03.31.13

Microsoft Sociopaths

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft and its employees now think it is indeed the Master of the Universe.”

Stewart Alsop, Fortune

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: An up-to-date look at some news about Microsoft seniors who make their sociopathic tendencies very clear to see

The monopolists are sinking their teeth into everything that smells or tastes like money, even poor people who can be used for cost-free clinical trials. Bill Gates and his ‘good’ buddy Nathan together promote patent tax on everything, under the guise of ‘innovation’ and ‘helping’ science or poor people. The extortion racket known as Intellectual Ventures, for instance, will do some PR in Slashdot next week, perhaps using the old lie that they are ‘helping’ scientists. Here is a reminder that more lawsuits are coming from this Gates-backed troll and some rebuttals from TechDirt:

For many years, even as people correctly noted that Intellectual Ventures was perhaps the world’s biggest patent trolling operation, the company insisted that it shouldn’t be called a troll, in part because it hadn’t actually sued anyone. That was misleading for a variety of reasons, with the biggest one being the war chest behind IV and the implicit threat of lawsuits certainly got plenty of companies to cough up huge sums to avoid them. While IV has ridiculously strict nondisclosure agreements, various leaks have suggested companies often pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Intellectual Ventures… for nothing. All they really get is a promise not to be sued and the potential to dip into IV’s big database of mostly useless patents, which the paying companies can then use to sue others. Overall, Intellectual Ventures admits that it has brought in over $2 billion dollars directly from licensing and another $5 billion in “investments” — some of which came from companies “buying in.” What a racket, huh?

Back in 2010, the company finally filed its first lawsuits. Since then it’s continued filing lawsuits on an irregular basis. 2011 was a big year, with sudden bursts of lawsuits in July, September and October. 2012 had fewer lawsuits, and just small blasts in February and May. However, it looks like IV may be ramping up with the lawsuits again. IV filed one in January (against Motorola), three in February (one against Windstream and a few small telcos, one against CenturyLink, Qwest, Embarq, Savvis & CenturyTel, and one against AT&T and various subsidiaries). However, in the last week or so, it’s filed three more lawsuits. First against Symantec, then against Toshiba, and the latest against Canon and Ricoh.

The Microsoft booster does reveal that “Intellectual Ventures sues Canon, Ricoh over printer tech,” linking the firm to Microsoft by writing: “Intellectual Ventures, the controversial patent and technology firm founded by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold, has sued Canon and Ricoh over printer technology.”

As put in the former article, “No printer company in the world has relied on some great breakthrough from Intellectual Ventures, nor have they relied on the insight gleaned from a crappy patent that IV bought at some point. No, printer companies have built and innovated based on their experience in the marketplace selling printers. Intellectual Ventures is simply trolling and taking away from actual innovators.”

On the lies of IV it’s said: “Almost nothing in that paragraph is accurate. IV started out by buying up patents, en masse, from various universities’ “tech transfer offices” after those universities spent big time setting up those offices, thinking it would bring in lots of cash. Then no one wanted those patents (at least not at the ridiculous prices offered) and for nearly every single university tech transfer office they suddenly became seen as a cost center, rather than a profit center as planned. Enter IV with a giant war chest, agreeing to buy up tons of crappy patents that no one else valued or wanted, on the cheap, and suddenly tech transfer offices can aggregate a bunch of patents and show some money coming in. IV has never, ever been about “identifying strong patents.” It has always been about finding enough patents they can use to pressure companies into giving them money. IV’s entire business model, from the beginning was built on exploiting a clearly broken patent system by a group of folks who had a history with the system.”

And in summary: “Shorter version of this paragraph: look we only shakedown big companies with big bank accounts. The fact that some of them are willing to pay does not mean the patents are recognized for their “validity.” It means that big companies can do the math on the cost of fighting IV in court, and recognize it’s cheaper to pay up than deal with the mess. IV may not enter into litigation lightly, but it’s abusing the system, taking billions of dollars out of actual innovation and is the perfect example of everything that’s wrong with the patent system.”

It is worth noting that Sony, which is suing Android using patents [1, 2], is also creating or feeding trolls. Ventures based on patents alone are extortion. Nokia does this too now. Bill Gates’ moles in Nokia act all crazy on live TV. As a Microsoft booster put it: “After dodging questions about a rumored Lumia 928, Nokia’s chief exec grabs the interviewer’s iPhone and tosses it to the studio floor.”

The mole, Elop, was showing a Microsoft Windows phone that has become an embarrassment to Nokia. He is a total socipath based on his behavior on TV (see the video). Speaking of sociopaths, watch the latest from Dr. Diane Ravitch about Bill Gates:

How the Gates Foundation Undermines Teachers’ Rights

I often re-read this amazing article in the New York Times to remind me of the agenda of the Gates Foundation.

It has a double agenda, like all the corporate reform groups it supports. It publicly speaks of support and collaboration with teachers, but it funds organizations that actively campaign against any job protections for teachers.

[...]

Gates’ anti-union, pro-testing groups are made up of young teachers–with names like TeachPlus and Educators for Excellence–who are paid handsomely to advocate against due process rights and in favor of tying teacher evaluations to test scores. Since few intend to make a career of teaching, why should they care?

Microsoft sociopaths are common. They attract one another and they make the world a worse place, their place. Their lust for patents helps them hurt those who play fairly and we must all recognise this issue sooner rather than later. Maybe a padded room would provide a better, safer place for them to be in.

UEFI Continues to be a Headache for GNU/Linux Users

Posted in Antitrust, BSD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flags

Summary: Further commentary about the UEFI Restricted Boot complaint and a new interview with the lawyer behind it

The Microsoft-friendly press has been trying to demonise the group which complained about UEFI Restricted Boot. Some links were given in IRC and it would be wiser not to feed them further. Many of the responses are ad hominem in nature.

In IRC, one reader pointed out that the FreeBSD project, despite its attempts to catch up, is having problems with UEFI (not Restricted Boot yet), so it works on implementation.

Whereas OpenBSD complained early on, FreeBSD says:

UEFI Support

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Benno Rice has been awarded a grant to implement the ability to boot FreeBSD in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot environment.

The work to be done includes a new version of the loader, kernel modifications to support starting from a UEFI environment and the ability to create install media for pure UEFI systems.

“UEFI support is critical for FreeBSD’s future on the amd64 platform and I’m really pleased to be able to ensure that FreeBSD gains support for it,” said Benno.

This project is expected to be completed in March 2013.

“Here’s an example of the headaches that restricted boot causes end users,” writes the aforementioned reader. “It’s probably what Microsoft had in mind when forcing it on the OEMs.”

This new thread starts as follows:

Every Nightly Build of 13.04 has recently been Failing the DELL UEFI Security Check A.K.A. Secere Boot, and I refuse to Disable Dell UEFI Secure Boot just to run the Latest Nightly Build of Ubuntu, as I would be putting myself at a huge Security Risk if I were to get some kind of Virus/Malware that Targets Linux, Just FYI. I will return to Ubuntu Nightly Build Testing just as soon as Canonical fixes their Secure Boot Problem.

This is the type is story which shows why it’s essential to file a complaint. Even those who tried to go along with Microsoft’s anti-competitive scheme (e.g. Canonical) are being burned quite harshly.

Many articles about the antitrust complaint have been mentioned in IRC, but only one — a piece by Sam Varghese who spoke to the lawyer behind this complaint against UEFI — is worth noting. The introduction says: “The lawyer who has filed a complaint with the European Commission against secure boot in Windows 8 on behalf of some 8000 Linux users in Spain says the complaint takes “an user and developer perspective, it is an unprecedented approach to the problem of monopoly in operating systems in Europe”.”

Microsoft-friendly press mostly dances around these issues and tries to portray Microsoft as a poor victim, quoting Microsoft officials and selected European officials. It is their professional role to help the monopolist, so be careful and check whose words are being selectively presented.

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