Linked by kristoph on Thu 8th Sep 2011 17:48 UTC
Legal Microsoft has announced today that it has reached patent licensing agreements with Acer and ViewSonic that cover Android smart phones and tablets. These companies join HTC [and several others] in paying Microsoft for each deployed Android device. Microsoft's strategic approach to Android is very different from Apple's. Where Apple is attempting to stop or otherwise delay the deployment of Android devices Microsoft is lining their coffers with royalties paid by OEMs for the privilege of shipping them. It's a strategy that is already generating more profit for Microsoft the its less then successful Windows Phone platform and could contribute dramatically to Microsofts bottom line going forward.
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le sigh....
by senshikaze on Thu 8th Sep 2011 18:55 UTC
senshikaze
Member since:
2011-03-08

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Reply Score: 1

legally sanctioned extortion
by bnolsen on Thu 8th Sep 2011 19:02 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

Nice way to protect the little guys from the gorilla on the block!

Reply Score: 3

RE: legally sanctioned extortion
by n0b0dy on Thu 8th Sep 2011 19:34 UTC in reply to "legally sanctioned extortion"
n0b0dy Member since:
2009-09-03

I wouldn't call ACER a little guy by any means, but Microsoft is just being.. Microsoft. When looking at Apple and Microsoft, trying to make up my mind as to which is worse I keep reminding myself Microsoft did one thing Apple has yet to do(?): make the U.S government use their trade agreement to kill international competition. They killed numerous products and companies, surely more than Apple did, though much less high profile and most illegally so.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: legally sanctioned extortion
by zima on Sat 10th Sep 2011 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE: legally sanctioned extortion"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

one thing Apple has yet to do(?): make the U.S government use their trade agreement to kill international competition

It is becoming more and more apparent recently that at least some IP rules, which as an overall group are the basis of Apple litigation throughout the world, got in place also via US gov and the agreements they push...

Apart from that - killing the clone market was possibly in a similar league? Or: something doesn't ring quite right with the purchase of a company which provided multi-touch products "particularly helpful for people suffering from RSI and other medical conditions" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FingerWorks ) and promptly withdrawing them from the market.

Furthermore, it's worth noting how there was probably something fishy with "push Apple into schools, kids will get used to them, ..." during large part of the 90s at my place (so possibly also at other similar ones, at the least). Some backstage practices / nice sums of money informally changing hands virtually had to be the case, considering the mark-up* of the machines in the face of local economic realities at the time (plus the scale - enough even for both high schools in my irrelevant provincial city; those ~25 machines in total, between the two, most likely being a strong majority - if not all - of Macintoshes in a 20k city BTW), and how such things were done.
("but Macs come with polish qwerty typist's kb layout!" most likely not being enough by itself - polish qwerty programmer's layout, physically identical to US layout, wasn't a problem before or after ...besides, you can find polish qwerty typist's keyboards for PCs, they were just always mostly ignored; plus a coordinated country-wide school deployment could easily order the thousands of units needed even directly from manufacturers)

*not only hellishly expensive for the place... it was also a dumping ground for Mac Classic and LC475. Giving very "fluffy" computer education anyway, and totally disconnected from local ecosystem. With, of course, dubious results of "kids will get used to them" ( http://ranking.pl/en/rankings/operating-systems.html expand the detailed past percentages - that 0.97% is only after massive growth over the past 5 years)

Edited 2011-09-10 15:42 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Just what does MS own?
by jefro on Thu 8th Sep 2011 19:47 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

I am sure there is way more legal issues here than simple android.

MS used offer a low price if you only used MS. If an OEM offered a competing OS then the OS price would go way up in price. Like from $4 to $70 so no company would dare use another OS.

"So Android, like every large software product on the planet, infringes numerous Microsoft patents."

Reply Score: 2

Microsft extortion campaign
by andydread on Thu 8th Sep 2011 20:35 UTC
andydread
Member since:
2009-02-02

This is egregious behavior on the part of Microsoft. They have sworn to go after Linux this way and they are definitely doing it. I cannot recommend their products to anyone knowing this. I wonder if there is a way to file a antitrust complaint against them for this kind of extortion. Their goal is to drive up the price of using a competitor's product through litigation. Anyone with a brain can see this and Microsoft has threatened to do this to Linux. Tomtom, Buffalo and countless others. Rest assured this is not just about Android and Chrome. Its about Linux and Open Source and software freedom in general. It is a very sleazy tactic.

Reply Score: 7

which patents?
by JokeyRhyme on Thu 8th Sep 2011 21:14 UTC
JokeyRhyme
Member since:
2010-05-28

Microsoft has, of course, never disclosed which patents are in question.

This is just like SCO all over again, where those guys never disclosed which lines in the Linux kernel had been copied from their own property (which wasn't even their property, as it turned out).

No-one has turned around and dared to take Microsoft to court over these supposed patents. All these licence deals do is set precedents, so that larger and larger companies will have no choice but to licence as well.

Someone needs to stand their ground on this issue, find out which patents are at the heart of this matter, and have them invalidated. Or just call Microsoft's bluff. This is all just plain stupid.

Reply Score: 5

RE: which patents?
by JAlexoid on Thu 8th Sep 2011 23:53 UTC in reply to "which patents?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Microsoft has, of course, never disclosed which patents are in question.


They use the IBM technique. "You know that you definitely infringe on one of our X thousand patents, so why don't you just pay now"

Whereas the actual patents MS uses in the battle against Motorola are only 9!

However, like IBM's agreements, Microsoft's agreements basically are for the whole patent portfolio without the right to cherry-pick. Once you sign, the agreement stays in place regardless of the validity of those 9 patents that MS asserted against Motorola.

BTW: MS vs Motorola lawsuit includes some patents that cover core Linux related functionality in Android.

Reply Score: 4

Wakeup call
by BallmerKnowsBest on Thu 8th Sep 2011 21:56 UTC
BallmerKnowsBest
Member since:
2008-06-02

I hope (but doubt) this will serve as an effective wakeup call to any delusional Stallmanites who still believe that Linux has any chance of "winning" on the desktop. Or for that matter, anyone delusional enough to believe that Linux EVER had a chance of winning the desktop.

It's also a clear demonstration of why Microsoft's approach is much smarter than the one Apple is taking. Apple's basically making an all-or-nothing gamble on their ability to stifle competition through litigation. In the game Apple is playing, the only way they win is if everyone else loses. As a direct result, all of Apple's most dangerous competitors are uniting against them.

But under Microsoft's approach, they win no matter what happens. Best-case, they win by making WP7 the dominant handheld OS. Worst-case, Android remains dominant - and Microsoft still wins because they get royalties from Android device makers.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Wakeup call
by TechGeek on Thu 8th Sep 2011 22:03 UTC in reply to "Wakeup call"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Linux bypassed the desktop and is just taking over every where else. Desktops are such a limited arena when talking about all electronics that run software.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Wakeup call
by kristoph on Thu 8th Sep 2011 22:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Wakeup call"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

The kernel is a commodity now, it's not a strategic differentiator.

The fact that Linux underpins Android is not really relevant because 99+% of all Android apps are written to run Android and would work fine on virtually any other kernel.

Does anyone really care that Android runs atop Linux? Would anyone care if it changed to NetBSD or QNX?

Similarly, if Apple moved to Linux tomorrow (and still called it iOS) no one would notice.

( Personally I've always wondered why Apple didn't adopt Linux. It's presence as the base of their platform would attract enterprise customers and it's not like they would lose anything. )

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Wakeup call
by _txf_ on Thu 8th Sep 2011 23:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wakeup call"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

( Personally I've always wondered why Apple didn't adopt Linux. It's presence as the base of their platform would attract enterprise customers and it's not like they would lose anything. )


They lose control... and that is EVERYTHING to Apple.

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: Wakeup call
by kristoph on Fri 9th Sep 2011 04:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wakeup call"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Why would they lose control? It's open source so they can do whatever they want with it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Wakeup call
by lemur2 on Fri 9th Sep 2011 04:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Wakeup call"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Why would they lose control? It's open source so they can do whatever they want with it.


Linux is not owned by (written by) Apple and it is GPL so whatever Apple did with it, they have to give the source code to whomever asks for it. This is a condition of Apple being allowed to re-distribute Linux to other people. This condition applies to Apple because Apple did not write Linux, and those who did write Linux have placed this condition on permission to re-distribute it. This in turn means that whatever Apple tried to do with Linux, other parties could un-do.

If Apple had to give out source code for its core OS, as they would if they used Linux, then Apple would effectively lose the ability to add user-constraining features, such as DRM, to that OS. Apple could add such an anti-feature, but other people could easily take it straight back out again.

Having access to the source code of the core Mac OS, one could, for example, write a music management application so that people did not have to use iTunes in conjunction with their iDevice. In general, as soon as Apple tried to force users to confirm to one Apple policy restriction or another, someone would be able to write alternative software so that users were not constrained by whatever it was that Apple wanted.

Edited 2011-09-09 04:53 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Wakeup call
by Lennie on Fri 9th Sep 2011 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Wakeup call"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

They could do the whole trusted computing thing, it doesn't matter if the code is open source.

It might make it easier to find mistakes, but that would be it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Wakeup call
by Panajev on Mon 12th Sep 2011 07:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Wakeup call"
Panajev Member since:
2008-01-09

While they do not love GPLv3 (they are quite against it), they are not against GPLv2 code like Linux per se.

Also,

http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1699.22.81/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XNU

What can be considered kernel and basic I/O, which is what the Linux kernel would provide, is already open source IIRC.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Wakeup call
by lemur2 on Thu 8th Sep 2011 23:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wakeup call"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Personally I've always wondered why Apple didn't adopt Linux. It's presence as the base of their platform would attract enterprise customers and it's not like they would lose anything.


Linux copyrights are owned by a large number of individuals, the versions you see distibuted to the general public are licensed under the GPL. The GPL gives broad permissions to recipients of the code (who are NOT the owners), including even permission to re-distribute it to others, but ONLY if the downstream recipients get all the same permissions as you got when you received Linux. This includes the requirement that downstream recipients must be able to get the source code.

Since Apple would not own the code, and must re-distribute the source code, effectively they cannot add anti-features to the code.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damaged_good

"In economics, a damaged good (sometimes termed "crippleware" or product with "anti-features") is a good that has been deliberately limited in performance, quality or utility, typically for marketing reasons as part of a strategy of product differentiation."

Now Apple are not nearly as prone to adding anti-features to their OS as Microsoft are (think Windows 7 Starter, for an example), but nevertheless Apple would still like to prevent their users from getting good stuff for free.

This means that Linux is not suitable for distribution as part of a commercial desktop OS, from the pont of view of a commercial software vendor such as Microsoft or Apple, because it is not possible to restrict what the users get, which in turn means they cannot be sold after market upgrades.

This is kind of a "big secret" of the commercial OSes ... the vendors of commercial OSes do not want it to be generally known that the OSes they sell are crippleware.

Edited 2011-09-08 23:27 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Wakeup call
by JAlexoid on Thu 8th Sep 2011 23:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wakeup call"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

There is a little fact that gets overlooked - iOS kernel (aka ARM XNU port) is not opensource...

It's all about control for Apple and making such little changes that they could keep for themselves. GPL is prevents that.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Wakeup call
by lucas_maximus on Fri 9th Sep 2011 09:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wakeup call"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

This means that Linux is not suitable for distribution as part of a commercial desktop OS, from the point of view of a commercial software vendor such as Microsoft or Apple, because it is not possible to restrict what the users get, which in turn means they cannot be sold after market upgrades.


Linux isn't suitable as a commercial OS because it doesn't work on the desktop, unless I am willing to give up doing all the stuff I take for granted or messing about working around incompatibility problems.

I can do pretty much anything with Windows I want.

I am sure you will bring up some odd edge cases that don't matter for a Desktop OS ... but anything sensible I can do with Windows.

This is kind of a "big secret" of the commercial OSes ... the vendors of commercial OSes do not want it to be generally known that the OSes they sell are crippleware.


No shit ... basically this rubbish boils down to "If something has more features, they charge more for it" ... This is standard in every industry and but because it is Software suddenly it is crippleware!!????

Stop talking absurd rubbish.

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Wakeup call
by r_a_trip on Fri 9th Sep 2011 09:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wakeup call"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

because it is not possible to restrict what the users get

Except that the Linux kernel is licensed under the GPLv2 and Apple would be free to just Tivo-ize their specific kernel. What good does a modifiable kernel do, when your piece of hardware rejects it on the basis that the signing keys do not match?

I don't think it is control over the kernel per se, that kept Apple off of the Linux kernel. I wonder how much of the good stuff in OS X, like Display PDF, hooks deep into the kernel. It may be a matter of not wanting to release the desirable features of Apple's proprietary software to the general public on account of that General Public License.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Wakeup call
by Lennie on Fri 9th Sep 2011 10:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wakeup call"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

And what will happen with the Oracle/Google Java case ?

It is probably strange to predict the demise of Android but I just don't know what to think about this case.

It's gonna be a big case that is for sure.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Wakeup call
by glarepate on Fri 9th Sep 2011 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wakeup call"
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

And what will happen with the Oracle/Google Java case ?

It is probably strange to predict the demise of Android but I just don't know what to think about this case.

It's gonna be a big case that is for sure.


It's, IMO, a big case now. But I'm not sure that it's going to remain a big case.

Compare the coverage at fosspatents to that on groklaw(.net) and you will see widely divergent opinions. ZDNet tends to repackage the fosspatents stuff and call it their own.

The presiding judge has appointed a magistrate to supervise the mediation between Oracle and Google and has "strongly suggested" that the two Larrys represent their individual companies but has left that decision up to the magistrate.

http://www.itworld.com/201315/judge-wants-ellison-page-sit-down-and...

He already threw out the $6.some-odd billion damages claim by Oracle and told them to submit a new one with no extra time to file it. And an awful lot of their best patent claims, after he made them reduce the number to make the case 'triable', have been tossed on re-examination by the USPTO examiner.

I can't say that I know what to make of it either at this point. But most court cases of this type don't go to trial and the outcomes of those that do (excluding SCO v World) are by no means easy to predict. I think it will become more apparent which way things are leaning once more progress toward a trial is made.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wakeup call
by zima on Sat 10th Sep 2011 16:13 UTC in reply to "Wakeup call"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple is just, understandably, terrified of the same thing which happened with Macs vs. PCs; superior, cheaper products from faster-moving competition. Funny thing is, it will happen anyway; something other than Apple will come to dominate, it's inevitable.

The only question which sort of still remains - will it be Windows or Linux? MS seems to be almost content with either option - but the actions of Apple would suggest they very much prefer Windows. A bit... hilarious.

Reply Score: 2

It just hit me
by ephracis on Thu 8th Sep 2011 21:59 UTC
ephracis
Member since:
2007-09-23

You know what just hit me? I read the comments on this story and most of them are negative to the actions of Microsoft. I bet though that some people who like some Microsoft products read (and even comment here). I count myself to someone who like a few products from Microsoft (although I am disgusted by this behaviour!)

Now, what if you would, in the story, change "Microsoft" to "Apple"? I could be trolling with some flamebait but I bet that we would see more people defending the attacker/licensor if that was the case.

However, believe me or not, I am not actually trolling here. Instead it is an observation that I find intriguing and it got me thinking. For those of you around when Microsoft was at its peak of "badiness" (I was just a little kid back then and couldn't care less about tech-politics) may I ask you a question: did Microsoft have the same amount of support that Apple enjoys today? Or has it always been the case that Apple has had a more loyal following than Microsoft ever has?

I'm just curious. ;)

Oh, and screw these ghost patents and licensing deals. Make it easier to invalidate bogus crap so we, as a society, can move forward.

The NCC-1701 will never be built if we keep this up!

Reply Score: 3

RE: It just hit me
by kristoph on Thu 8th Sep 2011 22:50 UTC in reply to "It just hit me"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Microsoft was really bad in the middle of the 1990's culminating in the anti-trust case of 1998.

Although Al Gore invented the internet by then the population of relatively modest and there were few sites like OSNews where fanboys/fangirls could gather and flame each other.

So your questions is pretty hard to answer.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: It just hit me
by ephracis on Thu 8th Sep 2011 23:34 UTC in reply to "RE: It just hit me"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

Yes, but I think that this "fanboyism" is not something new. I think we had it (but maybe expressed in some other form) before the Internet got big. Besides, the BBSs and Usenet groups did contain some flamewars, did they not?

But maybe people were more into editors than companies and brands back then. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It just hit me
by Stephen! on Fri 9th Sep 2011 08:57 UTC in reply to "RE: It just hit me"
Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

Microsoft was really bad in the middle of the 1990's culminating in the anti-trust case of 1998.


Maybe it's time for another one

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It just hit me
by lucas_maximus on Fri 9th Sep 2011 09:58 UTC in reply to "RE: It just hit me"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Microsoft was ... but the punishment they received is over. There is now no case against them but people still bring this stuff up which in terms of computer age is ancient.

It like people saying the current AMD CPUs are rubbish because the K6-2 was rubbish back in 1998.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: It just hit me
by r_a_trip on Fri 9th Sep 2011 10:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It just hit me"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

There is now no case against them but people still bring this stuff up which in terms of computer age is ancient.

Those who don't learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: It just hit me
by n0b0dy on Fri 9th Sep 2011 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It just hit me"
n0b0dy Member since:
2009-09-03

Not to mention they weren't punished for *everything* they did. Far from it actually.
Microsoft played a very nasty and dirty game back then, or should I call them 'WINtel' during a significant period of time?
They killed off this (BeOS anyone), threatened that (Dell etc.) and eventually got the equivalent of a slap on the wrist, really.
Consider a Mafioso rising to power on a large pile of corpses and other big crimes and getting for all he did nothing but a relatively insignificant fine. No 'go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200', nothing of that kind.Microsoft dominated above all, everyone used Microsoft, the government, the army, the judge probably used Word to write the verdict as well. And the thing is, they all still do.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: It just hit me
by zima on Sat 10th Sep 2011 14:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It just hit me"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

"Punishment"?...

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: It just hit me
by lucas_maximus on Sat 10th Sep 2011 22:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It just hit me"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

OH FFS ... like it or not the anti trust ruling was decided in a court of law. It was shitty ... but no corp wants to play fair ... or does.

If you want businesses to play fair ... then support co-operative businesses.

Compared to all the very horrible and disturbing things that happen everyday ... Microsoft f--king a few businesses over ... is rather low on my list what I think actually actually evil ... the worst it can be described as is "a bit shitty".

Edited 2011-09-10 23:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: It just hit me
by zima on Thu 15th Sep 2011 23:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: It just hit me"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm not sure how you got what you wrote out of my simple, short question.
Again: "punishment"? (you wrote, used this word; you seem to think there was some sort of punishment...where/how?)

Reply Score: 2

RE: It just hit me
by zima on Sat 10th Sep 2011 14:56 UTC in reply to "It just hit me"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

MS loyalists are also around... hard to say if in comparable amounts (is there any research about it? ;p ) - probably yes, if I'd have to guess. Maybe just more diluted and/or with a lesser need to protect choices than The Apple Defence Squad (plus the element of "random" fluctuations in activity, or whether or not some of them will cling to a particular web avenue - the internet does give more of them now; and in general more visibility and opportunities to "join forces" for many fringes - at least they offer in themselves some very consistent, easy & fun(?) ways to troll those guys, I guess)

Oh, and we will in fact never build NCC-1701... this prop was a tool not of space travel (etc.), but of airy storytelling in works of popular fiction.

Reply Score: 1

Stupid
by jboss1995 on Mon 12th Sep 2011 17:41 UTC
jboss1995
Member since:
2007-05-02

If they are stupid enough to pay them. Google said publicly that they would back them up. It is a big bluff and none of them had the guts to stay in the game so they all folded. Who's your daddy now BOYS. For all of us who would rather use a rock tablet and a chisel rather then buy something that would support a large monopolistic company like Microsoft have just been embittered by these companies. My next phone will still be and Android but not for on of these companies.

Reply Score: 1