Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft's Racketeering with Patents and Abolition of Software Patents Reexamined

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

--Mark Shuttleworth



Ballmer on patents



Summary: Why Microsoft's "extortion" is a serious offence that mustn't be overlooked; How Free software deals with software patents at present

CHIN Wong from the Philippines is an excellent journalist, but in his latest column he seems to have gotten soft on Microsoft. In writing about Steve Ballmer's potential departure he asserts the following about software patents:



Would you fire Steve Ballmer?



[...]

A US federal appeals court upheld a $290-million judgment against Microsoft Corp. and ordered it to stop selling MS Word unless it removed code that violated the software patent of an obscure Canadian company, i4i, that sued it in Texas and won.

The ruling is ironic, given Microsoft’s use of software patents earlier this year to bludgeon TomTom, a Dutch maker of car navigation systems, into settling over its use of the Linux kernel. Ballmer has bellicosely proclaimed that the kernel violates several Microsoft’s patents and has threatened to sue developers and users alike over its use. The company’s suit against TomTom in February was the first time it tried to enforce these patents against the Linux platform.


The author focuses on the TomTom case but misses the more important point about Microsoft using racketeering tactics, which ought to send people like Steve Ballmer to prison (and bring Bill Gates back to court for crimes that he too had helped commit and initiate).

Over in India, a new article from Shree Lahiri makes the decent proposition that "Freedom of software [should be treated as] our birthright" and he also acknowledges Richard Stallman, crediting him in part for the protests against software patents. Lahiri writes:

Freedom of software is our birthright



[...]

Tracing the history of free software, Abhijit said, "In 1984, Richard Stallman started the Free Software Foundation and spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against both software patents and what he sees as excessive extension of copyright laws."


Speaking of Stallman's contribution to saner law, where are OIN, Linux Foundation and other IBM fronts when it comes to just abolishing software patents? They have other strategies in mind. The FSF and FFII seem to be among very few who are actively committed to the cause. The EFF's squashing strategy and Peer2Patent's gardening or voluntary peer review process are still considered somewhat controversial. Here is a new article from The Register that in some way legitimises software patents for the same reason; by labeling them "good" and "bad" (mostly bad) it tacitly claims that some of these patents are acceptable. OIN very explicitly takes this point of view, whereas for Peer2Patent it is still just implicit.

The best (of the worst) patent claims of 2009



[...]

El Reg is always eager to lap up the sad, eerie, and unusual of the bunch as they fall into our sights. We've gathered up a few of our 2009 favorites published in honor of the year's end.


A patent is a monopoly, based on the words of the head of the USPTO. Schools rhetorically teach that monopolies are harmful to capitalism, so what gives? More importantly, why is there no police involvement when these monopolies are (mis)used for racketeering [1, 2]? To ignore this is to accept that Microsoft is above the law.

"IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different."

--IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Recent Techrights' Posts

Antenna Abuse and Gemini Abuse (Self-hosting Perils)
Perhaps all this junk is a sign of Gemini growing up
Djibouti Enters the Windows "10% Club" (Windows Was 99% in 2010)
In Africa in general Microsoft lost control
[Video] Boston Area Assange Defense (Yesterday)
It was published only hours ago
In Malta, Android/Linux Has Overtaken Microsoft Windows (According to statCounter)
statCounter milestone?
 
Bahamas Joined the "5% Windows" Club
statCounter only traces back about 1 in 20 Web requests to Windows
Links 16/07/2024: Salesforce Layoffs and Microsoft's DMARC Fail
Links for the day
Possibly Worse Than Bribes: US Politicians and Lawmakers Who Are Microsoft Shareholders
They will keep bailing out Microsoft to bail themselves out
The Software Freedom Conservancy Folks Don't Even Believe in Free Speech and They Act As Imposters (Also in the Trademark Arena/Sense)
Software Freedom Conservancy was already establishing a reputation for itself as a G(I)AFAM censor/gatekeeper
GNU/Linux Share Doubled in the United States of America (USA) in the Past 12 Months
Or so says statCounter
Even in North Korea (Democratic People's Republic Of Korea) Google Said to Dominate, Microsoft Around 1%
Google at 93.26%
[Meme] The Red Bait (Embrace... Extinguish)
They set centos on fire, then offer a (de facto) proprietary substitute for a fee
Shooting the Messenger to Spite the Message
segment of a Noam Chomsky talk
Guinea: Windows Down From 99.3% to 2.7% 'Market Share'
Guinea is not a small country
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 15, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, July 15, 2024
What's Meant by "Antenna Abuse" (Gemini)
syndication is not a monopoly in Gemini and if one doesn't condone political censorship, then one can create one's own syndication service/capsule
Microsoft Layoffs and Entire Unit Termination: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
What an announcement to make just before Independence Day
Links 16/07/2024: Old Computer Challenge and One Page Dungeon Contest
Links for the day
Microsoft Falls Further and Closer Towards 10% (Windows "Market Share") in Kuwait
more countries entering the "single-digit Windows" (under 10%) club
Gemini Links 15/07/2024: Antenna's Pro-Hamas Bias Revisited and Old Computer Challenge
Links for the day
[Video] Julian Assange, Over One Decade Ago, Cautioning About What the Internet Had Truly Become
video is not new
Homage to Malta
Malta is probably easy for Microsoft to bribe
IRC at 16
Logging has been used for us and against us
Links 15/07/2024: China’s Economic Problems, Boeing Under Fire
Links for the day
500 Days' Uptime Very Soon
Good luck doing that with Windows...
Windows Falls Below 20% in Tunisia
A month ago we wrote about GNU/Linux in Tunisia
Links 15/07/2024: Google Wants Wiz and Why "Sports Ruin Everything"
Links for the day
Gemini Links 15/07/2024: Old Computer Challenge and Sending Files via NNCP
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 14, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, July 14, 2024
Debian History Harassment & Abuse culture evolution
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Microsoft Windows Down to 23% in Spain
the rate of change is noteworthy
[Meme] It Is Not About Empowerment, It's About Optics for Bigots and Businessmen
Truth hurts
Truth is Always Truth
Desperate efforts to suppress the truth resulted in even worse chaos and some people are going to pay for it
Android Surges to New Highs in Georgia, Windows Plunges to 30% (It Was 99% in 2012)
Until 2012 almost all Web requests there came from Windows
Another Casualty of the 'GAI' Ponzi Scheme: Most of the News Cycle and News Sites
accelerated death of journalism
Empowering Predators Who Fancy Exercising Control Over Women (Using Corporate Money)
Remember this when Google talks about diversity, women etc.
GNU/Linux Continues Its Rapid Growth in July, Today We Look at Belgium
Again, a word of caution: statCounter isn't a perfect yardstick
Links 14/07/2024: Goldman Sachs Says 'Advanced' or 'Generative' Hey Hi (AI) is Just Hype, Thoughts on Negatives
Links for the day
GNOME Foundation Welcomes Dolly
It didn't work out with Molly and Holly
Links 14/07/2024: Perils for AI PC Hype Train, Further Attacks on Freedom of the Press
Links for the day
A Response to Bill Maher's Senseless Attacks on Julian Assange and Wikileaks
published a few hours ago
The List of Sites or Sources for Linux News is Getting Shorter Over Time (Despite GNU and Linux Steadily Growing in Usage)
A lack of publishing begets lack of educated, informed population (a return to Dark Ages where rulers leverage mass ignorance)
The Number of Web Servers Has Gone Down
Cloud fatigue deux?
[Meme] GNOME Foundation's Relationship With Women
Lots more coming soon, so stay tuned
The Smugness of "I'm a Journalist"
Attacking women for expressing their opinions (for example, about the abuse they received) isn't unprecedented
It Takes No Courage to Become Another Corporate Stooge
transition to spam
Why Techrights Has Just Programmatically Blacklisted ZDNet
Even their "Linux" writers are AWOL
Gemini Links 14/07/2024: The Stress of 24/7 Notifications and FOSS tools for Sipeed Tang Nano 1K
Links for the day
Windows Already Down to 10% in Lao (It was 96% a Decade and a Half Ago), Vista 11 Adoption Has Stalled
And GNU/Linux is topping a 1-year high in Loa
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 13, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, July 13, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day