11.28.07

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patent Trolls, Intel and Microsoft Betray the Children

Posted in Africa, Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC, Patents at 6:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using Patents (and Bribery) to Kill a Child’s Dream

The title expresses anger and frustration. This has nothing to do with Novell, but a little bit to do with the screwed up patent system. A story that I’ve been following for the past couple of years has just taken a very bizarre turn of events. On the face of it, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is being sued by a patent troll.

After reading that story I went to look for the Nigerian Patent Office’s website, unfortunately according to the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) directory there’s no such thing. Probing further I found that the Nigerian Industrial Property Offices use a @yahoo.com e-mail address. That was the point where I stopped my search for an online-version of Patent # RD8489 even though I would really liked to take a look at it!

Here is the press release that started the whole mess.

Lagos Analysis Corporation, a United States-based Nigerian-owned company with a subsidiary called LANCOR Management Limited, in Nigeria (LANCOR) announces today that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division holding at Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria against Nicholas Negroponte, One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC) and its enablers in Nigeria.

The closer you look, the more trivial this ‘invention’ looks (prior art). It almost seems like a joke (not the filer’s joke, but a joke that is the irresponsible patent system).

It was only yesterday that we found one good article which highlights the purpose of software patent and shatters to pieces the idea. It’s a case of monopolies against the people.

Patent advocates, large successful businesses, and politicians are so enthusiastic about the patenting of software that it’s hard to accept arguments from people like the FFII and Free Software Foundation who claim that the software industry simply does not need software patents and would be far better off without them. In this article I’ll try to explain why software patents are necessary, and in the sake of fairness I’ll look at the other side of each argument. Here is the “defense of Software Patents”. I report, you decide.

TrollTracker has also just published a good short article from a patent lawyer. It says a lot about the sad state of the US patent system.

Patents cranked out by the millions [with tens of millions of claims] by the USPTO necessarily include a large percentage of clearly invalid or over-broadly-claimed patents, because almost all patents are allowed by a single, young, limited-experience, patent examiner after an average of only 17.9 total patent application examiner processing hours, with only a very limited search of the huge present body of prior art. Thus, many patents simply do not deserve a several million dollar hurdle to even challenge their validity or valid claim scope.

So, what have we here? A broken patent system has not only turned against small and innocent businesses. At the moment, the system is actually used against non-profits. And if you thought the patent system was so bad that it gave trolls the courage to attack humanitarian efforts, you may have not seen anything yet.

In light of the recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the world has begun talking again about the corporate fight against OLPC. There are various facts that the media will not tell you however, so wish to present them here.

How bad were Intel’s and Microsoft’s abuses? Here’s the most recent report:

Intel’s agreement with the OLPC Foundation included a ‘non disparagement’ clause, under which Intel and One Laptop promised not to criticize each other, according to Nicholas Negroponte in the latest article in the Wall Street Journal.

Still Intel tactics have violated that repeatedly to kill OLPC efforts in Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan, India, China and Intel is also still trying to pull those tactics in Mexico, Brazil.

This is simply disgracefull of Intel, scandalous.

But Negroponte has signed an agreement saying that he is not allowed to criticize Intel, so he is not allowed to talk about these shameless tactics even though Intel is the one violating the agreement.

So only independant voices on the Internet can get those messages of truth out about Intels tactics.

In Nigeria, Intel came and donated 3000 laptops to counter OLPC efforts, then sells 17 thousand Classmates to Nigeria at a loss.

Then Microsoft corrupted Nigerian officials with 400 thousand dollars to install Windows XP on those instead of Mandriva Linux.

OLPC will be a very successful project regardless of the outcome. It has exposed some serious problems in the political system (fear of change and liability) and it has taught us a lot more about a couple of vicious monopolies.

The remainder of this post you are urged to read if you are still under the impression that Intel is any better than Microsoft. It seems to be keeping its card closer to its chest, and it’s also destroying criminal evidence (according to repeated claims).

Here is what Bill Gates said about OLPC before he pretended to be fond of the project (he wanted to put Windows on the OLPC).

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates earlier this year told the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum, “Geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you?re not sitting there cranking the thing while you’re trying to type” (see Bill Gates Mocks $100 Laptop).

Mind the fact that he criticised the novelty of the hardware, not the software, so even if he put Windows on it, the words above must always be remembered. Here is another old word about the impact of Intel and Microsoft (mentioned jointly):

One Laptop Per Child – Production Delays Caused By Microsoft, Intel?

[...]

I sincerely hope that no matter what the people who are running the OLPC project decide, that their project will continue and not get bogged down in a play of corporate greed and ambitions.

This actually comes from a Microsoft MVP.

Here is what Negroponte said about Intel before he signed the deal which forced him to shut up (see references above):

Negroponte says Intel should be ‘ashamed of itself’

He is furious that Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett called the One Laptop a gadget. The Negroponte initiative is caught in the middle of a vicious fight between AMD and Intel, he said.

Here’s the take of Intel’s CEO on GNU/Linux (the context being UMPCs):

That software effort does not have the support of Mr. Otellini, who is concerned about incurring Microsoft’s wrath, the executive said The two companies have a long history of tension over who control the hardware and software direction of the “Wintel standard.”

Sam Hiser, displeased with all of this, puts it all quite nicely:

The Gates | Otellini axis directly hurts us deeply. To me, it is a particularly American shame.

Moving on (or back) to Microsoft again, remind yourself of the Mandriva/Nigeria incident:

Wow! I’m impressed, Steve! What have you done for these guys to change their mind like this? It’s pretty clear to me, and it will be clear to everyone. How do you call what you just did Steve, in the place where you live? In my place, they give it various names, I’m sure you know them.

Hey Steve, how do you feel looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning?

Of course, I will keep fighting this one and the next one, and the next one. You have the money, the power, and maybe we have a different sense of ethics you and I, but I believe that hard work, good technology and ethics can win too.

The plot was resolved later on and Mandriva was victorious.

So, even as Microsoft claims superior quality over Linux, they act as if they don’t even buy their own FUD. If they really believed that Windows was superior to Linux, they wouldn’t have to bribe people with “marketing help” to get them to choose Windows.

Intel’s abuses go far beyond the OLPC. AMD carries on complaining, and quite frankly, who can blame it? Consider some of the following articles:

AMD chief condemns Intel ‘abuses’

In 2005, after the Japan Fair Trade Commission found Intel guilty of offering illegal rebates to Japanese PC makers, AMD filed an anti-trust suit against its competitor in the U.S. District Court in Delaware. The case has not been decided.

EC says Intel influenced bids for computer projects

The third type of allegation, however, was new, and sounded like a variety of predatory pricing. “In the context of bids against AMD-based products for strategic customers in the server segment of the market,” the commission press release said, “Intel has offered CPUs on average below cost.”

Video: Henri Richard comes out swinging at Intel during AMD press conference

[AMD's Henri Richard:] “I am sick and tired of being pushed around by a competitor that doesn’t respect the rules of fair and open competition.”

Henri Richard left the company a couple of months. Hee must have been upset about things like the following kickbacks Intel was caught engaging in (and apparently never punished for). With Dell:

An investor lawsuit seeking class-action status accuses Dell Inc. of improper accounting in its relationship with chip giant Intel, according to a media report published Thursday evening.

[...]

The suit alleges that Dell received at times as much as $1 billion a year in “secret and likely illegal” kickbacks in the form of “e-Cap” or “exception to corporate average pricing” payments” from Intel to ensure that Dell used no other chip supplier according to The Journal.

Potentially with Lenovo as well:

Journalists on the title said Lenovo is being paid a “pretty penny” from Intel to use its chips.

Some of these things might be hard to prove because Intel has apparently eliminated some evidence (Microsoft is said to be doing the same thing).

Chairman Craig Barrett, CEO Paul Otellini and sales chief Sean Maloney have appeared on a list of Intel employees thought to have deleted e-mails possibly relevant to AMD’s anti-trust lawsuit against its larger rival. The missing e-mails have thrust a livid state of mind onto AMD’s lawyers who have very serious problems with Intel’s rather lax document retention policy.

[...]

CEO Otellini appears to have been one of these troublesome employees.

Here is the word from AMD:

In an unpublished statement to the U.S. District Court of Delaware, AMD alleges Intel allowed the destruction of evidence in pending antitrust litigation.

Know what companies you buy your hardware and software from. They will always hide behind and defend their ‘precious’ PR image. The truth tends to escape the mainstream press, which is afraid of writing about large advertisers critically. As we saw in the case of the OLPC, deals can be made to gag people ensure they don’t utter the truth, either.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 26, 2022





  2. Links 26/09/2022: FocusWriter 1.8.3 and Istio 1.15.1

    Links for the day



  3. Media Censorship is Spreading and Infesting the World Wide Web

    Media and social control media are manipulating what people are reading and writing; this is done in the name of protecting us from misinformation, but oftentimes it's done to actually hide verifiable information (in order to protect a government's self-serving disinformation campaign)



  4. [Meme] Buy GitHub, Buy Systemd, Buy Canonical, Bye-Bye GNU/Linux

    Windows is losing ground fast; taking over the competitor/s is an antitrust violation, but who is left to file a complaint when bribery becomes so routine?



  5. GNU is Turning 39 Years Old in a Matter of Hours (and You're Very Likely Using It All the Time But Simply Unaware of That, Referring to It by the 'Wrong' Name)

    GNU is the project that gave us GCC (Free/libre compiler) and the GPL, among many other things; it's important to recognise the significance of its genesis 39 years ago in Massachusetts



  6. IRC Gateway Issues and Separating the Main Techrights IRC Channel From Non-Tech-Related Politics

    We're branching off to an old IRC channel (abandoned for many months already) and one of the Web gateways seems to be down at the moment (for all networks we've tested with), so please be patient



  7. Microsoft Layoffs Are Huge and Engaging With Microsoft Lowers Your Employment Prospects

    Microsoft is where people’s careers end (even if they delude themselves otherwise); it seems poetic that LinkedIn is dying, having become little but a massive waste of money and a liability



  8. Microsoft Is Vanishing From Netcraft

    Despite its so-called 'clown-first' strategy (clown computing), Microsoft is almost nowhere to be seen at the back end (server side); the media is massively inflating the perceived share of Azure, which may in fact be operating at a loss because there are layoffs and the future is sadly involving some proprietary actors like ClownFlare



  9. Why Canonical is Not a Friend of GNU/Linux Freedom and Mentioning WSL/systemd Helps Windows

    Ubuntu’s promotion of WSL is a disgrace and a reminder that we should no longer recommend Ubuntu to anyone; there are many other GNU/Linux distributions which are vastly more deserving of users and some new ones reject systemd as well



  10. Links 26/09/2022: GnuCash 4.12 and Microsoft Breaches

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft LinkedIn “Experimented” on Over 20 Million People Over Five Years and May Have Stopped Some of Them From Getting a Job

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  12. Links 26/09/2022: GNUnet 0.17.6 and Science News

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 25, 2022



  14. GNU is Not UNIX: GNU Project Turns 39

    Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a special day; 39 years since the message (announcement) below, so next year it's 40 (a major time leap in the context of software development; not much stuff lasts this long)



  15. Links 25/09/2022: Linux 6.0 RC7 and PostgreSQL-Related Releases

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/09/2022: EasyOS 4.4, KDE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft is Trying to Eliminate POP3 and IMAP for E-mail (Attack on Commodity or Standard Protocols)

    Microsoft is trying to decommoditise (read: control) E-mail by shutting out people who use standard protocols; how long have we got before E-mail becomes a surveillance-intensive walled garden?



  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 24, 2022



  19. YouTube (Alphabet Gulag) Keeps Censoring Videos About Free Software and GNU/Linux

    YouTube (the Alphabet/Google Gulag) seems to be weeding out discussion of software freedom; it's a longstanding issue reported by several GNU/Linux-centric channels over the years



  20. Links 24/09/2022: pgAdmin 4 v6.14 and ONLYOFFICE 7.2 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Links 23/09/2022: KDE Weekly Outline and UbuntuDDE Remix 22.04

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, September 23, 2022



  23. Geminispace Roughly Quadrupled in Size (and Grew a Lot in Terms of Number of Capsules) Since We Joined It Last Year

    Despite the media's apathy (pretending that Gemini does not exist or does not matter), Geminispace continues to expand and we have 42,703 pages in it



  24. [Meme] Getting Promoted (or Hired/Recruited/Absorbed Directly Into Top Management) by Knowing “The F***ing President”

    The EPO‘s own numbers indicate that as a female it's incredibly hard to get promoted at the EPO; the insiders’ joke is, you need to be a former colleague of Benoît Battistelli/António Campinos (or even a spouse) to get promoted



  25. According to EPO Data, Women Have No Place at the EPO (Unless They Fancy Being Underpaid)

    The European Patent Office, accused by a former president who was female of an “alphamale” issue, treats women poorly; incidentally, she wasn’t just the only female president in a ~25 year period but also the only non-French president in that same period (EPO diversity is a sad farce)



  26. Links 23/09/2022: PeerTube 4.3 and GNOME Report

    Links for the day



  27. Links 23/09/2022: EuroBSDcon 2022 Ahead, PowerDNS Recursor 4.5.11, 4.6.4 and 4.7.3 Out

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 22, 2022



  29. Links 22/09/2022: ExTiX 22.9, Rust 1.64.0, Weston 11.0.0, New Mesa, and OpenCL 3.0.12

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft Will Soon be Unlisted in Netcraft's Web Survey (Due to Minuscule, Negligible Market Share)

    A few hours ago this was released by Netcraft; it seems clear that Netcraft’s tables already omit Microsoft in all except 2, where Microsoft is placed last and rapidly loses share (it’ll fall out of sight soon)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts