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.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Whining by proxy
by galvanash on Sun 29th Jul 2012 17:38 in reply to "Whining by proxy"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I think that is the first post I have read by you that I agree with almost 100%.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Whining by proxy
by shmerl on Sun 29th Jul 2012 18:33 in reply to "Whining by proxy"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Google is used here as example since Android is successful. Android is not really open, but do you think any truly open system won't be attacked by evil empires (MS and Apple) using patent racket? I bet it would. In this case they aren't aiming to destroy Android, they are aiming to be parasites and to profit from patent fees.

Parasites aren't going after small systems, they are going after widely deployed ones like Android. The moment some system will become commercially successful - they'll attack it as well, no matter if it was developed totally independently. Like in case with B&N, they revealed that Microsoft basically said that it doesn't matter what B&N do, MS will find some patent to extract money from them. This kind of attitude is totally disgusting.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Whining by proxy
by cdude on Mon 30th Jul 2012 09:23 in reply to "RE: Whining by proxy"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

Google is used here as example since Android is successful. Android is not really open,


Why not? If its about control fork what is possible with Android! Android is 100% open, the development process may not but that is irrelevant for the result, Android.

but do you think any truly open system won't be attacked by evil empires (MS and Apple) using patent racket? I bet it would.


It already happened and happens. With TomTom and the FAT patent for example.

In this case they aren't aiming to destroy Android, they are aiming to be parasites and to profit from patent fees.


They do try to destroy but destroy the commercial success by raising the cost it takes to deploy and ship Linux basex products. As more money it takes till you can make a Linux based product as more alternates, like Microsoft products, become interesting again.

They cannot compete so they try to make the compition unacctractive. If there would be any possibility to succeed by sueing e.g. the Linux kernel community they would do. Its just that they would not succeed with that. They would fail and demage themselfs on that. So they decided to go another way. A way where they are able to end with an agreement behind closed doors at the end of the day, keeping the weapons working (trivial patents which would otherwise be lost maybe) and putting the message out that now even company X pays cause Linux uses Microsoft technology.

Edited 2012-07-30 09:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Whining by proxy
by Sodki on Sun 29th Jul 2012 21:03 in reply to "Whining by proxy"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

Google are an advertising company...


Yes, but not only.


... and I am not their customer I am their product, ...


No, you're a way to sell their product. The clients are the advertisers, the product is the advertising network.


... 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.


Actually, no.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Whining by proxy
by Tony Swash on Mon 30th Jul 2012 09:38 in reply to "RE: Whining by proxy"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Google is an advertising company, thats where over 90% of their revenue comes from. Of course Google engages in other activities, many companies do, many including Google spends many millions on political lobbying or supporting cultural activities, does that make them a lobbyist or culture business - no. Any business is driven by the demands of core business, the stuff that all the money comes from. If you want to understand the behaviour of any company, Google, Microsoft, Apple, look at what their core products are, the ones that make most of their money.

Google's USP, the way it adds value to it's core product of advertising is to collect information on people. Collecting information on what people do, what they write about in their emails, what they search for and browse, where the live, who their friends are, is absolutely core to Google's business. When Google sells advertising space on it's search page it doesn't just offer a blank space, it offers targeted ads that are shaped to the end user, that's what add the value to Google's product. It's easy to see in action, log in to your system and do a Google search for a common sort of term, then get a friend to do the same, you will see that not only are the ads served to each of you different based on Google's collected information about you but the actual search results are also different and are also based on what Google knows about you. You, the data about you, is Google's product, it's what it sells to it's actual paying customers.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Whining by proxy
by cdude on Mon 30th Jul 2012 08:46 in reply to "Whining by proxy"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

revenues stream [...] used to destroy other companies business model by giving away free equivalenta.


Then you are also against, for example, the Red Hat business model?
Or just against any business model that utilizes free equivalents and compets against other business models?

Face it. On the market different business models compete with each other. If one of those models cannot survive against a compitor then its probably the wrong model.

Microsoft's business model of expensive licenses for closed software is doomed. Not only cause of compitors like google and Red Hat but also cause the devices are more cheap today then 10 years ago making the previous small % for licenses exorbitant higher today and an disadvantage when competing.

Microsoft's business model also compets with the Apple business model which is very different. Apple makes its profit from Hardware, not software.
That is why Microsoft changed its business model to software plus service and just recently to software plus hardware plus service.
But the are not close as good as Apple and Google. Welcome to competition in an open market.

This may a problem for Microsoft but who cares? Compitors win cause customers find there products better. Its so easy.

Also note that both, Apple and Microsoft, utilize FLOSS in there products. Yes, they profit too. So how is it bad if google does but not bad if Microsoft or Apple do? Cause Google keeps the end-product open? Cause google's business model, execution and products are better and customers love them more then compitors products? Yeah, right, the view of someone who failed to proper compete with products...

Edited 2012-07-30 08:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Whining by proxy
by Tony Swash on Mon 30th Jul 2012 09:57 in reply to "RE: Whining by proxy"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

First of all I am not against Google's business model. I am just realistic about it's consequences. Google is free to pursue that business model as much as it wants and in any ways that are legal, as are other companies.

Second Red Hat is tiny compared to Google so it's actions have tiny consequences compared to Google's.

Thirdly because Red Hat's business is not based on collecting data about people to add value to advertising, as Google's is, they are not driven, as Google is, to see all areas of user data that are closed off from their data collections systems as threats to the value of their business. Thus Red Hat is not driven to try to pry open, route around, or subvert (and if necessary destroy) through the production of free alternatives the business models of any other companies that are generating significant user data that is closed to them.

Why does Google invest in Youtube, Gmail, Google Docs, Google +, Android, etc etc? It's so they can guarantee access to data about people and what they doing. Minus that data Google has no business, And minus a big chunk of that user data, when for example another company creates something like Facebook or iOS, Google rightly understands that it's core product is devalued. Partial user data is much less valuable and attractive to Google's customers than complete data.

None of what Google does is 'wrong'. It's just business and if it's legal then Google should be free to pursue any strategy they want. But for gods sake let's drop the relentless whining of self pity and the claims of faux martyrdom. The endless attempts, surprisingly successful, to enlist the support of those who think Google is a champion of something called 'open' against the evils of something called 'closed'. One can admire or support one business model against another without pretending that one business model is evil and one good, that's a juvenile way to look at the world of commerce. Thinking that it is somehow 'unfair' if other companies fight back against Google's competitive attacks is absurd.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Whining by proxy
by MollyC on Mon 30th Jul 2012 16:59 in reply to "Whining by proxy"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Nice post.

Edited 2012-07-30 17:00 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Whining by proxy
by tomcat on Mon 30th Jul 2012 19:09 in reply to "Whining by proxy"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Best.post.ever.

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.


Yes. Google likes to wave around its "open" flag, and use it to bludgeon others, while whining about limits on its access to data. It's incredibly annoying, to those of us who actually pay attention to the fact that Google could give a damn about any form of openness other than that which serves its own business model.

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.


Many people have been lulled into submission by Google into believing that it offers them nirvana technology for FREE; without realizing that the cost of that technology is built into every single product that they buy that's advertised through Google. At least, with Apple and Microsoft, the cost of the technology is right in front of your face -- a specific piece of hardware and/or software; whereas, Google rides on the backs of hundreds of thousands of businesses, like a hydra. Trouble is, many people are simply dumb, and don't understand the game that Google is playing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Whining by proxy
by andydread on Mon 30th Jul 2012 20:33 in reply to "Whining by proxy"
andydread Member since:
2009-02-02

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.


Wait... so you just prefer to pay dearly to have your data shared with partners and advertisers? If you are going to have your data harvested so that it can be sold as a product to advertisers why not just have it done for free? Unless I guess there is much prestige in paying Apple for the privilege of having your data harvested and shared with their partners/advertisers.

Reply Parent Score: 3