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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17289/microsoft-copyrights-patent-dominance/

Microsoft Copyrights –> Patent Dominance

June 14, 2011 by

As reported by TechCrunch, Microsoft Fighting To Ensure Google Does Not Gain Patent Leverage, Deterrence, Google is bidding for 6,000 Nortel patents. But Microsoft is objecting:

Specifically, Microsoft is objecting to Google being able to purchase the over 6,000 patents without recognizing Microsoft’s existing licensing agreements on the patents, Reuters reports.  As we noted a week and a half ago, these licensing agreements were precisely why Microsoft was the one obvious bidder not competing for the patents — they didn’t think they had to. But the current terms for the winner of the auction doesn’t back up that argument. As of right now, the company that wins the bidding would be able to terminate existing agreements.Microsoft says that’s unfair. And while they don’t specifically mention Google, it seems pretty clear who they’re thinking about when they write that a termination of existing licensing agreements “would result in considerable disruption in the development and enhancement of various existing technologies and give the prospective purchaser an unfair competitive advantage”.

In other words, “we don’t want the company that we have under our patent thumb to be able to turn the tables”.

So let’s get this straight. First, Microsoft acquires a huge monopoly and billions of dollars in cash due to the unjust copyright system (which protects software). Then Microsoft uses these unjust profits to acquire and purchase thousands of patents, and to license thousands of others, so that it can further cement its dominance and use its patent portfolio against potential competitors–like Google. And now that Google wants to acquire these 6,000 patents, which it could use defensively against Microsoft to ward off an anticompetitive patent suit against the Goog by Microsoft, Microsoft is going apesh*t, because it would soooo unfair for Google to have a shield to use against Microsoft’s patent aggression. Why, it’s just not fair if your victims are armed, now, is it?

See also Patent Cross-Licensing Creates Barriers to Entry.


Ohhh Henry June 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Another irony is that Nortel was such a crappy company that it went broke despite having developed hundreds of products, holding thousands of patents, having billions in revenues, receiving probably something in the range of a hundred million dollars or more in government subsidies, plus it was able to borrow and raise in the stock market hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars during the telecom boom. Those patents didn’t do a damn bit of good to Nortel, but somehow they’re extremely valuable in the hands of Google? Not for the so-called intellectual property they contain, but because they contain a legal excuse with which Google can jam its thumb in the eye of Microsoft. Just remember, no matter what anyone at Mises.org tells you, patents stimulate creativity!

nate-m June 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm

The difference between Nortel and the dozens of other rivals that Microsoft put under on it’s way to domination versus Microsoft themselves is that Microsoft had competent management.

Windows Hater June 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Microsoft ? Competent Management ?

Microsoft was always behind in terms of innovation and always stole other people’s ideas and sold them as it’s own.

Microsoft behaves like a military which is at war against both it’s competitors and users.

Management is certainly not competent at making software that works.

Shay June 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Those patents didn’t do a damn bit of good to Nortel, but somehow they’re extremely valuable in the hands of Google?

They allow Google to form their own property into certain useful patterns, without being sued.

Also, is copyright involved (as the headline suggests), or is this only patents?

Ohhh Henry June 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I think they mean, at first (20-30 years ago) before software patents existed, MSFT used copyright laws to build itself up into a very large company. Now the focus is shifting to patents.

nate-m June 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm


Prologue: The Reason for this Memo

Every year I set aside at least one “think week” to get away and update
myself on the latest technical developments — reading PhD theses, using
competitive products, reading books, newsletters and anything I can get
my hands on. Several valuable thoughts have come out of these retreats
(tables for Word, outlining in Excel, treating DOS as more of an asset),
however the complexity of the industry and its techology means that a lot
of my time is spent just trying to keep up rather than coming up with new
product ideas. It is no longer possible for any person, even our “architects”,
to understand everything that is going on. Networking, processors, linguistics,
multimedia, development tools, and user interfaces are just a subset of the
technologies that will affect Microsoft. My role is to understand enough
to set direction. I enjoy these weeks a great deal — not because I get
away from the issues of running Microsoft but rather because I get to think
more clearly about how to best lead the company away from problems and
toward opportunities. A lot of people choose things for me to read. By
the end of the week I make an effort to synthesize the best ideas and make
our technical strategy clear.

This year I decided to write a memo about overall strategy to the executive
staff. As we have grown and faced new challenges my opportunities to speak
to each of you directly has been greatly reduced. Even the aspects of our
strategy that remain unchanged are worth reinforcing.

It’s a very interesting memo. It’s very rare that you see this level of honesty come out of a execuative and with current politics it is never going to happen again at Microsoft or any large corporation. There is few things the state hates more then honesty and will punish honest leaders and honest business with a vengance.

This sort of thing is why Bill Gates won and all the other major software companies lost. They were all aiming for dominance and used the same weapons against each other (ie. copyright and other governmental things), but BG just did a better job.

Out of this memo is the most interesting section, although the entire memo is very interesting from a historical perspective.

Category 3

This is a category of challenges we face that I don’t feel are widely

PATENTS: If people had understood how patents would be granted when most
of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry
would be at a complete standstill today. I feel certain that some large
company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation,
algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique. If we assume this
company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take
as much of our profits as they want. The solution to this is patent exchanges
with large companies and patenting as much as we can. Amazingly we havn’t
done any patent exchanges tha I am aware of. Amazingly we havn’t found a
way to use our licensing position to avoid having our own customers cause
patent problems for us. I know these aren’t simply problems but they deserve
more effort by both Legal and other groups. For example we need to do a
patent exchange with HP as part of our new relationship. In many application
categories straighforward thinking ahead allows you to come up with
patentable ideas. A recent paper from the League for Programming Freedom
(available from the Legal department) explains some problems with the
way patents are applied to software.

Windows Hater June 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I wonder if Microsoft would still exist if it was not for patent laws. After all, Microsoft Windows is nothing but worthless bug ridden malfunctioning and virus prone malware.

Today, VISTA crashed on my with a blue screen. Vista was always in my way with the User Account Control etc. I want to develop software and Vista is and adversary to programmers. Trying to protect users against themselves is destroying the usability of the operating system.

The fact that I was forced to have Vista on my machine because it was pre-installed and that I could have XP instead.

Well, I decided to wipeout my hard drive and now I have Linux running from a USB key. It’s about 10 times faster than Vista in terms of bootup times. There is no bullshit Internet Explorer, no User Account Control, no worthless popups that bothers me all the time, not annoying updates etc.

The fact that Vista crashed marked the end of Microsoft for me. I will not be installing Windows 7. From now on, I am a Linux person.

I want my operating system to be simple, fast, compact, to work and to not get in my way. I have this with Linux, I did not have this with Windows.

I have a 4 GB USB key with Linux installed that performs much better in all aspects that Vista on a 320 GB hard disk. I will basically get rid of my hard drive because I hate those useless pieces of junk that malfunction and take longer to operate than a fully functionning USB key.

I mourn the days where Steve Ballmer had to do grimaces and clown around on tv commercials to try and sell Windows 1.00, back in those days Microsoft could not do evil and could not force it’s OS down our throats.

I am happy to have finally left Microsoft. I will be learning how to program in Java on Linux because I want to develop for Android in the future. I dream of a world without Microsoft.

It’s monopolistic attitude is not only displayed in patents but in everything it does. Microsoft is not a company that wants to give the best value to it’s customers. Microsoft is not a company that wants to develop the best product.

Microsoft is a company that wants to force it’s shitty, buggy, crappy and malfunctioning products down our throats using force. It wants to seek rent using patents, it sues other companies that develop alternatives. It forces unwanted software with it’s OS like bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. It forces hardware vendors to pre-install it’s shitty OS on their machines and you cannot have them install XP or Linux on them.

Microsoft does not listen to it’s users. We don’t want flashy frou frou and clippys and cool effects and animation etc. We don’t want to be held by the hand and being blamed for the lack of security and efficiency of your worthless shitty operating system. We don’t want Microsoft to get in our way when we install our own softwares and being told it’s not safe etc. We don’t want Microsoft to harass us when we move our tunes from our mp3 player to our computer etc.

We want a small, fast, compact operating system that simply works and takes only a few seconds to boot up. Vista took ages to boot up on my 8 GB Dual Core computer.

However, booting Linux only takes seconds.

When I was putting Vista on sleep mode and wanted to go back to my desktop, I had to wait “Please Be Patient” and then I had to press enter and still wait again. And then Vista was harassing me with updates, status install etc.

I have none of those problems with Linux. I will never again use Microsoft products. This company has proven to be the number one enemy of all computer users in the world. It’s a terrible and evil company that must disappear.

Linux is fast, works and lets me use my computer the way I want to. It’s cooperating with me, it’s not fighting against me like Vista was.

I don’t want to hear about Windows 7, I’ve got something even better, I’ve got Linux.

I find it thrilling that I can use Linux on a USB key, it’s computers like it should be. It reminds of my Atari, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64 games where it always worked and you only needed to insert the cartridge and press power for it to work.

I hate hard drives with a passion, they are slow, buggy, get fragmented and having too much space, 320 GB, can be a problem when it comes to maintenance of your data.

I will stick with low capacity USB drives from now on, they are fast and easy to maintain. I can now have multiple USB drives for different uses. I can have a USB drive for games in Linux, one for accounting, one for technical drawing, one for surfing the web, downloading images and videos on youtube etc.

I am not back to my good old times when I could just insert the cartridge, press power and play after just a few seconds of wait.

I am totally excited and ecstatic about this USB run Linux.

There is two things that will no longer be part of my life, Microsoft and Hard Drives, I will toss my Toshiba 320 GB hard drive in the recycling bin, it’s a worthless piece of junk.

There is place for 6 USB keys in my USB key case, that’s enough for 6 different configurations of Linux. One for games, one for drawings, one for business etc. Just like the good old Atari times.

I am certain that I am not the only one who is fed up with Microsoft and will ditch it for Linux.

I don’t care if I am limiting myself to Linux and that the programming skills that I will acquire will be limited to Linux. I don’t care if I miss 90% of the audience for my softwares.

Linux is freedom, Microsoft is tyranny !

Now, I am extremely happy to run my computer on Linux on a bootable USB key. I feel free, I feel like I’m flying above the clouds and reaching for the stars. Microsoft windows was like being chained in a poorly ventilated underground prison.

Windows Hater June 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Today, I have just removed my 320 GB hard drive that came with my Toshiba Laptop and I smashed it into pieces with a hammer and threw it in the recycling bin. That gave me an immense satisfaction, no more slow hard drive and scraping noise. Just the silence and fast pace of my beloved 4GB USB drive.

I love Linux, I love bootable USB drives and I hate Windows. If you are a Microsoft employee or executive and your read this, I have two words for you: F.U.
I will never again use Microsoft products, I feel free and breathing fresh air.

Windows Hater June 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm

“Why, it’s just not fair if your victims are armed, now, is it?”

The real victims of Microsoft are it’s users not it’s competitors. Microsoft acts like it owns us and like we owe it everything and it’s sacrificing usability only to keep it’s monopoly on cyberspace. The exact complain I make about “God” versus life.

Microsoft is at war against it’s own customers and users. It wants to control every aspects of our computer usage, it refuses to make lightweight, fast and compact operating systems, it refuses to give us choices. It drowns us with features and visual effects and our computers die of security problems. Microsoft behaves like God.

Well, Linux is freedom, the freedom to own your own computer and to do what you want with it. The freedom to belong to yourself and not to Microsoft.

The true victims of Microsoft are it’s users and customers and the best weapon against Microsoft is Linux and bootable USB keys.

Today, I’ve ridden myself of the shackles of Microsoft and hard drives.

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