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Microsoft Charging Royalties For Linux

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept.

Microsoft 286

andydread writes "It seems Microsoft's campaign to scare manufacturers away from open source and Linux in particular is proceeding at full force. The latest news is from Digitimes out of Taiwan. Apparently Microsoft is threatening Acer and Asustek with having to pay Microsoft a license fee for the privilege of deploying Linux on their devices. This time, it's in the form of Android and Chorme OS. So basically, this campaign is spreading to PC vendors now. What are the implications of this? Does this mean that if I build PCs with Linux (Ubuntu/ChromeOS/Fedora) and sell them I am at risk of getting sued by Microsoft? "

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286 comments

Nicely twisted summary (5, Insightful)

weachiod (1928554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045992)

How wonderfully twisted summary. Even the article doesn't say Microsoft is demanding license for installing linux. It says Acer and Asustek should patent license fees just like everyone else:

As Android is an open platform, vendors of Android handsets have to pay royalty fees of at least US$10-15 per handset for licensed use of the patents concerned, the sources explained.

There are only several Taiwan-based handset vendors and only HTC has signed for licensed use of Microsoft patents, leaving Acer and Asustek being the targets for the royalty charge, the sources indicated.

What a surprise, HTC pays license fees so they aren't asked to do so!

I don't like software patents either, but development does take its time and money and you currently still have to play by the rules like everyone else. Just because you're not selling as many devices as HTC doesn't mean you don't have to pay the same royalties. Even Google, like every other company, is asking for patent royalties, so why suddenly Microsoft shouldn't? Sure, hate the software patents, but twisting this as something like Microsoft demanding manufacturers to pay if they want to install Linux is just... wrong.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046008)

You and your damn facts. Can't we just get some nice Microsoft bashing going on?

Re:Nicely twisted summary (5, Informative)

weachiod (1928554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046172)

The whole story is bullshit too, as AsusTek has denied Microsoft asking for royalties [focustaiwan.tw] .

Re:Nicely twisted summary (0, Offtopic)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046228)

The whole story is bullshit too, as AsusTek has denied Microsoft asking for royalties [focustaiwan.tw] .

Did asus ever fess up to the nvidia 86xx mobile card underfill problem? Don't get me wrong, I *love* asus, but I don't think they ever issued a recall, just extended a few warranties and replaced bad units with good ones when they failed. I may be wrong, but I think I'm right :P Anyways, Asian business practices are different as well - and AsusTek isn't pegatron ... which was previously the manufacturing arm of Asus ... which is now separate from AsusTek, iirc. Makes me wonder if the OP is right about demanding royalties and wrong about the target. I mean, both pegatron and asustek are Asus. At least, as far as the end-customer is concerned.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046240)

You and your damn facts. Can't we just get some nice Microsoft bashing going on?

More damn facts: per capita black people commit more crimes, have more bastard children, have fewer college graduates, and lower literacy rates than ANY OTHER SINGLE GROUP in the USA. Per capita, adjusted for percentage of population, yada yada.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046464)

AC is a nigger hating racist. FUCK YOU AC.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046468)

More damn facts: per capita black people commit more crimes, have more bastard children, have fewer college graduates, and lower literacy rates than ANY OTHER SINGLE GROUP in the USA. Per capita, adjusted for percentage of population, yada yada.

Read up on your history. This is largely a result of racist policies by the US government. Sure, the blatant ones haven't been in effect de juris since the 70's, but kids who grow up without both parents wind up in prison significantly more than those privileged to have both parents. So a significant number of black fathers are in prison right now, because their fathers were in prison for a significant portion of their childhood.

END THE DRUG WAR.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1, Offtopic)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046872)

Your facts are racist!

Re:Nicely twisted summary (3, Informative)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046032)

In regards to *which* patents are being contested we can probably look at the Motorola Lawsuit to see just what Asus is being expected to pay for:

Microsoft says Motorola is violating nine patents "that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power."

So they aren't being sued for "linux" they're being sued for the software prebundled along with the kernel and cell phone related patents.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (5, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046140)

They are being sued for 'computer', in other words.

To the original poster: You live on planet earth. You therefore are liable to being sued by Microsoft.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Funny)

Venerence (1421867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046432)

To the original poster: You live on planet earth. You therefore are liable to being sued by Microsoft.

I don't think you are considering it as a true Microsoft CEO. If we ever discover Martians, I'm sure Microsoft will find a way to sue them for their rich martian ambrosia.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Funny)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046782)

If we ever discover martians, one of two things will happen. Either they will be more technologically advanced than us, in which case the US, Russian and Chinese governments will tell us all what wonderful friends of ours they are and offer us all as cheap, third-world labour to the martians. Or they'll be less technologically advanced than us in which case our governments will tell us what a terrible threat they are to us and invade them. Unless they're particularly fluffy and people protest, in which case we wont invade, we'll merely liberate them.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046812)

Which MS product was named Ambrosia(TM) exactly?

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046944)

It's called a "metaphor".

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046686)

yeah I was thinking if xerox alto infringes on that, if there were apis for getting count of dropped packets(to tell something about "signal strength") it might fit.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (0, Redundant)

conares (1045290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046694)

"You live in the US. You therefore are liable to being sued by Microsoft."
There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046044)

Would be interesting to watch this one develop, I think. A lot of software patents under litigation now are unbelievably vague. And as always, there's something interesting on the subject over at Groklaw [groklaw.net] .

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046046)

That strongly depends on the validity of the patents in question. Since TFA doesn't say what the patents are, it's hard to determine how legitimate they might be, but statistically for software patents, they're probably bogus (however what a court would make of it is a crapshoot).

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046122)

Hmm, I can't figure out to what in the parent post you are saying "it depends". He was saying the summary is twisted and wrong, which it is - this has nothing to do with Linux, and everything to do with using *any* OS that doesn't involve paying a royalty to MS.

If they feel that their patents are valid, they have a right to demand license fees. And everyone has a right to ignore them and settle it in court. But "Microsoft Charging Royalties for Linux" is just a HORRIBLE title given the article referenced.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046170)

They are using Linux. MS is demanding royalties each time they use Linux. Thus they are charging for Linux.

As far as we know, they're not demanding such fees for Symbian or MacOS.

Of course, nobody ever knowingly demands royalties for invalid patents depending on the high cost of court and the near random nature of court decisions to make their victims pay up...

Re:Nicely twisted summary (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046504)

They are using Linux. MS is demanding royalties each time they use Linux. Thus they are charging for Linux.

I have legs. The bus company demand that I buy a ticket when I step into the bus. Thus airlines have patented cheese.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046584)

Looking up the details, the patents are for "synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power". Last I checked, none of those are included in the Linux kernel - they are part of the Android middleware/OS, and/or apps the vendors added.

In fact, a bit more research shows that yes, Symbian, Palm, Nokia, and some other Linux embedded vendors are in fact already licensing the patents (and have been for *years* - the first article I found was from 2005). And Apple has patent cross licensing agreements with Microsoft (and likely all of those other companies) as well. This is about Taiwanese companies trying to make cheap phones by avoiding the patent license fees everyone else has already agreed are valid. And those companies probably also violate Apple patents (in Apple's opinion, at least) - to that matter, Apple has already sued HTC (a Taiwanese company paying MS fees now as well) for this.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (4, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046144)

Sorry to pull you back to the real world... any patent that has been issued and has not expired or invalidated, is valid. It's a simple as that.

Whether you think it's a legitimate patentable invention doesn't matter. As long as the patent office thinks it is, then the patent will be issued. If you think it's not valid for whatever reason, you will have to ask a judge to invalidate it. And until they agree with you and invalidate the patent, it is valid.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046202)

The wheel was patented a few years ago. I think it's safe enough to say it would never survive even a cursory review of prior art.

It would (unfortunately) still have to go to court eventually, but that doesn't make it valid, it just makes the legal system insane.

Sorry to pull you back into sanity.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (4, Funny)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046244)

The wheel was patented a few years ago. I think it's safe enough to say it would never survive even a cursory review of prior art.

It would (unfortunately) still have to go to court eventually, but that doesn't make it valid, it just makes the american legal system insane.

Sorry to pull you back into sanity.

Fixed it for you! We have (for the moment...) sane laws up north. You may call us your hat, but we canadians refer to you as our balls (or ass, depending on how magnanimous we're feeling...)

Re:Nicely twisted summary (5, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046374)

Actually, the patent for the wheel was granted in Australia [newscientist.com]

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046456)

Stop it! You're making me miss living in Calgary, Alberta, where things made sense! I live in Texas now, which, in addition to actually being more insane (in general) than the rest of the U.S., is also the ass of America, so that makes me a resident of the ass of Canada's ass. Yippee.

Ontopic (sorta): In 2001, four IBM developers patented a system that issues reservations for the use of an airplane toilet. It's as absurd as the wheel patent for a completely opposite reason. The wheel is so ubiquitous that charging royalty fees for every wheel manufactured would be an organizational nightmare, while that airplane toilet reservation system will probably never be used for anything at any point in the foreseeable future.

The patent approval process is absolutely ridiculous...

Re:Nicely twisted summary (3, Insightful)

Noitatsidem (1701520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046620)

Who the fuck modded you as flamebait? It's a valid point. Microsoft has tons of extremely broad patents that describe really basic functionality of an operating system- Nothing innovative on their part. I'd love to see them start threatening Apple... Or they could do something even more insane, like sue their own customers: I really like MS's self-destructive tendencies, it really puts a smile on my face knowing that their own customers can't trust Microsoft not to sue them- I wonder what this will do for the Windows market share? Hey, if a major vendor ever did decide to stop shipping windows all together (or hell, even downplay Windows) I can definitely see Apple-like ad's going "LOLVIRUS" while at the same time going "By the way, it can surf the web, you can make .docx files with openoffice/libreoffice, the OS supports 3D acceleration, etc. while still being cheaper than a certain other proprietary operating system. Let's face it: IF these vendors do ever move away from Windows, they may not kill it, but they could certainly put a fairly big dent in its market- Imagine the world with two Linux based vendors with the same market share as OSX, or even one for that matter. That's a pretty big dent. Also, I'm getting ready to be modded down for thinking, as it seems to be a recent trend on /.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (3, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046252)

Sorry to pull you back to the real world... any patent that has been issued and has not expired or invalidated, is valid. It's a simple as that.

If a patent is issued in error or in contravention of the law, it's not valid. It's as simple as that.

If you think it's not valid for whatever reason, you will have to ask a judge to invalidate it. And until they agree with you and invalidate the patent, it is valid.

No, upon the judge finding it invalid the government will start treating it as invalid. It was invalid all along.

It's like unconstitutional laws: segregation and the "separate but equal" doctrine didn't suddenly become unconstitutional when the courts woke up in the 1950s and 60s. They were unconstitutional since Amendment XIV was ratified. Court rulings don't change basic facts, they change what facts the government will admit to as being true.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046440)

Sorry to pull you back to the real world... any patent that has been issued and has not expired or invalidated, is valid. It's a simple as that.

If a patent is issued in error or in contravention of the law, it's not valid. It's as simple as that.

If you think it's not valid for whatever reason, you will have to ask a judge to invalidate it. And until they agree with you and invalidate the patent, it is valid.

No, upon the judge finding it invalid the government will start treating it as invalid. It was invalid all along.

It's like unconstitutional laws: segregation and the "separate but equal" doctrine didn't suddenly become unconstitutional when the courts woke up in the 1950s and 60s. They were unconstitutional since Amendment XIV was ratified. Court rulings don't change basic facts, they change what facts the government will admit to as being true.

Very interesting (and misleading) post. While technically, it may be correct, it changes nothing. Invalid all along or not, in effect it was still very valid until that legal determination was made, including often, the damages that were done during the time frame when the (whatever) was considered valid or went unchallenged...

...Just like the poor example you gave. Do you think those who lived in the 40's and 50's and part of the 60's suddenly woke up when Amendment XIV was ratified thinking "wow, that's great that everything that happened to me back then has suddenly un-happened!"

Sure, I am sure they were happy that it was no longer legal - but the earlier effects dont magically get wiped away all of a sudden. That's the funny thing about the past... we havent figured out how to change it.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046316)

If you commit a crime and are never caught, you're still a criminal.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046486)

hrmmmm, in australia our saying is "it's not illegal until you get caught"...

Re:Nicely twisted summary (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046142)

I don't like software patents either, but development does take its time and money and you currently still have to play by the rules like everyone else. Just because you're not selling as many devices as HTC doesn't mean you don't have to pay the same royalties. Even Google, like every other company, is asking for patent royalties, so why suddenly Microsoft shouldn't? Sure, hate the software patents, but twisting this as something like Microsoft demanding manufacturers to pay if they want to install Linux is just... wrong.

From HERE [reuters.com] :

The patents in question relate to synchronizing e-mail, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power, Microsoft said in a statement

Really? synchronizing email, calendars and contacts? Doesn't the iphone do that? Why is MS not suing Apple? Wait, didn't my Palm Treo do that? Hell, my wife's old Palm Pilot did that. Before all that, Eudora did it. So, in other words, this is nothing new, as far as the software goes. The only difference is the hardware. So why is MS not suing Apple, Palm or any of the other software applications that do this stuff... you know, like any OS anywhere that runs on a battery powered device or does email? Oh, that's right, because the whole point is to scare Acer, Asus and other smaller manufacturers from supporting Android.

This is not about development costs. How much software development cost went into patenting an idea that's been around since before Windows for Workgroups. This is legal blackmail, nothing more. HTC is paying MS off because it was probably cheaper than a lawsuit (and probably gets the money back in WinMo7 licensing deals). This is about companies installing software that isn't written by MS. This is about not paying licensing fees, BECAUSE OPEN SOURCE HAS NO LICENSING FEES!!!

Re:Nicely twisted summary (5, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046222)

It seems their strategy is to target Windows customers that are starting to make the switch to a Linux based OS. Probably in an attempt to scare them back onto the Windows path, but I hope suing their customers backfires on them.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046334)

Mod parent up, mod grandparent down for suggesting that it is only natural for licensing fees to be paid as if it was done for a long time but in reality this is only recent.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (3, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046750)

Really? synchronizing email, calendars and contacts? Doesn't the iphone do that? Why is MS not suing Apple?

Because Apple has a cross licensing deal with MS and recognizes the patents.

Also you can patent specific implementations and methodologies. It's entirely possible and likely that other email synchronization systems can be employed that don't run afoul of Microsoft's patents.

As to Palm I'm sure they had their own treasure trove of patents which they both defended and cross licensed with Microsoft.

Just because Open Source has no licensing fees doesn't mean it doesn't have to respect the law that closed source software abides by.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046942)

Also you can patent specific implementations and methodologies. It's entirely possible and likely that other email synchronization systems can be employed that don't run afoul of Microsoft's patents.

In theory, yes. But in practice you can patent the "what" and not just the "how" [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nicely twisted summary (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046174)

Yet another "I'm right and you're wrong because these are the rules and rules shouldn't be broken because they're the rules" post. Circular reasoning sucks balls in any context.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

miketee (513478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046284)

Yes, it seems a twisted summary, and a confusingly written article as well, but as far as I can determine,
they're being asked to pay royalties for Microsoft patented software.

If this IS a Microsoft scheme to enforce usage of their OS, surely it'd backfire, considering the manufacturers don't want to pay royalties as it is?
I think it would encourage makers to use Open Source even further.

Certainly they shouldn't pay M$ royalties for a device that doesn't even use their technology, but the article doesn't SEEM to say that, IF the $15/per handset quoted is ONLY for ones actually using Microsoft software.

I suppose the complicating factor is using services that are require M$ technology in one way or another, even if from a Linux-based OS.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (3, Interesting)

weicco (645927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046358)

Nope. I think don't you understand patents.

If this IS a Microsoft scheme to enforce usage of their OS, surely it'd backfire, considering the manufacturers don't want to pay royalties as it is?

If manufacturers don't want to pay royalties then they have to switch to a country that doesn't recognize patents. Otherwise they can be taken to court and ordered to pay hefty fines + pay hefty royalties or pay hefty fines + stop manufacturing.

I think it would encourage makers to use Open Source even further.

This is a question about patents, not copyrights. Open Source doesn't cover you from patent suits. And unless you didn't notice, TFA is about vendors using Open Source.

Patents have upsides and downsides. I'm not sure how they balance. It seems that at least in the software world there's more downsides than upsides to put it nicely.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (2, Informative)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046898)

Switching to a country that doesn't recognise the patents does nothing to help you when your products are impounded on entry to a country which does.

 

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046326)

Since we're quoting the article, don't forget this bit.

But because Acer and Asustek are international vendors of netbook PCs, the actual motivation of Microsoft's royalty charge is to keep Acer and Asustek from using Google Android or Chrome OS instead of Windows Mobile for their netbook or tablet PCs, the sources pointed out

This article could be complete BS, but regardless, what if they just want to sell to countries that don't recognize software patents? Must MS get paid for anything shipped that resembles a PC?

Re:Nicely twisted summary (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046362)

Are you insane?  Do you not recognize insanity when you see it?

Jesus fucking christ dude get your head out of your ass.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046366)

I have not RTFA however i can tell you that my organisation pays a 'per installation fee' to MS even if we install Linux.

I recently proposed through our company 'innovation scheme' that we install Ubuntu or RedHat on some of our non-critical machines. THe idea being to 'free up licences' to use in another area in which we are purchasing new desktops.

The answer from our IT people was 'it doesnt matter which OS we install, we pay MS $xxx.xx per installation anyway - its in the contract"

I'm thinking of submitting an 'innovation' that we shoot the contracts division*

* with paintball of course.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046372)

I don't like software patents either, but development does take its time and money and you currently still have to play by the rules like everyone else. Just because you're not selling as many devices as HTC doesn't mean you don't have to pay the same royalties. Even Google, like every other company, is asking for patent royalties, so why suddenly Microsoft shouldn't? Sure, hate the software patents, but twisting this as something like Microsoft demanding manufacturers to pay if they want to install Linux is just... wrong.

What a wonderfully twisted argument.. you completely miss the point.

Acer ans Asustek have a tiny part of the market and their number of devices sold is almost without effect on the competition. Microsoft is not asking for this "license fees" for the money, their goal is to send a message and scare manufacturers away from the Android. That is the point here.

Microsoft has never wanted to publicly list the patents they are claiming are in Android or Linux, they know very well that if there are any grounds for their claim the patented components will be replaced by un-patented ones.

I like /., but the "Pro-*NIX" 'FUD' spreaders? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046376)

"How wonderfully twisted summary. Even the article doesn't say Microsoft is demanding license for installing linux. It says Acer and Asustek should patent license fees just like everyone else" - by weachiod (1928554) on Thursday October 28, @12:08AM (#34045992)

OH man, per my subject-line? I know what you mean! Incidentally, I actually LIKE Linux 2.6.35 core, via KUbuntu 10.10, but I do NOT like how the "FUD SPREADERS" work around here, spreading FALSE bullshit... in fact, that kind of thing really upsets me because it's how a lot of "Internet technical urban legends" start, & misinform noobs especially (via dishonest means). That type of CRAP spreads!

I like BOTH forms of "major OS'" nowadays (*NIX variants, yes, even MacOS X (nice stuff) &/or Windows 32/64), but I do NOT like "gossipping whimps" who work via deceit - hell, nobody really does I do not think!

Example? Ok: 2 days ago, there was an article here about London Stock Exchange moving to Linux (after they F'd up & couldn't keep a Microsoft solution going there stable, whereas by way of comparison?? NASDAQ has for the same type of system no less, a market trade data dissemination system, called MDDS (which overall runs on their proprietary designed "SuperMontage" system))... I pointed out that this failure @ LSE is most likely NOT due to Windows usage since NASDAQ does well on it, but rather, the software architects, coders, & network staff that maintain this system with their DBA's too (i.e.-> their IS/IT/MIS team).

So, what happens? Well, this guy named "Unknowingfool" here tried to tell me "NASDAQ runs on LINUX" (which is complete bullshit, the NYSE does though), & then, he tried to imply I stated that NASDAQ runs its entire stock exchange on Windows... I never, EVER, stated that... in fact, I put out all the pertinent info. I know of above!

I busted him in trying to put words in my mouth I never said, and his outrageous lies on NASDAQ running its entire show on LINUX where I know it does NOT (in fact, I have been designing & coding or co-coding large "enterprise class/mission critical" systems like the ones @ these Stock Exchanges for 16++ yrs. now, & they are OFTEN built of multiple parts, like SuperMontage (well, this one's a LITTLE more "specialized & proprietary design" than usual, but my point's there)).

See it here:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1836934&cid=34046188 [slashdot.org]

It's unbelievable, but it DOES "2nd your motion" about the "Pro-*NIX zealots" that try to pull the wool over others' eyes here and with OUTRIGHT disinformation/misinformation OR twisting things!

APK

P.S.=> This is a GOOD site, with some good smart folks too (some with REAL skills, not the majority imo sadly, but a LOT of them), but there are some of what I call the "not men" element around here and I am NOT the only person noting it here either... here's someone you NIX folks will recognize, noting the SAME SHIT (and I am sure he has most of your guys' respect):

"It just takes one Ubuntu sympathizer or PR flack to minus-moderate any comment. Unfortunately, once PR agencies and so on started paying people to moderate online communities, and to have hundreds of accounts each, things changed." - by Bruce Perens (3872) on Friday July 30, @04:55PM (#33089192) Homepage Journal

http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1738364&cid=33089192 [slashdot.org]

He's dead on too... once "big monies" & their paid trolls/shills come around? It screws up great sites, because MOST of them??

Man, per the URL above my initials above as the example I saw this week? Man - They're TOO DAMNED STUPID to tie their own shoes!

Worst part is, they end up ruining the rep of great websites (like this one CAN be & is, except for the "pro-*NIX trolls & gossip + misinformation spreading crew" around here @ times a LOT, unfortunately, w/ this "massive *NIX slant" that's often full of technical blunders, that only ends up hurting even this places' rep @ times, even with folks like Mr. Perens above, a *NIX man himself!)... apk

Re:Nicely twisted summary (4, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046502)

like software patents either, but development does take its time and money and you currently still have to play by the rules like everyone else. Just because you're not selling as many devices as HTC doesn't mean you don't have to pay the same royalties. Even Google, like every other company, is asking for patent royalties, so why suddenly Microsoft shouldn't? Sure, hate the software patents, but twisting this as something like Microsoft demanding manufacturers to pay if they want to install Linux is just... wrong.

Shit like this is why the cell phone industry is in as sorry of a shape as it is. Mobile devices are hotter than hell right now. EVERYONE makes them in fucking China. The only thing you need as a producer is to design some hardware from some off the shelf components, add your spin on it, and flip on a switch in China. What is happening? Not this.

What is happening is that only people armed to the teeth with both piles of money and patents dares step a foot into this market. Every single pissant start up Silicon Valley should be building a phone, but instead it is limited to only people armed to the teeth for a legal fight. This is fucked up, and for a consumer, it is hitting you in the pocketbook. Further, absolutely none of these patents are novel. It isn't like a company hits on a great idea no one will ever think of and patents it to protect themselves. What is happening is that everyone is patenting the obvious next step, and than suing when everyone goes to take that obvious next step.

What people forget is that patents are not some sort of moral fucking right. They are a completely artificial creation made by governments. It is a government granted monopoly, and it isn't granted for some fucked up sense of morality. It is granted for the singular reason of "promoting the useful arts". It is written into the fucking US constitution. When it fails at this, we are doing it wrong. If patents are stepping in the way of competition and innovation, they are failing in their singular purpose. Clearly, they are failing.

Patent law is so horribly fucked up these days there are no words for it. Consumers, small and medium sized businesses, and the economy are getting screwed. Microsoft is leading the charge. They can't compete in an open market, so they swing a government enforced sledgehammer at the competition.

I almost considered looking into getting a WiMo7 phone, but after this sort of anti-consumer crap, fuck those guys.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046786)

Microsoft has already patented license fees.

Re:Nicely twisted summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046866)

If you know a little bit more about the industry, than you know, it's nearly impossible to write or design something without violating one or another patent. Being a circuit designer myself, I must violate patents for every design I make, and that's for our entire industry the case. It has NOTHING to do with earning your research investment back, as patents were once intended, in development of software and in circuit design, patents are mainly a competitive tool, that you can deploy if you think it's beneficial. In case of HTC, the only patent in the list Microsoft presented, that was a real threat was the patent on the universal radio interface. The others would not make it through the court. If you want to make a mobile OS that runs on multiple phones, you need some abstract universal driver, and Microsoft has patented that. They have the right to do so, though you must admit, there nothing innovative about it. But that's true for most patents.

Now imagine, all companies would start defending their patent portfolio. If that would happen, and if we had enough lawyers in this county, you'd probably ended up paying a lot of licence fees for every cell phone, computer, camera, that you can buy today. The reason companies don't do so, is because they would be sued themselves too. So you always carefully pick your battles, and only start defending your portfolio, if you know for sure, there's something to win. In case of Microsoft, they hate the fact that Google gives away their Android and ChromeOS for free. Microsoft does not earn their money with adds, so Google business model hurts them a lot. It's no coincidence that they start this campaign, together with the launch of WP7. This has nothing to do with Linux or Google stealing ideas from Microsoft, it just a battle for market share of cell phones a tablet computers.

Blowback (5, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045998)

Apparently in completely unrelated news, Asus is deprecating Windows Phone 7. [techtree.com] This even though Google totally cleaned Garmin's clock [businessweek.com] on the free navi thing.

As always, Garmin-Asus seeks the best for our consumers either on Android platform or on Windows platform. However, we see the potential of Android platform devices, so we are focusing on Android platform currently. - Steven Tu

Meanwhile Microsoft's VP, Corporate Communications Frank X. Shaw [microsoft.com] is over on Twitter [twitter.com] right now trying to repair the damage done by today's CNN Money report. [cnn.com] In case y'all want to wander over and lend him a hand.

Re:Blowback (2, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046138)

Microsoft is turning into a really big fish in a really big pond; the problem is that pond is in Minnesota. You can't throw your weight around when you don't have a strong presence in every aspect of your market anymore.

Re:Blowback (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046342)

Like with BeOS and TRON MS can play hard and fast. They can move in to ensure one emerging area is kept safe by using the desktop.

Desperate (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046006)

How the mighty have fallen.

Charging for something thats isn't yours? (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046012)

Twould make you want to twist their necks, wouldn't it?

This summary is terrible... (0, Redundant)

magnusrex1280 (1075361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046022)

And doesn't describe AT ALL what is happening.

Re:This summary is terrible... (2, Interesting)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046088)

Neither do you.

Chorme! (2, Funny)

mogness (1697042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046034)

...This time in the form of Android and Chorme OS.

I'm just glad it's for Chorme OS and not Chrome OS...

Re:Chorme! (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046074)

I'm a Chorme OS developer, you insensitive clod!

Translation Please (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046036)

Is this a poorly translated article that was originally in another language? None of it makes any sense. For example:

"As Android is an open platform, vendors of Android handsets have to pay royalty fees of at least US$10-15 per handset for licensed use of the patents concerned, the sources explained"

What does being an "open platform" have to do with paying patent royalties?

Re:Translation Please (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046078)

I'm guessing that normally the royalties would be included in the cost of licensing the firmware.

Re:Translation Please (4, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046094)

Easy!

"gee, that is an awful nice handset you have there. It would be a damn shame if something were to happen to it. Perhaps you would be interested in our protection services?"

Re:Translation Please (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046168)

When you buy Windows, for example, it will include a license fee for any patent that needs licensing to use it.

Android like other OSS is passed around freely, without controls, so users have to take care of that separately.

That's also why Windows can play MP3 out of the box, but Red Hat not.

Installing Linux... (1, Informative)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046060)

"Does this mean that if I build PCs with Linux (Ubuntu/ChromeOS/Fedora and sell them I am at risk of getting sued by Microsoft?."

Apparently it's not a problem unless you're installing them on a smartphone. These aren't really Linux patents they're claiming are being infringed.

Microsoft has software patents, wants licenses. (5, Insightful)

PhilipTheHermit (1901680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046092)

If I understand the article correctly, Microsoft has software patents on a number of technologies related to smartphones, and is seeking royalties from some portable electronics companies for their use of technology covered by the patents.

Generally a "ho hum" situation, BUT, Microsoft seems to be using the situation to pressure the companies to stop using Android and Chrome on the devices. Seems to be.

If anything, rather than proving that Microsoft is some sort of terrible evil, this proves that SOFTWARE PATENTS are a terrible evil.

We should never allow ANYONE to patent something that is not a physical item or process. The idea that a company can write up a vague description of how some software product MIGHT work SOMEDAY, if SOMEONE decides to develop it, and get the patent office to grant them the right to act as a gatekeeper for that idea, should be abhorrent to all people with scientific and technical backgrounds.

I think that about sums up the situation.

Now, perhaps I'm wishing for the moon here, but if anyone from the patent office, Congress, or the Obama administration is a Slashdot reader, this would be an excellent situation to use to show the average representative in Congress why, exactly, software patents should be abolished. "Here are two companies that are not using Microsoft products, and not stealing secrets from Microsoft, and in fact not using any Microsoft property at ALL, whose businesses are being interfered with because Microsoft was granted some software patents and they're using them as bargaining chips. This situation is ridiculous and should be addressed. (Etc, etc)".

Re:Microsoft has software patents, wants licenses. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046280)

It's no longer about "How it might work". There are many patents that simply cover "what it is used for".

ie "Email push over wireless" - this says nothing about the specifics of the process, only what it accomplishes in the end.

THIS is the problem with the today's patent landscape.

Re:Microsoft has software patents, wants licenses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046474)

But then what can patents apply to? Don't all patents apply to how some product MIGHT work SOMEDAY if SOMEONE decides to buy it.

Re:Microsoft has software patents, wants licenses. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046494)

Why complicate it? Just make the software patents expire in 3 years.

Does someone here have an actual voice? (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046100)

If so, can you blast MS on this publicly? kthxbye

Asus denies it (4, Informative)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046114)

Here. [focustaiwan.tw]

Terribly summary, by the way.

but they're not charging royalties for linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046120)

did the poster or slashdot actually read the article? nowhere does it say anything about charging royalties for linux!

i especially like this scaremongering from the poster:

"Does this mean that if I build PCs with Linux (Ubuntu/ChromeOS/Fedora and sell them I am at risk of getting sued by Microsoft?"

yes, only if you're infringing microsoft's IP.

this isn't defending microsoft, how about reporting the truth instead of attacking straw men.

Re:but they're not charging royalties for linux? (2, Informative)

overtly_demure (1024363) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046134)

Yeah, I like bashing MS as much as the next guy (if not more so), but it's only fun when MS actually does something stupid. It's not like it's such a rare event that you have to flat out make stuff up.

Slashdot spreads the FUD (3, Insightful)

guanxi (216397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046130)

I doubt it's intentional, but if Microsoft wanted to use their patent portfolio to scare businesses away from Linux (and I don't know that it's true), they probably would fantasize about reading this on the front page of Slashdot:

Does this mean that if I build PCs with Linux (Ubuntu/ChromeOS/Fedora) and sell them I am at risk of getting sued by Microsoft?

whole story is moronic (3, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046136)

When did slashdot lose it's way so badly that outright wrong information like this makes the front page?

this site has lost the right to call MS on the FUD they do spread, because slashdot is guilty of as much, if not worse FUD of it's own.

Re:whole story is moronic (0, Flamebait)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046238)

BS it didn't happen. They're already doing it to HTC, they have a history of doing it in the past (see TomTom, Amazon, etc.), and they even have a list of shakedowns [microsoft.com] published, if a citation is needed. Sure, not all of those are proper shakedowns, but most of them are.

No, software is unpatentable subject matter (2, Interesting)

kawabago (551139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046166)

All the manufacturers have to do is get the patents invalidated which is entirely possible.

To the CEO, Microsoft: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046192)

Sir:
Fuck you.
We advance Linux until the last man falls.

Bonus points to anyone who recognizes the reference.

Oh noes (2, Interesting)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046278)

you sign an agreement to distribute MS licenses and they dont like it when you break it

sounds simple to me ... dont sign the agreement!

easy 3 step plan

1) dont sign with MS
2) let distrubutors sign with MS to offer MS product on sale (buy windows 7 for 75$ instead of giving it away)
3) profit

manufactures benefit from not being tied in to a deal, consumers still get a choice (its functional out of the box, but if you want windows add x cost), meanwhile they have a usable machine on OS software, +1 open source once they see gmail and facebook run the same, prices drop

CPM vs DOS anyone? this is how its been done since day one with this platform, welcome to 1981

Re:Oh noes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046496)

I assume you didn't read the article and haven't followed the news lately?

"Not signing" doesn't give you any patent protection.

Boundless greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046340)

When will you Americans learn that corporate greed is bounded only by criminal prosecution and enlightened consumers? Corporations are, at best, amoral and ruthless in their pursuit of profit.

Microsoft's Sockpuppet SCO already LOST THEIR CASE (1)

zunipus (946278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046414)

All any company need do, when threatened by this typical deceitful bullshite from Microsoft, is site the case THEY ALREADY LOST in court, then slam the door in their face and ignore them to death.

The END of SCO (aka Microsoft) case:

SCO loses another round in Unix fight, must pay $2.55M to Novell
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9110258/SCO_loses_another_round_in_Unix_fight_must_pay_2.55M_to_Novell_ [computerworld.com]

SCO loses again: jury says Novell owns UNIX SVRX copyrights
http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/03/sco-loses-again-jury-says-novell-owns-unix-svrx-copyrights.ars [arstechnica.com]

SCO/Novell suit is over, SCO loses
http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/06/11/sconovell-suit-is-over-sco-loses/ [crunchgear.com]

And so forth...

When you can't compete: Litigate.

It's misleading, if you don't understand the law (3, Interesting)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046436)

Rule 1. Anybody can sue anyone for anything.
Rule 2. If they fail to respondent in general the one who filed the suit wins.
Rule 3. If there is no ground for the suit it's easy to get it tossed out.
Rule 4. The golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules, in other words the one with the most expensive lawyer wins.
Rule 5. 90% of civil cases are settle out of court. This is mostly a poker game, with bluffs gambits deceptions , misdirection, Sleight of hand, deceit, corruption and hocus pocus.
          A company like Microsoft is counting on the other party not doing there homework, not being as well connected, or not having as much leverage with politicians and judges.
Rule 6. Carrying a bluff all the way to court, and getting called on it would be devastating for a company like Microsoft. The best thing that could ever happen is Microsoft actually following through with it's threat.
Rule 7. Judges are held responsible for there judgments. I have noticed that they will do anything to defer to a previous similar judgment by another court on a related case rather then actually commit to a decision that they make themselves.
      So in court what mostly happens is both parties are presenting similar cases in which the courts decided in there favor and the judge then decides who make the more relevant argument.

I have seem a similar strategy used to shake down companies for patent infringement on bogus patents.
The corporation being sued will look at this from a strictly profit and loss perspective, it's cheaper and more profitable to remain on good terms with Microsoft.
  So they start by shaking down a small plays because they know they will kowtow, and Microsoft will even kick them back a discount or some other bullshit so it really doesn't cost them.
But this sets up a legal precedent establishing the legitimacy of Microsoft's claims.
They then can go after larger or more resistant players.
After a certain critical mass, it will be much more difficult to argue that the claims are fraudulent in court.
The EFF & GNU could be in for one heck of a battle if they don't intervene sooner rather then later.

Re:It's misleading, if you don't understand the la (2, Informative)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046528)

Good analysis. Would be stronger if you use "their" for the possessive rather than "there" (which is the place) (in 5 and 7).

Oh, and "its" is the possessive while "it's" is the contraction for "it is"- that's one I always have trouble with (in 6).

I don't think settling actually creates any legal precedent - that requires at least a court ruling. I does start to create a psychological and social "precedent" however.

Re:It's misleading, if you don't understand the la (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046626)

Rule 3. If there is no ground for the suit it's easy to get it tossed out.

Yeah, that's why the SCO case was thrown out so quickly. Oh, wait...

That's the US legal system (1)

batistuta (1794636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046820)

Trials within the USA are largely based on comparing similar trials that occurred in the past. Look at any law-film and you will always see arguments like "as occurred in the trial XXXX in the state of XXXX back in 19XX", and then claim similarities and expect the same outcome. This is just the way the US trial system works. This is also why every time a brand new issue pops-up, like the first file-sharing trial, the first post DMCA-based trial, etc, its outcome becomes very important. It will in essence set a precedent for future trials.

The European law system on the other hand is not so tight on past occurrences. They look more at what the current law says. Of course they also look at similar trials from the past as well, but the weight they put on it is not as heavy as in the US.

This difference was explained to me by a lawyer friend (yes I have one sorry) who studied in Spain and moved to live in the US. He says that the system works in a drastically different way.

digitimes sourced arcticle (1)

mmj638 (905944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046476)

In my experience, digitimes.com is not the most reliable and fact-checked of news sources, despite that when they do get it right, they tend to get it pretty quick.

Not a valid sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046490)

This time in the form of Android and Chorme OS.

This is not a valid sentence

They will not go to court. (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046508)

I thought there was a software patent cold war, where M$ and *Nix both have some software patents the other broke and they could enforce. I thought that both sides would not enforce because they would lose to much on the whole (major parts of their OS and user experience).
When I saw Vista I thought: Hey I have seen this in KDE 3.x . When I saw KDE 4 later I thought: Hey I saw this in Vista.
Both sides steal, but this does mean neither side will go to court. Microsoft can and will threaten to go to court for a great many things. They will not follow up on it. It would cost them to much.

Just Ask The Customer (1)

Liger_XT5 (1055672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046520)

If you build a computer, don't install the hard drive. Ask them customer which OS they want, then put that particular preloaded hard drive in. Then, in my experiences, it's a custom built computer.

Asus being charged a fee for not bundling Windows (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046546)

Based on the cautious denial by AsusTek most likely they are being charged a "fee" by Microsoft for bundling a different OS on a "device" that is covered by the broad AsusTek Microsoft OS agreement. Standard Microsoft practice. If you want to bundle Windows, and it's hard to be a OEM/ODM if you don't, you sign away your rights to bundle any other OS on any "Computer type device", IBM was prevented from bundling OS/2 on their PC's. Well technically they weren't prevented they just had to pay Microsoft a fee for each machine that shipped with OS/2, and I believe the fee was double the cost of Windows. In order to get the cheapest price for Windows you need to agree that you will ship Windows on all devices. If you want to carve out a device or product line, your cost of windows goes up and so does the cost of the right to include an OS from a different vendor.

Look, it's Microsoft's PC (1, Insightful)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046592)

You can pretend that the PC is an open platform all you like. It is not. Microsoft stole the PC from IBM and they're not giving it up.

This is a dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046640)

I'm surprised nobody noticed that this story was posted already [slashdot.org] earlier today. Must be a slow news day.

Nothing to do with Linux. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046642)

"Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Android Patent Infringement" [businessinsider.com] "Microsoft says Motorola is violating nine patents "that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power."

So this has nothing to do with Linux. Those are features of Android. And, from some other patent agreements [microsoft.com] , the "synchronizing mail" thing applies only to synchronizing with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange.

All ASUS has to do is remove Microsoft Outlook and Exchange compatibility from their version of Android. Encourage users to use Google's "cloud" apps instead. Or ordinary IMAP. Microsoft will love that.

Re:Nothing to do with Linux. (3, Informative)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046726)

If Asus does not supply Exchange compatibility they will loose business. It is to many users an important feature.

They should sell the outlook compatibility as a separate app or license priced at roughly the cost of the license. That way they only have to pay for users that use the functionality as well as make clear that this is not them but MS which making you pay the 15 USD

Am I at risk of getting sued? (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046648)

"Does this mean that if I build PCs with Linux (Ubuntu/ChromeOS/Fedora) and sell them I am at risk of getting sued by Microsoft? " No. They've got far more to lose than to win. Consider why anyone would need to pay MS for a product they didn't develop nor invest time in. If MS tries suing anyone for royalties, they risk being counter-sued for anti-competitive behaviour (what *else* would you call it when MS charges royalties for Linux?). They *really* don't want to be in court for anti-competitive behaviour, again. Last time it cost them, what, US$1.4 billion? 497 million euros? In any case far more than they'd ever get by suing little entrepreneurs.

The article says something completely different (1)

antenore (900637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046714)

Hey! Did you read the article before to post it? It's a shame anyway that Microsoft uses this weapons to fight technology, but it's important to report the news as it is!

I would pay the fee... (1)

twoears (1514043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046740)

...if Ballmer will throw in a nice chair in the deal.

Sue everyone! (2, Informative)

minus9 (106327) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046776)

Perhaps this info-graphic can help explain the current absurd state of mutual destruction in the mobile industry. It tries to show who is suing whom.

It's a couple of weeks old though so obviously massively out of date:
http://infobeautiful2.s3.amazonaws.com/whos_suing_whom.png [amazonaws.com]

I'm sure yacht brochures are being mailed to all the lawyers as we speak.

Call me back when you're as big as Acer and Asus (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046810)

Does this mean that if I build PCs with Linux (Ubuntu/ChromeOS/Fedora) and sell them I am at risk of getting sued by Microsoft?

No, it does not. Unless you're high profile enough to represent a true threat in terms of mindshare, or moving enough systems to represent a significant revenue stream from royalties, they don't give a crap about you -- you're insignificant. (And whether you choose to interpret that as a good thing or a bad thing is entirely up to you... :D)

The whole thing is predictable FUD from Microsoft (2, Insightful)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046864)

Quite frankly, I would've been surprised if they had not tried something like this; it is certainly in character (and in the interests of their shareholders). And if they happen to get some protection *ahem* I mean "royalty" payments as a side effect, that's just more money to the bottom line.

Clearly they've got good lawyers on staff. Too bad their development teams aren't quite up to the same standard.

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