04.29.11

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As Expected, Nokia is Attacking Android/Linux Following Microsoft Takeover

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 1:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia firing people
Picture by Or Cohen

Summary: Antitrust action justified by Microsoft’s use of a new cartel to extort or remove Android from the market

CORRUPTION is not something that Microsoft shies away from. Just look no further than the OOXML blunders. "Takeover" of Nokia (turning it so cheaply into a Microsoft drone that gets rid of Linux and Symbian people) is what Microsoft did in nefarious and underhanded ways, and based on private communications that we have, this has a lot to do with patents. We shall publish the details in the near future.

“Microsoft did not invent, research, develop, or make available to the public mobile devices employing the Android Operating System and other open source operating systems, but nevertheless seeks to dominate something it did not invent.”
      –Barnes & Noble
To those who think that Microsoft will just go away if it’s ignored, please pay close attention because Microsoft is a snake and its top managers, Elop included, are like some kind of disease in the industry, spreading tentacles to distort the market, even using peripheral players like Bill and Nathan who lobby for worse patents. The abduction of Nokia is probably worse than Yahoo! and Novell because it really harms Linux where Linux is winning. Following the release of documents from Barnes & Noble we find some press reports. Based on this report (“Barnes & Noble claims Microsoft Nokia patent pact is illegal”), it is apparent that Microsoft is creating a cartel, so it is already using the entryism in Nokia to attack Linux rivals, using patents. To quote: “In court documents filed by Barnes & Noble, the firm said, “Microsoft did not invent, research, develop, or make available to the public mobile devices employing the Android Operating System and other open source operating systems, but nevertheless seeks to dominate something it did not invent.” Barnes & Noble basically said that Microsoft is claiming rights over something that isn’t its property.

“If you thought that Barnes & Noble would end it there, you’re in for treat. It followed up by claiming that Microsoft is trying to make Android “unusable and unattractive”. Barnes & Noble said, “On information and belief, Microsoft intends to take and has taken definite steps towards making competing operating systems such as the Android Operating System unusable and unattractive to both consumers and device manufacturers through exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions that bear no relation to the scope and subject matter of its own patents.”

“That’s a very strong claim by Barnes & Noble and something that Microsoft will have to defend vigorously, if it can. Later on Barnes and Noble claimed that Microsoft and Nokia had agreed on “a strategy for coordinated offensive use of their patents”.”

Groklaw quotes Microsoft as saying: “In seeking to protect our intellectual property, we are doing what any other company in our situation would do.” Like who exactly? TiVo, whose loss had it “turn to suing companies that capitalized on its innovations,” based on this new analysis?

“That’s what SCO told the world,” says Groklaw about Microsoft’s response.

Also see the part which says: “Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet.com has details on the book giant’s response to Microsoft’s complaint, including Barnes & Noble’s allegations that Microsoft and Nokia are in cahoots on patents in a way that may violate antitrust laws.”

Well, just as we predicted, Nokia was patent trouble all along and now it is serving Microsoft’s interests. Glyn Moody thinks it’s time for more antitrust action. He writes:

Now, IANAL, so I can’t say to what extent this is just standard lawyer bluff and bluster. But I don’t recall seeing similar wording in other cases, so I think it’s interesting that Barnes & Noble have explicitly accused Microsoft of attacking the Android world because it represents a threat to its own smartphone system. Moreover, the filing does include a lot of detailed information suggesting that there is prior art for those patents, so it’s not just saying “your patents are trivial”: it’s saying “here’s who did it before you”.

It’s great to see Barnes & Noble making such an aggressive response to Microsoft’s patent bullying. Too often, companies just roll over and cough up some dosh to make the problem go away, even if they know they are in the right. As I wrote the other day about Apple, litigation rather than innovation is seen as the best way of attacking competitors; it would be wonderful if Barnes & Noble’s approach represented the beginning of the end for this abuse of the patent system.

It’s also extremely interesting to see here the battle framed as Microsoft using its (intellectual) monopolies to attack competitors unfairly. That’s exactly what it was found guilty of during the anti-trust case ten years ago. Would it be too much to hope for version 2.0 of that fascinating exercise – maybe with a rather more effective outcome?

Software patents need to be eliminated urgently. It’s stuff like this from the news which shows there is a lot of work to be done educating people. In order for GNU/Linux to win there must be no patent monopolies. It is possible to make one’s voice heard, but policy is biased and woefully distorted at present. It assumes entitlement for middlemen like patent lawyers. It treats ideas like physical property.

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2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    April 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Gravatar

    The Microsoft defense, as voiced by Pogson’s pest “oldman”, is the usual confusion of “legal” with “correct” and pretending that Microsoft is “legal” if aggressive. Oldman claims that Microsoft’s behavior is legal and that the company has a right to do what it wants with it’s “property”. Of course, Android is not Microsoft’s property and Microsoft’s extortion violates a number of US laws in both letter and spirit. They will probably go on, as they usually do, to claim that Microsoft is responsible for everything good in computerdom.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft has redefined “legal” just as it redefined “standard” and “open”.

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