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Ballmer: Android “Just a Press Release”

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From: RonB
Date: Monday 14 Nov 2011 08:32:01
Groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy

File this oldie under arrogance and Microsoft’s lack of
foresight (once again). This news story is from four years
ago (Microsoft doesn’t produce very high quality prophets).

Google Android Just a Press Release, Says Ballmer

Google’s plans to enter the mobile industry with a cell phone platform
might have impressed many in the industry but not Steve Ballmer, CEO of
Microsoft and one of Google’s biggest competitors.

“Well of course their efforts are just some words on paper right now, it’s
hard to do a very clear comparison [with Windows Mobile],” he said.

Ballmer went on to note the successes that his company has had with its
Windows Mobile platform, which commands a sizeable share of the smartphone
market, especially in North America. He said Windows Mobile is on 150
different handsets and is available from over 100 different mobile
operators. He added that Microsoft will likely license 20 million Windows
Mobile handsets this year.

“So we have great momentum, we’ve brought our Windows Mobile 6 software to
market, we’re driving forward on our future releases and we’ll have to see
what Google does,” said Ballmer. “Right now they have a press release, we
have many, many millions of customers, great software, many hardware
devices and they’re welcome in our world.”

This excerpt is linked in a Barnes & Noble letter to James J. Tierney,
Chief, Networks and Technology Enforcement Section Antitrust Division,
United States Department of Justice.

Groklaw has provided several of these letters from Barnes & Noble, dating
back to March of this year. If you want to see Microsoft extortion
thuggery in detail, I would suggest your read these letters. You can also
see why Microsoft demands non-disclosure agreements before detailing their
extortion. Fortunately Barnes & Noble told them where they could shove
their “NDA.”

I think it’s notable that Microsoft, when first discussing their patents
with Barnes & Noble, asserted six patents (all trivial). When they
actually sued Barnes & Noble, they used five patents, but four of these
were not discussed earlier. In other words, apparently admitting the
triviality of five of the first six patents, they came up four other
trivial patents, while only keeping one of the original six. In other
words, they’re employing a scattergun approach, they’re standing in
quicksand. They have no real cause for suing, except for extortion. Now
everyone can see how baseless their patent extortion campaign against
Android (and other Linux distributions) really is.

I think this quote (from a letter written by lawyers representing Barnes &
Noble to the Justice Department on Oct 17th) puts it all in perspective.

Microsoft’s attempts to direct how others enforce their patents are part
of Microsoft’s strategy of attempting to maintain its monopoly in PC
operating systems by controlling and dominating the Android operating
system. Android, which Google gives away for free, threatens Microsoft’s
traditional business model of licensing its proprietary operating system
because OEMs no longer need to pay for a high-quality operating system. In
addition, the open source Android operating system is superior to
Microsoft’s proprietary products. For those reasons, Android threatens
Microsoft’s core business. Application-rich Android devices such as
tablets and smartphones now perform many of the functions once reserved
for PCs, a trend that will reduce demand for PCs and PC operating systems,
where Microsoft’s Windows enjoys a powerful monopoly. Moreover, as
operating systems such as Android become more popular, Android will become
a viable candidate for adaptation to PCs, putting Android (and its
companion, Chrome) into direct competition with Windows. Moreover,
Microsoft has announced plans to run its flagship Windows operating system
on tablets, and the popularity of Android-based tablets threatens the
dominance of Windows.

In response to these competitive threats, Microsoft is embarking on a
campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers
of Android devices. Microsoft demands exorbitant licensing fees (similar
to the fee for the entire Windows Phone 7 operating system) and imposes
licensing conditions that restrict manufacturers’ abilities to upgrade and
improve their products with features consumers want. Microsoft is
attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition
and to deter innovation in mobile devices.

Microsoft’s arrangement with MOSAID and Nokia, in conjunction with its
improper use of its own patents, is causing and will continue to cause
serious harm to competition. Microsoft’s conduct will raise costs to
consumers, reduce the quality of popular goods, and impede innovation in a
technology-rich market. Microsoft’s conduct poses serious antitrust
concerns and warrants further exploration by the Department of Justice.

That’s it in a nutshell.

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    November 14, 2011 at 10:43 am


    Maybe MS did not anticipate Google doing all they could to copy iOS. :)

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