Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 15:12 UTC
Legal This week's 'big' news on OSNews was about software patents. You know, those things that say you cannot stack four pixels on top of one another unless you pay money to the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks (or the guy who bought the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks). A company called IP Innovation, LLC, has sued Novell and Red Hat for infringement of the company's IP portfolio. Software patents are of course generally completely ridiculous, so I will not focus on that here. I want to focus on something else.
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Monopolist
by robinh on Sun 14th Oct 2007 16:04 UTC
robinh
Member since:
2006-12-19

MS is a convicted monopolist, which is no less powerful now than it was when convicted (insert GWB related tinfoil hat stories here). This is the reason why it's prudent to sniff out an MS connection to this, because MS's track record proves that they will go to any lengths to crush their competition.
Thom, you seem to be trying too hard to play devils advocate in this case (IMO). Assuming that Microsoft is up to no good is in fact usually correct (remember SCO?), and that's not Fanboy-ism/bias of any kind, just looking at the facts.

Reply Score: 14

RE: Monopolist
by kaiwai on Sun 14th Oct 2007 17:24 in reply to "Monopolist"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

MS is a convicted monopolist, which is no less powerful now than it was when convicted (insert GWB related tinfoil hat stories here). This is the reason why it's prudent to sniff out an MS connection to this, because MS's track record proves that they will go to any lengths to crush their competition.
Thom, you seem to be trying too hard to play devils advocate in this case (IMO). Assuming that Microsoft is up to no good is in fact usually correct (remember SCO?), and that's not Fanboy-ism/bias of any kind, just looking at the facts.


I agree. When one looks at the facts its hard to avoid the link:

1) Large vendors such as HP, Toshiba, Acer, Lenovo and Dell all announce that they're either planning, testing or offering Linux beyond the server arena.

2) Microsoft can no longer do the old 'strong arm' tactics as they did years ago to OEM vendors. If you can't threaten OEM's - whats to stop Microsoft from at least sowing the seeds of doubt in the marketplace over the so-called 'legality'?

3) Suddenly an unknown patent harvesting firm, chocked to the brim with ex-Microsoft employee's appears threatening *only* *NIX vendors. If these patents were so broad, then come how they haven't attacked Microsoft, Apple or any other vendor?

4) Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe the connection with SCO and Microsoft given that Microsoft needed to licence technology for their Services for UNIX product to improve SYSV compatibility. Even with that being said, it still raises questions as to why they just simply didn't use OpenSolaris code, given it is opensource and available for them to use if they wish. stupidity on Microsofts part on a conspiracy?

Edited 2007-10-14 17:27

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: Monopolist
by IceCubed on Sun 14th Oct 2007 17:28 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
IceCubed Member since:
2005-07-01


3) Suddenly an unknown patent harvesting firm, chocked to the brim with ex-Microsoft employee's appears threatening *only* *NIX vendors. If these patents were so broad, then come how they haven't attacked Microsoft, Apple or any other vendor?


They /DID/ sue Apple and Microsoft.
Apple's case was settled out-of-court.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Monopolist
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 17:31 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Suddenly an unknown patent harvesting firm, chocked to the brim with ex-Microsoft employee's appears threatening *only* *NIX vendors. If these patents were so broad, then come how they haven't attacked Microsoft, Apple or any other vendor?


Kaiwai, did you actually read the article? This EXACT SAME COMPANY sued Apple in April 2007 over the EXACT SAME PATENT, as the article explains. In addition, they have sued Microsoft too over another patent - also mentioned in the article.

My conclusion is that you didn't read the article very well, or not at all. Please do so if you comment, it's even in our rules.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Monopolist
by google_ninja on Sun 14th Oct 2007 17:42 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

1) While that makes RH competition, that doesn't really serve as a link.

2) Here you have a point, and they have been doing that consistantly ever since the old "Get the Facts" campaign started. Again though, that doesn't prove a link. MS does anything they can nowadays to avoid anti-trust lawsuits.

3) First off, they are hardly unknown, and have been one of the leading companies that engage in this nonsense for quite awhile. Secondly, two former employees is not "Chock full", and thirdly, this company has sued both microsoft and apple before (apple over this very patent), and does not just go after *nix companies.

4) AFAIK, OpenSolaris wasn't ready back then.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Monopolist
by Flatland_Spider on Mon 15th Oct 2007 06:01 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

it still raises questions as to why they just simply didn't use OpenSolaris code,


Probably because OpenSolaris wasn't available until 2005, and MS bought a licensed from SCO in 2003.

I'm sure you're right about MS needing a license to actual System V stuff. They could have used something else like *BSD code, but they have the money so why not get the real deal.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Monopolist
by CodeMonkey on Mon 15th Oct 2007 22:33 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
CodeMonkey Member since:
2005-09-22


3) Suddenly an unknown patent harvesting firm, chocked to the brim with ex-Microsoft employee's appears threatening *only* *NIX vendors. If these patents were so broad, then come how they haven't attacked Microsoft, Apple or any other vendor?


I would hardly call 3 employees "chocked to the brim". In reality they have less than a hand full of ex-Microsoft employees.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Monopolist
by tomcat on Thu 18th Oct 2007 01:19 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Suddenly an unknown patent harvesting firm, chocked to the brim with ex-Microsoft employee's appears threatening *only* *NIX vendors. If these patents were so broad, then come how they haven't attacked Microsoft, Apple or any other vendor?

Reread the article. They have. They've sued both Microsoft *and* Apple.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE: Monopolist
by google_ninja on Sun 14th Oct 2007 17:28 in reply to "Monopolist"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

His point was that there is no real evidence of a microsoft connection, even though it seems to almost be taken as fact by alot of people on the net, and that groklaws findings are really quite flimsy.

The way I see it is that there is a chance that MS caught wind of what the company was doing, and paid them to go after RH next. That chance isnt really based on proof, but more on the fact that MS can't really sue (as Thom pointed out), and that they do really want to (as Ballmer seems to indicate every time he opens his mouth nowadays). This would put MS in more of an opertunistic role, rather then a conspiratorial mastermind role that groklaw seems to be set on. But even that is completely based on conjecture and not on facts, and could be completely wrong. To go further then that is really going outside the realm of reason. A litigation company litigating after one of the many times in the last few years that MS has rattled the old patent sabre could very well just be coincidence.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Monopolist
by sbergman27 on Mon 15th Oct 2007 04:13 in reply to "Monopolist"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""

MS is a convicted monopolist,

"""

I wish people would stop saying this. It just makes us all look silly. I dislike MS as much as anyone, and more than most. But one is not *convicted* of being a monopoly. One is declared to be a monopoly in an area and then has to be careful not to stray outside the legal bounds that their monopoly status confines them to. With riches come restrictions... with great power comes great responsibility and all that sort of thing.

Once declared a monopoly, a company may be found to have abused that monopoly status. And legal action may be taken. But we are still talking civil law. "Convicted" is just not a word that applies here.

Are they as powerful now as they were when they were declared to be a monopoly all those years ago? Yeah, probably.

The silver lining is that monopolies which are not natural monopolies... a category which fits MS like a glove... have a natural life-cycle. The problem that they have is that they have reached the limits of the revenue they can expect out of their existing customers. And yet they can't really expand their customer base... because they already have everybody. But they need to grow, and so... they have to squeeze their existing customers for more money.

This can work. But it opens up a serious vulnerability for them. Their customers, the ones being squeezed, will be increasingly prepared to jump ship.

Their dilemma doesn't get any less serious with time. It gets worse. As it gets worse, they have to get cleverer and cleverer finding ways to squeeze more without causing a stampede... and one day, they squeeze too hard and the right competitor shows up, and *bam!*, they're IBM! Not a bad place to be. But a far cry from the evil monopoly they once were.

That was the good news. The bad news is that in the absence of government intervention, the monopoly can artificially extend its own life-cycle for a disturbingly long duration. But not forever.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Monopolist
by h3rman on Mon 15th Oct 2007 07:18 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

MS is a convicted monopolist


sbergman27, this merely means that the monopolist Microsoft has been convicted of naughtiness that it could perform by *using* that very monopoly.
It does *not* mean that a judge has said to defendant, 'Thou art a monopolist! Shame be on thee!'
That would be rather silly.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Monopolist
by google_ninja on Mon 15th Oct 2007 14:25 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

See, this is why the DoJ should have forced MS to split up into different companies like they were talking about back in the day. Assuming MS was an OS company, then the revenue source would have stopped being enough years ago. But its not its also an office productivity company. And a gaming console company. And an mp3 player company. And a wierd table computer thingie company. The list goes on. If they keep diversifying into every tech market imaginable, even if the market where they have monopoly status is not enough to sustain the behemoth, the others can.

Reply Parent Score: 2