10.12.10

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Groklaw Compares Microsoft’s Lawsuits Against Linux/Android Vendors to SCO Lawsuit

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, SCO, UNIX at 4:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bullfighter

Summary: As a resort to losers there is always litigation and this is where Microsoft is going, still hoping to prove that no Free/libre software is free (gratis), this time because of software patents as opposed to copyrights (UNIX)

MICROSOFT’S DIRECTION increasingly resembles that of SCO. Yes, the “free is expensive” line was previously used against Linux, even prior to SCO’s lawsuit against IBM and others. “Just to point out [...] Android runs on Linux,” wrote Groklaw some days ago, “so this is more of the same old, same old Microsoft. [...] When companies can’t compete any more, like SCO, they think of suing for license fees, I guess. But why would that make you want to buy anything from them? No one respects a bully, as SCO found out.” Groklaw still watches the SCO case against Novell. Techrights has watched the Microsoft patent fight against Linux since its dawn in November 2006.

Further promoting the idea that no mobile operating system can be free of charge, Microsoft recently paid Acacia [1, 2], the patent troll which bothers Red Hat. This leads to the perception that there is debt to be paid, whether this was Microsoft’s intent or not.

Android ain’t free, according to this article from CNN whose headline says that “Microsoft gets paid”. We have warned about this years in advance and called for opposition against it.

On the back of the news that Microsoft (MSFT) is suing Motorola (MOT) for patent infringments related to Android, Steve Ballmer tells the Wall Street Journal that HTC is paying a license fee for its use of Android…and that other Android manufactures may be forced to do the same.

WSJ: Is that difficult in an environment where Android is free?
Mr. Ballmer: Android has a patent fee. It’s not like Android’s free. You do have to license patents. HTC’s signed a license with us and you’re going to see license fees clearly for Android as well as for Windows.
WSJ: It doesn’t seem like the license fee alone is a big financial opportunity for Microsoft.
Mr. Ballmer: It’s one of the opportunities. One.

“Microsoft becoming the next SCO” says this headline from The Source, which takes the opportunity to warn Mono and Moonlight proponents.

And some desillusioned people still believe Mono/Moonlight would be free (and safe from Microsoft) if it ever would have the same sucess as Android…!

ITWire has similar remarks to make in the new article “Microsoft’s new spin: Android isn’t free”:

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer told The Wall Street Journal in an interview: “Android has a patent fee. It’s not like Android’s free. You do have to license patents. HTC’s signed a license with us and you’re going to see license fees clearly for Android as well as for Windows.”

A trustworthy and typically speculations-free Web site opines that Microsoft’s Android lawsuit may be payback for Motorola’s Windows Mobile defection.

Google responded to Microsoft’s patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola over Android smartphones, saying the legal action “threatens innovation.” Meanwhile, analysts speculate on the timing and target of the lawsuit, with one analyst calling it payback against Motorola for abandoning Windows Mobile, and another suggesting the lawsuit is covering fire for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 release.

Motorola ought to protest against Microsoft’s aggression rather than do something similar under the “he started it” defence. For more information about Motorola, see our Wiki about the company.

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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    October 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Gravatar

    Ah the rank hypocrisy of Microsoft. Steve Ballmer is really speaking for Microsoft when he says, “You do have to license patents.” Only Microsoft has to license patents to survive, everyone else has stuff people want to buy.

    I’m glad that Groklaw is understanding that Microsoft’s judicial extortion of free software by patents is a continuation of a strategy formed a decade ago that included SCO’s bogus copyright attack. We see shades of this as early as 1998, when Bill Gates asks if patents could be used to exclude free software from x86 power management use. There are many new proxies in this war that BN has been tracking. Let’s hope that Microsoft continues to slip up and be exposed the way they were with Baystar Capital and SCO. These attacks make a mockery of the US court system.

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