Using software patents, Microsoft turns Linux into its own cash cow whilst also making it more expensive
Summary: Techrights’ fight against ‘Linux tax’ from Microsoft is getting a lot more attention this Friday
“BOYCOTT NOVELL” was all about stopping Microsoft tax on GNU/Linux. More people are beginning to wake us and realise that our cause was all along on target, as several distributions of GNU/Linux which paid Microsoft for this ‘privilege’ simply went extinct (Xandros' price was $50 for Microsoft patents). Our goal was to ensure that people/companies do not become dependent on Microsoft-taxed distributions, as that would simply serve Microsoft’s goal of making GNU/Linux its own cash cow. SUSE, Turbolinux, and Linspire were also part of this problem and all those companies went into the ashtray of history. There are more such companies, but they sell hardware, not purely software.
Buy an HTC smartphone and $5 of what you spent on it goes to Microsoft – even if you’ve just bought an Android device.
So says Citi analyst Walter Pritchard in a note sent out to investors today, according to Business Insider.
Microsoft announced the royalty payment deal – the result of a legal settlement – last year, but the amount the software giant receives was not made public. MS has alleged Android infringes its intellectual property, and has other smartphone vendors in its sights.
Pritchard reckons Microsoft is pursuing other Android handset makers for a royalty of $7.50-12.50 per device. HTC clearly got of relatively lightly by settling Microsoft’s claims out of court.
Microsoft can’t be too forceful. If can’t afford to overly annoy those vendors who’re also selling phones based on its Windows Phone OS – they might just drop it, in a huff. Or they may trade lower royalties for a stronger commitment to WinPho – something Microsoft needs far more than even a few hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments.
Saumsung, LG, and Kyocera Mita also pay Microsoft for Android. There might be more such companies, perhaps not prominent ones though. Faced with a price tag, people act surprised about it even though our site has highlighted this issue since 2007 when Samsung signed the first such deal and in order to discourage similar deals we called for a boycott. The bottom line is, we do have a problem here, but it is not a new problem. We even found one anti-Linux propagandist writing: “This is just fraud. I really like HTC phones with their Sense interface but I have a Galaxy S II on order and I will not buy any HTC phone again while they give in to Microsoft’s blackmail.”
According to other news from today, Lodsys wants to go after Android developers. “Patent holding company Lodsys caused a stir recently when it demanded money from iOS developers using in-app payments,” says this report, “something it holds a patent for. Now it appears that Android developers could be next in line for a stern email from the firm.
“Android Community has spotted one developer who is claiming to have received a request for payment in relation to integrating in-app payments into an Android app. If true, it could stir up another hornet’s nest of anger in the development community.”
“Saumsung, LG, and Kyocera Mita also pay Microsoft for Android.”This is actually not news and we alluded to it before. Apple, unlike Google, is a patent aggressor, so it is not the same situation for Android and Apple’s hypeOS. Interestingly enough, Microsoft’s ally Nokia is also giving a hard time to Apple. How long before Microsoft uses Nokia to sue Android distributors too? Nokia has given hints about it. Microsoft’s strategy is to tax Linux from as many directions as possible. It’s blackmail [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], so regulators should step in to intervene. █
“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”
Summary: As Kyocera decided to buy Sanyo’s mobile phones unit, the Microsoft extortion passes on to yet another brand which makes Android phones
ON a couple of occasions in the past we wrote about Sanyo’s Linux situation [1, 2]. As far as phones are concerned, it’s in Kyocera’s hands now and Kyocera Mita sold out to Microsoft. According to this new article, the “Zio M6000″ Android phone shares an identity with both Kyocera and Sanyo, whose mobile business Kyocera bought.
Kyocera’s first Android phone was announced in March under the name Zio M6000. The phone is now available under the company’s venerable Sanyo brand from no-contract mobile provider Cricket Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leap Wireless International.
This phone is taxed by Microsoft and should therefore be avoided. There are Android phones whose makers do not pay Microsoft for Linux, so their makers should be rewarded.
“M.A.D. is already hitting the market, at least in the new and lucrative smartphones business.”It is clear that software patents have gone the wrong way (not advancing innovation, just taxation), especially in mobile phones. Vivek Wadhwa wrote about this subject recently [1, 2, 3] (he cites hypePhone patents) and in his personal blog he caries on ranting about software patents. What gives his rants credibility is that he actually got some software patents in the past and he now regrets this.
M.A.D. is already hitting the market, at least in the new and lucrative smartphones business. Apple is one of the aggressors (suing Linux/Android) and Groklaw has just published this excellent overview of the HTC/Nokia/Apple lawsuits situation, in isolation (there are more patents and parties involved in this ‘nuclear war’ of patent monopolies). Pamela Jones writes:
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found it hard to follow the various patent lawsuits involving Apple, Nokia and HTC. First there are so many cases filed all over the place, it’s hard to understand the big picture. And I kept asking myself what it was all about. I mean, what’s it all about really? Because some exhibits filed by HTC have just been unsealed, we get to read Apple admitting in one of the documents that the HTC litigation is indeed about Google and Android and the Open Handset Alliance. Or as Apple puts it, “HTC’s products implicate the Android operating system developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance.”
This article may easily give the impression that Microsoft is not part of the problem, but Microsoft is already extorting a high number of handset makers, including Kyocera/Sanyo. How big and thus destructive does this ‘nuclear war’ of patent monopolies have to get before some large monopoly like Microsoft, Apple or Nokia calls for the end of software patents? █
Summary: Microsoft and de Icaza are still trying to make Android rely on .NET and it’s not surprising given that Microsoft is unable to produce decent phones (or phone platform) of its own
WE HAVE posted literally dozens of times about Microsoft imposing a patent tax on phones running Linux. This only applies to phones from Samsung, LG, HTC, and Kyocera Mita (Asian companies where software patents have some legitimacy).
To Microsoft, getting paid for most Android phones that are shipped is not enough. Microsoft also wishes to control the software which runs on these Linux-powered phones and MonoDroid is one option for achieving this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16].
“Microsoft also wishes to control the software which runs on these Linux-powered phones and MonoDroid is one option for achieving this.”According to news which reached Slashdot some hours ago, Microsoft is now promoting this route, offering even more endorsement to Mono. “Miguel de Icaza is not concerned about legal challenges by Microsoft over .Net implementations, and even recommends that Google switch from using Java,” says the summary from Slashdot. Earlier this month we showed that Microsoft MVP de Icaza was twisting and lying about the Java lawsuit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], as we last noted two days ago.
Cast your mind back to some of the Microsoft adverts of the past. Lets reminisce with a wry smile at the shoe commercials that were supposed to be funny. Let’s remember the Windows 7 party adverts that were so wooden, that they made an episode of Home & Away look like a cinematic masterpiece. Then we had the “Kin” the f’Kin (sic) phone that must have hurt Microsoft badly when not only did the advertising fail to impress, but the phone itself was dumped shortly after (allegedly after pushing only a few more than 500 units).
It appears Microsoft just can’t relate to people with many products or its advertising in my view. For example, it’s very easy to tout success with Windows 7, when as my recent article touched on, you get no choice over what comes pre-loaded on your machine when you enter a store. I could tout millions of deployments of my operating system if I was able to preload it on all the machines at a retailer.
That aside though, its been reported that Microsoft is to stuff 400 million dollars in the war chest to pimp their next experiment (Windows Mobile 7) and it will be investors (I would assume) who are thinking that with this figure, plus the giveaway of phones to Microsoft employee’s should prove very costly if Win Mob goes the way of the Kin. After all, Windows 7 Mobile is said by some to be its “next of Kin”
Microsoft will no longer mention the “K” word (“KIN”). It’s just too embarrassing and synonymous with “epic fail” or with underage sex. █
The video below sees Seif Lotfy (of Zeitgeist, Sezen, OMG! fame) show off a Zeitgeist-powered Tomboy plug-in he’s been working on .What does it do? Simply put it shows you everything you were doing whilst writing a note – from what you were listening to what you were looking at.
The rumors are now reality: Samsung on Tuesday showed the world its first glimpse of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the company’s new 7-inch tablet.
Can one have this tablet without Android and then install Android (or Cyanogen) oneself in order to sidestep the ‘Microsoft tax’ on Linux from Samsung? If not, then it’s better to avoid all of these products from Samsung and instead reward companies that sell Android on similar devices without paying Microsoft for the ‘privilege’ of selling Linux.
With the exception of some posts [1, 2, 3] that lack substance, OpenBallnux is a ghost town and Ballux is mentioned in conjunction with IBM at Novell’s PR blog. That’s some extremely scarce coverage. It’s probably a good thing because Ballnux is where Mono typically spreads from. If Novell goes bellyup, so will Mono. Too few people except Novell employees are interested in this Microsoft-serving project. As for Microsoft boosters, they already stick with .NET, not its Novell-flavoured little cousin. █
Summary: The IBM-led Linux Foundation allows Microsoft to make money from Linux by accepting another member which engages in this questionable practice
BASED on the news [1, 2, 3], LG Electronics has joined the Linux Foundation. This foundation typically accepts anyone regardless of policy on software patents and even an intricate relationship with the company that litigates against Linux. Here is the official announcement:
The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that LG Electronics is its newest member. LG will participate in the Linux Foundation’s events and community development efforts.
A lot of people may no longer remember LG’s treasonous pact with Microsoft. LG is paying Microsoft for Linux (we call it “Ballnux” when that happens) and it is rather discouraging to see many announcements this month about Ballnux devices from LG [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft is making money from both Windows and Android now, thanks to LG. Here is another new phone that’s coming.
Details are starting to emerge (translated) about a forthcoming Android-based smart phone from South Korean handset maker LG. From the sounds of it, the LU2300 will fit well with some of the newer “super” phones like the Nexus One and Motorola Droid.
How does Google feel about being taxed by Microsoft (at a manufacturing level) for its operating system? See the Apple vs HTC case, recalling that Microsoft used it to justify extortion against large vendors for Free software that they use. This is what Microsoft does with LG and Samsung, which is also based in Korea. Samsung must be paying Microsoft for Linux boot-up on its new sub-notebooks.
It looks ordinary enough and has largely average performance, though the extra battery life is welcome and the alternative Linux boot-up is fun.
Samsung also has some new Android phones [1, 2, 3], which are being ‘taxed’ by Microsoft behind people’s backs.
If AT&T keeps in line with their recent Android strategy, the Galaxy S could be hampered by lock-downs and restrictions.
Yes, it hardly even feels like Free software. But where is the mainstream media, which is simply not covering the fact that Microsoft makes money from Android by extorting companies like LG, Samsung, and Kyocera? This is a major issue. █
Summary: Distributors of GNU/Linux that are hostages of Microsoft or part of its patent racket are looked upon and analysed based on the past week’s news
SOME self-appointed experts are saying that IBM might buy Novell* (which is for sale). The news suggests that this is possible, starting with this item from The VAR Guy:
When it comes to hardware and software, IBM and Novell have a longstanding SUSE Linux business relationship. So where are the two companies heading next together? Novell and IBM provided some clues during last week’s Novell BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here are the details.
It is worth pointing out that Novell uses The VAR Guy to market itself. Novell and its allies also pay Gillen (IDC) to promote themselves (so does Microsoft). The following BrainShare videos [1, 2, 3, 4] were uploaded by Novell a few days ago and there is nothing particularly odd in any of them. The VAR Guy manages the panel fairly well, but it just looks like an echo chamber of Novell partners and guests. It looks almost like it’s scripted (to a degree).
Going back to IBM, Bob Sutor, the VP of standards, open source, and “Linux” (or whatever falls into this basket these days) is playing around with Geeko and adds a picture of a lizard (SUSE’s mascot, the chameleon) to his daily links. This may spur speculations that IBM wants Novell (at least for its UNIX, which needs guarding because of SCO). It is important to remember that IBM helped Novell acquire S.u.S.E.
Anyway, the panel discussion and the Geeko builder both relate to SUSE Studio, which is being promoted by IDG (also here and here).
Today, Novell’s SUSE Studio is a Web-based virtual appliance/ISO image creator using SUSE Linux. It has no parallels that we can find for building operating systems instances.
It is crucial to remember that Microsoft is taxing SUSE using some imaginary software patents Microsoft refuses to show, let alone name.
IBM is also partnering with Amazon Web Services and Novell, allowing participants to use the DB2 Express-C database and WebSphere sMash application-development toolset on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, but in this case they will be responsible for Amazon usage fees.
It should be pointed out that Amazon pays Microsoft for its Red Hat servers as though these were SLES servers. Amazon is no friend of GNU/Linux anymore [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. At Amazon, Linux is Ballnux. It’s taxed by Microsoft, probably because many executives from Microsoft took seats at Amazon. We had warned about this all along. IBM was never against such a tax by the way (it even approved the Microsoft/Novell deal just as it quietly approves software patents). Both Jaffe and Hovsepian, who engineered the Microsoft deal shortly after earning positions of power, came to Novell from IBM.
Novell has formally scheduled the upcoming Service Pack 1 for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for the end of the second quarter of the year. The service pack is currently available as a release candidate for partners and ISVs to test. No new features are being added at this time, but bugs and integration problems are being fixed.
The entry box already supports Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and the just-announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5, which has all the kernel tweaks to allow it to support the Nehalem-EX processors.
Much to our regret, Samsung continues to make Ballnux phones that contaminate Android as a free platform [1, 2] (some are just rebranded Samsung phones, at least in the UK [1, 2]). What does not add to Samsung’s credibility is that following fraud [1, 2, 3] the company takes the fraudster back (as its top man even).
SOUTH KOREAN BILLIONAIRE Lee Kun-hee, who was found guilty of tax evasion in 2008, has returned to head Samsung.
Samsung’s neighbours at LG are also paying Microsoft for Linux while producing products that typically use Linux [1, 2, 3]. Android too is affected here.
As companies like HTC and Samsung continue to push Android forward with high-end device like the EVO 4G and Samsung Galaxy S, other handset makers are reacting with their own super phones.
Kyocera Communications, a provider of Kyocera- and Sanyo-branded wireless devices, has introduced Kyocera Zio M6000 Android smartphone, which it claims to blend a new elegant design with an ultra-intuitive user interface to unlock an array of content and applications in Android Market.
Summary: Kyocera introduces phones with Android, yet a lot of people do not remember the company’s deal with Microsoft and its effects
ONE of Microsoft’s lesser-known Linux deals (a patent racket) is with Kyocera [1, 2, 3] (category page here). This deal involves Kyocera paying Microsoft for Linux, which it uses in few of its products. According to this short new report, the racket will extend to Android phones (and be related to Sanyo too, being the exFAT collaborator and Kyocera adjunct).
Following the saying “The more the merrier,” I am pleased to announce that Kyocera revealed the launch of a new Kyocera (and Sanyo) branded Android device at CTIA 2010 today. The Kyocera Zio M6000 will be released in Q2.
So here we have a phone that will also have Sanyo involved in Microsoft’s racket. It’s all rather similar with Samsung, which has this new Android phone. It’s bad for Android [1, 2] because Microsoft is taxing Android here, behind Google’s back (it turns Android to Ballnux). Similarly, Samsung’s competitor in Korea, LG, makes new Android phones. These too will be taxed by Microsoft as LG will pass money to Microsoft for each one sold, based on the nature of the patent deals that are racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Considering Apple’s Android lawsuit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] which is supported by Microsoft [1, 2, 3], this is just part of the problem. Microsoft and Apple would love to treat Linux as though it is theirs. █
“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.”