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03.22.10

Microsoft and Apple Still Intend to Use Software Patents Against GNU/Linux

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 8:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paper pile
Make patents, not software

Summary: The latest developments which involve Apple’s and Microsoft’s agenda, with patents that help marginalise Free software

Apple’s anti-Android/Linux lawsuit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] is supported by Microsoft [1, 2, 3], which keeps suggesting that that there might be more lawsuits on their way. The proprietary software giants use software patents against the common idealogical enemy, GNU/Linux. The Register says that battle lines are drawn in Apple-Google warfare and Microsoft’s booster Brier Dudley says that Microsoft is getting closer to Apple. This is Dudley’s second article on this subject this month. “Road map for you,” writes Pamela Jones in relation to the latter among his articles, “proprietary closed v. open source, aka old v. new.”

Yes, Apple is the old. It insists on primitive devices, as we last showed yesterday. It makes technology that disables rather than enables.

Yesterday we wrote about Apple’s "mobile social networking" patent (same post as above) and now we find this:

Google, Apple and Microsoft Target Social Media

[...]

Apple, Google and Microsoft are desperate to find a place in this market and are trying to enhance their social networking position in various ways.

Social networking is important to them also because of AstroTurfing, which both companies (Apple and Microsoft at least) refer to as “evangelism”. They are paying outside agencies to have people leave comments in social networks. Apple uses fake hype and fake "leaks" and Microsoft follows these footsteps. We have covered many examples of fake Microsoft “leaks” in recent months.

“Microsoft wanted to become a patent licensing company rather than a software company because the landscape had changed and Microsoft could not quite compete based on cost anymore.”Apple and Microsoft are both pursuing a strategy whereby patents — not software — are sold as a product. Microsoft's patent troll Nathan Myhrvold (who receives investments also from Apple) said that “intellectual property is the next software.” That’s just their vision of the software industry. By “intellectual property” he means software patents, not copyrights. As we showed last week, he continues to extort businesses secretly and Microsoft sells access to its patent portfolio as though “protection money” is merchandise now. We repeatedly warned about this in 2007. Microsoft wanted to become a patent licensing company rather than a software company because the landscape had changed and Microsoft could not quite compete based on cost anymore.

“Google, Microsoft, [and] Yahoo [Are] Granted Similar Patents,” argues this article. There is just too much room for overlap in software patents, which makes it a nightmare to write programs (either Free or proprietary).

Three patents granted Tuesday to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo describe how each search engine might take a close look at page addresses, or URLs on dynamic Web sites, which can often include large amounts of information, Bill Slawski tells us.

This whole game is just a matter of throwing money at filing of papers and paying lawyers to claim credit for unclaimed algorithms (never mind prior art, as Microsoft has an internal policy of never looking at patents when implementing something, either).

“Patents are strategy of filing, not inventing.”Seattle’s Microsoft boosters are raving about meaningless numbers of patents [1, 2] and use these to glorify their beloved monopolist that uses racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] to compete against superior software such as GNU/Linux.

Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla [1, 2] deliberately misleads by equating patents to “invention”. There is similar praise from patent lawyers/maximalists at IAM, who are repeating the same tired old myths

Microsoft’s entire history is one of taking other people's ideas, shamelessly copying them without admission. Patents are strategy of filing, not inventing.

Here is a biased new poll from Microsoft Nick and the Microsoft fans who read his blog that he runs at the moment (it passes from hand to hand). He asks: “Does Microsoft respect others’ intellectual property?” Given the obvious bias of this population of readers over there (Microsoft blog in Seattle), the answers will be meaningless and cannot be extrapolated. If one looks for an example that the Seattle ‘press’ reports PR and spin, this new example is it [1, 2].

Microsoft is increasingly resorting to patents as a business strategy and this is actually a sign of weakness, meaning the products are not strong enough to stand on their own. Someone should tell David Kappos that his patent system is being used to suppress software development rather than promote any. Here is the next chance to speak to him (New York Law School).

“What do they [Microsoft] care if you can view the code, so long as you have to pay them for the patents?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Despite Microsoft’s patent war against Free software, IDG’s Microsoft-boosting corner keeps spinning it as though Microsoft is playing “nice” with F/OSS. What utter nonsense. Referring to this article which quotes Microsoft’s McKee as saying that he feels “strongly that Microsoft’s success has been based on the fact that we can run a lot of diverse technologies on the Microsoft platform including open source,” Pamela Jones writes in Groklaw: “See? Just like Ballmer said. They want Open Source apps to run on Windows instead of on Linux. It’s just a teensy bit evil, in Microsoft usual style.They’ll play nice, until they feel they can destroy Linux with patents. What do they care if you can view the code, so long as you have to pay them for the patents?

The other day we wrote about Microsoft's very active lobby for software patents in Europe. One knowledgeable source tells that “it is interesting that the Irish commissioner continues the pro-patent “saga” of her precedent McCreevy. Luckily from a much powerless DG than Internal Market.

“It seems that the Ireland Gov. continues working for Microsoft as in previous legislature usually.”

In relation to Microsoft’s announcement about hardware-accelerated HTML5, Jones wrote: “I gather they want to be on the iPhone and iPad. And their definition of “interoperability” is you can use their stuff easier, which matches the goal Steve Ballmer set for “Open Source”, that it all run on Windows instead of the Linux kernel.”

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“It puts the Linux phenomenon and the Unix phenomenon at the top of the list.”

Steve Ballmer

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A Single Comment

  1. uberVU - social comments said,

    March 25, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Identica by schestowitz: #Microsoft and #Apple Still Intend to Use Software Patents Against #GNU #Linux http://ur1.ca/r4ij #swpats #europe #google…

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