01.27.19

Always Remember That Red Hat Also Considered Microsoft as a Buyer

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat pukeBig proprietary software vendors ruin and take over what’s left of Free/libre software (anything that respects freedom, not just surveillance and digital coercion)

Summary: Red Hat’s decision to sell itself to IBM really stinks; the only upside is, the buyer could be worse because Red Hat had hired many managers from Microsoft, its sites are sometimes composed by Microsoft staff and Red Hat routinely promotes .NET (the hallmarks of Microsoft entryism)

THE largest GNU/Linux vendor is about to be sold and passed over to the largest booster of software patents. Red Hat being Red Hat (a key contributor), it it getting a blank cheque on this just because it wasn’t Oracle or Amazon or Microsoft that bought Red Hat (and Red Hat reportedly reached out to Microsoft for a bidding opportunity before closing the deal with IBM). Red Hat cannot ignore IBM’s terrible record on patent policy and bullying. Is Microsoft interested in Canonical? Microsoft already announced losses several times in the recent past due to largely failed (unprofitable) acquisitions. We don’t mean to bash Red Hat over things like systemd because quite frankly many people do so already, but how can Red Hat carry on pretending that IBM isn’t an inherently incompatible suitor from a legal perspective? As recently as days ago a patent maximalist at Law 360 revealed that IBM is still shaking down small online retailers using software patents and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) refuses to get involved after an inter partes review (IPR). Some readers of ours go further* and allege that IBM sabotaged Red Hat just to buy it ‘on the cheap’.

“We are planning to watch Red Hat (or the Red Hat ‘division’ of IBM) a lot more closely in months and years to come.”Earlier this month we showed that IBM was pushing for software patents in the European Patent Office (EPO), not just at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where it has lobbied hard against 35 U.S.C. § 101, in effect working to undermine SCOTUS (Alice). We wrote about a dozen articles about this one issue alone (IBM’s lobbying that actively harms Free software).

We are planning to watch Red Hat (or the Red Hat ‘division’ of IBM) a lot more closely in months and years to come.
____
* We have been getting messages to that effect, e.g. the one below.

I came across your articles on website techrights.org recently and wanted to add some details to IBM’s activity in the industry.

The New Yorker broke Red Hat’s Linux founder Linus Torvald’s privacy in September 2018, and was the first publication to publish excerpts from his personal business emails: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/after-years-of-abusive-e-mails-the-creator-of-linux-steps-aside This led to Torvald’s public apology and withdrawal from Linux’s leadership, sending the RHT stock price on a chaotic path. https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/rht

The New Yorker is owned by Conde Nast Publications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_Publications).

Conde Nast has partnered with IBM and their Watson technology since 2016 https://www.adweek.com/digital/cond-nast-has-started-using-ibms-watson-find-influencers-brands-173243/ ; https://landt.co/2016/09/conde-nast-ibm-watson-unearths-brand-influencers/

The New Yorker could have been acting on behalf of their partner, IBM, to send RHT into crisis PR mode. The New Yorker’s expose could have been deliberate: to drive down stock price in favor of a cheaper IBM takeover.

I thought this may be of interest to you and the staff at techrights.

To which my reply was:

The main issue I have with this assertion is that it was the Torvalds/CoC debacle that caused Red Hat’s decline, which I tracked closely (every day I posted financial news picks about them).

The followup:

Right, The New Yorker was the first to publish Torvalds’ private business emails, and attacked Torvalds in September 2018 causing Red Hat’s decline (https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/after-years-of-abusive-e-mails-the-creator-of-linux-steps-aside). The New Yorker has been in a partnership with IBM over its Watson software since 2016. It seems to me The New Yorker was financially motivated (by its relationship with IBM) to cause Torvalds’ downfall.

And finally:

With respect:

1. Torvalds isn’t close to Red Hat
2. Red Hat’s financial issues predate the above

I’ve asked around fellow techrights folks and they too think it’s improbable IBM played the major role; Microsoft or Intel would be more incentivised to throw a fit.

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