08.28.08

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Another Reason to Avoid Samsung, Microsoft and Nikon Engage in Patents Affair

Posted in Fraud, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Samsung at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This Web site is called “Boycott Novell”, but we actually address a problem that has mushroomed since the Novell/Microsoft deal was signed. Novell is merely a first betrayal among a bunch.

Samsung is one among several Asian companies that manufacture/design electronics and also signed a patent deal with Microsoft. Samsung’s deal explicitly involved Linux. Among other issues with Samsung, there’s Mono on devices and outright corruption [1, 2, 3, 4]. But here is another new reason: [credit to an anonymous reader who pointed this out]

I just came from a presentation purported to be about a stackable filesystem from Samsung called SynergyFS. The talk was more of a hardware sales pitch with no technical details, and technology that “can’t be released under the GPL because if we give it to you you can give it to anyone else.”

Samsung definitely doesn’t get Linux and Open Source and deserves to remain on the “to avoid” list when purchasing new hardware.

Just last night, the following new cross-licensing deal was also signed by Nikon, which like several others in the far east, is going to pay Microsoft for the ‘privilege’ to make use of some knowledge. The consumer if paying addtional ‘tax’ to Microsoft when a camera, for example, is purchased.

Microsoft and Nikon have signed a cross-licensing deal that gives each company access to the other’s patents.
The deal is one of a growing list from Microsoft, which has been seeking to establish the heft and significance of its intellectual property effort.

Detailed terms of the Nikon deal weren’t disclosed, but the companies said Nikon is compensating Microsoft through the alliance.

So, Microsoft’s new business model is intellectual monopolies now that sales are dropping. Fortunately, Nikon does not appear like a GNU/Linux-oriented company, so this deal may be almost harmless to Free software.

This new deal is particularly interesting in light of this news from earlier this month.

Nikon exits Microsoft photo contest

Nikon has withdrawn its support for a photography contest hosted by computer giant Microsoft after a row over potential copyright infringement.

[...]

In a statement issued to Pro Imaging, Microsoft said: ‘We have since taken steps to obtain the rights to use every image to be featured in the subsequent stages of the Iconic Britain competition.’

Shortly afterwards came this:

Microsoft has always been rather strident on the topic of copyright infringement, as you may have noticed, which makes tale of its “Iconic Britain” photo contest all the more astonishing.

The competition was designed as part of the marketing campaign around Windows Live Image Search, with Nikon as the prize partner. Unlike most photographic competitions, which tend to involve photographers submitting their own work (crazy, I know), this one invited entrants to search for other people’s online pictures, then submit the ones they felt were iconic British stuff, in the hope of winning a Nikon camera. As for the photographers themselves, they get nada–not even a link-back to their site or a credit of their name. photos

Spotted the problem yet?

Only a fortnight ago, Tim Bray complained about Nikon, accusing them of lock-in servitude for Microsoft.

So, if I want to watch the Olympics online, I need to install Microsoft Silverlight. And if I’m interested in good-looking new high-end compact cameras, I’m super-interested in the new Nikon P6000; which writes a RAW format that can only be read by Microsoft WIC, available only on Windows.

Open, non-proprietary equivalents to all of these, which do not constrain your customers’ choice of platform, are widely available.

Nikon is a competent camera company. The IOC is a competent sports impresario. The Chinese government is a competent authoritarian dictatorship. Pity they’re all so fucking stupid about technology.

What exactly is going on between Microsoft and Nikon? Clues might emerge in the future, hopefully. Companies don’t have friends; they have interests. It’s not unusual for companies to liaise for creation of lock-in.

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A Single Comment

  1. Max said,

    August 29, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Dang! I got a Samsung music player, ironically, because it played OGG Vorbis files! I should get a Rockbox player next time…

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