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Another Android Device Maker Signs Patent Agreement With Microsoft

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the better-safe-than-sued dept.

Microsoft 203

doperative writes with this quote from El Reg: "Microsoft has nailed a second Android device maker to a patent licensing agreement. The Redmond software giant announced on Monday that General Dynamics Itronix has signed a patent agreement that will provide 'broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio.' In other words, General Dynamics Itronix has agreed to licensing certain, unnamed Microsoft patents for use with Android-powered portables."

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203 comments

This Will Help (0)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606026)

I am sure the developers are lining up for Android.

Re:This Will Help (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606204)

I am sure the developers are lining up for Android.

beats getting sued for an update button on ios.

Re:This Will Help (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606548)

One of the lodsys lawsuits involves an android app.

500,000 New Android Devices A Day (5, Insightful)

AddisonW (2318666) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606254)

The fact that the entire mobile developer world is now doing Android IS the reason Microsoft has been reduced to this humiliating desperation.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (2)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606328)

It's "humiliating desperation" to legally force someone to pay you to do absolutely nothing?

Man, I hope your MBA is still eligible for a refund.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606498)

It's humiliating in the sense that their floundering mobile platform isn't being seriously considered - by consumers for one, but by handset makers either.

It's desperation because Microsoft totally reinvented themselves in the mobile space, replaced one crappy platform with another, and still is flatlined in this marketplace, unable to make money, watching the PC platform slip away - so they have to resort to running a protection racket.

In my opinion that is in fact both humiliating and desperate - but I can't get a refund on my MBA as I'm not finished paying for it yet...

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606562)

They may as well just become a member of the MPAA and RIAA and be done with it.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (4, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606620)

They legally fulfilled the requirements for protecting their own patents: they implemented them in production systems (i.e. they're making an attempt to use their patents to make legitimate money through sales of products based on said patents) and they see Android as infringing. Unpopular as software patents are here on slashdot, under current patent laws, they're completely justified, which is quite unlike the patent trolls slashdot is typically used to.

The problem here is that Microsoft effectively made Android anything but free, which is exactly the opposite of what Google wanted to achieve with the OEM brand perception of Android as a platform, and that in and of itself is a fantastic business strategy. I can't even remotely justify it as either humiliating or desperate; it's well-played despite being immensely back-handed.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606856)

The problem here is that Microsoft effectively made Android anything but free, which is exactly the opposite of what Google wanted to achieve with the OEM brand perception of Android as a platform, and that in and of itself is a fantastic business strategy.

It's also a flagrant GPL violation for a device manufacturer to use Android code obtained under the GPL and acquire 'patent licensing' from a third party for redistribution of GPL-covered product.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (2)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607030)

Law supersedes contract. Patent laws happen to be precisely that, so if an OEM has to license a patent to use Android code, so be it.

That said, the whole "law supersedes contract" bit is generally known to apply directly to laws as opposed to contracts signed to avoid being sued over laws, but the simple fact that HTC has yet to be sued by any creator of GPL'd code or by Microsoft means the tactic is working. Google can't risk losing its foothold, and they'd rather have Android stick around with an OEM rather than have it fall completely out of favor with that OEM over what is, in the context of current patent laws, an entirely legitimate patent claim.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (5, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606872)

It's brilliant. They make money simply by threatening people with litigation. Pure, unadulterated genius. It doesn't matter if their shitty windows 7 phones flop, they make money if android succeeds! Man, that is innovation.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607526)

They should just completely embrace this business model and buy up Trollhaven, I mean Righthaven

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607000)

If i could upvote you I would. Agree 100% with what you say here.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (1)

hexagonc (1986422) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607196)

The problem here is that Microsoft effectively made Android anything but free, which is exactly the opposite of what Google wanted to achieve with the OEM brand perception of Android as a platform, and that in and of itself is a fantastic business strategy. I can't even remotely justify it as either humiliating or desperate; it's well-played despite being immensely back-handed.

But that's the whole misunderstanding about Android. Who ever said that manufacturing and selling an Android device was supposed to be free anyway? As a hardware manufacturer, I don't see how paying this "Microsoft" tax is much different from the other telephony-related licensing fees that cellphone OEMs already have to pay. If there's a GSM radio, then there are also patent licensing fees with Nokia that have to be paid. It's just another per unit cost to building a physical device, just like it costs $X to use Gorilla Glass or a Sony lithium ion battery. This is just par for the course. I also don't see anything particularly special about the fact that these fees have to be paid to Microsoft. The only significance that I can see is that it is a unit cost to manufacturing an Android phone that (presumably) wouldn't have to be paid by a Windows Phone 7 manufacturer. Yet, it still doesn't mean that manufacturing and selling a Windows Phone 7 device is more cost effective than a comparable Android device simply because a Windows Phone 7 device will have its own unique unit costs. Plus, I imagine that this $5 fee essentially pays for itself simply from the relative strength of the Android platform vis-a-vis Windows Phone 7.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607572)

They legally fulfilled the requirements for protecting their own patents: they implemented them in production systems

That is not a legal requirement for enforcing patents. Microsoft themselves have lost patent lawsuits where the plaintiff did not produce any products at all, let alone implementing their patents.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607040)

so nokia isn't a major handset manufacturer?

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607156)

Not any more.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607338)

so nokia isn't a major handset manufacturer?

The reason why Nokia is bending over for Microsoft is because Stephen Elop, the trojan horse from Redmond, is doing what he's supposed to do.

No return to Meego, even if the N9 is a success
http://nokiagadgets.com/?p=1897

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (0)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606376)

The fact that the entire mobile developer world is now doing Android IS the reason Microsoft has been reduced to this humiliating desperation.

Wha? When did Android take over "the entire mobile developer world"?

everybody develops for android now (2)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607128)

wtf? Haven't you been reading /.? Developers have decided, far and wide, that getting money for their efforts is wrong, and would rather contribute to the android malware space. That damned Apple Tax is pushing them in droves to the Android *(licensed by MicroSoft) ecosystem, where they can make nothing, but feel really really good about it.

There is no other platform than android.
There have been no other platforms before me.
[the other 8 you've probably seen].

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606416)

What exactly is "humiliating" about having your patent warchest make you money? Like it or not thanks to the fucked up system we have in the west pretty much all major corps HAVE to have a patent warchest and need to buy up as much patents as possible to protect them from trolls and other corps. Now filing all those patents and buying up patents from DOA companies like Novell sure as hell ain't cheap, so why not make some of that money back?

Frankly putting those patents to work is a smart move and unlike some corps MSFT has always been good about RAND licensing. People forget with that TomTom bullshit MSFT offered TomTom the SAME price they offered to every flash and camera maker for FAT32 and basically got the finger. All those patents certainly weren't free to file or buy, so why not make money off them? maybe Linux would be doing better if those with lots of patents like Red Hat would do the same thing and license those patents under RAND to other companies.

Like it or not patent portfolios ain't cheap and are pretty much required property if you want to operate in the mobile space. I have NO doubt Android is infringing on some of MSFT's patents, it is simple math. With the amount of patents that MSFT has I'm sure pretty much any mobile company would be infringing on at least a dozen, so the smart ones just do cross licensing and call it a day. No different that I doubt ANY codec, free or not, can actually operate and not run afoul of the MPEG-LA patent pool It isn't the fault of MSFT or any other corp if you wish to pursue a "free as in beer" business plan that leaves you broke, nobody forced you to follow that path.

If companies want to not worry about the huge patent warchests of other companies buying access to them is simply good business sense. Maybe you would prefer it if MSFT took the "sue your ass off" route that Apple currently uses?

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606536)

"so why not make some of that money back? "

Because I do not want to pay for it. You think the shareholders are going to let them pay for it and not us? Yeah right .

So I invested a lot of money in student loans and want to make some money back now. Therefore you owe me money right? ... frankly it is not your problem and likewise what Microsoft did to buy these patents is not my problem either.

Maybe service wouldn't cost $95 a month for one phone with a $400 price tag if these stupid trolls GO AWAY.

If you actually make a cool new invention you should have the right to enjoy the rewards on it. But software and parts is BS. You are patenting logic and math that is not inventable ... correction should not be. Maybe if these companies move to India they no longer have to worry about patents anymore. Engineers here will be SOL, but if the subsidiary is in another country you do not have to worry about being sued.

I am sick and tired of this and something needs to be done.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607422)

A lot of FTA's include specific provisions with respect to patents.Countries flagrantly abusing patents as defined in the agreement can end up with additional tariffs being levied against their exports.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607292)

What exactly is "humiliating" about having your patent warchest make you money?

For a tech company, it's the surest proof that they are dead in the water innovatively. Once you are reduced to pre-purchasing your ideas just to prevent others from using them (or to force licensing fees at the threat of litigation), you aren't a legitimate business anymore; you are a protection racket.

This is even further evidenced by the massive failure/yawning mediocrity of just about everything MS has done recently. Vista was perfectly engineered to create incredibly bad PR until 7 could come along to "be what Vista should have been" and give the illusion of a resounding success. Like painting a black wall with white paint, the contrast stands out when the extremes are moved further away.

Re:500,000 New Android Devices A Day (0)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607398)

Still misunderstanding the world I see...

Maybe you would prefer it if MSFT took the "sue your ass off" route that Apple currently uses?

And what "sue your ass off" route would that be, exactly? The only major lawsuit that come to mind that aren't countersuits are the one against Samsung for copying Apple's designs. It's quite possible there are more, but it's definitely not some sort of "route that Apple currently uses".

It is kind of funny though, you mention lawsuits that MS has undertaken, and are currently undertaking, but somehow they *aren't* taking a '"sue your ass off" route', whereas Apple, who isn't engaged in such suits, is?

Re:This Will Help (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606274)

What does this have to do with developers?

First Ponies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606030)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJ6-gN0eB4

Fuck Gates (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606040)

You little fags owe your Android to Steve Jobs. Without Jobs there would be no smartphones.

Re:Fuck Gates (3, Funny)

mhh91 (1784516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606058)

That's actually true, we need jobs to pay the bills, and to pay for our smartphones.

Re:Fuck Gates (1)

PNutts (199112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606362)

I don't know about *no* smartphones, but there would be less smartphones with shattered glass.

Re:Fuck Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606808)

You little fags owe your Android to Steve Jobs. Without Jobs there would be no smartphones.

there's always some apple douchebag, so desperately craving applause and high-fives when purchasing a computer, that will believe steve jobs invented everything

Re:Fuck Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606928)

And IBM invented the PC.

Microsoft made a deal with GDI? (4, Funny)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606092)

Does that make Google the Brotherhood of Nod? I thought they weren't evil????

Re:Microsoft made a deal with GDI? (1)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606214)

PAGE LIVES!

Huh? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606532)

Are you accusing google of being evil in this matter? If so, why?

Re:Microsoft made a deal with GDI? (3, Informative)

TheReverandND (926450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606720)

It's a Command and Conquer Reference

Contract implies permission required (4, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606150)

I've added them to the list:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Software_distributors_paying_Microsoft_patent_tax [swpat.org]

The costs being passed on is bad enough, but it's also worrying to note that these deals include an implied admission by the signees that they need MS's permission for the distribution of their products.

That means MS can cancel their business at any time, and it implies that no one else can develop for that platform without MS's permission.

Re:Contract implies permission required (4, Insightful)

vivian (156520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606290)

Does any other sector suffer as many patent lawsuits with supposed patent infringement as the software industry? I mean, I don't hear much about various
manufacturer suing each other over mechanical design patents, for example.

Dosn't the fact that there are so many cases like this indicate that the whole idea of software patents is very very broken? It's all but impossible to do a meaningful search for a patent that will help you solve a software problem, that could save you development time. Instead it is much more the ambush model - you go about your business developing something, oblivious to some obscurely written overly broad software patent that your software is supposedly infringing - then get ambushed by the patent holder.

The patent has done absolutely nothing to shorten your development time or lower your costs to bring the product to market. Quite the opposite infact - if you want to write software that does not infringe on any other patent out there, the amount of research for existing software patents that your code might infringe on, would probably take more time than it does to actually write your software, even though you are writing it with no knowledge of the patents in question .

We live in a democracy, and us developers are pretty much totally against software patents, as far as I can see. So why can't we fix this?

Re:Contract implies permission required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606378)

Whatever ever you do don't release a hello world program even it violates some patents according to some claimants. In fact I'm probably infringing on some patent somewhere by writing these three sentences. That is how ridicules these patents are.

Re:Contract implies permission required (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607048)

Does any other sector suffer as many patent lawsuits with supposed patent infringement as the software industry?

A few of them: pharmaceutical, medical devices, electronics, etc.

Re:Contract implies permission required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607130)

Agriculture.

Re:Contract implies permission required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607256)

Software could learn a lot from this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL2FOrx41N0

Re:Contract implies permission required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607280)

you are not supposed to research patents, as a developer. long time ago, lawyers came to our company and gave us the run-down on what we need to do as software developers. NOTHING! don't actively search, was their advice. sounded wrong to us, but we don't fight with laws and stuff, we fight wtih compilers and word alignments..

if they were correct, then you don't WANT to go looking for trouble. hope it does not find you, is basically correct.

oh, and one more tidbit I learned later on: another reason why many companies do NOT release source or follow opensource models is that they don't want to invite close code inspection; since its very likely that we all break a dozen patents every day in everyday code that we write. by not disclosing source, you are at least adding one valuable layer against patent trolls. think about it; its true (sad that its true, huh?)

Re:Contract implies permission required (1)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607372)

Think about the male prostitutes(read lawyers)!! They would be out of the job if you removed software patents

Re:Contract implies permission required (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607510)

...So why can't we fix this?

Ahhh, grasshopper, when you can define what is broke (and for whom it is broken), only then will you know the answer.

Re:Contract implies permission required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606668)

In the mobile market MS is a drop in the bucket to the big Q and the big N.

Re:Contract implies permission required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607004)

The big A could buy both the big Q *and* the big N.

See. Modern age Feudalism. (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606178)

What difference does this have from a robber baron waiting atop a bridge and asking tolls from passers ? no difference.

baron may have a right to that bridge someone else has built, or, it may not even have the right to it, but it may be claiming it. the deal is, as long as you have less standing and resources than baron in the socio-economic ladder, you cant do anything about it, but pay. Only another baron equal or greater than his socioeconomic status can challenge him.

ultimate end of capitalism, is feudalism. even if you have brief political freedom until it happens, it eventually happens - just like how it happened from roman republic to roman empire. mechanics are the same, end result is the same, just the names are different.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606206)

LOL

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (2)

_merlin (160982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606208)

What difference does this have from a robber baron waiting atop a bridge and asking tolls from passers ?

Why can't it be a troll under the bridge? That would be so much more cool.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (0)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606298)

he LIVES under the bridge... he pops out from time to time to extort money from travelers. :)

Microsoft isn't good enough to be a troll... Microsoft is asscrack slime. Just like Apple, Oracle, etc. etc. whoever and whatever use software patents to screw innovation...

Software patents blow dead monkeys in bear suits.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606924)

Why can't it be a troll under the bridge? That would be so much more cool.

Because the troll under the bridge is the government revenue department / tax collector. The Baron is more forthcoming, the rules are simpler, even though they are just as arbitrary/made up to suit the Baron's needs; the real difference between trolls and Barons is who they want to pay, and what they do to you if you don't pay.

Barons bring non-payers before the court and collect their pay in a "civilized way"; the taxes are charged to noblemen.

Trolls charge taxes to the peasants, noblemen get free passage as a professional courtesy.

Trolls are not above using violence, or taking things by brute force, to exact their pay. If you don't pay the troll under the bridge, you might not come out alive. If you don't pay the Baron, the worst that will happen is you might be escorted to the dungeon.

the difference is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606244)

What difference does this have from a robber baron waiting atop a bridge and asking tolls from passers ?

the difference is that now there are no trolls!

oh wait...

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606312)

ultimate end of capitalism, is feudalism. even if you have brief political freedom until it happens, it eventually happens

You do realise that patents and corporations have nothing to do with capitalism, yes? Given that they are government-granted protections, you could argue that they're antithetical to capitalism.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606544)

You do realise that patents and corporations have nothing to do with capitalism, yes? Given that they are government-granted protections, you could argue that they're antithetical to capitalism.

You could argue that, but you would sound pretty stupid. For starters, how does having a government and laws make you anti-capitalist? You can't even have a stable monetary system without government-granted protection of the currency.

A corporation is a legal structure that codifies ownership of property. The corporation owns assets and conducts business; individual shareholders own portions of the total value of that entity. That is what you'd describe as anti-capitalist behavior?

Similarly, patents grant ownership of implementations of ideas. There's that O-word again.

If you really think these ideas are socialism at work, I don't think you've talked to many real socialists.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36606962)

You do realise that patents and corporations have nothing to do with capitalism, yes? Given that they are government-granted protections, you could argue that they're antithetical to capitalism.

You could argue that, but you would sound pretty stupid. For starters, how does having a government and laws make you anti-capitalist?

It's definitely not stupid. In capitalism, government has only one role, to protect property. Property includes your body (as in anyone else doing harm to your body). Therefore, government making laws is definitely is anti-capitalist if those laws have nothing to do with property protection. By this definition, most laws in the US are anti-capitalist. If you don't agree with this then you should hit the books and review exactly what is capitalism.

You can't even have a stable monetary system without government-granted protection of the currency.

This statement is exactly the opposite of what history has proven. The currencies of the world have been extremely unstable exactly because of government-granted protection (and manipulation) of the currency. In a truly capitalist system, the type of currency and the value of currency are determined by the market, and in such a system it would be literally impossible for the government to inflict the inflationary/deflationary cycle that occurs in fiat monetary systems.

A corporation is a legal structure that codifies ownership of property. The corporation owns assets and conducts business; individual shareholders own portions of the total value of that entity. That is what you'd describe as anti-capitalist behavior?

Similarly, patents grant ownership of implementations of ideas. There's that O-word again.

Ideas do not constitute property, plain and simple. Property must be tangible, like land, a thing, money, or your body. The reason is that a patent allows one person to violate the personal property of another person. For example, if I create and market a phone with an OS that features a two-fingered-swirly gesture which you have patented, you can then come and take my money for "violating" your patent. By taking my money, you have violated my property.

To say that an idea can belong to someone is simply incompatible with the notion of property in a capitalistic system.

If you really think these ideas are socialism at work, I don't think you've talked to many real socialists.

I don't think patents are particularly socialist, but in socialism property protection is not guaranteed and therefore patents are not anti-socialist.

In the end, every tech company has to play this same patent game and on average, no one wins. The big winners in this system are the lawyers and lord knows, there are too many of those already.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607002)

You can't even have a stable monetary system without government-granted protection of the currency.

You don't need a monetary system to have capitalism. Trade can be done through barter and hard currencies. The government (or a widely trusted party) can make trade more efficient.

A problem with hard currencies, is the possibility of fraud, for example fake specie. Forged government notes are easier to detect, since a trusted entity installed effective anti-counterfeiting measures.

You also don't need any government protecting "ownership" to have capitalism. There is a natural concept of ownership, even in the absence of governments -- when you build something, or perform work of the hand to create something, grow something, that thing is yours; when you have built and worked on a piece of land first, that is naturally yours.

These concepts of ownership are natural rights that go way beyond any concepts we need governments for. Governments exist for our convenience, to protect our rights. It is not essential for capitalism, but it is convenient for capitalism.

A corporation is a legal structure that codifies ownership of property. The corporation owns assets and conducts business; individual shareholders own portions of the total value of that entity. That is what you'd describe as anti-capitalist behavior?

Well, a 'corporation' is a legal recognition of an arrangement people have made. You can have corporations without governments, or without government recognition; it just doesn't provide the protections the shareholders might ideally like to have.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607282)

or perform work of the hand to create something, grow something, that thing is yours; when you have built and worked on a piece of land first, that is naturally yours.

Indeed. And when I take it by force, its naturally mine.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607458)

There is no natural concept of ownership, only of (temporary) possession.

You can't have ownership without some entity to protect it and you can't have contracts without some entity to enforce them. In the absence of an entity (generally government) to perform these functions you end up with despotism and there can be no capitalism at all.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607096)

Patents are socialism in the way that some people define it these days - they are a government-mandated limitation (monopoly) on the resources of the human mind.

Funny thing is that even in the ideal they're actually socialist. "In order to promote new ideas and inventions from the useful and liberal arts" (or something like that) -- in other words "to reward the makers of things that will make peoples' lives better" -- definitely a socialist aim.

Corporations though... I don't know what the grandparent poster was on about there. :)

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607218)

Corporations are not capitalist nor are they socialist. They are Feudal.

patents are not ownership. That is just a euphemism. Patents are government mandated monopolies. Closer to fascism than capitalism.

The fact that you would even comment on socialism means you clearly don't understand the parents argument.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (2, Funny)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606898)

Well then, I am awed by the Microsoft castle, it is very complete, with a Linux moat, a patent troll bridge, developer torture chambers, crooked exec tower and unfathomable scale of bug and security holes filled dungeons.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606948)

You do realise that patents and corporations have nothing to do with capitalism, yes?

They have some things to do with the US implementation of capitalism. They increase the cost of certain resources that could otherwise be less expensive.

They do have an effect of increasing the profitability of certain businesses.

Also, "capitalists" lobby for these laws. Now it's also true that by nature, capitalism allows companies that arise in the system to lobby for laws that are actually anti-capitalist, for selfish reasons.
Just because capitalism allowed a company to exist, does not necessarily mean it's in their best interest for the system to be pure capitalist; companies that form in a capitalist system will (by nature) try to get laws/regs that benefit them, which by nature, include laws that protect their hegemony and make it harder for a successful competitor to arise and take business.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36606992)

That's Free Market Capitalism, which is not the only (or even the more common) version of capitalism.

Capitalism, by itself, simply means that the means of production are privately owned and run for profit. It does not specify other roles of the government.

Re:See. Modern age Feudalism. (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607272)

Capitalism is nothing more than finding a way to gain from a situation. The fact that it is seen as synonymous with free market is a shame. Even the most die hard socialist is going to capitalize on the system. It is the evil part of greed, the part that is willing to blackmail another person to gain advantage. To pass regulation to gain advantage. To position other groups against each other to gain advantage. All while not actually producing anything of value to trade in a free market that has open and willing interaction between people.

Whats wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606192)

Why does microsoft get money for something it doesn't have anything to do with ? I really sometimes wish that all these companies will end up dead, something is seriously very very wrong in the world even if we would be allowed to behave like this ourselves in the same situation.

What about me? (0)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606262)

How long until I have to pay M$ a licensing fee for using my android device? Oh wait, I own an HTC, I already gave them $5. Damn you Steve Ballmer, I hope you get sea sick on your yacht [panoramio.com] .

Re:What about me? (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607434)

You didn't pay MS anything, HTC did. And HTC paid Nokia, the US government (depending on the quality of their accountants), Chinese manufacturers, chip suppliers, Google (huh, I suppose it's ok to pay Google for the rights to use their properties, but not MS?), their employees, etc.

Dear Android Device Manufacturers, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606272)

We are a company you may have heard of called "Microsoft" with a colorful history of outright bastardry. Although we're no longer relevant, clippy says those are some nice handsets you are making. Clippy, Microsft Bob and Darl McBride suggest you Linux teabaggers should pay us large sums of money to license our undisclosed innovations in computer science.

Your customers will thank you for it.

Love,

MSFT

I'm glad Motorola, at least, is fighting (5, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606292)

At some point these "unnamed patents" that are allegedly being infringed need to see the light of day.

On the face of it, this situation is too similar to the SCO lawsuits for comfort - talk of unnamed, unspecified patents against which Android is infringing, and a lot of lawyers to inflict the death of 1000 cuts if the company dares trying to fight. I suspect the similarity in tactics is not a coincidence.

Interesting that, AFAIK, they aren't going after Google - but then Microsoft knows Google has lots of lawyers as well.

Re:I'm glad Motorola, at least, is fighting (2, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606440)

It is likely Microsoft is more frightened of Google's patent portfolio. That's the only way to thrive in the software world, you must arm yourself with thousands and thousands of vague, broad and obvious patents and then waylay all the smaller, more vigorous and innovative companies that are trying to compete with you. If you can use the courts and your patent portfolio to stifle them you can continue to make money without having to adapt to new markets.

Re:I'm glad Motorola, at least, is fighting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607354)

a duel between google and microsoft would likely end up in a stalemate, or Mutually Assured Destruction! Microsoft has the upper hand in older patents for desktops, but i would suspect that google could give then a beating with their online patent portfolio. besides, online is the direction that microsoft is trying to go...

It's like the USSR and the USA in the cold war. If they had taken each other on directly it would have been a disaster for both, so instead they fought it out in the back woods places like vietnam and korea.

Google seems to be trying to hurt microsoft with it's online push for office apps, an area that has been microsoft's bread and butter for a decade or more.

microsoft is attacking android oems to try to put the brakes on google's push into the mobile space.

personally i hope that google wins. sure all big companies are inherently evil, but at least google seems to want to play nice in the sandbox.

Honest question (2)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606308)

Has Microsoft taken legal action towards non-Android devices? BlackBerry or webOS (Palm), for instance? Do android devices really use special software components that *happen* to fall under MSFT patents which other mobile OSes *happen* to not use?

Re:Honest question (3, Informative)

Trillan (597339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606384)

Since RIM and HP both have mobile patent portfolios of their own, I imagine there is some variety of cross-licensing at work (and possibly cash transfers, one way or the other). I think RIM and Microsoft are suing each other as well.

Re:Honest question (1)

TheReverandND (926450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606786)

I think the root of the issue is Microsoft's possession of certain Virtual Machine, JIT, and native code generation patents it uses in the .NET runtime. My feeling is they believe Davik infringes on their patents. I don't think RIM or HP are using that type of technology in their OSes.

The lawsuit business model (1)

yorugua (697900) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606346)

Well, if this extorsion business model works for MS, then maybe they'll get to the conclusion that they don't need nokia and WP7.

To quote some Microsoft supporters... (2, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606354)

... back in the last years of the 1990's...

Those who cannot compete, litigate.

Microsoft has proven to be unable to compete in the marketspace of mobile devices. So Microsoft now threatens expensive lawsuits in their attempt to remain meaningful.

Re:To quote some Microsoft supporters... (1, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607078)

Microsoft has proven to be unable to compete in the marketspace of mobile devices.

What? Shoe-horning a huge, complicated, monolithic, & proprietary OS into the blossoming, new, mobile space didn't work? Imagine that.

Help me out here (2)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606368)

There are some people (particularly on Neowin.net) who say there's nothing wrong with Microsoft pursuing these agreements to obtain money from each Android phone sold, because of the argument that if you create something and I want to use it, obviously you'd want to be paid for all that research and development costs.

What's the best way to debunk what at first sounds like a completely logical statement? I know it sounds rather like an xkcd comic (particularly http://xkcd.com/386 [xkcd.com] ), but still.

Re:Help me out here (3, Interesting)

Trillan (597339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606454)

There really isn't one. Microsoft spent money researching, created something, and patented it. Now, they are doing what they ethically must: using previous investments (R&D, patents) to maximize value for their shareholders.

I haven't seen these patents, obviously. (I don't think we even know which they are.) I imagine some of them are broad, cover-everything patents. But some are probably fairly specific, given that Microsoft actually creates products in the same category and isn't (exclusively) a patent troll.

The flaw is that the patents are allowed to exist; the "wrong" is that conditions that allow this to happen exist, not that it's happening. The system needs reform.

Re:Help me out here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606760)

Now, they are doing what they ethically must: using previous investments (R&D, patents) to maximize value for their shareholders.

Abusing the judiciary system for personal gain is not ethical. Fuck you.
Why don't you put all your money in human/gun/drug trafficking? When the feds ask what you think you're doing, just tell them "oh, no, it's ok - I'm just maximizing my profits".

Re:Help me out here (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606916)

Somehow I have problems equating patent extortion to human trafficking. The fact is that what MS is doing is legal. Human/gun/drug trafficking is not. Software is protected by copyright. That should be enough.

Re:Help me out here (2)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606906)

"There really isn't one. Microsoft spent money researching, created something, and patented it. "

Then other people researched AND implemented it. And started selling it. Independently from Microsoft.

Now, why should MS get even a penny from them?

Re:Help me out here (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607184)

Because we (society; not you *OR* I) have decided that the first person to an idea has the right to patent it.

For no other reason.

If we (society) don't like it (as neither you nor I do), we need to change it.

Re:Help me out here (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607212)

Well, we do need to change it.

Re:Help me out here (2)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606664)

Because if I'm not using any of their work, why should I pay for it?

If whatever patents MS is claiming are being infringed were valid, everyone would know exactly which ones because MS would be shouting from the rooftops the cool things they came up with that nobody had ever thought of before and all the developers would be saying "This was clearly the right thing to do once Microsoft made it obvious. We never would have thought of it ourselves, but how can we make our product without it now."

The patents in question probably are like the ones MS is suing Barnes & Noble for, most of them are stupid: displaying a webpage before downloading the background, showing download status over the content, adjusting text selection, annotating a document without changing it, using one screen to control another screen.

Re:Help me out here (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607474)

Considering how much software MS writes and how long they have been writing it, it is entirely possible that whatever they patiented have already made it into engineering canon.

A Dev (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606476)

I just became a dev, lol.
I don't give a $h1t about Micro$haft.

I would like to see just what patents were violated if any. I think their M$ is milking it by trying to go after customers as a scare tactic, like protection money. Oh yeah racketeering, that's what it was called lol. But like BP it's a company so big that breaking the law is responded to by a mere slap in the wrist when money is involved.
If they do have some kind of patent, perhaps they will make more money going off against all of the small guys instead of the head. Like a set-up. Knowinly letting someone working out of a garage put tints on your car darker than the law allows, and parking cops right outside a tint shop with a doughnut waiting to bust people.

Public Record (4, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606488)

Patent licensing deals should be a matter of public record. Do whatever the hell you want with your trade secrets, but if you're using a government instrument (patents) then We the People, the owners of the government, need to see how you're using them, so we can understand if adjustments need to be made.

Re:Public Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606512)

"Please may we have more government intervention?"

Re:Public Record (1, Troll)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606836)

Yes, let's have no government intervention.

Patents ARE government intervention. Therefore, let's have no patents.

Sounds like a great deal for me.

Re:Public Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36606850)

he's right tho. what are those secret patents? and could we please get those slackers in the broad media bring it up in their top news section: "the evil empire strikes back!"

Re:Public Record (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36606964)

By all means, eliminate patents. But to have government intervention with no feedback control mechanism, that's just asking for ... well, look at the patent system today.

Re:Public Record (1)

renzhi (2216300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607120)

We the People, the owners of the government,...

What kind of weed have you been smoking? Mind to share it a bit? I'd like to get into that euphoric state from time to time too.

I know, I'm getting too cynical now. But with the current trends of development on the political scene all over the world, it's hard to not be cynical.

Re:Public Record (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607408)

Patent ownership isn't even necessarily a matter of public record. You *can* file with the USPTO to put a patent assignment on the record, and most corporations obtaining patent rights from their employees (who are the named inventors in the US - pretty much all foreign countries allow the corporations to apply for the patent directly) do so. But after that (and especially with patent trolls), it can be a lot of guesswork to figure out which shell company owns the patent, right up until someone files suit to assert the patent.

One could certainly make the argument that if patents are property, akin to real property, then keeping a record of ownership with the government should be required just as it is for real property. Personally, I think the process would benefit greatly from such transparency.

odd; what devices does GDI make that are android? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606782)

I go to GDI's website and all I see is Windows. When I search for android, I get nothing. SCAM?

That Is How IP Works! (1)

simm_s (11519) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606940)

(IANAL) I am not sure why everyone seems to be upset when one company sues each other over Intellectual Property (IP) rights or when company signs an IP agreement with another company. This is how an IP economy works. The only way for companies to agree on price for IP is to have the court determine the price, settle out of court, or sign an agreement to obtain IP. Microsoft claims that some of its technologies used in Android infringe on their patents and they will negotiate a price or take a company to court. This is how IP works. This is how business works. If you run a software company make sure you have a lawyer on retainer, because that is how companies communicate discuss IP rights via lawyers. Patents are validated or invalidated by the court and that is the law in the US.

I think what people here do not like is that you can patent software. I agree! I believe it is foolish and counterproductive for the software industry. But there is no point in getting upset when you hear that one company is suing another etc etc. They do this crap all of the time.

Intellectual Property Rights are heavy (1)

Stedee Steve (1959770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607210)

Microsoft and their deputy general counsel always protect the franchise, the proprietary code, and the intellectual property of their company. That's their job. That's what they do. GDI and HTC must have known of the licensing issue before going into full android production. What baffles me is why smart phone OEM's aren't using an open-source code to replace MS codes. Would it be too expensive and too time consuming for OEM's to bring the product to market if they had to out-source for source code?

One simple change to the law that would help (0)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#36607234)

There should be a change to the law to make it illegal for a company to make a claim that someone elses product infringes on their patents UNLESS the claims they are making contain actual patent numbers.

This prevents the nebulous threats like Microsoft vs Linux/Android and MPEGLA vs WebM/VP8

backroom deal beneficial to GD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36607446)

Wonder if they're actually paying GD to publically cave, helping their case or putting pressure on larger android users.

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