08.05.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Microsoft Extorts Salesforce: Salesforce to Make Sales, Microsoft to Make the Money

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Servers at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft ripoff logo

Summary: Another timely lesson about the harms of software patents, which help Microsoft extort its rivals without ever taking them to court and having the patents tested

SOFTWARE patents are a nasty thing. In fact, over in Australia (and now in Slashdot) Ben Sturmfels works towards abolishment of software patents (for background see [1, 2, 3]). This is important because of precedence. In light of this heroic Australian action, OStatic brings up Sun’s Schwartz’ testimony about Microsoft extortion from Gates and Ballmer.

Schwartz goes on to detail a meeting he was in with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer from Microsoft, in which Gates allegedly “skipped the small talk” and said: “Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.”

The move by Australian software leaders to abolish patents seems a little over the top. Some ideas scream out for patents, and many software titans have been built on fairly patented software. Still, if anyone has any question that software patents get exploited, Schwartz’s post called “What I Couldn’t Say” is worth rereading.

Microsoft racketeering with software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] recently hit Salesforce, which Microsoft sued with software patents for no apparent reason other than greed (it was sued by Salesforce in return). Salesforce uses GNU/Linux just about everywhere, at least on the server side. According to this press release from Microsoft, Salesforce allowed Microsoft to have itself extorted. Yes, Microsoft has once again successfully extorted using software patents and Mary Jo Foley says that ‘[w]hile the terms of the agreement aren’t being disclosed “Microsoft is being compensated by Salesforce.com”.’

The press calls it a “settlement”, but it doesn’t quite capture the fact that Microsoft is being paid a ‘patent tax’ by Salesforce (it’s the same with TomTom, which shows Microsoft becoming a Linux-sucking leech). From the Wall Street Journal:

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM) announced Wednesday a settlement to their patent suits against one another, ending a three-month tussle the two software companies had over various software patents.

More on this racketeering:

In other news, a ‘company’ (patent troll) that sued Microsoft for patent violations didn’t get its way.

It is possible that Salesforce would have won against Microsoft in court, but litigation is expensive. By issuing threats/lawsuits Microsoft has managed to turn Salesforce into a cash cow, using just a few papers with the USPTO’s rubber stamp.

Software patents need to die because they destroy the software industry and only empower monopolies.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

12 Comments

  1. Florian Mueller said,

    August 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Gravatar

    My position on software patents is still the same, but concerning the way they are used, I think this here isn’t the worst-case scenario. In fact, it would be great news if the different companies against whom IBM holds certain mainframe-related IPRs could also get a license deal and then grow their business — but IBM, unlike Microsoft, doesn’t allow competitors to do that unless, hopefully, forced by regulators to grant licenses on FRAND terms.

    If IBM could content itself with being only what you, Roy, call a “leech”, that would be a fundamental improvement.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    IBM leeches a lot using patents. Last time I checked, they make about a billion dollars per year just from patent tax (and Phelps had a role in it).

    twitter Reply:

    RAND is not acceptable either, especially the way Microsoft wields it. In fact, RAND is a propaganda term that should be avoided.

    … It is true that these licenses do not discriminate against any specific person, but they do discriminate against the free software community, and that makes them unreasonable. Thus, half of the term “RAND” is deceptive and the other half is prejudiced. Standards bodies should recognize that these licenses are discriminatory, and drop the use of the term “reasonable and non-discriminatory” or “RAND” to describe them. Until they do so, writers who do not wish to join in the whitewashing would do well to reject that term. To accept and use it merely because patent-wielding companies have made it widespread is to let those companies dictate the views you express.

    If you care about your sanity, privacy, software freedom and other basic rights dependent on a free computer/network you might also replace Windows 7 with GNU/Linux or other free software. Either way, you should not pretend that there is anything fair or reasonable about software patents.

    twitter Reply:

    It is difficult to reconcile Florian’s thoughts. I just noticed where he says,

    I’d only be concerned if someone suspected me of supporting an agenda that is anticompetitive and harms innovation … [and] In particular, I don’t want software patents to hurt either category [free or non free]. More importantly, I want FOSS to put competitive pressure on everyone because that will ensure that I also get to buy high-quality proprietary software at reasonable prices. I believe in choice.

    The FSF has made a reasonable case that fee only licensing that Florian advocates as “RAND” always discriminates against free software. The news about Salesforce demonstrates that damage is also done to non free software, thereby reducing the “choice” Florian seem to value over his freedom. Florian’s “Focus” on IBM, Groklaw and other organizations on the Microsoft hit list is looking harder to justify in reasonable terms. An honest person with his goals has to conclude that software patents are always bad and work to eliminate them rather than selectively chase offenses.

    twitter Reply:

    ack bad formatting. the passage above should have Florian’s statement clearly quoted:

    “I’d only be concerned if someone suspected me of supporting an agenda that is anticompetitive and harms innovation … [and] In particular, I don’t want software patents to hurt either category [free or non free]. More importantly, I want FOSS to put competitive pressure on everyone because that will ensure that I also get to buy high-quality proprietary software at reasonable prices. I believe in choice.”

    This should be obvious to anyone who follows the link provided.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Well, Florian is against software patents, but I don’t agree with his approach (respectfully). It was earlier that I found this submission about Salesforce. He still uses Slashdot to slant stories and push his agenda. Florian is spreading FUD against GNU/Linux in this case, because the deal/settlement is not about Linux. the FFII called it “‘Linux tax’ troll post”, which is funny because the FFII is in some way a succession of Florian’s work (it just took his campaign a few years ago) and here it is labelling Florian’s submission “troll”.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    For the sake of accuracy:

    The FFII started the fight against software patents long before me. I became aware of the problem in the EU because of the FFII. I later handed my NoSoftwarePatents campaign to them, but still, they’re not just a succession of my work.

    Concerning the fact that Salesforce recognized a need to pay royalties for patents that read on Linux, we discussed that on Twitter yesterday and I believe that my interpretation is right.

    It’s not about FUD.

    The FFII Twitter account is used by multiple people. The most likely one to say that kind of thing about me there is “arebenti”. He’s been against my work all along, going back to the year 2004.

    I’ve mentioned the Salesforce deal in my most recent blog posting (on Microsoft’s use of patents):
    http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2010/08/microsofts-use-of-patents.html

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Defending Microsoft’s patent extortion is delusional at best. I will post a quick rebuttal later.

    Notice that IBM did not sue anyone and it actually gives lists of patents when inquired (Microsoft didn’t when it comes to Linux, which it sued through companies).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    @twitter I don’t have a hit list based on who competes with Microsoft but based on my priority focus on exclusionary use (and, as a #2 topic, hypocrisy).

    twitter Reply:

    Please do not misscharacterize what I say, Florian. I do not know if you have a hit list to match the lists of journalists and websites you publish to, but I can say Microsoft does. Microsoft email exposed in court show that Microsoft’s hit list is basically the rest of the world with resources focused on key areas through programs like EDGI, Comphot and many, specialized lobbying groups. Tim Bray, Peter Guttman, Peter Quinn, Richard Stallman and PJ can also tell you that Microsoft’s hit list can be very personal.

    In your latest blog post you summarize your strained defense of Microsoft’s patent extortion,

    Microsoft doesn’t use its patents in a destructive way. They don’t just sit on their patents without doing nothing, but they’re a cooperative right holder who doesn’t use them to shut out competition.

    This opinion is not supported by Microsoft’s private letters and public statements about their schemes to exclude and destroy free software.

    Confronted with facts, you and fellow patent supporters have turned to smears. You had the nerve to republish nonsense from Forbes claiming that Groklaw and the FSF are corporate stooges. You then attempt to smear Roy by linking to Dana’s article that makes fun of you calling PJ an IBM troll. Dana is also a patent supporter and his comparison of your charges and Roy’s do Roy a great disservice. Roy’s assertion that your efforts serve Microsoft’s interests is reasonable and well supported. People who defend the indefensible always dip to the personal level because the facts do not support what they would like to prove.

    The threat Microsoft poses to free software can not be judged one issue at a time any more than their actions occur in isolation. Microsoft’s legal, technical, and social attack on the rest of the world, particularly free software, must be judged as a whole. Together, these things make Microsoft the primary threat to free software outside of the general decline of democracy in the Western world. Microsoft is a failing company but it is still a dangerous one. It should be noted that Microsoft and partners are chief collaborators with Communist China and are happy to see network and software freedom removed elsewhere too.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    PJ has some questions for Florian now.

  2. twitter said,

    August 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Gravatar

    PJ also covers Eban Moglen’s keynot at LibrePlanet 2010, where he talks about forming alliances with companies that depend on and contribute to free software.

    We need to think about the grand strategy of our continued forceful campaigning for free as in freedom. But we also need to be extremely aware of the extent to which we can now capitalize upon the achievements we have already set up and the alliances with forces not necessarily concerned with freedom that our technological sophistication has brought to them. … Microsoft will continue to attempt to get paid for what we do, by forcing people — or quasi-forcing people through intimidatory conduct — to take patent licenses to run our software….If we are to quell this nuisance we can only do so in cooperation with others who see clearly that this is a threat to the welfare of their customers.

    This is quite a relevant topic. The trouble people some people are making for Microsoft competitors who are also natural free software allies is right in line with Microsoft’s usual divisive policies. I see above even some of the usual BSD vrs GPL trolls. None of us should surrender our software freedom to any company, but we can encourage companies like IBM, Google and others that are not outright hostile to software freedom to continue their genuine march toward software freedom. Convicted felon, Microsoft, should never be trusted or paid because they are the worst of the exploiters. I look forward to a company ranking page similar to the FSF software license explanation page.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 15, 2021



  2. Links 16/10/2021: Xubuntu 21.10 and DearPyGui 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  3. DuckDuckGo’s HQ is Smaller Than My Apartment

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  4. Post About Whether Vivaldi is a GPL violation Was Quietly Knifed by the Mods of /r/uBlockOrigin in Reddit

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Spain

    The EPO‘s António Campinos is an ‘Academy’ of overt nepotism; what Benoît Battistelli did mostly in France Campinos does in Spain and Portugal, severely harming the international image of these countries



  6. From Competitive (Top-Level, High-Calibre, Well-Paid) Jobs to 2,000 Euros a Month -- How the EPO is Becoming a Sweatshop by Patent Examiners' Standards

    A longish video about the dreadful situation at the EPO, where staff is being ‘robbed’ and EPO funds get funnelled into some dodgy stock market investments (a clear violation of the institution’s charter)



  7. [Meme] Protecting European Patent Courts From EPO 'Mafia'

    With flagrant disregard for court rulings (or workarounds to dodge actual compliance) it seems clear that today's EPO management is allergic to justice and to judges; European Patents perish at unprecedented levels in national European courts and it should be kept that way



  8. Links 15/10/2021: Pine64's New PinePhone Pro and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Codename

    Links for the day



  9. [Meme] GitHub Isn't Free Hosting, It's All About Control by Microsoft

    Deleting GitHub isn’t a political statement but a pragmatic decision, seeing how Microsoft routinely misuses its control over GitHub to manipulate the market



  10. With EPO 'Strike Regulations' Belatedly Ruled Unlawful, EPO Management May be Lowering the Salary Even Further by Introducing Outside 'Temps' or Casual Workers

    Institutional capture by an 'IP' (litigation) Mafia is nearly complete; with illegal so-called (anti) 'Strike Regulations' out the door, they're quickly moving on to another plan, or so it seems on the surface



  11. Links 15/10/2021: 95% of Ransomware Targets Windows

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 14, 2021



  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection

    The EPO‘s presidency (led by Frenchmen for nearly 15 years out of the past 18 years; Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are both French despite their somewhat misleading surnames) is extremely unlikely to even be mildly scrutinised by the French delegates because of a web of nepotism and protectionism



  14. [Meme] Another Maladministration Meeting Comes to an End

    Did the EPO‘s overseeing body properly tackle Benoît Battistelli‘s illegal acts, authorised by that very same overseeing body? Don’t hold your breath as António Campinos continues to crack down on staff (maybe ILOAT will rule on it in 2030)



  15. Links 14/10/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.2, Happy Birthday to Jolla, Ubuntu 21.10, Devuan GNU+Linux 4.0, OpenBSD 7.0

    Links for the day



  16. [Teaser] What Miguel de Icaza Really Thinks of the CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Following the opening of a new series about Microsoft GitHub we drop a little teaser today; we expect dozens of parts to be released in the coming weeks/months as facts are being validated and organised



  17. Splitting the Time to Cover More Leaks and Exposés

    We take stock of Part 11 of the ongoing EPO series (“EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion”) and explain what caused various delays yesterday; we may have to up our pace a little in order to keep up with an influx of leaks and whistleblowers



  18. [Meme] Destroying the Workplace

    The working conditions at the EPO continue to worsen under the António Campinos regime, perpetuating the decade-long 'demolition project' of Benoît Battistelli and his cohorts in the complicit Administrative CouncilThe working conditions at the EPO continue to worsen under the António Campinos regime, perpetuating the decade-long 'demolition project' of Benoît Battistelli and his cohorts in the complicit Administrative Council



  19. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part I — Inside a Den of Corruption and Misogynists

    Today we commence a new series that implicates Microsoft, GitHub, Copilot, and Team Mono



  20. EPO Management Tricks EPO Staff Into Taking More Paycuts

    “Education and childcare reform” [sic] is an António Campinos "reform" in the same sense regressive salary reductions are just “adjustments” (euphemism); Electronic opt-in gaffes, according to staff representatives, show that the tradition of Benoît Battistelli carries on at the Office, taking away from staff for a few corrupt officials to milk the institution to death



  21. Links 14/10/2021: Whisker Menu 2.6.1 and KDE's Birthday

    Links for the day



  22. Links 14/10/2021: DragonFly 6.0.1 Released and Red Hat Loses Another Top Executive

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 13, 2021



  24. Süddeutsche Zeitung Became a Propaganda Arm of EPO Management (and by Extension Software Patents/Patent Lobbyists)

    EPO ‘genius’ António Campinos enjoys shallow press coverage, which echoes or resembles Benoît Battistelli‘s corruption of the media (paid-for fluff)



  25. GNOME (and Debian) Infringe Human Rights by Shipping Parental Control Software (Internally Called “Malcontent”)

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  26. No, JWZ, Discord is Not “IRC With Pictures”

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  27. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” - Battistelli's Swiss Apprentice?

    The António Campinos-led EPO won’t be subjected to real oversight by the Administrative Council, which ‘met’ (online) earlier today; so we look at who in the Administrative Council did what; today we wrap up the parts about Switzerland (third part of three)



  28. Links 13/10/2021: Sparky 2021.10 and New Archcraft

    Links for the day



  29. Links 13/10/2021: Firefox Keylogger on (By Default), GNOME Platform Design Discussed

    Links for the day



  30. [Meme] [Teaser] Swiss Alexandre Benallas

    The EPO‘s French dictator, Benoît ‘Vichy’ Battistelli, might be relieved to hear that his enabler in the adjacent Switzerland also enlisted armed bullies to keep the population down (the father of António Campinos might know a thing or two about those; it’s why he fled to France)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts