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Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

Fooled by Microsoft into treating Free/libre software as 'abuse'

Margrethe Vestager



Summary: Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms

Using all sorts of proxies, such as TurboHercules a few years ago in Europe, Microsoft loves to attack the competition at a regulatory level. It even bribes some journalists (or lobbyists in disguise) to produce complementary dirt with with to bamboozle politicians and regulators. This is not new; this is not surprising. This is same old Microsoft. It's an extension of AstroTurfing, which culminates in legal actions.



To quote this article from a few years back [hat tip Will Hill]:

Thomas Vinje, the founder of the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), ... "They have learned how to play the game in Europe," Vinje said of Microsoft, which itself has been the target of antitrust regulators there. Microsoft has invested huge amounts in attacking its rivals, including Oracle and Google as well as IBM, in Brussels in recent years, he said.


A lot of readers must have heard by now about antitrust fire aimed at Google, or more specifically at Android. Google is the wrong target of course; as pointed out in some responses, there are perhaps 1,000 types of Android devices and over "18,000 Android Phone Models in the Wild," according to Google (not exact quote). There's no monopoly here and the code is Free software, so it's not the same as Windows (where only one company controls the source code and controls the end product). As Google can defend itself just fine and we are not some kind of lawyers (having to speak to other non-technical lawyers), we are going to spare the counter arguments for now and instead focus on Microsoft's role in such action (Microsoft loves to hide behind proxies when it attacks Android).

"Using all sorts of proxies, such as TurboHercules a few years ago in Europe, Microsoft loves to attack the competition at a regulatory level."A few days ago we wrote about a couple of lawyers staging action against Android apps in a lawsuit which they portrayed as a public action. Their goal, based on the article, was to push Microsoft apps into Android. They dropped their action only after Microsoft had managed to use patent extortion against Samsung to put Microsoft spyware inside Galaxy devices (the most widely used Android devices) and based on this new report, "Microsoft royalties dispute was settled in February and was swiftly followed by the bundling of Microsoft apps" (i.e. extortion by Microsoft leading to a 'compromise'). The Microsoft-friendly The Verge does not tell the whole story. Microsoft is still a deeply criminal company that attacks Android/Linux and Free software using patents; by using threats of litigation it violates the law. This is clearly a crime based on readings of the RICO Act.

"And the EU concentrates anti-trust action on Google," bemoans Will Hill. This could certainly be used as a timely decoy while Microsoft 'rescues' us from 'evil' Google. Do not forget how Microsoft actively attacks GNU/Linux, as we noted in the following series a month ago:



More extortion from Microsoft, much as we expected, is now going beyond Samsung, confirming what happened with Samsung in February and proving us right all along. Quoting the British press (yesterday): "A new report claims Microsoft hasn't been offering Android device vendors any money to bundle its mobile apps on their phones and slabs; rather, it has offered to reduce the tolls it collects from the mobe-makers.

"Citing sources among supply chain players in China and Taiwan, DigiTimes Research says Redmond has offered to cut its patent licensing fees if Android vendors agree to ship their kit with Microsoft apps preinstalled, including OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, and in some cases Office."

Here is the original report. It says: "According to Digitimes Research's latest findings from Taiwan's and China's smartphone/tablet upstream supply chain, in exchange for hardware players to pre-install its software applications such as Office, OneDrive or Skype onto their Android-based devices, Microsoft is offering them discounts on the patent licensing fees it charges their Android devices."

In less surprising news, which again proves us right all along, Microsoft and Cyanogen officially join forces. "After many rumors claimed that Microsoft would either buy or invest in Cyanogen," says BGR, "the two companies on Thursday confirmed that they’ve formed a strategic partnership." (Cyanogen is confirmed as a Microsoft Trojan horse also elsewhere, so it's not merely a rumour)

So Cyanogen is now a Microsoft proxy. See our previous analysis of it. We got it 100% right, even months in advance. Microsoft is now advancing to yet more victims.

Rupert Murdoch gave money to Cyanogen and his Android-hostile newspaper is now attacking Android using the European probe, invoked to a large degree by Microsoft's proxies network, which had lobbied Europe to launch antitrust action against Android for several years now.

To summarise what we have here, first there is blackmail from Microsoft, which says it "loves" (to extort) Linux. Microsoft is apparently so 'nice' towards Linux that it now seeks to preinstall Microsoft spyware or will sue those who resist, using software patents which it refuses to even name. "And now install our apps on CM and we will extort you less with software patents," said Jesse Bufton. At the same time we have Free software facing antitrust charges due to a lot of Microsoft lobbying, as Glyn Moodt noted. "Part of a long predicted attempt to make free software illegal," wrote Will Hill, "Calling free software cooperation, "dumping"."

Here are some more articles about it [1, 2, 3]. Someone (maybe FSFE representatives) should explain the European regulators what Free software is and how it works. Currently, Microsoft lobbyists and proxies deceive them into the ludicrous idea of Free software 'monopoly'.

Android is eating Microsoft's lunch and getting Microsoft's money (even in money processing machines), so no wonder Microsoft lobbies/begs so hard for the European authorities to harass Android, or by extension Google. Anybody who still thinks that Microsoft has become kinder is clearly not paying attention. Lawsuits by proxy, regulators misled, patent lawsuits etc. are no kindness.

The Mafia says, "do as we say and our "protection money" demands will vanish/decrease" and in very much the same way Microsoft now deals with Android backers. These are the tricks of a cartel, which under RICO Act rules should be considered a crime. If Google's motto was "do no evil", then Microsoft's motto should be "always be evil".

Will Hill remarks on the idea that Microsoft will treat more gently companies that put Microsoft spyware inside Android "They simply won't ruin them today," he stresses, "with lawsuits and breakage in Windows and other Microsoft properties."

As long as Microsoft is connected to (and serves) evil monopolistic/imperialistic apparatuses like the NSA don't expect it to be subjected to laws such as the RICO Act. Microsoft is now just subjected to the law of rule (by surveillance, espionage, back doors etc.), not the rule of law. Microsoft is a political company and like the country it is strongly connected to (staff overlap), it uses blackmail to get its way and always enjoys impunity. Google does not deal with an ordinary company when it competes with Microsoft; antitrust complaints not over privacy but over Free software, and a few other things by extension. This has become a political battle because Microsoft cannot win technical battles.

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