Bonum Certa Men Certa

Ballmer: Android “Just a Press Release”

From: RonB Date: Monday 14 Nov 2011 08:32:01 Groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy



File this oldie under arrogance and Microsoft's lack of foresight (once again). This news story is from four years ago (Microsoft doesn't produce very high quality prophets).

~~ Google Android Just a Press Release, Says Ballmer

Google's plans to enter the mobile industry with a cell phone platform might have impressed many in the industry but not Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft and one of Google's biggest competitors. ...

"Well of course their efforts are just some words on paper right now, it's hard to do a very clear comparison [with Windows Mobile]," he said.

Ballmer went on to note the successes that his company has had with its Windows Mobile platform, which commands a sizeable share of the smartphone market, especially in North America. He said Windows Mobile is on 150 different handsets and is available from over 100 different mobile operators. He added that Microsoft will likely license 20 million Windows Mobile handsets this year.

"So we have great momentum, we've brought our Windows Mobile 6 software to market, we're driving forward on our future releases and we'll have to see what Google does," said Ballmer. "Right now they have a press release, we have many, many millions of customers, great software, many hardware devices and they're welcome in our world." ~~ http://tinyurl.com/yqtslg

This excerpt is linked in a Barnes & Noble letter to James J. Tierney, Chief, Networks and Technology Enforcement Section Antitrust Division, United States Department of Justice.

Groklaw has provided several of these letters from Barnes & Noble, dating back to March of this year. If you want to see Microsoft extortion thuggery in detail, I would suggest your read these letters. You can also see why Microsoft demands non-disclosure agreements before detailing their extortion. Fortunately Barnes & Noble told them where they could shove their "NDA."

I think it's notable that Microsoft, when first discussing their patents with Barnes & Noble, asserted six patents (all trivial). When they actually sued Barnes & Noble, they used five patents, but four of these were not discussed earlier. In other words, apparently admitting the triviality of five of the first six patents, they came up four other trivial patents, while only keeping one of the original six. In other words, they're employing a scattergun approach, they're standing in quicksand. They have no real cause for suing, except for extortion. Now everyone can see how baseless their patent extortion campaign against Android (and other Linux distributions) really is.

I think this quote (from a letter written by lawyers representing Barnes & Noble to the Justice Department on Oct 17th) puts it all in perspective.

~~ Microsoft's attempts to direct how others enforce their patents are part of Microsoft's strategy of attempting to maintain its monopoly in PC operating systems by controlling and dominating the Android operating system. Android, which Google gives away for free, threatens Microsoft's traditional business model of licensing its proprietary operating system because OEMs no longer need to pay for a high-quality operating system. In addition, the open source Android operating system is superior to Microsoft's proprietary products. For those reasons, Android threatens Microsoft's core business. Application-rich Android devices such as tablets and smartphones now perform many of the functions once reserved for PCs, a trend that will reduce demand for PCs and PC operating systems, where Microsoft's Windows enjoys a powerful monopoly. Moreover, as operating systems such as Android become more popular, Android will become a viable candidate for adaptation to PCs, putting Android (and its companion, Chrome) into direct competition with Windows. Moreover, Microsoft has announced plans to run its flagship Windows operating system on tablets, and the popularity of Android-based tablets threatens the dominance of Windows.

In response to these competitive threats, Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices. Microsoft demands exorbitant licensing fees (similar to the fee for the entire Windows Phone 7 operating system) and imposes licensing conditions that restrict manufacturers' abilities to upgrade and improve their products with features consumers want. Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals' costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.

Microsoft's arrangement with MOSAID and Nokia, in conjunction with its improper use of its own patents, is causing and will continue to cause serious harm to competition. Microsoft's conduct will raise costs to consumers, reduce the quality of popular goods, and impede innovation in a technology-rich market. Microsoft's conduct poses serious antitrust concerns and warrants further exploration by the Department of Justice. ~~ http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2011111122291296

That's it in a nutshell.

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