Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:02 UTC, submitted by viator
Legal If you can't compete, litigate. This train of thought has been quite prevalent among major technology companies as of late, most notably by Apple and Microsoft, who both cannot compete with Android on merit, so they have to resort to patent lawsuits and FUD. Both Asustek and Acer have revealed that Microsoft plans to impose royalty fees upon the two Taiwanese hardware makers to prevent them from shipping Android and/or Chrome OS devices.
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by pallen38 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:52 UTC
Member since:

Whether you agree with software patents or not, the fact is we have them. How does protecting these patents make Microsoft anti-competitive? The have the right to protect them and enforce royalty payments, and can do so in selective cases if they wish to. Obviously they are going to do things that are advantageous to them, they're a bloody corporation! But if you put aside your Microsoft-hate for a moment, you'd see that your problem isn't with them, it's with capitalism.

Reply Score: -2

RE: Anti-competitive?
by l3v1 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:57 in reply to "Anti-competitive?"
l3v1 Member since:

How does protecting these patents make Microsoft anti-competitive?

Well, I don't know about you [well, actually I do, as your comment is telling enough], but not settling those eventual patent issues in court with Google, instead trying to gather some arbitrary amount of cash from whatever manufacturers doesn't seem to be a nice move to say the least, and it's definitely not the way any kind of patent disputes should be dealt with.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by pallen38 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:09 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
pallen38 Member since:

"...doesn't seem to be a nice move to say the least, and it's definitely not the way any kind of patent disputes should be dealt with"

They are protecting their interests, and the law gives them this right. Is it 'nice'? No. Is it 'anti-competitive' in the legal sense? No.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by _Nine_ on Fri 29th Oct 2010 15:59 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
_Nine_ Member since:

Microsoft isn't doing this for the money or because its products can't compete on merit. On the contrary, several Windows Phone 7 reviews indicate otherwise. Rather, this move is to "encourage" these manufacturers to sign OEM agreements for Windows Phone 7 and whatever else the company has in store for the device market. If they sign up as OEMs, Microsoft likely will "look the other way" regarding the patent issues.

Basically, Microsoft is saying that it's easier (and maybe cheaper) to just do business with Microsoft. If these companies explicitly do NOT do business with Microsoft, well, MS is going cause you some headaches since you're effectively competing with them by selling Android devices. Are the patents valid? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, the system is what it is and MS is going to use it to its advantage. It's called leverage. Conversely, the manufacturers are free to use the system as well. They can give MS the finger and let it play out in the courts.

For the people saying there "should be laws against this kind of stuff," there also should be laws against unlawfully obtaining things and then using or re-distributing them at will. Oh wait, there are such laws--patent laws. You're approaching it with a biased perspective and are automatically assuming that these patents are absurd, that Google and the OEMs aren't doing anything wrong and it's just a result of MS's inability to field a competitive product. I'm not saying that's not the case here and the system surely needs improvement, particularly around what is and isn't patented and what that means. But, if your technology should be protected and the patents used to do it are valid, then is it so wrong to actually enforce the system, regardless of the competitive landscape?

Edited 2010-10-29 16:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Anti-competitive?
by Neolander on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:21 in reply to "Anti-competitive?"
Neolander Member since:

How does protecting these patents make Microsoft anti-competitive?

These patents date back from the stone age of computing, they should be public domain by now.

Using them is anti-competitive because younger companies cannot compete in the patent area with dinosaurs holding lots of patents on (now) obvious and very widespread things like FAT32.

In an area moving as fast as software, patents should have a much shorter lifetime, of say 5 years. That we can still infringe patents on things dating back from the Windows 95 era here in 2010 is just plain odd, and hurts innovation more than anything else. Paying for patents issued in the Vista era, otoh, I'd be okay with that, if the fees are reasonable and if the patent system allows small innovators to patent things too.

Edited 2010-10-28 20:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by grimshaid on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:18 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
grimshaid Member since:

I think you might have made one of the most important points in the discussion in noting the duration of patents vs the ever-evolving software market. Previous patents upon invention were based upon a time frame dictated by a much slower process of development. Inventions being protected for 25 years was a lot more reasonable when the devices had little need to change over that duration, and there were fewer alternatives available or even necessary. In the software market, by comparison, things change almost at the blink of an eye and the same duration on patents lends itself more to allowing monopolies than protecting the market.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by nt_jerkface on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:31 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
nt_jerkface Member since:

Device companies play a big role in keeping FAT32 around. Windows can read EXT2/3 devices with a driver but device companies don't include support even though it is in their long term interest.

MS ironically ran into the same problem with WMA. It was the in best interest of device companies to migrate away from MP3 but they were too focused on short term profits.

Anyways FAT32 expires in 2014 so it is not as if they can charge forever.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by kristoph on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:17 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
kristoph Member since:

Microsoft's action are not 'anti-competative' by any legal definition. The laws of the USA are on their side.

You may not like it but it's sort of Orwellian to redefine terms in support of your argument, don't you think?

Reply Parent Score: 1