g. of sites to sample from) and linked closely to Microsoft (with Microsoft's money on the table), even in the staff sense. Watch their list of clients and list of staff. A familiar ploy?
A sort of ‘broken telephone’ effect passed this message to a lot of sites yesterday [1, 2, 3, 4], leaving people with the false impression that Vista 10 experienced decent growth/adoption.
Microsoft boosters like Bogdan Popa, Microsoft affiliates like Wayne Williams, and Microsoft advocacy sites like WinBeta are doing what is effectively marketing, not journalism, always citing data from the same Microsoft-connected firm. That’s like asking a Red Hat partner and citing it regarding server share of RHEL (worldwide). It’s a mockery of the very notion of journalism.
Vista 10 market share is vastly smaller than reported right now by many sites, all of which link to a Microsoft-connected firm, except perhaps Gregg Keizer’s colleague from IDG. He wrote that “Windows 10 uptake is falling back to earth after an explosive first month.”
Well, it wasn’t explosive at all, it was virtually force-fed with a zero-cost claim and despite that, it still has shown little progress. Judging by our logs at Techrights, Vista 10 now has a market share of 1.01%. Judging by our logs at Tux Machines, Vista 10 now has a market share of 0.201%. These logs of course aren’t being shared with villaneous companies like Net Applications, which probably sample lots of sites that attract Windows users. GNU/Linux is a privacy-respecting niche and sites that welcome many GNU/Linux users probably hardly spy on their visitors (log sharing practices), or have the GNU/Linux clients masked at the visitors’ request (think of DoNotTrack for instance). █
Send this to a friend
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »