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12.12.09

Microsoft is Apparently Push-polling for Patent Tax on GNU/Linux

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 5:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

Summary: Microsoft is attacking Linux using software patents (with US DOJ approval) while a Microsoft reporter spins the whole situation as “peaceful coexistence”

BACK in October we summarised Microsoft's pattern of push-polling using many examples as well as an admission from top executives. Bob Sutor from IBM warns that Microsoft is currently running a survey to inappropriately warp people’s understanding of the perception of “interoperability” (usually meaning software patents at the expense of standards, a la Novell).

Microsoft appears to be running a survey on “perceptions of interoperability.” I’ll let you decide for yourself whether this is phrased in a completely neutral and objective manner, but you might want to weigh in if you feel you want to help separate perceptions from reality.

To give previous examples of push-polling, other than suspicion alone (e.g. Forrester) we noted that “Microsoft does this all the time, e.g. against Google and in favour of the patent deal with Novell. The Microsoft-corrupted ISO did the same thing after very sheer corruption had led to formal complaints from several national bodies.”

In a step that was mentioned here twice before (earlier this week), Microsoft “urges Flash makers to pay fat dollar for exFAT format”

In March, Microsoft signed an IP licensing deal with TomTom, after the companies exchanged legal threats in court over patents related to the FAT formats. The pair eventually agreed to play nice, much to the chagrin of many in the open source world.

The role of Linux in this whole exercise is finally explained more properly. Microsoft is fighting it using software patents and our reader Oiaohm has shown us this new report which completes a circle in the strategy that came about with the EU Commission.

US DOJ lets Microsoft resume collecting protocol royalties

Microsoft may begin collecting royalties again for licensing some protocols because clear technical documentation is now available, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday.

The change comes after the DOJ issued its latest joint status report regarding its 2002 antitrust settlement with Microsoft.

The settlement required Microsoft to make available technical documentation that would allow other vendors to make products that are interoperable with Microsoft’s Windows operating systems.

As we mentioned the other day, the US Department of Justice is already in Microsoft’s pocket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] (much like the rest of the government after the late nineties).

Microsoft loses ground to Free software in France (despite abuses), but Microsoft Nick does some spinning around fakers like Ramji, pretending again that Microsoft is part of the very same ecosystem that Microsoft is attacking with software patents (and thus patent tax).

Microsoft recently lost one of its key open-source advocates when Sam Ramji, the company’s senior director of Platform Strategy, officially left to become interim president of the CodePlex Foundation on Sept. 25 (although considering that CodePlex is Microsoft’s open-source software project hosting repository, I’m sort of confused as to how Ramji “left Microsoft”). In a blog post at the time written by Bill Hilf, general manager of Windows Server Marketing and Platform Strategy, Ramji had pushed a vision of Microsoft coexisting peacefully “in a heterogeneous IT world.”

Nice try, Nick. But Microsoft does not want to ‘coexisting peacefully “in a heterogeneous IT world.”‘ Microsoft wants to subjugate its rivals until they play by Microsoft’s own rules and become Microsoft cash cows. That’s not peaceful coexistence, it’s racketeering [1, 2].

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

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