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Barnes & Noble Names Microsoft's Disputed Android Patents

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the cartels-invite-escape dept.

Android 386

Julie188 writes "B&N is really blowing the lid off of what Microsoft is doing and how they are forcing money from Android. It has accused Microsoft of requiring overly restricted NDA agreements from those even entering into patent license talks. Because it is disputing Microsoft's claims, and the restrictions of its own NDA signed with Redmond, B&N has gone public. It has named in detail six patents that it says Microsoft is using to get Android device makers to pay up. Plus, B&N is also trying to force open Microsoft's other plans for stomping out Android, including the agreement Redmond made with Nokia, and Nokia's patent-troll MOSAID."

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386 comments

Well now (5, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062878)

It's about damn time the patents came out.

Re:Well now (4, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062980)

Keep pushing kids around, and eventually someone's going to push back.

Fortunately, this is a pretty big kid. This should be fun.

Re:Well now (4, Interesting)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063006)

It's about damn time the patents came out.

Yes, and they are more trivial than I could have ever imagined.

RTFA, it's worthwhile.

Re:Well now (4, Insightful)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063104)

There's quite obviously an assload of prior art for them too.

Re:Well now (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063196)

There's quite obviously an assload of prior art for them too.

LOL! Good point. I could come up with some myself.

Re:Well now (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063680)

There's quite obviously an assload of prior art for them too.

LOL! Good point. I could come up with some myself.

Simply adding weight to the argument "trivial patent", as in, this shouldn't even have been awarded, but you have to settle those separately with the US Patent Office.

Re:Well now (5, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063220)

TL;DR-friendly list of patents:

https://www.networkworld.com/community/files/imce/img_blogs/microsoft_patents.jpg [networkworld.com]

I don't know what to say.

Re:Well now (2)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063318)

"No. 6,791,536: simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices"
"No. 6,897,853: simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices"

Can someone explain to me why Microsoft has two patents for the same thing? Or an I just reading that wrong?

Re:Well now (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063352)

The summary sentence is just that. There are probably (trivial) differences in the detailed description somewhere. I can't be bothered to look up the actual patents there myself, of course.

Re:Well now (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063744)

The summary sentence is just that. There are probably (trivial) differences in the detailed description somewhere. I can't be bothered to look up the actual patents there myself, of course.

Wouldn't they have to posess patents on Computer Mice as Input Devices, before they could do claim that?

Mice as input devices are very old, pre-dating the PC.

Re:Well now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063688)

I was wondering about that... I can only think there's some details on the patent that don't exist in its description/title/whatever? Some of them have schematic-type-things...

Re:Well now (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063344)

That list is so freaking absurd that it just boggles the mind that Samsung, HTC, et al are actually paying hundreds of millions over it. My God, what have we become?

Andrew Ryan said it best (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063066)

What is the difference between a man and a parasite? A man builds. A parasite asks "Where is my share?"

Re:Andrew Ryan said it best (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063190)

Or put another way, it's the same as what Ayn Rand called looters.

Re:Andrew Ryan said it best (5, Funny)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063356)

Whoa whoa whoa.

Ayn Rand.

Andrew Ryan.

Dude, you just blew my mind.

Re:Andrew Ryan said it best (4, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063434)

Stupid parasites. They should ask "Would you kindly give me my share?" Helps to be polite.

Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063310)

On the one hand, the tech industry is awash in patent trolls, companies that own generally spurious patents for technologies they didn't really invent, which exist solely to sue other companies into licensing said technologies. On the other, we have tech companies that have patents for technologies that they did, in fact, invent (or at least purchase legitimately) and, as important, use in actual products. These companies, too, must sue others to protect their patents, but for far more legitimate reasons.

Google is upset about the latter kind of company, and it's citing two heavy-hitters, Apple and Microsoft, as example of companies that own patents and are using the legal system to prevent other companies from infringing on their protected technologies. More specifically, these companies are using their patents in a war against Google's Android OS, which is of course the dominant market leader. In poor Google's world, these companies are out for no good.

But what's the argument here, exactly?

According to a blog post [blogspot.com] that voices this complaint, and I'm using its exact wording here, "Android is on fire. More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers."

Oh. Great. So there's no cause for alarm, right? I mean, Android is already running roughshod over the rest of the mobile world, including industry darling Apple's iPhone. Right?

Wrong.

"Android's success has yielded ... a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents," Google Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond writes in the post.

Ah, bogus patents. I'm curious how that was determined. Let's read on. Surely, this will be explained. After all, it's an incredible charge to make publicly. There must be proof and some public explanation of why that word was used.

"They're doing this by banding together to acquire Novell's old patents and Nortel's old patents (the 'Rockstar' group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn't get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it."

Actually, using patents in this way is a legitimate business endeavor with no proof of "bogusness." But I am curious, if Google had in fact won these patents for itself, would that have made them "non-bogus"?

I'm sure he'll explain the bogus comment. Let's keep reading.

"A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a 'tax' for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation. This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth."

Again, no explanation of the bogus claim is made, though he does repeat the charge ("largely questionable patent claims"), place the word tax in quotes, suggesting that these companies use this term themselves, and then add a more general "anti-competitive" charge. The thing is, this activity is the very notion of competitiveness. Patents are designed to protect intellectual property, which are a competitive advantage. In many ways, Apple, Microsoft, and whoever else owns these patents actually protecting them is what makes this activity competitive. Google can't just use protected technologies owned by other companies without paying for them. That is competition.

But wait, I'm sure he'll explain why the patents are bogus. Let's keep reading.

"The winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion. Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop."

Laws do not "frown" on anything; something is either legal or illegal. And again the charge of "bogusness" is raised ... without any explanation of why they might in fact be illegitimate. And then there's some lovely speculation about regulatory scrutiny and what the resulting action might be.

But let's say Apple and Microsoft overpayed for the patents in order to attack Google. Let's say this is in fact anti-competitive behavior. How does that makes the patents bogus? It doesn't.

"We're determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it."

Wait for it, this is going to be good.

"We're looking intensely at a number of ways to do that ... We're looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone."

So let's recap.

Google believes that Microsoft's and Apple's purchases of patents are anticompetitive, and that the mobile patents they own are bogus. To combat this, Google is going to acquire its own (bogus?) patents.

And I'd also point out that Google licenses Android for free. So by raising the price of Android by imposing licensing fees on technologies Android is in fact using, Apple, Microsoft, and others are arguably simply leveling the playing field and taking away an artificial Android advantage, forcing the OS to compete more fairly. Arguably, by "dumping" Android in the market at no cost, Google--which has unlimited cash and can afford to do such a thing--is behaving in an anticompetitive fashion. In fact, one could argue that Google is using its dominance in search advertising to unfairly gain entry into another market by giving that new product, Android, away for free. Does this remind you of any famous antitrust case?

And where's the harm to Google here? How can Google, which commands almost double the market share of the next closest competitor in this market and is, in fact, seeing nothing but continued growth, argue that its competitors are acting anti-competitively? (The numbers: Apple activated a bit less than 30 million iOS-based devices--iPhones and iPads--in the past quarter. According to the Google figure cited above, it is activating almost 50 million Android-based devices in the same time period.)

And speaking of harm, isn't Google's Android dumping harming competition? After all, the mobile OS makers it is competing against developed and paid for the technologies they use, and it's reasonable for them to recoup those costs through the sale of their systems. Why is it OK for Google to steal their ideas and then give the resulting product away?

There's no David in this story of Goliaths. But give me a break. Google has simply cast a light on its own dark secrets. It is Google, not Apple and Microsoft, that is behaving badly here.

-- Hypocritical Google Lashes Out at Apple and Microsoft [winsupersite.com]

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063482)

^^^ this guy should be writing for slashdot. you know why he isn't? because he's right, but he's right on a /.-forbidden topic.

on slashdot, taking the side of microsoft and logic in an argument involving an open-source product is like expecting an enthusiastic reception out of the nazis when you present your paper on the benefits of ethnic diversity.

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063526)

I wonder where your paycheck comes from.

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063738)

of course you do. people couldn't possibly be making logical conclusions that disagree with your emotional reaction! they must be being PAID OFF BY THE MAN.

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (5, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063536)

Although you provide a compelling argument. There are a couple of facts that you overlook here:
1) Microsoft wouldn't disclose which patents were the problem to the vendors, nor Google. As stated in the articles here, B&N had to break an NDA to show the world what Microsoft was leveraging for the lawsuits. That's piss poor behavior in my opinion, and a sign of operating in "bad faith."
2) The licensing fees are comparable to the entire cost of a Windows Mobile OS license. This is not a "reasonable" fee which is what patent law calls for.
3) The licensing agreement includes provisions that prevent the licensee from making changes to the product, and reach far beyond the scope of the patents that are owned by the patent holder. Specifically, by allowing Microsoft (in PJ's terms) veto power, Microsoft is attempting to assert full control over a product that they are trying to compete against. That is highly anti-competitive.

And of freaking course Google is releasing the OS for free. It's called OPEN SOURCE. The OS is freely available. Honestly, I can't blame Google for trying to procure patents... It's a defensive measure against cabals like this. The whole point of the lawsuits against Android makers is to use the courts to gain market share. This does great harm to the consumer by stifling competition and innovation (see Internet Explorer 6... That was a hideous mess and web technologies were stagnant until the Mozilla foundation released Firefox). That's why these licenses are problem, and that's why I don't agree with your statement that Google is the problem.

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (5, Insightful)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063632)

Google licenses Android for free, because they get paid in different ways and have a strategy that stretches beyond next quarter. They don't have any kind of monopoly in any of their businesses, so the comparison with MSFT of the 90's isn't a great comparison.

It's a little like Mozilla giving Firefox away for free because they get paid in different ways. Should they be stopped because others who want to charge money for the browser can't figure out a way to compete?

Software and process patents are just a way to funnel money from innovators to lawyers.

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (4, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063656)

I also submit that if Google had procured the patents in question, not only would we know what they were, they would probably not be using said patents in an offensive to gain market share.

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063758)

I also submit that if Google had procured the patents in question, not only would we know what they were, they would probably not be using said patents in an offensive to gain market share.

So you are saying that google was maybe penny wise, but pound foolish?

Re:Slashdot's new anti-Microsoft position (5, Insightful)

PaladinAlpha (645879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063734)

Ah, yes, the surely-objective opinions of "WinSuperSite"...which find that Google is stifling competition by providing an open-sourced smartphone kernel to anyone who asks, and is oppressing the poor, abused coalition of every other smartphone vendor who banded together specifically to pay an exorbitant price for smartphone-related patents and immediately as a group set about suing over Android devices (exclusively). Curiously, they did this when Android's marketshare started to make theirs look rather foolish. Yes, they just want to protect their intellectual property, such as the milestone achievement "No. 6,339,780 placing a loading status icon in the content area of a browser." By precisely duplicating the functionality of "placing a loading status icon in the content area of a browser", Google is oppressing competition, necessitating the actions of Microsoft in demanding license fees in excess of their own product's cost for infringements that they refuse to disclose before being paid.

TL;DR: give me a break.

anti-competetive (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063808)

Patents were intended as the alternative to a trade secret. The way it was supposed to work is that rather than keep everything secret (like the old medieval guild system did) you documented how you built something and in return you got the rights to that device for a limited amount of time. Thus others could see how you did it and either license it from you for a fee or else figure out an alternative way of doing it, and after the time had expired then the information was publicly available.

As for the claim of "bogus" or "largely questionable" patents, are you seriously arguing that "placing a loading status icon in the content viewing area of a browser" (ie, put the status icon where it's actually visible when zoomed in) isn't obvious? Or loading the text first and then the images? Or using handles to change the size of selected text area (how else are you going to do it when you can't click and drag?).

It's time. (5, Insightful)

dubdays (410710) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062904)

Time to fire up the old Nook Color and make a purchase.

Re:It's time. (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063096)

There are no totally innocent corporations out there, and I'll always favor independent booksellers, but looking at the Nook in contrast to Amazon's censorship of the Kindle and exclusivity deals for Kindle content, B&N's commitment to bricks-and-mortar stores, and now the company's decision to stand up to Microsoft, I really am finding myself a fan of B&N.

Re:It's time. (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063348)

Me too, unfortunately they don't sell outside the US or i'd be buying a Nook.

Re:It's time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063508)

Well, I'm ordering one this month (to EU). Couldn't decide for a while since all e-readers are similar, I'll be supproting B&N from now on.

Re:It's time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063740)

I sending one to my Ups Center at the border (hold for pick) :-)

P.

Re:It's time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063110)

Hear, hear! I'll be doing the same.

Re:It's time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063340)

Same here, planing on purchasing the new Nook to support B&N, I'm a new fan of them.

Re:It's time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063596)

Instead, I e-mail my senator.
 
I don't suppose either of our responses will garner much attention where needed, however appropriate they may be. Still, we must try to make whatever difference we can. If others do they same, maybe patent reform will start snowballing into something real, though whether it'll stand a chance in hell or not is another argument entirely.

Ugh. (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062936)

NetworkWorld/InfoWorld/PCWorld/that whole cabal of sites are just horrible.

Anywho, it's nice to see a relatively big name standing up to bullies.
And lo, Nokia, how far you have fallen.

Re:Ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063024)

And lo, Nokia, how far you have fallen.

Don't worry, a Nokia N900 fanatic and long-time Nokia Persecution Syndrome sufferer will be by aaaaaaaaaany second now to remind you how wrong you are because they have an N900, which is the greatestest thing ever in the world ever, so Nokia can do no wrong.

I mean, you've GOT to stick around to see how they spin this as a triumph for Linux because the N900 runs Debian, right? That's ALWAYS hilarious.

Re:Ugh. (2)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063054)

The N900 was nice though.
Nokia used to be better. They were fostering Qt, after all, and Qt is awesome.
This is just...absurdly evil. 90s Microsoft, cartoonish evil. How did they possibly think this was a good idea?

Re:Ugh. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063134)

The N900 was nice though.
Nokia used to be better. They were fostering Qt, after all, and Qt is awesome.
This is just...absurdly evil. 90s Microsoft, cartoonish evil. How did they possibly think this was a good idea?

Perhaps the chair struck back and in his delirium Ballmer thought it was a sane strategy.

Have to say, it smacks of the sort of desperation Microsoft (under Bill Gates) sought to destroy Java.

Lessons (1)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062968)

Looks like Microsoft is still pursuing the security by obscurity model - and its not working out well.

Ah, (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062978)

You mean the Windows Server model of security. :)

Re:Ah, (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063140)

That's a wild and crazy accusation. I don't even know what you're talking about.

BRB, searching forums to find the syntax of some undocumented combination of methods I need to call via PowerShell 2 to fix an issue I'm having with cluster shared volumes...

Re:Lessons (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063068)

Looks like Microsoft is still pursuing the security by obscurity model - and its not working out well.

I sat a .net security session at a developers conference. After 45 minutes of taking notes, the presenter hadn't repeated himself and as I realized that I put down my pen - this is why I don't develop in .net, except as stand-alone desktop apps.

the thought plickens (4, Interesting)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062984)

I might go out and buy another Nook to reward these guys for what they're doing.

Re:the thought plickens (4, Interesting)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063378)

Don't buy a Nook, they don't have much profit in those.. just buy a bunch of ebooks, that's where the money is.

Good for B&N (5, Funny)

thomas.galvin (551471) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062994)

First, B&N chooses an open format, ePub, for the Nook.

Second, they make the Nook easily rootable.

Third, they tell Microsoft to go fuck themselves.

I'm feeling better and better about choosing Nook over Kindle every day.

Re:Good for B&N (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063102)

Keep thinking that until B&N is closing up just like Borders did in about another 6 months.
 
B&N is as good as done even without the lawsuits.

Re:Good for B&N (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063168)

Doubt it. B&N got on the Internet bandwagon early, with a decent strategy.

Borders botched their initial online presence (I think they either went through Amazon(!) or Target), and never really recovered.

B&N has both internet dead tree sales, as well as their brick&mortar. They're not dying anytime soon.

Re:Good for B&N (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063234)

Why do you say that? Are your privy to some financial information that the rest of us are unaware of? While Borders was busy paying Amazon to run their online store for them Barnes & Noble was building up their own online presence. And rather than depending on just physical books they jumped into the eBook business and have been marketing their own reader. Certainly all businesses can fail, but unlike a lot of their competitors B&N has actually been working at keeping up with the times.

Re:Good for B&N (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063166)

First, B&N chooses an open format, ePub, for the Nook.

It may be an open format, but it's still wrapped in DRM if you get it through their store.

Re:Good for B&N (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063314)

That's only if the person uploading the document chooses to use the drm. It's not required, and is completely optional.

Re:Good for B&N (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063240)

MY TECHNOLOGY CHOICE IS THE BEST ONE, YOU HEAR THAT INTERNET?!, I can sleep well tonight! I'm still an alpha-geek. *sob* fap fap fap fap * sob*

Re:Good for B&N (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063684)

surely you mean they told MS to go "Nook" themselves? :)

The MS TAX..... (5, Insightful)

Odie_flocon (532770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062996)

This is the only way Microsoft can make any money on OPEN SOURCE. and of course the best kind of money made is from someone else.

Re:The MS TAX..... (3)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063042)

This is the only way Microsoft can make any money on OPEN SOURCE.
and of course the best kind of money made is from someone else.

Microsoft isn't so much an innovator as a parasite. Rather like in that Cloverfield film. Here it suddenly is, it all its glory, exposed.

Re:The MS TAX..... (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063084)

And all of their devices simply suck. They have no chance in hell to be a leader in this area or even 2nd place, so:
Those who can, do. Those who can't, sue. And threaten, And sling FUD, And blackmail.
Way to go B&N!

Maybe unfounded... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063010)

But I suddenly feel scared for Barnes and Noble. They are a relatively small company daring to take a stance against a mammoth. I really, really hope they don't get crushed. :(

Re:Maybe unfounded... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063028)

You know Google will stand behind them, and you've seen how they love to hammer bad patents into tiny bits (especially while the owner holds them) with a 50 ton sledge.

Unfortunately (2)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063012)

... this whole patent mess will indeed require a martir that will set itself on fire to show how absurd it all is. The patents M$ is trying to enforce are stupid, as anyone with 1% of the brain still active can recognize. It's sad.

Re:Unfortunately (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063198)

yeahhh.... except the people with 99% of an active brain recognize that they are valid patents that are being infringed on.

whats sad is that the /. massive is so obsessed with being emotional about computers that it has compromised your ability to analyze data and arrive at a logical conclusion. slashdotter has become synonymous with internet-nutter.

Re:Unfortunately (3, Insightful)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063358)

"Hey, a notification icon might be a neat idea" is a valid patent in your universe? Really?

Re:Unfortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063396)

6,339,780: Placing a loading status icon in the content viewing area of a browser.

Re:Unfortunately (5, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063404)

recognize that they are valid patents that are being infringed on.

Yeah, and those 99 percenters also realize that there are reams of prior art and these patents are pure junk. I'd "infringe" a patent too if it was pure crap that had no right being granted in the first place. These "innovations" are not the property of MS. They were ideas thought of long before MS decided to rape the system by getting them attached to a piece of paper.

Up in the sky .. it's a bird .. it's a plane .. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063014)

It's like my new super hero is kicking arse and taking names and has a big B&N crest in his chest.

Well played, Barnes and Noble!

Microsoft can't compete in the market... (5, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063048)

Microsoft is unable to compete in the mobile marketplace [computerworld.com] , so Microsoft turns to the courts and blackmail in order to obtain Windows Mobile market share.

.
Those who can compete, do; those who can't, litigate.

Re:Microsoft can't compete in the market... (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063130)

This seems like a really foolish thing for a convicted monopoly to do. I could see a clear case being made that Microsoft is leveraging their postion in the PC market to dominate in the mobile phone market. That and the NDAs alone should really get the justice department hopping mad. Well that and an election and the fact that Google is more loved than Microsoft and people are in a "mega corps bad" mood these days and an election is coming.

Re:Microsoft can't compete in the market... (1, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063382)

This seems like a really foolish thing for a convicted monopoly to do. I could see a clear case being made that Microsoft is leveraging their postion in the PC market to dominate in the mobile phone market.

As opposed to a leveraging a monopoly position in web search to dominate the mobile phone market by giving away a free product that competitors can't afford to compete with on price? This situation seems familiar...

Re:Microsoft can't compete in the market... (2, Informative)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063578)

So they're bundling an "Android OS" with every search result now? Because that's the only way it would be similar to MS and the Winternetexplorerows fiasco Oh, they aren't? You're trolling? Thought so.

Re:Microsoft can't compete in the market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063848)

No. If Microsoft wanted to act like Google, they would give away their OS for free, and leave the others alone. I don't think anyone would be opposed to that. I don't even think most Slashdotters are opposed to giving away IE for free, I mean, how else are you going to download Firefox on a Windows machine? But I should stop feeding the troll.

Re:Microsoft can't compete in the market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063328)

those who cant, rush to slashdot to bitch about microsoft.

Re:Microsoft can't compete in the market... (1, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063360)

Well, Google couldn't compete in the mobile marketplace either, so they decided to give a product away for free, funded by their monopoly search profits, just as Microsoft once did with Internet Explorer when it couldn't compete with Netscape. It wouldn't surprise me to get modbombed into oblivion for posting this on Slashdot (it happens), but it's the reality of the situation.

Google memos show that they were aware of Android's patent issues and chose to ignore them. I know Slashdot thinks all patents are evil (along with copyrights, commercial software, paying for music, etc.), but there are legitimate patents, and companies do deserve compensation for their research and development. I'm sure the many amateur patent lawyers that visit Slashdot will tear apart these patents with their expert analysis.

Apparently m$ have a mobile OS, too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063118)

Though you'd be forgiven for not noticing since its market share is what's technically known amongst the experts as "Ballmers Dick", or to laymen tiny and shrinking daily [reghardware.com] .

Barnes and noble. We love you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063154)

Perhaps we can get the Queen to give the leader of Barnes and Noble a knighthood? Hell! Throw in a peace prize as well.

Wooow, just Woooow (5, Interesting)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063174)

For those who don't RTFA this is frickin ridiculous, here's Microsoft patents that they are racking in the dough from phone carriers over.

1. Loading icon in the content window of a browser

2. Compatibility of file names with current and outmoded operating systems

3. Storing input/output in a shared file system

4. Simulating mouse inputs on a device without a mouse

5. A browser that recognizes background images and displays them after the text is loaded

6. Using handles to change the size of selected text

Re:Wooow, just Woooow (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063250)

Isn't #5 part of how all browsers work when you specify with and height for your images in html?

Re:Wooow, just Woooow (4, Informative)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063432)

Not only is that how it works but Netscape 2 had this functionality described in its release notes before MS even applied for this junk patent. Ridiculous. I hope MS gets tarred and feathered good!

Re:Wooow, just Woooow (2)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063420)

Don't get me wrong, i love Android, but i'm pretty sure they're not in violation of #5. Not given the number of times i've had to sit there waiting while pretty much everything in the page has been loaded _except_ for the main text =P

Re:Wooow, just Woooow (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063476)

it's highly probable that the other manufacturers didn't care about these patents being so ridiculous.

you know why? they're not really paying. they get subs in wp licenses.
(apparently, I got no source or proof of course!)

Summary of violated patents (1)

agent_vee (1801664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063204)

Placing a loading status icon in the content viewing area of a browser.

Compatibility of file names employed by current and outmoded operating systems.

Storing input/output factors in a shared data structure.

Simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices. (Really????)

Browser that recognizes background images in an electronic document and displays the background images after text.

Putting known tab controls into an operating system for use by all applications, rather than providing tabs on an application-by-application basis.

Using handles to change the size of selection areas for selected text.

Storing and displaying annotations of text which is not modifiable.

Good for them! (1)

Scholasticus (567646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063210)

I have a Nook. I mostly use it for reference stuff and for when I'm traveling (I generally prefer paper books, but well, the world changes). I like it, and I like Barnes & Noble. Now I'm really rooting for B&N. As a side note ... there was a thread a few days ago about "what's keeping you on Windows?" This is one of the reasons I don't use Windows. I know Windows 7 works well, probably better than any previous version. But I won't buy a product from a company that does stuff like this, i.e. abusing the patent system.

The patents in question are - (4, Funny)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063232)

6,339,780
5,579,517
5,652,913
5,758,352
6,791,536
6,897,853
6,339,780
5,778,372
5,889,522
6,891,551
6,957,233
Saved you the trouble of RTFA.

Re:The patents in question are - (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063812)

Patents identified prior to litigation
  • 6,339,780 [uspto.gov] : placing a loading status icon in the content viewing area of a browser
  • 5,579,517 [uspto.gov] : compatibility of file names employed by current and outmoded operating systems
  • 5,652,913 [uspto.gov] : storing input/output access factors in a shared data structure
  • 5,758,352 [uspto.gov] : compatibility of file names employed by current and outmoded operating systems
  • 6,791,536 [uspto.gov] : simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices
  • 6,897,853 [uspto.gov] : simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices

Patents asserted in litigation

  • 6,339,780 [uspto.gov] : placing a loading status icon in the content viewing area of a browser
  • 5,778,372 [uspto.gov] : browser that recognises background images in an electronic document and displays the background images after text - i.e. duplicate display
  • 5,889,522 [uspto.gov] : putting known tab controls into an operating system for use by all applications, rather then providing tabs on an application-by-application basis
  • 6,891,551 [uspto.gov] : using handles to change the size selection areas for selected text
  • 6,957,233 [uspto.gov] : storing and displaying of annotations of text which is not modifiable

These are the descriptions from the image in TFA

Full grunt of Linux (-1, Troll)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063284)

is needed to run a simple text reader? I mean B&N exposed themselves to this huge attack surface of Linux OS. They have been lazy to not develop their own thin OS layer and now it backfired... even Chinese teens in Hong Kong can do that, I mean why use full Unix/Linux in such a simple device?

Re:Full grunt of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063446)

For one, maybe they would like to possibly extend beyond "simple text reader" without having to work from scratch? I'm just speculating. But seriously, what are you so worked up about?

Way to go B&N (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063308)

I'm so glad I've been buying all my books from them for the last couple of years. I might even have to buy a Nook to replace my Sony I got for christmas last year. This almost makes me feel like a kid at Christmas Time.

Confidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063364)

This move has given me more confidence in B&N as an organization.

I will sleep easy knowing I purchased a tablet from a company with some backbone.

Now Google needs to put the Open Handset Alliance to good use by turning it into a giant patent pool for Android.

Between the likes of Google, Moto Mobility, and the rest of the Android handset manufactures, it would be interesting see Microsoft try to force an android tax.

So much for "Freedom to Innovate" (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063366)

I thought MS are supposed to be Staunch Champions of the Freedom to Innovate, hardy har har.

Ridiculous - leveraging a few patents on minor functionality which might cover .00001 percent of Android functionality into a patent royalty which is out of all proportion to the "size" of MS's "contribution" to the product AND putting onerous development requirements on Android developers to hamstring it's future progress so that they're own platform can prevail not on its merits, but on their ability to control the competition with patents.

This is *everything* that's wrong with the software patent system.

Re:So much for "Freedom to Innovate" (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063696)

You know, the pricing isn't that bad when you realize that said functionality of these patents probably represents around 90% of the functionality of Microsoft's mobile OS'.

Absolutely Absurd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063416)

Are half of those patents even patentable? If filed today, would they be thrown out for overly broad interpretation and vagueness? I like how the last patent is listed, but specific assertion against B&N is absent. I'm guessing the article writer, or possibly groklaw couldn't comprehend it sanely either.

My claim regarding lawyers still stands, however: When the revolution comes, shoot ALL the patent lawyers first!

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers (4, Insightful)

dcigary (221160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063606)

I'm only half kidding here. Patent lawyers have replaced Personal Injury lawyers as the scum of the earth. The entire patent system needs to be re-vamped, legislation passed outlawing patent squatting and technology stifling. And a firing squad for the patent lawyers.

I like the way we're getting open standards (3, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063630)

because everyone's so scared of Microsoft. They've got such a reputation for dominating every market they enter and then screwing their partners that even the big guys are backing open standards out of fear of getting cut out of the deal by MS. It reminds me of those old west shows where the gunslingers were sitting 'round a table playing poker ready to gun each other down at the first sign of cheating...

Something is not right! (3, Insightful)

goruka (1721094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063778)

How can Microsoft be threatening giant corporations with such incredibly ridiculously simple, obvious, irrelevant and pre-existing patents? How can they even call them "inventions"? How can so many companies be SO afraid of Microsoft to pay them large sums of money for this? Are they that much afraid that the patent system is so broken that they will have massive losses if they litigate? Something is not right with the world!!

Step up and reward B&N (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063872)

But make sure you let them know WHY you are purchasing from them.

Big companies might own Washington, but you can persuade big companies to do the right things by voting with your wallet.

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