Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 29th Jul 2012 10:48 UTC
Legal Groklaw nails it: "In other words, [Apple and Microsoft] want to disarm the companies that got there first, built the standards, and created the field, while the come-later types clean up on patents on things like slide to unlock or a tablet shape with rounded corners. Then the money flows to Apple and Microsoft, and away from Android - and isn't that really the point of all this, to destroy Android by hook or by crook? The parties who were in the mobile phone business years before Apple or Microsoft even thought about doing it thus get nothing much for their earlier issued patents that have become standards. Apple and Microsoft can't compete on an even field, because the patent system rewards the first to invent (or now, after the recent patent reform, the first to file). Neither Apple nor Microsoft got there first. Samsung was there, since the '90s." To illustrate: Apple is demanding $24 (!) per Samsung device for design patents, while at the same time, Apple also demands that Samsung does not charge more than $0.0049 per standards essential patent per device. This is absolutely, utterly, and entirely indefensible. And then Apple and its supporters have the nerve to claim Samsung is ripping them off. Yes, this pisses me off, and no, that's not because it's Apple doing it (Microsoft is just as guilty). It's because this is plainly, utterly, clearly, and intrinsically unfair.
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Whining by proxy
by Tony Swash on Sun 29th Jul 2012 17:20 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I like some of Google's stuff, the free stuff they hand out, I like Gmail, I like search (used to love it but the weight of advertising is now a bit too heavy for my tastes), I love Google's Ngram viewer. But all the free stuff they have given me doesn't stop me being realistic about Google as a company. Google are an advertising company and I am not their customer I am their product, their business is about collecting data about me, and countless millions of other people, and selling that data to advertisers so they can target their advertising at me. That's OK, I don't lose sight of the fact that their free stuff comes with a hidden price tag but the price doesn't bother me too much, I have 'FocusOnTheUser' extension installed in Safari, so I can control the amount of distortion cased to search results by Google's deliberate distortion of search ranking, I have the 'Do Not Track Plus' extension also installed in Safari to block the relentless tracking of everything I look at and search for. So I am relatively relaxed about Google's surveillance.

I understand that the unavoidable logic of Google's business model is such that any area of activity that is blocked from Google's prying eyes, or any innovation that creates new activity that is blocked from Google's data collection bots, is a threat to Google which of necessity is driven to try to pry open anything that is closed to its vast data collection apparatus. And if brute force and PR spin won't open the gates of user data then, as is the case with Facebook, Google will try to build it's own alternative. I understand that Google sees all innovation on the web that does not allow it access to freely insert it's service stack as a threat, something to be conquered, 'opened' or routed around. I understand all that and it's something I am bit unhappy with but it's their business and that's the way they have to play it.

Google's fear of of the erosion of it's business model, a well founded and rational fear, looms over many aspects of technology and the net today. Because of that fear of exclusion, of it's user data being significantly devalued by being partial, Google must act fast. The mobile revolution, because mobile advertising looks like being permanently a fraction of what desktop ads can earn per user, means that Google's existing and very voluminous revenue streams cannot be taken for granted for too long.

Those revenues streams must be used now, and they are being used, to destroy other companies business models by giving away free equivalents. Office, iOS, Yelp, it doesn't matter, if it poses a threat of blocking Google from accessing user data then Google has worked, and will continue to work, tirelessly to create free versions of previously paid products and act deliberately to undermine the business model of any number of companies even though those companies are often not competing directly with Google products. I understand that and I am not happy about it at all, but hey this is grown up stuff, it's about money and a lot of it and it's a tough game for grown ups. So Google is free to pursue their strategy but I hope it fails.

What I cannot abide though is that whilst pursuing this hard nosed and aggressive strategy, in the same dedicated way the other successful and hard nosed and aggressive big tech companies pursue their strategies, that Google whines so much about anybody who fights back or stands up to them. It's the incessant whine of martyrdom that grates. Oh dear you tried to destroy the business of some very big companies and the bastards fought back - boo hoo. Poor you.

What's even worse are those who whine on Google's behalf, like this tosh from Groklaw, hypnotised by Google's waving of the 'open' totem who will whine nonsensically on and on about how 'open' Google is or how 'open' Android is, and how poor old Google, and poor old Android is being bullied by all the big boys. Is it not obvious? If you punch someone in the face expect them to punch you back. If you set out to undermine another companies business model expect them to fight back. It has nothing to do with fairness, nobody, least of all Google, is doing anything because it is fair, they are doing it for the money. All of them. There isn't enough of a gap between the ethics of any of the big tech companies to insert a cigaret paper. I prefer Apple's approach to product making and technology, others prefer Microsoft, other's Google. Fine let's ague the merits of what these companies offer. But when you start to prattle about fairness in a trillion dollar market you leave reality behind and enter the realm of the fairytale.

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