Bonum Certa Men Certa

Google Patents, Attacks on Android, and Calls for Apple and Microsoft Boycotts

Lobster trap

Summary: The attacks on Android fuel a debate about the role of patents and also suggest that the USPTO fails to fulfil its role

THE US patent system has become the centre of attention for many who are looking to remove FOSS barriers. This system is increasingly perceived as undesirable by the American (as in US) public and we need to constantly show this to spread these realisations.

Google was recently granted a patent on driving, as we mentioned the other day. Here is what Against Monopoly has to say about it:

Matt notes that the world gains from this in terms of safety and efficiency. However he questions the patent grant on the grounds that another monopoly has been established by stealth. Fortunately, the patent will be worthless once the world switches to full time computer control of the car. But in the meantime, we will all pay in higher prices.

On the other hand, Google is mostly a victim of this system because its major operating system, which is based on Linux, came under attacks that Google never provoked for. There is good news on that front though:

In addition, there are patent attacks coming from Apple and Microsoft, which just like several other companies keep attacking the Internet with SOPA. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols remarks on "Go Daddy’s SOPA Entanglement" and Muktware takes notice:

Go Daddy took a u-turn from its stand on SOPA as the Internet community started boycotting GoDaddy and companies started transferring domains to non-SOPA supporters. Muktware has also initiated the domian transfer from Godaddy to (Hacksheet has already been transferred).

Following our article calling for a boycott against Apple (it got Slashdotted and made the news) there is also a call from Mukware to boycott Apple and Microsoft for their SOPA support.

To quote the call: "Go Daddy burned their fingers when they decided to sell their soul to the devil. More than 21,0000 conscious users migrated to other services. Go Daddy changed its 'stand' the same day, which seems to be nothing more than PR strategy as Go Daddy 'worked' on crafting this act. If they oppose the act, they must run a campaign to ensure that SOPA is not passed. That's what it means by 'opposing' the bill and not by secretly supporting it via PIPA and Protect IP. Go Daddy paid heavily as 'informed' and concerned Go Daddy users revolted and threatened to switch to other registrars.

“There are two monopolies which are endorsing SOPA, Apple and Microsoft.”
"How about the other SOPA supporters? Will you be boycotting them? There are two monopolies which are endorsing SOPA, Apple and Microsoft. Apple has not said anything in support of SOPA. But, the company either way doesn't care about anything beyond its own profits. Apple itself is a censor police where it runs its own version of SOPA. Microsoft, on the other hand, has been openly supporting such biils."

Further down it says: "The 'informed and concerned' Internet community revolted against Go Daddy and brought it to its knees. Are you ready to boycott Microsoft and Apple?" Well, we at Techrights implicitly suggested this for quite some time. Novell too is in the boycott list. Those companies also spread FUD about Android. Tim Carmody wrote an article titled "There Is No Such Thing as Android, Only Android-Compatible". In it he rebuts Microsoft talking points from its talking heads (like Bott) by explaining that "fragmentation" is actually compatibility. His conclusions: "Ultimately, though, I can’t decide if this is a real problem for Google and Android or potentially a huge advantage. In the short term, it’s been an advantage; It’s let the operating system, user base and developer community grow in a hurry. In the long term, though, it doesn’t seem like Google can continue to maintain tight control of the source code during development and promoting its latest and greatest developments, and then let just about anything go once it’s released while letting less-favored products drift away.

"Soon, we’ll have to sever those two questions — what’s good for Android, the family of broadly compatible devices, as well their users and developers, is bound to come into conflict with what’s good for Google, the search and software company who continue to develop Android and put it into the world."

Here is an article on the patent war against Android. It's from the Boston press and it says:

A patent lawsuit won last week by iPhone maker Apple Inc. represented a single victory in a global legal war, with giant corporations fighting for control of the technologies behind smartphones and computers, potentially resulting in less appealing devices or higher prices for consumers.

Technology firms like Google Inc., Samsung Corp., Microsoft Corp., and especially Apple - which is one of the most active combatants - are embroiled in about 100 patent lawsuits in at least 10 countries. The stakes are high: potential domination of the multibillion-dollar market for smartphones, tablet computers, and the software that runs them. One successful lawsuit could generate millions in patent licensing fees for the victor, or it could force a rival firm to modify the way its devices work - even removing features users treasure.

"Patents=nuclear weapons in arms race. Inhibiting innovation. Tech patents should be abolished-Only make sense in slow-moving industries," wrote Vivek Wadhwa, an influential writer/academic who occasionally writes on the issue. Hopefully we are aproaching the points where public opinion will have the law overwritten in the US.


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