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Microsoft Assembles Patent Arsenal for Longhorn

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the playing-keep-away dept.

Microsoft 571

stock writes "The heat is on. Inside eweek.com are some remarkable articles: 'You see, Microsoft is busy patenting everything it can lay its hands on with all three. In fact, Microsoft is now building up its patent arsenal, applying for a rather amazing 10 patents a day. The idea isn't to ensure that Microsoft makes a fair profit from its patents; it's to make sure that no one else can write fully compatible software.' An older article mentions some other patents."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053002)

FP

the evidence that the day is coming is mounting... (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053011)

And the plot thickens... They are doing this (as the article states) to keep Linux and other OSs from being compatible. By breaking their network filesystems they force people to upgrade, stay away from free alternatives, and make more and more money.

This will also be to make sure that DRM can succeed. If there were ways around their "innovations" for security what good would it do? First thing you have to do is break networking and make sure that only other secured machines can talk.

Remember people: the end of computing [slashdot.org] as we know it is coming fast.

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (1, Troll)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053108)

Interesting...so what's the plan for that other bastion of patents-out-the-wazoo, IBM? You know, the Linux hero in corporate clothing?

See, this is why I barely come to /. any more...pointless and uninteresting articles with scant information (especially from Michael), and futile arguments and knee-jerk paranoid reactions masquerading as discussion.

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (2, Insightful)

BgJonson79 (129962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053200)

Does IBM patent things with the idea that they can then use the patents to prevent other people's software from interacting with their own?

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053360)


"Interesting...so what's the plan for that other bastion of patents-out-the-wazoo, IBM?"

Well at the moment they are about to bend SCO over a court bench. Also they seem to have been behaveing themselfs recently...

And by all means let the times you visit get fewer and fewer
The fewer M$ fan boys here the better.....

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (3, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053143)

Oh, hush.

This, to me, looks like irrefutable evidence of anticompetitive behavior. For the next antitrust trial.

(Why do I feel so optimistic all of a sudden?)

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (5, Insightful)

nodwick (716348) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053180)

In fact, Microsoft is now building up its patent arsenal, applying for a rather amazing 10 patents a day. The idea isn't to ensure that Microsoft makes a fair profit from its patents; it's to make sure that no one else can write fully compatible software.

And the plot thickens... They are doing this (as the article states) to keep Linux and other OSs from being compatible.

Or, rather than profit motive or monopoly propagation, it could be option #3: Microsoft may just not want a repeat of the Eolas debacle [yale.edu] where they get sued for something seemingly public domain 5 years down the road. Many companies (IBM comes to mind) maintain huge patent stables for precisely this purpose.

There are many reasons companies patent things, ranging from the defensive to the offensive. Unfortunately it's hard to tell a priori what the actual reasons are.

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (4, Insightful)

mikera (98932) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053406)

However, holding patents for defensive purposes isn't much use against pure "IP litigation" companies.

Since these companies don't produce actual products they can't be caught out for infringing any of your patents.

It's only really useful against other large companies (e.g. IBM) since it gives you better bargaining power for cross-licensing. And for locking out new competitors, of course :-)

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (2, Insightful)

spikev (698637) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053215)

This is primarily the fault of our stupid patent law, which doesn't give someone the right to produce something, only the right to keep other's from producing it.

Re:the evidence that the day is coming is mounting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053239)

the end of computing as we know it is coming fast.

The end of the patent system is coming first! We've known this was comming since 98, where's the news?

BSD patents hot geek babes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053012)

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$Id: ceren.html,v 7.0 2004/01/01 11:32:04 ceren_rocks Exp $

Patent to apply for (4, Funny)

raider_red (156642) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053016)

I'm applying for a patent on my business model which involves abusing American Intellectual Property law by filing endless frivolous patents. (I'm hoping MS and SCO don't try to claim prior art.)

Re:Patent to apply for (4, Insightful)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053132)

Actually I would hope that they file for prior art, it would just be an admission that they abuse the patent system and file frivolous patents.

Re:Patent to apply for (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053170)

Sorry, but your joke is already prior art [slashdot.org] .

And this is new how? (5, Insightful)

zolon (605240) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053019)

This has been a tactic of many companies over the years, the only thing different about this is the fact that some of the patents that MS is getting approved have prior art conflicts.

sin

*insert slashbot groupthink witty subject* (-1, Offtopic)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053022)

*insert Slashbot Groupthink anti-Micro$oft comment*

(I'll take the pro-Capitalist Karma hit.)

Why? (5, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053024)

Why do we let a convicted monopolist obtain patents?

It seems a no brainter that they should not be allowed to protect any IP until a nonmonopolistic market restored.

"Right to innovate" be damned. You illegally got in top, now you can be made to share the top spot, a la the Sherman Act.

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053074)

You know the Sherman Act was about chickens?
You know it was about preventing others from doing business?
You know Microsoft has not prevented anyone from doing business. I understand the 'predatory business practice' argument.
But this kind of nonsensical barrier to business development is what makes companies move offshore.

Re:Why? (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053282)

You're right. The Sherman Act is not applicable here. Given the nature of software, I think the Nuremberg Code is a much better way of approaching the problem. :)

Re:Why? (1, Informative)

RaboKrabekian (461040) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053262)

Convicted monopolist? Microsoft was found to have a monopoly. That in and of itself is not a crime. Time for you to go do some reading. There are plenty of markets where a monopoly exists, and its not the government's job to "restore" them to a "nonmonopolistic" state.

Well that proves it. (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053025)

"The idea isn't to ensure that Microsoft makes a fair profit from its patents; it's to make sure that no one else can write fully compatible software.' An older article mentions some other patents."

If its on Slashdot, it MUST be true. No other evidence is needed.

Re:Well that proves it. (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053075)

what do you think it is for? You think that they don't find Samba to be a major threat to their way of life?

People *need* to share files. People used to need to pay MSFT big money to have a file server and licenses for computers to connect to that server.

Samba changed all that. Now everything works seemlessly (and at times much faster than the Windows servers).

You think that MSFT doesn't want to stop that by changing the way things work and making sure no one can start up their own competing stuff?

Re:Well that proves it. (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053165)

When has Microsoft EVER used patents as a tool for gaining market control? They get sued a lot by other people welding patents like a weapon, however they have never taken that route. There are many reasons for having patents other then sueing someone, is your blind hatred for Microsoft so great that you have to see the worst possible reason for everything they do?

Re:Well that proves it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053193)

Just because they haven't does not mean that they won't.

Re:Well that proves it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053206)

OK, what are they for then?

Re:Well that proves it. (1, Interesting)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053243)

When has Microsoft EVER used patents as a tool for gaining market control?

Why cares??! The question is: Will Microsoft EVER use patents as a tool for gaining market control?

The answer is clearly yes. This is the entire point of patents, is it?

Re:Well that proves it. (1)

spikev (698637) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053334)

Actually, I for one don't care what they do with the patents, I just think software patents are evil. And we know they've tried to patent hopelessly obvious things before, like the desktop pager. MS would not be doing this just to throw money at the patent office for registratoin fees. They hope to lock all the parts of their system together (like they've done with the latest Office) to make sure their customers are stuck with them.

Re:Well that proves it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053208)

"what do you think it is for?"

Maybe to protect their asses from more bogus patent suits that allow other products to continue to infringe. *cough Eolas *cough

Re:Well that proves it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053268)

Do we even know if the next windows will be incompatible with samba?

If we dont then how do we know if this means MS is trying to kill free software?

If we do, then forgive my ignorance.

Re:Well that proves it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053168)

or alternativley, If it's on Slashdot, it MUST not be true. Take your pick.

So many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053031)

So many patents, not even their core programmers will be able to make compatible programs within itself.

If you can't win in the marketplace... (5, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053039)

...use the courts. Admittedly, the government is responsible for laying out and enforcing the underlying rules of the market, but abuses can occur. I think it is not to much of a stretch to say that standards available to everyone -- starting with ASCII and progressing forward to HTML, XML, SVG, and others -- are what have made it possible for computers to be successful. You think we'd have the Internet if it weren't for the various RFCs being made available to everyone? Hell no.

This is an act of desparation, but that doesn't mean it won't have deleterious effects upon the market as a whole. And you KNOW that the overburdened patent office won't be able to properly check all these for the existence of prior art, which I'd bet would cause 99% of these patents to be rejected.

Competiton? (-1, Troll)

divine_13 (680820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053043)

Anyways, they are probably just trying to simulate something Apple is so famous for. They'll never succeed.

It could just be to protect themselves (5, Insightful)

twfry (266215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053045)

After all there already have been various lawsuits against MS which have forced them to cough up some serious $$$. They do have a right to protect themselves against a broken patent system.

Move along... (4, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053046)

Nothing to see here. Just another sure sign that antitrust has no effect on the paranoid Microsoft.

Heck, IMO, this is a sure sign of the problems with software patents. In normal due process you should not be able to patent as much as that in that sort of time, unless something is up with the system.

this is the only way they can compete (2, Insightful)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053048)

Patents and monopolistic lock-in is the only way MS can compete with Linux (or any other decent OS). They know they are going down, they are just trying to slow the process.

I can think for myself... (2, Insightful)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053070)

The idea isn't to ensure that Microsoft makes a fair profit from its patents; it's to make sure that no one else can write fully compatible software.

Thank you slashdot, but I can think for myself. I'd rather have the bare facts (which speak for themselves) than a link with some anti-MS spin.

Re:I can think for myself... (3, Insightful)

crmartin (98227) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053196)

That's actually a quote from the article, not Slashdot.

Off course, knowing this would require reading the article and what fun is that?

Re:I can think for myself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053423)


Thank you slashdot, but I can think for myself. I'd
rather have the bare facts (which speak for themselves) than a link with some anti-MS spin.


That why the fuck are you reading slashdot for then?

Hey, I'd do it too... (2, Funny)

1000101b (513049) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053077)

Gates and Co. didn't get rich by giving away software. This approach seems to have worked well for them in the past.

So who cares? (0, Flamebait)

kawabago (551139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053079)

No one is going to buy into their next platform anyway, so who cares about interoperability with Windows?

News? (1)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053081)

Is it news Microsoft engaging monopolist practices?

I'm a Bush Republican! (A poem) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053087)

I'm a Bush Republican
I got a small schling
I like to bomb niggahs
and make a lot o' bling

I got a bunch o' friends
in high up places
They helps me get dem
government graces.

You think I'm smart
I just know who's who
I couldn't run a fruit stand
without the red white & blue

I fancy myself
A brilliant tactician
But neither me nor m'buddies
Could even pass basic trainin'

See, I'm above all that
A fightin' and shootin'
I just say "Sic em!"
Then run the other direction

Don't need no history
Don't need no schoolin'
I got my ideology
To keep me a shootin'

If I get caught screwin'
Or tellin' wicked lies
"Hypocrisy!" I holler
And that justifies the crimes

Liberals! Faggots!
Commies and queers!
Socialist hippies
Full o' pussy tears!

I'll drop some crap
about Jesus the Christ
You'll buy it all
and vote for me twice

'Fact, Jesus is comin'!
Real soon, now!
So we gotta prop up Israel
That ol' sacred cow

Propaganda's m'friend
But I calls it "fact"
Even though I don't read
'Cept for Chick tracts

Facts? No! Don't need em here!
We're conservatives! We work on FEAR!
Don't like what we say?
Well FUCK YOU, bud!
We'll shove it down yer throat
and tell ya it's good!

Backwards compatibility? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053090)

Are they going to break all compatibility with their older OSs? If they don't, can't Linux/OS X/etc. still connect? If they do, don't they risk pissing off businesses?

In a way I'm glad (1)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053093)

I recognise that there are lots of important uses for linux-windows compatibility, but none of them apply to me personally.

sometimes it seems like loads of effort is spent trying to reproduce windows instead of just doing something better and it doesn't always seem worth it.

take wine for example, a good project but imo it could never be anything more than a "cheap and dirty" temporary fix anyway.

Woohoo! (2, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053099)

If that doesn't count as anticompetitive behavior, I don't know what does.

I see this as good news for the future, since the repercussions on MS should be more severe than last time.

For the short term, everyone keep an eye on their applications, and look for prior art!

How will Mono counter this? (4, Interesting)

Gnulix (534608) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053101)

It will be really interesting to hear Miguel's views on this! Earlier on, he stated that MS patents wouldn't be an obstacle for Mono and .Net based development on non-MS platforms...

Re:How will Mono counter this? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053405)

Presumably by licensing them? Maybe the idea here is that Microsoft expects to lose OS sales, but wants to make the difference by licensing it's patents.

Personally, I think the software industry is reasonably screwed if they're really pushing out 10 a day. If nothing else, they'll have well and truely killed any desktop innovation - probably the kind of things that open source desktop projects would use to properly surpass Windows in the next 2 years or so.

OTOH, maybe this will be enough motivation for an overhaul of the patent system.

Anti-trust? (2, Insightful)

GregWebb (26123) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053103)

(Assuming this is correct, of course - may be a big assumption...)

Did they learn _nothing_ from Thomas Penfield Jackson? At all?

Bush and others like him won't be in the Whitehouse for ever. As soon as there's a DoJ who are actually prepared to enforce anti-trust laws rather than mistakenly believing that monopolies are good for innovation and the economy, any company that has amassed a portfolio that simply stops anyone interoperating with their systems will get taken down, quickly.

It's rather frustrating to see continued blatant monopoly abuse from MS. Hopefully, a sensible DoJ will eventually have so much ammunition from the last few years that MS' break-up becomes utterly inevitable.

...except it is not a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053269)

"It's rather frustrating to see continued blatant monopoly abuse from MS"

except it is not a monopoly. There goes your rant, deflated by the truth. If it were a monopoly, you would have no Mac OS X or any versions of OSS operating systems.

"Hopefully, a sensible DoJ will eventually have so much ammunition from the last few years that MS' break-up becomes utterly inevitable."

Hopefully, Microsoft will fall apart as others make better products. The DOJ should totally butt out.

Patents and Monopolies (2, Insightful)

Vardamir (266484) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053111)

too bad the gov can't reject the patent applications because MS is a monopoly ... i think some antitrust laws need to be changed

Say what you will (1)

Jack Wagner (444727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053112)

Those blokes over there at Microsoft are bloody smart. They've been trying to fend off the Linux attack with their traditional business strategies and it's obviously not working, so they're going to the next level.

As a Microsoft shareholder I'm very happy to read about this. As a leading independant consultant in the IT industry I'm disgusted by this.

Warmest regards,
--Jack

Re:Say what you will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053387)

As a leading independant consultant in the IT industry I'm disgusted by this.
Warmest regards, --Jack
Wagner LLC Consulting Co. - Getting it right the first time
jwagner@usa.com for references and quotes

Yeah, right, a leading independant consultant for the IT industry advertises on Slashdot, uses a mail.com email address, and shows up highest on Google for a posting on Kuro5hin. Right. Did you know they have effective treatments for delusions of grandeur nowadays?

Re:Say what you will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053421)

As a leading independant [sic] consultant in the IT industry

You might become the leading independent consultant if you learned how to spell [reference.com] ... ;-)

Sorry!

Defense against patent infringement lawsuits (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053119)

One very good reason to patent everything possible and build up a huge patent portfolio is to defend oneself against patent infringement lawsuits. If you own a lot of patents, chances are better that anyone suing you for patent infringement will themselves be infringing on your patents, giving you the means to settle without being extorted with huge licensing fees (like Eolas dinged Microsoft for).

Tell ya what... (2, Insightful)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053122)

Man, this makes me sick to my stomach and makes me suspect that RMS is right on. i mean this is just above and beyond "protecting an idea". This just sounds like blanket-patenting. It'll tie up the patent office (that is already over loaded) and muck up the legal system in a few years (in a few? it's a done deal already, i think ;-)

i say it's akin to the myriad of "crap laws" still on the books: you *will* get fucked if you piss off the wrong person with enough money for you are *always* violating some moronic law. So it will go with this, write most any software and, "i'll be damned, who'd have patented that?!" It'll be interesting to see where this leads in the next few years.

Have monopoly will abuse (1)

smartin (942) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053126)

The justice dept really blew it, they made a huge mistake of going after an unrealistic break up when instead they should have gone after full disclosure and forcing M$ to insure and help with interoperablility. Instead Billy, Steve and the boys got of Scott free.

Re:Have monopoly will abuse (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053259)

No, the Justice Department blew it by giving up after they'd won thanks to a change in administration. Had they kept going on the course they were on before Bush & Ashcroft took over, we'd have two or three "Baby Bills" today, and the world would be a better place.

just a thought.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053127)

if there was an alternative desktop OS that was just as good if not better, this wouldn't matter.

Re:just a thought.... (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053329)

Yes! If only there was a better way! [apple.com]

Karma Whores Coming ... (3, Funny)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053134)

This is one of those articles where everyone gets to rehash the same old MS bashing. Then, they all get modded up. Easier for me to read because all the responses are 5, Interesting. When can we get our next iTunes article?

Re:Karma Whores Coming ... (2, Funny)

elwell642 (754833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053278)

And isn't your post the expected response to said articles, giving you a 5, Funny... or maybe even Insightful?

I guess that would make me the -1, Troll reply, too...

Re:Karma Whores Coming ... (0, Troll)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053361)

Actually, given this crowd, I'd expect -1, Troll or 0, Overrated (is this possible?). Linux apologists' sense of humor is about as fragile as Linux evangelists'.

Re:Karma Whores Coming ... (0, Offtopic)

amightywind (691887) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053410)

When can we get our next iTunes article?

Right after the next global warming one.

Some new stuff for developers in LongHorn (1)

Kavorkian,MD (775543) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053138)

A url to some of the new Longhorn-features (a 60 minute video)

http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdntv/episode.aspx?xm l= episodes/en/20031028LHORNDB/manifest.xml

Quite interesting showing how development can be done with the new technology..

FUD from another perspective (2, Insightful)

IntuitivelyObvious (640178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053158)

Is it just me, or is this article spreading the same FUD that we have come to expect from the pro-Microsoft side? It is one thing to dislike Longhorn because of its DRM, but quite a stretch to believe that Microsoft will patent every common computing process used in Longhorn.

Unlike what most here probably believe, patents are not the problem. Microsoft will not be able to patent Linux out of existence.

Re:FUD from another perspective (1)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053284)

you obviously didn't read the /. article about MS patenting "working out how long someone holds down a button"

Time to start looking for prior art... (3, Interesting)

mehtajr (718558) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053167)

I guess when Microsoft hands over a stack of patent applications, we should respond with a stack of examples of prior art (surely they must exist)? Either that or start applying for patents first and if they're granted make them publicly licensed under certain conditions (e.g. for OSS)? Of course, that makes open source the demon... argh.

Of course, knowing the patent office, they'll just rubber stamp Microsoft's applications. Right next to 1-Click and that new method of swinging one.

or? (2, Insightful)

andih8u (639841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053172)

they're just doing it so some other company can't patent it later and sue them?

YUO FAIL 5IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053178)

patents != antitrust? (2, Interesting)

lawngnome (573912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053181)

This seems like microsoft has sidestepped their previous antitrust issues with the patent process, Would this be considered antitrust behavior if they use those patents to hurt competition?

Im unclear if this would be considered the same thing, perhaps prior art could be used to stop blatant misuse, but it would give them an advantage...

MS can't win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053201)

Back in the day when a Microsoft 'operating system' was barely more than a DOS shell, we used to joke at all the functionality that was missing. At each step of the way, any new functionally added was seen as wrong-headed and anti-competitive. Finally, lowly MS can proudly point to an operating system(2003) and a software architecture(.Net) so good it almost makes you forget COM. If you're going to catch grief no matter what you do, better to keep adding functionality and let the whiners whine.

Re:MS can't win (4, Insightful)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053409)

It's not functionality if it gets in your way; it's feature creep. Functionality would be adding performance enhancements. Functionality would be making it easier to interoperate with other systems. Functionality would be letting the file system be a file system and not a way to print photos, browse the web, or create new text documents.

Functionality is not locking out competitors and forcing your customers to buy more of your product (complete with all the security holes and vulnerabilities) just so they can get some work done.

"Microsoft Inventor" Software (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053220)

Has anyone else tried the "Microsoft Inventor" application? I think Bill has the only copy, but it has a function where it automatically submits random word strings to the US patent office as complete patent applications.

Sample output:

e-commerce

e-communism

e-constipation

e-conifer

one-click shopping

one-click shipping

one-clock shopping

one-click slapping

BASIC

ADA

difference engine

mouse

rat

.....

Not only this, but it can generate 1,400 patent applications per day, all conveniently dated to 1878 so you can beat everyone to the punch. Microsoft "Created" this after it embraced and extended a third-party password-guesser program.

This could backfire (2, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053249)


This approach could backfire on Microsoft.

Large users of MS software now understand Microsoft's game. Go back five years or so and many didn't get it, or didn't care. But they've seen how lock-in allows MS to turn the screws on the when it comes to licencing.

It wouldn't suprise me if a lot of organisations decide to stop at Windows XP for as long as possible, rather than go to Longhorn, to avoid the tighter MS handcuffs of Longhorn.

Re:This could backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053383)

But didn't you hear, Microsoft has shipped 210 Million copies of XP. That is almost one for each man/woman and child in the US. Gosh, it even showed up on my Linux computers and I don't know how it got there.

Now wait a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053256)

Now wait a sec.... DRM only works if the copyrighted materials are FOR CHARGE, right? I'm no expert, but it seems to me that if DRM starts forcing people to BUY -everything-, what the anti-RIAA zealots have been preaching for the last few years will come true - I suspect people will begin exploring alternatives (independants, etc) en masse'.

Same thing with OSS..... sure, DRM is great... EVERYONE has rights to this software....

Economically, I belive this will eventually fall flat on it's face.

CowboyNeal confirms - Apple is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053260)

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MS DDoSing the USPTO? (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053261)

10 patents a day is not that much for the USPTO... if they only had competent patent examiners. Hmmm, is Microsoft DDoSing the USPTO in order to slip in patents based on prior art?

Let me rephrase that (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053265)

"Microsoft are working to maintain their monopoly".

In other news:

"The sky is blue, and grass is green" claims top scientist.

"Water is wet" according to dolphins.

Re:Let me rephrase that (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053304)

Do dolphins think water is wet? I kind of doubt it.

Grammar nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053309)

"Microsoft are working to maintain their monopoly"."

You am master of goodly english!

"Water are wet" according to dolphins"

Retard Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053422)

Corporations are commonly plural in British English. You is wrong.

(Rapidly extends Adamite laws) COME ON!! (1)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053266)

Trusted computing, bytecode boxes, XML, NTFSv2 w/Axcess extension, "Now swaps everythin gout of memory for no apparent reason, and then back again, and out again... IN EVERYDAY COMPUTNG!" (its a feature, swear), breaking most 3rd party apps, and re-writing allmost all of their code when they had just started to really weed the bugs out of their old code?
Microsoft, thank you for making the world a better place. Maybey in your nest life you'll realize that radical steps should be taken incrementally, not all at once.
Seriously, this seems like it could backfire on them, badly. They seem to want to create something perfect right off te bat.
Even God took six steps to make the universe as we know it.
--
I learend there tare troubles
Of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead
And some come from behind.

But I've bought a big bat.
I'm all ready, you see.
Now my troubles ar going
To have troubles with me!
~Dr. Seuss

I'm fixing a hole, where the rain gets in... (4, Insightful)

poptones (653660) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053277)

and stops my mind from wandering...

I think Bill's finally lost that grasp. And I don't think anyone here should let this be a concern - in fact, it's an ultimately good thing.

Longhorn is still two years away. Linux is getting better and better and the endless virus plagues are beginning to get to mom and joe user. If Longhorn comes on the market with an entirely new, relatively backwards incompatible system (like XP was - the XP "emulation" engine doesn't even work as well as WINE on, for example, Am. McGee's "Alice") all this lockdown is going to come back to haunt them. Does no one remember the early PC wars and two little computer companies named Apple and IBM? Yeah, they're both still around - but I don't think I need to tell you which one became the standard bearer. Does no one remember why?

Microsoft is making the exact same mistakes IBM made twenty five years ago. So just shut up with the complaints lest you reopen that crack uncle bill is fixing in his door...

Unintentional 2 tier effect (1)

gathas (588371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053279)

There is no way MS will get away with creating a system that is not backward compatible/interoperable with server architectures. There are too many companies installing linux for their back end systems and lots of time between now and Longhorn to increase those numbers and they aren't going to replace those just to upgrade. So MS will make sure they are backward compatible, however, non MS clients won't work with Windows servers. This will bolster Linux on the server side and Windows on the desktop. But they will both lose out on the other side.

10 per day? (4, Insightful)

TimTheFoolMan (656432) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053281)

If you read the embedded linked article Microsoft Assembles Hefty Patent Arsenal [eweek.com] , that the main article refers to, it says:
"...Microsoft has received about 1,000 patents, or an average of 10 a week."
I don't see any reference to 10 a day. The fact is, the originally linked article Longhorn's Real Job: Trying to Gore Linux [eweek.com] got it wrong too.

Tim

WinFS (1)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053289)

A lot of the articles focus seems to be on WinFS.

I can remember reading an article a while back on Longhorns schedule (linked from /. no doubt) that claimed that WinFS might be dumped to get their overall schedule back on track.

Does anyone know if this is true, or just my imagination running away with itself.

Re:WinFS (1)

DataShark (25965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053349)

Well, well, there are too much fear about winfs... *but* i wonder if with the proper wrappers reiser4 could be a killer ...

PRIOR ART!! (1)

THESuperShawn (764971) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053326)

I can find prior art for the Blue Screen of Death. Patent Denied! YUKRAINE IS NOT WEAK!!

big filesystems, other stuff (2, Interesting)

phats garage (760661) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053328)

When I worked on VMS, it had this big filesystem, I loved having btree index's available without any third party software needed. Still, these systems played nice with other protocols, most noteably when you put a good tcp stack on VMS they were hardy internet machines. You surely didn't have other software hitting these file systems directly, but with VMS and decent tcp, they'd export their filesystems in a friendly way.

Is direct filesystem access really a must? With the price of boxes, are dual boot systems really a compelling business case? (I like them, but I have a house full of junk computers hehe)

Microsoft will have to play nice with the network, additionally, by the time longhorn comes out there may be enough samba servers around that compatibility (on the client side) may be important. Do you really have to be at version X of SMB fileservices with any given version of Microsofts software? Sure there are going to be shops that want the 100 percent Microsoft solution, but if Linux/BSD is up to it, theres nothing saying that in a few years running OSS will simply be the competitive thing to do.

Clearly Microsoft isn't going to lower their prices, not with this monster of a development project pigging out on excess product release schedules.

With Mono, compatibility was always a matter of how much paranoia the developers could tolerate in their planning.

As for patents, Microsoft is only doing what the patent office allows.

Nothing new (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053331)

The most comfortable way to maintain a monopoly is to use the monopoly powers provided by law. That's what a patent is. I'm amazed it took so long for Microsoft to learn that.

One day (3, Insightful)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053332)

I hope that someday soon Congress will understand the seriousness of the current problems with software patents AND give a damn. Microsoft and other companies are patenting tens of thousands of software ideas, almost all of them obvious and/or existing in prior art, and despite their invalidity, it'll still take more money than any of us has to fight them. Reading a random selection of the software patents that have been granted recently would make me pass out with laughter if they didn't threaten my own freedom to innovate.

Shooting themself in the foot? (2, Insightful)

scovetta (632629) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053348)

Wouldn't building up such a huge patent arsenal actually work against their interests? This would seem to be pro-Linux in that if I, as a developer, want to make software that people can use, without fear of litigation, move to Linux. The relatively small number of Linux users is only growing, and sooner or later it will reach a critical mass where the "average" user will now see real competition with Microsoft in the consumer space. If I were a Linux PR guy, I would try to spin this as "Microsoft Bad For Innovation" or the like.

Seems like a big mistake to me to do this.

Microsoft's situation (3, Insightful)

Rick and Roll (672077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053355)

I don't see patenting to make their system compatible working well as a long-term solution. They have in recent years pissed off satisfied customers, and I see Longhorn as doing that even more. The last decent version of Windows was Windows 2000. Now they have all kinds of ads pop up on your system tray, and in Longhorn, they are implementing a strategy to keep people from ignoring them. This is not going to fly in countries where ordinary, everyday people recognize that a free alternative exists - Linux. And because people in the U. S. will have to communicate with them, Microsoft is not going to be able to completely lock them in. They will have to learn how to share files and do business with people running other OS's.

I really think Microsoft is making a bad call here. But then again, they have known how to secure sales in the past, more than anyone else. Time will tell whether they will be able to continue to charge ridiculous amounts of money for Windoze and Office.

Oh, come now... (5, Insightful)

TwistedSpring (594284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053370)

Article quote: Now, after having their hands gently slapped by the Department of Justice, the boys from Redmond have another plan: Make it so that users of their next desktop system won't be able to use non-Microsoft-blessed servers or programs at all.

What utter FUD this is. This is nonsense of the highest degree, it suggests that Microsoft will not only shut out every independent developer on the planet (i.e. nobody who isn't "blessed by" Microsoft can write software for this thing) but also prevent users from accessing their network infrastructure. What gobshite. People will still be able to write software for Windows, people who use Windows will still be able to use the Internet, FTP to and from Linux boxes, and communicate with Samba servers. I am no authority on this, but if Microsoft prevented people from doing said things then:

1. Nobody would use Windows.
2. Windows Longhorn would not be able to access shares and resources on Windows 2000/NT/XP hosts.

Also, people like Mozilla and Open Source are frightened, according to this article. They're building up defenses! Hah. Many companies who are NOT open source use portable windowing toolkits for cross platform compatability. Look at Adobe -- all its products that run on Windows do NOT use the standard Windows widget set, or look at Macromedia -- same there.

So Microsoft's covering it's ass with patents. Plenty of people have done this in the past. Perhaps Linux and the Open Source community should be doing it first.

Patent all of these (2, Insightful)

cmoney (216557) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053379)

This is mostly off topic but seeing as how most software patents that make it to Slashdot are frivolous and have a long history of prior art, why has no one gone through this:

http://www.nist.gov/dads/

and patented everything in there? At the time the algorithm or data structure was created, it was a novel invention. Hell any algorithm is novel otherwise it wouldn't be worth learning in school right?

I think I'm gonna patent calculus and see how far I can get with it.

Tiger (2)

SLASHAttitude (569660) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053416)

Starting to make the prior article about tiger better and better. This is why I switched to Linux and OS X and also why I will not be going back anytime soon.

Not to pick on just Microsoft... (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053418)

The net effect of the current patent/copyright frenzy will be quite simple...

Progress will move away from the US and EU, and into India and China.

Both may be signatories to WIPO treaties, but IIUC they're not leading the charge. Both run rampant with piracy, though at the moment that seems to be passed off as an 'enforcement difficulty.' By the time we quit pussy-footing around, I expect both economies to have grown enough, and be busy enough modernizing their own nations that they'll be able to just chuck ^H^H^H^H^H withdraw regrettfully from the IP treaties, or renegotiate them. In any event, THEY'LL have the innovative lead, at that point.

Others have mentioned the IP-restrictive environment of New York being responsible for the rise of Hollywood.

IP laws, they way they're being misused today, circumscribe the pie so IP owners can own bigger chunks of it. Growth in the pie itself will happen elsewhere.

Oh yes, IMHO patents and copyrights were meant to compensate inventors and artists for their creative effort, and keep them in the creative business. For far too many copyrights and patents, the main expense is in filing, and the creative effort was trivial. The competitive roadblock is the reason. IMHO, this is abusive and retards progress in the US.
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