Editorial

Microsoft patent deals are business as usual for a bully

Microsoft is making a good chunk of change off of Google’s Android mobile OS. In a series of patent-protection deals announced recently, Microsoft is shown to be basically legally extorting money from Android device manufacturers citing patent infringement as the cause for royalties. One of the biggest and most recent of these deals is with Samsung. The deal is currently under negotiation, and could net Microsoft $15 per handset. According to market analysts, Microsoft is actually making more money from Android than they are from their own mobile platform. To many, this may seem a bit underhanded. In a statement to the press about a similar deal with HTC last year, Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing, said,

"HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property."

One wonders if HTC feels the same way.

While Microsoft hasn’t publicly bared their fangs like this in a while, the company has never really abided by a Google-esque "don’t be evil" methodology. In fact, Microsoft has made somewhat of a name for itself in the world of aggressive business strategy. In a paper published by ECIS, a timeline of Microsoft’s alleged anti-competitive tactics is laid out, beginning with their practices against DR-DOS in the early 80’s, all the way through the Corel WordPerfect days, and eventually leading up to server competition with Sun and Oracle, and their most recent struggle with the inclusion of Internet Explorer in every copy of Windows.

The legality of any of those tactics notwithstanding, the actions Microsoft has taken in the past to quell competition were anything but pacifist. Ex-CEO Bill Gates himself was the leader of this charge, and he’s been known to use rhetoric that explicitly placed Microsoft in an aggressive light.

"What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically"

"If Intel has a real problem with us supporting [Intel’s microprocessor rival, AMD] then they will have to stop supporting Java Multimedia the way they are."

"Intel has to accept that when we have a solution we like that is decent that that is the solution that wins."

"This anti-trust thing will blow over.  We haven’t changed our business practices at all."

As Microsoft’s dominion in the market’s eye slowly but steadily diminished in the hands of CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft toned down the aggression and began to focus on survival, at least as far as the public was concerned. However, a schoolyard bully is created at home, and Microsoft is no different. While the playground may have gotten a lot bigger and scarier over the last 10 years or so, the culture within Microsoft itself hasn’t changed a bit. According to Scott Barnes, former Microsoft product manager,

"The culture within allows bullying, in fact it’s very "lord of the flies" at times when there is little or no direction and/or worse when there is failure upon failure occurring (as you end up with "hey I can fix that, get of my way…" followed by more…"hey I can fix that fix, get out of my way") moments."

According to Barnes, the destructive culture of bullying and power plays is pervasive enough that getting rid of Ballmer won’t help; it may actually make things worse. What remains would be a power vacuum, a void that the heads of every disparate and misaligned product group will vie for viciously until only one remains.

"90,000+ employees do not take their marching orders from a single man. It goes through layers of bureaucratic passive aggressive stakeholders first."

The recent spate of patent "deals" with Android phone manufacturers are only a small part of a much bigger picture, a picture of a bully that can’t see that its own aggressive behaviors are possibly the single largest factor in the current slide down the tech empire food chain. Sure, money will be made, and many will see that as the only judgment that matters, but Microsoft is not in the same environment it used to thrive in. It no longer has the power and reputation it once enjoyed, and it can’t afford to take pot shots at smaller companies and technologies for marginal short term gains. Maybe this is what David Einhorn saw when he called for Ballmer’s resignation in May.

The industry as a whole is generally optimistic about Windows 8 and the changes that the new OS will bring to the entire Microsoft infrastructure. If implemented correctly, we could see a new level of integration and seamlessness that has become the Achilles heel of Microsoft product groups. Cohesion and synergy, from both a tech and personnel perspective, is what the company needs to get back on its feet, and Windows 8 looks promising. Unfortunately, these patent deals make it look like business as usual for Microsoft. It’s another reminder that the corporate culture within Microsoft is one of aggression and perceived dominance, and it’s an attitude that the company could really do without. 

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Neowin should put some of these writes on a tighter rein. Disappointing titles as of late. Not liking this new Neowin at all.

As a Microsoft fan, I did not appreciate the title. The editorial was well written however.
I see this as Microsoft offering protection to partners in the event that another tech patent troll company comes along to make similiar claims for bigger returns.

If Microsoft was really demanding too much in royalty payments for use of their patents, then the companies being forced to pay would contest it in court. The fact that they're not suggests that Microsoft's not out-of-line after all.

Microsoft being a bully or not, I'm more concerned about Google. Do they offer any sort of idemnity at all concerning Android for their OEM partners? If not, why not? Also, LodSys was making a go for iOS devs - should they or some other patent troll go after Android developers, will Google step in?

Man, such moaning over an editorial. Shut the front door already. Some of you people get way to worked up. OMG an opinion I don't like... I'm leaving.

Not to mention I love how people accuse Tzvi of being a fandroid... just because he had something to say about MS. Get a grip.

Well Tvzi, that's just like, your opinion man.

Pursuing, defending, and litigating patents is just another aspect of business these days. Hate the game, as they say.

smot said,
Pursuing, defending, and litigating patents is just another aspect of business these days. Hate the game, as they say.

"I just work here", as someone allegedly said at Auschwitz. If you play along you are condoning the game rules.

ichi said,
"I just work here", as someone allegedly said at Auschwitz. If you play along you are condoning the game rules.

Thanks for proving Godwin's law…

go hard MS google are just doing exactly what US and most other govts do when sh@t happens they're claiming Plausible Deniability aka I didn't know so it's not my problem

and unfortunately if it were you or me we'd get slapped with the " Ignorance is NO excuse line"

You can't use the word legally and extortion in the same sentence. Why don't you just give this story a rest. This is business as usual. Microsoft pays royalties to Google, Apple and a host of other software patent holders also, but nobody talks about that. You can't blame one without blaming the other. You should know better Neowin, or did you guys turned into a me too publication also? In that case, Bye Bye...

If these are the types of pieces that Neowin continues to offer, people like myself will go somewhere else to get a quick gllimpse of the day's technology news.

BetaNews already lost a mass amount of viewers because of writings from Joe Wilcox, and Neowin's attempt to 'get clicks' is going to do the same, and in effect reduce site viewers.

A good opinion piece once in a while is good, but poor understanding of the topic and a personal bias used as a direct attack at a company is egregious.

As a 'consumer' of your site's product, this is my first warning that you are failing and will lose readers if it continues.

thenetavenger said,
If these are the types of pieces that Neowin continues to offer, people like myself will go somewhere else to get a quick gllimpse of the day's technology news.

BetaNews already lost a mass amount of viewers because of writings from Joe Wilcox, and Neowin's attempt to 'get clicks' is going to do the same, and in effect reduce site viewers.

A good opinion piece once in a while is good, but poor understanding of the topic and a personal bias used as a direct attack at a company is egregious.

As a 'consumer' of your site's product, this is my first warning that you are failing and will lose readers if it continues.

Then go somewhere else. I for one am getting sick of all the mindless ranting and bickering. Being a fanboy is one thing. Acting like one is a another. Key part of that is "boy". Grow up.

Okay seriously... Tzvi continues to write more and more terrible articles and it's getting to the point where Neowin is putting its reputation on the line by being a "credible" source of information.

This isn't the first time, of course. There was the poorly written tripe about the NFC payments. Then the article about Windows Phone 7 and why it is failing. If you want to write editorials that's great... they usually have a bias to them and there's no doubt about that. What Tzvi has done, and continues to do, is cherry pick information that he feels will illustrate his story and put mostly Microsoft in a bad light.

Honestly, I'm kind of tired of it. I'm taking Neowin off of my bookmarks until he's stopped writing articles for the site. I used to enjoy Neowin for some interesting information, and the occasional editorial. The heavy majority of editorials that come from Neowin now are all tainted with Tzvi's poor lack of journalistic ethics, and the editorials that might be reasonable have good reason to be scoffed at, when you are so willing to frontpage a writer that is incredulous as this guy is.

So I will return to Ars for well written editorials, ones that may show a bias but back them up with proper facts, reasonable analysis, and a comparitive illustration of what makes the author's point. Neowin has become a total joke, and the surprising thing about it is that even Slashdot is more fair to Microsoft than Tzvi is.

If you wanted a MS hater to write for your front page with no concern for any journalistic ethics, no proper comparitive analysis, then by all means, keep Tzvi on staff and writing articles. But this "shock jock" attitude may work for Howard Stern, but at least in the end he's occasionally funny. Tzvi isn't even that, and it's a race to be more and more alarming to get a few more pageviews.

Guess what? You just lost mine. And if anybody else feels the same as I do, voice up. That's how things change. Granted, if you like his articles then I can't say anything about that, but from the rest of the thread here, it seems that I'm not alone in company.

Hercules said,

Guess what? You just lost mine. And if anybody else feels the same as I do, voice up. That's how things change. Granted, if you like his articles then I can't say anything about that, but from the rest of the thread here, it seems that I'm not alone in company.

Thank goodness! Have a good trip.

Really?

Microsoft has let technology be used in Linux and other OSes for years without touching anyone until they start making a large profit off the technology.

Do you REALLY think companies like RedHat, HTC and others are NOT AS BRIGHT AS YOU, and just blindly pay the Microsoft fees?

Microsoft provides a very comprehensive set of information regarding the use of their technology under NDA to these companies, and guess what, the companies end up paying Microsoft licensing fees.

However, you, the 'author' of this post, or anyone here thinks they are smarter and know more about technology than the BIG companies that have reviewed this information and agreed to a licensing deal with Microsoft, then you are either really stupid or out of your mind.

Microsoft paid their share of licensing fees when NT was and Windows 3.0 was released, even when the technology was a rather vague implementation of an idea, like network constructs. They didn't fight it, or complain back in the early 90s. (The exception is Apple, which Microsoft already had a licensing deal with, and Apple wanted to 'constrain' the terms of the deal, which was thrown out of court.)

There is so much technology that SO FEW people understand came from Microsoft, and they use it everyday even if they never touch Windows or Microsoft products.

Microsoft hasn't tried to shut down any FOSS OS or product technology that uses their technology, as Gates' vision still holds true, and they would rather people be using the technology for their own betterment than to have it sit unused or require people to buy Microsoft products.

And what did all that 'goodwill' get Microsoft? An Anti-Trust case that was truly BS, bullying from the EU, insane constraints on 'bringing new technology' to consumers, beat up in the media?

Maybe Microsoft should have just been the 'evil' company people thought they were and shut down Linux and other OSes, and not bailed out Apple and gave them free use of Microsoft technology in OS X, etc etc...

Ironically, some of the crap Microsoft got in the media and public opinion was for not including features or technologies, which if they had it would had been illegal due to the Anti-Trust and EU rulings.

For example: Microsoft COULD NOT have done the iPod with a locked in Music store like Apple was able to do. Microsoft COULD NOT have restricted the Windows Mobile applications store to being ONLY theirs and requiring 'purchase' by developers to sell Apps for it. Microsoft could not have offered several of the features in OS X as a part of Windows. ETC ETC.

And now people are still complaining about Microsoft over stuff they don't understand?

It is funny that the companies they are making these 'deals' with are rather 'happy' with the deals, as it gives them protection from other patent trolls and gives them access to even MORE Microsoft technology. These are WIN/WIN licensing deals/partnerships.

Yet, people looking at this from the outside assume they are smarter than HTC or RedHat and all their lawyers... Really?

thenetavenger said,
For example: Microsoft COULD NOT have done the iPod with a locked in Music store like Apple was able to do. Microsoft COULD NOT have restricted the Windows Mobile applications store to being ONLY theirs and requiring 'purchase' by developers to sell Apps for it.

Sure they could, what they could not do is tie it to Windows and use the OS market dominance to push whatever product they are releasing ahead of competitors.

Case in point: you don't see Microsoft being sued for anything related with the Xbox even when it has it's own exclusive store, much like your iPod example. The Xbox just happens to be a product not tied with other MS products, so there's absolutely nothing to complain about there.

ichi said,
Case in point: you don't see Microsoft being sued for anything related with the Xbox even when it has it's own exclusive store, much like your iPod example.

You are not locked into the XBox Marketplace…

ichi said,
The Xbox just happens to be a product not tied with other MS products, so there's absolutely nothing to complain about there.

Live, Zune, DirectX, XNA,…

MFH said,

You are not locked into the XBox Marketplace…

Not if you mean buying physical media on stores, but AFAIK you can't set up your own alternative XBLM for people to buy games.

MFH said,

Live, Zune, DirectX, XNA,…

OK let me rephrase that: it's not tied to the Windows OS, which is the main concern about potential abuse of monopoly (or market dominance, whatever).

I personally think the article should be more about Google and their constant dis reguard for other peoples IP.. What the point to own something and and not defend it when people just feel they can take it and use it when and where they want.. Hmmm I think ill make a exact copy of the google search website and see how google feels about it...

Wow, you seriously have no idea what you are talking about.

Firstly, Microsoft are a business, businesses need to protect their investments or else they fail. If Microsoft has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into patents and another company comes along and violates them then they have every right to protect their investment and license said patent to said business. Patents don't come out of thin air, it costs millions of pounds in R&D in order to get to that point of filing a solid product patent and to just let all your business rivals use said patents for free is NOT good business. You can't believe that it is and if you do, then quite frankly you're an idiot.

One wonders if HTC feels the same way.

They do, else they would have fought the patent claim. You know there's a reason that these companies are coming to patent agreements with Microsoft, it's simply because they are valid patents that companies know they can't refute. These deals are not a case of Microsoft saying jump and all the companies asking "how high?"

The recent spate of patent "deals" with Android phone manufacturers are only a small part of a much bigger picture, a picture of a bully that can't see that its own aggressive behaviors are possibly the single largest factor in the current slide down the tech empire food chain.

Where have Microsoft been aggressive to the point of their downfall? Backup your odious claims with actual facts and don't just use them as vapid points to help fill out an entirely ill thought article.

My advice to you is to quit talking about patent laws if you don't know anything about them.

Google could do what Apple did, and sign a patent cross license with Microsoft, and do right by their partners, but no, Google don't care about its supporters or its developers, and leaves the legal wranglings to them.

Loadsys, the Java theft from Sun/Oracle, and Google sits by doing nothing.

The real problem, as everyone knows, is the Patent system itself. Microsoft has to publically defend its IP, or else they loose it, hence going after the little guys, to show it is defending. They could be demanding that people stop selling Android, but at least they are allowing it to continue, once they receive the royalties. If Google thinks it is just bullying, they should defend themselves, publically or legally.

martinDTanderson said,
If Google thinks it is just bullying, they should defend themselves, publically or legally.

Google has the perfect loophole: They aren't selling Android, the manufacturers are -> so they have to care about IP…

martinDTanderson said,
Google could do what Apple did, and sign a patent cross license with Microsoft, and do right by their partners, but no, Google don't care about its supporters or its developers, and leaves the legal wranglings to them.

Loadsys, the Java theft from Sun/Oracle, and Google sits by doing nothing.

The real problem, as everyone knows, is the Patent system itself. Microsoft has to publically defend its IP, or else they loose it, hence going after the little guys, to show it is defending. They could be demanding that people stop selling Android, but at least they are allowing it to continue, once they receive the royalties. If Google thinks it is just bullying, they should defend themselves, publically or legally.

Exactly. If Google was doing business properly by their OEMs and End Users they would offer patent indemnification and show Microsoft up by ensuring they could only bother someone their own size. The fact that Google doesn't shows they see themselves as having their phone OEMs by the throat and thus have no needs to care about them...

I am sure Google sees the state of life for the Phone OEM as this... "You drop Android and run to what?" The OEM can't really use their own OS in the current war so Google has them in check in that area. The OEM could jump to WP 7 like Nokia did, but the OS hasn't yet shows sales prowess. So the OEM is now stuck to Android for basic survival. Allowing Google to say "cry me a river" when the OEM complains of a new MS lawsuit...

martinDTanderson said,
Google could do what Apple did, and sign a patent cross license with Microsoft, and do right by their partners, but no, Google don't care about its supporters or its developers, and leaves the legal wranglings to them.

Loadsys, the Java theft from Sun/Oracle, and Google sits by doing nothing.

The real problem, as everyone knows, is the Patent system itself. Microsoft has to publically defend its IP, or else they loose it, hence going after the little guys, to show it is defending. They could be demanding that people stop selling Android, but at least they are allowing it to continue, once they receive the royalties. If Google thinks it is just bullying, they should defend themselves, publically or legally.


Couldn't have said it better myself.

MFH said,

Google has the perfect loophole: They aren't selling Android, the manufacturers are -> so they have to care about IP…

The Nexus? Notice how Microsoft isn't suing Google? I wonder why...

Microsoft_Bob said,

The Nexus? Notice how Microsoft isn't suing Google? I wonder why...

Manufactured by who? Right: not Google.
Nexus One -> HTC
Nexus S -> Samsung

Microsoft_Bob said,

The Nexus? Notice how Microsoft isn't suing Google? I wonder why...

The way Google go about distributing Android means they legally cannot be sued.

If MS is a bully for protecting its Patents what is Google? What with Android and their wifi cars, a pick pocket, a sneak thieve?

KavazovAngel said,
Google, because they aren't "evil".

No because they never came up with anything worth a patent…

MS Lose32 said,
So i guess it's ok then?

Defending patents they legally own? Do I really need to answer that question?

MFH said,

No because they never came up with anything worth a patent…

I heard they have a search algorithm which isn't entirely bad. Might just be hype though.

Nihilus said,
I heard they have a search algorithm which isn't entirely bad. Might just be hype though.

So ever since the that what did they come up with that was worth a patent?

SoyoS said,

Defending patents they legally own? Do I really need to answer that question?

Except that Microsoft isn't defending itself, it's using patents as an offensive weapon to attack a competitors superior product and prop up its own ailing product.

Microsoft_Bob said,
Except that Microsoft isn't defending itself, it's using patents as an offensive weapon to attack a competitors superior product.

They either sue those that infringe the patent or lose it - sounds like defending a patent to me…

MFH said,
So ever since the that what did they come up with that was worth a patent?

I hear they have some kind of "Earth" thing which is kind of popular. Might just be hype though.

mamacita42 said,
Oh please the MS hate is so old. What big company isnt doing this?

The MS LOVE is getting kind of old also . . .

Nihilus said,
I hear they have some kind of "Earth" thing which is kind of popular. Might just be hype though.

We are talking about Google not "Keyhole Inc"…

MFH said,

They either sue those that infringe the patent or lose it - sounds like defending a patent to me…

They don't lose their patents by not suing, you are thinking of trademarks.

ichi said,
Which Google bought.

Yep, and my question was: what Google invented, not what they bought…

majortom1981 said,

YEs but these bias articles with horrible titles make neowin look bad.doesnt matter who wrote it. Neowin is still allowing it to be put on the front page .


What part of 'editorial' don't you understand? That by definition means "Opinion Piece." 'OPINION' being the key word there.

Singh400 said,
Bias article is bias. Keep it factual, and opinion free.

I must admit it was a flame bait headline, but not an entirely badly written article. Yeah it's pretty biased, but that's what makes news interesting

majortom1981 said,

YEs but these bias articles with horrible titles make neowin look bad.doesnt matter who wrote it. Neowin is still allowing it to be put on the front page .

Yeah, this really makes Neowin look very bad...

rajputwarrior said,
*facepalm*

editorial:
Noun: A newspaper article written by or on behalf of an editor that gives an opinion on a topical issue.

bias:
Noun: a particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice.

prejudice:
Noun: an opinion formed beforehand, esp an unfavourable one based on inadequate facts.

In other words, good editorials are argued with as little bias (prejudiced viewpoints) as possible.

brianshapiro said,

bias:
Noun: a particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice.

prejudice:
Noun: an opinion formed beforehand, esp an unfavourable one based on inadequate facts.

In other words, good editorials are argued with as little bias (prejudiced viewpoints) as possible.

fair enough, but it's still an editorial and editorials are based on opinion that are backed up, which is what Tvzi did...

rajputwarrior said,

fair enough, but it's still an editorial and editorials are based on opinion that are backed up, which is what Tvzi did...

Personally, I think, first, Tvzi didn't address whether Microsoft's practices in the industry were in any way unusual, taking Google's "don't be evil" motto on its face.

Second, he takes quotes from Microsoft employees that could be interpreted as pro-competitive and interprets them as anti-competitive. Saying for instance:

"If Intel has a real problem with us supporting [Intel's microprocessor rival, AMD] then they will have to stop supporting Java Multimedia the way they are."

The person is saying that they have a right to support other companies besides Intel just as Intel has a right to support other companies besides Microsoft. This is a quote in support of a competitive attitude. Also this:

"Intel has to accept that when we have a solution we like that is decent that that is the solution that wins."

That's meant to mean that Microsoft can choose to partner with anyone they like, Intel's dictates be damned.

brianshapiro said,

Personally, I think, first, Tvzi didn't address whether Microsoft's practices in the industry were in any way unusual, taking Google's "don't be evil" motto on its face.

Second, he takes quotes from Microsoft employees that could be interpreted as pro-competitive and interprets them as anti-competitive. Saying for instance:

"If Intel has a real problem with us supporting [Intel's microprocessor rival, AMD] then they will have to stop supporting Java Multimedia the way they are."

The person is saying that they have a right to support other companies besides Intel just as Intel has a right to support other companies besides Microsoft. This is a quote in support of a competitive attitude. Also this:

"Intel has to accept that when we have a solution we like that is decent that that is the solution that wins."

That's meant to mean that Microsoft can choose to partner with anyone they like, Intel's dictates be damned.

i agree with you on that, it's definitely quotations we need the full context to really get an idea of what they are really saying.

Owen W said,

Right, and we're the only site that does it.

Nope you aren't, BetaNews and several other sites started producing this type of crap, and lost a mass amount of readers virtually overnight. Why don't you hire Joe Wilcox too?

farmeunit said,

A lot of the stupid comments make Neowin look bad.

+1

It's no the articles or editorials i hate about neowin these days. It's the comments.

Most people who say neowin is anti-ms and biased here read Paul Thurrott site every day. Go figure ...

BTW i read Paul Thurrott i just don't troll neowin news with neowin is biased comments.

Owen W said,

Right, and we're the only site that does it.
That doesn't mean its good to publish articles like this, even editorials, when they are just flame and link bait.

"It no longer has the power and reputation it once enjoyed"

I dunno, man, I really fail to see which company has a better reputation, and power.

Well, yeah. I do have to agree that Microsoft should just can the **** up this time and not decide to sue other companies. I'm not a fan of this Microsoft behavior. However, let's not have a bunch of trolls below this post stating how Microsoft is a "dying" company just because it puts out all of these aggressive behaviors. Just think of all of the stuff that Apple has done, too.

But seriously, though. What the hell is up with Microsoft? They've already made competitive products like Windows Phone, Windows 8, Xbox, Windows Server, Windows Azure...the list goes on. Why not just have a more aggressive advertising campaign? This recent behavior boggles my mind, and it's certainly going to give those FOSS radicals steam to their whole "Evil Empire" argument again...

I don't really understand it either. If Microsoft put half the effort it puts into patent litigation into designing products I'm sure we'd all be the better for it.

I think it's because the 'Microsoft is evil' mantra has been beaten into the heads of the decision makers of the world through the FOSS community.

Whether it's true or not, the idea is there festering. Marketing and advertising seem to be cheapened in the minds of these individuals to the point where it loses its effectiveness.

Thus Microsoft resort to proven tactics. Once they have enough OEMs in their pocket to make their own phones, the world will see by example, just how much better WP7 is over Android.

If they can make some $$ in the process by offering these OEMs protection deals like this, why wouldn't they?

...and sadly, Anti-Microsoft linkbait headlines is standard business to get as many clicks as you can these days.

UGH neowin should really read over articles before they publish them. Stop singling out a company like microsoft when they ALL do it. apple does it and so do the others.

Also like dekoy states the headline is horible and neowin should be ashamed. I do not come here for stunts like this.

majortom1981 said,
Stop singling out a company like microsoft when they ALL do it. apple does it and so do the others.

Apple or others aren't going after weaker companies like Microsoft is with Android. That's anti-competitive and bullying plain and simple. Even with Samsung, Microsoft waited till they were embroiled in a big suit with Apple when they chose to attack.

It's quite common for Microsoft to attack free and open source software. I even remember Ballmer calling Linux a cancer. It's this aggressive and anti-competitive behaviour that people dislike about Microsoft. Why can't they just make their own products without attacking FOSS? It must be down to their successive failures.

majortom1981 said,

Also like dekoy states the headline is horible and neowin should be ashamed. I do not come here for stunts like this.

It's not a stunt. It's the truth. Microsoft is using the patent system to bully competitors into producing phones for their OS, disadvantaging competitors, and basically trying to control the market the same way they did with the desktop.

Microsoft_Bob said,
Apple or others aren't going after weaker companies like Microsoft is with Android.

Sure Apple would never sue a weak company ……… NOT!

Microsoft_Bob said,
That's anti-competitive and bullying plain and simple.

You do know that one is obligated to defend his patents right?

Microsoft_Bob said,
I even remember Ballmer calling Linux a cancer.

1. The FOSS-community is calling Microsoft the evil empire ever since they emerged.
2. Actually the GPL does work exactly like cancer/an infection, nobody can't deny that…

Microsoft_Bob said,

It's not a stunt. It's the truth. Microsoft is using the patent system to bully competitors into producing phones for their OS, disadvantaging competitors, and basically trying to control the market the same way they did with the desktop.

Microsoft_Bob said,

Apple or others aren't going after weaker companies like Microsoft is with Android. That's anti-competitive and bullying plain and simple. Even with Samsung, Microsoft waited till they were embroiled in a big suit with Apple when they chose to attack.

It's quite common for Microsoft to attack free and open source software. I even remember Ballmer calling Linux a cancer. It's this aggressive and anti-competitive behaviour that people dislike about Microsoft. Why can't they just make their own products without attacking FOSS? It must be down to their successive failures.


It's not a stunt. It's the truth. Microsoft is using the patent system to bully competitors into producing phones for their OS, disadvantaging competitors, and basically trying to control the market the same way they did with the desktop.

So? Google can indemnify its Android OEMs from patent suits related to Android IP, but they don't. Looks like the bigger issue is that Google doesn't care enough about its OEMs to guard them.

So place the blame where it belongs... With Google...

http://download.microsoft.com/...demnification%20Policy.docx

Microsoft_Bob said,

Apple or others aren't going after weaker companies like Microsoft is with Android. That's anti-competitive and bullying plain and simple. Even with Samsung, Microsoft waited till they were embroiled in a big suit with Apple when they chose to attack.

Well, as long as we're calling Samsung a smaller company, I don't suppose you've heard of some other patent litegation they're involved in, by a fruity company that's arguably even bigger than MS.

Microsoft_Bob said,
I agree with you here. Although technically that's a trademark infringement case, not a patent one.

Difference being nothing… (I know it's from a law's point of view, but not in this discussion…)

MFH said,

Difference being nothing… (I know it's from a law's point of view, but not in this discussion…)

Actually there's a difference: while Apple's claims about the App Store are kinda stupid, being a trademark issue they have the obligation to defend their trademark or else lose all rights over it.

That doesn't happen with patents.

Unfortunately, patent portfolios have become a huge part of doing business these days. Being the holder of a large number of patents, in this case ones that relate to the Android OS, Microsoft is garnering income from IP that they own the patents to.
Google does it less mostly because they actually own very few patents in comparison to Apple, Microsoft, IBM, etc...
All these big tech companies are in a tangled mess of lawsuits and countersuits based on competitors use of IP.
It's easy to paint MS as being a bully, especially if you've believed Google's line that Android is free and open - something handset vendors are finding out isn't completely true.
It's ugly, but it's part of doing business these days.

gark said,
in this case ones that relate to the Android OS

That's not actually the case. If you look at Barnes and Nobles' response to Microsoft's patent attack, you'll see that the patents are generic and vague, so much so that they can be applied to any kind of internet or document related activity. They are not related to Android or mobile in any specific way.
gark said,

Microsoft is garnering income from IP that they own the patents to.

Except that Microsoft is not trying to protect its IP, otherwise it would have sued Google too. Instead, they are bullying smaller companies in an attempt to impede Android and dissuade OEMS from doing business with Google. It's patently anti-competitive. It's no wonder Microsoft has such as a bad reputation when it pulls stunts like this.

To make matters worse, they then release a press statement suggesting both sides are mutually benefiting, when in truth, it's a one sided protection racket where the other party is silenced with an NDA.

gark said,

Google does it less mostly because they actually own very few patents in comparison to Apple, Microsoft, IBM, etc...

Some companies just try and produce great products, others like Microsoft resort to SCO tactics when their own products fail.
gark said,

All these big tech companies are in a tangled mess of lawsuits and countersuits based on competitors use of IP.

Yet another reason why software patents should be abolished. It's nothing more than a government sanctioned monopoly, and we all know that monopolies hurt the consumer due to higher prices, inferior quality products, stagnant development, and the absence of innovation.
gark said,

It's easy to paint MS as being a bully

Microsoft are doing a fine job of doing that without anybody else's help.

Microsoft_Bob said,
you'll see that the patents are generic and vague, so much so that they can be applied to any kind of internet or document related activity. They are not related to Android or mobile in any specific way.

So was the i4i-XML-patent, but every MS-hater was happy after i4i won the case…

Microsoft_Bob said,
Except that Microsoft is not trying to protect its IP, otherwise it would have sued Google too.

Google aren't manufacturing anything…

Microsoft_Bob said,
Instead, they are bullying smaller companies

Samsung is by no means a small company. They'd counter sue - like they did with Apple - if they'd doubt the patents…

Microsoft_Bob said,
It's no wonder Microsoft has such as a bad reputation when it pulls stunts like this.

Source? And I mean actual source not some FOSS-FUD…

Microsoft_Bob said,
Some companies just try and produce great products

Sure, sure - you may believe that if it makes you happy…

Microsoft_Bob said,
It's nothing more than a government sanctioned monopoly

You do know that that's the whole point of a patent right? To make money of your invention and preventing anybody else from using your invention without a license…

MFH said,

So was the i4i-XML-patent, but every MS-hater was happy after i4i won the case…

I believe software patents should be abolished, so I wasn't one of them. Though, I can see why some might take delight in it considering Microsoft's past and present behaviour.

MFH said,

Google aren't manufacturing anything…

The Nexus phone? Besides, Microsoft is suing because of software, not hardware patents.
MFH said,

Samsung is by no means a small company. They'd counter sue - like they did with Apple - if they'd doubt the patents…

Look at the timing of the demands/suit. Microsoft waited until Samsung was in the middle of a huge patent case with Apple before moving in for the kill, reminiscent of the vulture/jackal.
MFH said,

You do know that that's the whole point of a patent right? To make money of your invention and preventing anybody else from using your invention without a license…

The original thought process might have had good intentions, but it has been exploited and twisted for anti-competitive purposes in the case of Microsoft.

Microsoft_Bob said,
I believe software patents should be abolished, so I wasn't one of them. Though, I can see why some might take delight in it considering Microsoft's past and present behaviour.

Double standard right there…

Microsoft_Bob said,
The Nexus phone? Besides, Microsoft is suing because of software, not hardware patents.
As I already said, they weren't manufactured by Google but by HTC and Samsung…

Microsoft_Bob said,
Look at the timing of the demands/suit. Microsoft waited until Samsung was in the middle of a huge patent case with Apple before moving in for the kill, reminiscent of the vulture/jackal.

Right…

Microsoft_Bob said,
The original thought process might have had good intentions, but it has been exploited and twisted for anti-competitive purposes in the case of Microsoft.

I totally get it now: Microsoft bad => Microsoft protecting their patents => evil

Microsoft_Bob said,

That's not actually the case. If you look at Barnes and Nobles' response to Microsoft's patent attack, you'll see that the patents are generic and vague, so much so that they can be applied to any kind of internet or document related activity. They are not related to Android or mobile in any specific way.

Idiot. The Barnes and Nobles lawsuit was about the Nook Color, which runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and it had to do with some of the customizations that BaN made to it which violated some design patents of Microsoft's. Once again, it's Android-related. Do you even bother to research before you spew your clueless ignorance?

Microsoft_Bob said,

Except that Microsoft is not trying to protect its IP, otherwise it would have sued Google too. Instead, they are bullying smaller companies in an attempt to impede Android and dissuade OEMS from doing business with Google. It's patently anti-competitive. It's no wonder Microsoft has such as a bad reputation when it pulls stunts like this.

Um, cognitive failure #2 on your part. Surprise, surprise. The reason why they didn't sue Google is because Google's not the one who customizes its software. It's the OEMs, such as HTC and Samsung, which add their own customizations like the Sense UI and that gimmicky iPhone-mimic from Samsung on the Galaxy S. And as a result, Apple and Microsoft have been very hard on the OEMs for their blantant rip-offs of some of their designs. Have you seen all of the iOS clones and skins that are Android-related? Not to mention a new surge of apps and tweaks for Android which now aim to photocopy the elegant Metro interface right onto your phone just because you don't want to realize the ugly truth about your incompetent Android handset? Once again, open source proves its lack of innovation and desire to mimic the only people who actually do make great products: the competition. But I guess, as the saying goes: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Microsoft_Bob said,

To make matters worse, they then release a press statement suggesting both sides are mutually benefiting, when in truth, it's a one sided protection racket where the other party is silenced with an NDA.

Um, if you're thinking that HTC and Samsung are not still making money off of Android after a small $15 IP infringement Microsoft tax, then you're blissfully unaware of the whole situation around you. -__-

Microsoft_Bob said,

Some companies just try and produce great products, others like Microsoft resort to SCO tactics when their own products fail.

And other companies, like Microsoft, actually produce great products while using common business tactics to gain an advantage. Do you honestly mean to tell me that Android is actually better than Windows Phone? Don't make me laugh. That botched mess of an operating system doesn't even get good reviews by commentators; it's the hardware that gets great reviews. "Oh, it has 1 GB of RAM, great 3D graphics, etc." Never hear anyone talk about the UI or "elegance" of the OS that much, do you? I doubt Microsoft is jealous of an operating system that requires at least 1.5 GB of RAM just to be half as fast as Windows Phone's blazing speed on just 256 MB of RAM. What's worse for Android is that a great deal of so-called "anti-MS" tech blogs like Engadget, Gizmodo, and even Computer World are comparing Windows Phone to Android (in terms of smoothness and pleasuribility of use) like gold is to dirt. When Gizmodo says something like "There's only two real choices for phone consumers this fall: iOS or Windows Phone" and analysts are noting Android's first decline in market share for the year, you know that the only thing Microsoft has to be jealous of is all of the $$ that Google made off of their short-term snake oil product. I doubt Microsoft--I doubt any company, envies the quality of Android.

Microsoft_Bob said,

Yet another reason why software patents should be abolished. It's nothing more than a government sanctioned monopoly, and we all know that monopolies hurt the consumer due to higher prices, inferior quality products, stagnant development, and the absence of innovation.

Microsoft are doing a fine job of doing that without anybody else's help.


I'm not a fan of software patents that much, but they shouldn't be abolished. I just think that they shouldn't be given to people who haven't created them. In other words, they should not be able to be purchased by companies that just use it for money. Microsoft, on the other hand, has actually done the innovation work in the patent, and is just protecting what it created in the first place. I can't blame them for not wanting to be copied, especially from a community like the open-source community that does it so much...

Microsoft_Bob said,

That's not actually the case. If you look at Barnes and Nobles' response to Microsoft's patent attack, you'll see that the patents are generic and vague, so much so that they can be applied to any kind of internet or document related activity. They are not related to Android or mobile in any specific way.

Except that Microsoft is not trying to protect its IP, otherwise it would have sued Google too. Instead, they are bullying smaller companies in an attempt to impede Android and dissuade OEMS from doing business with Google. It's patently anti-competitive. It's no wonder Microsoft has such as a bad reputation when it pulls stunts like this.

To make matters worse, they then release a press statement suggesting both sides are mutually benefiting, when in truth, it's a one sided protection racket where the other party is silenced with an NDA.

Some companies just try and produce great products, others like Microsoft resort to SCO tactics when their own products fail.

Yet another reason why software patents should be abolished. It's nothing more than a government sanctioned monopoly, and we all know that monopolies hurt the consumer due to higher prices, inferior quality products, stagnant development, and the absence of innovation.

Microsoft are doing a fine job of doing that without anybody else's help.

There is so many things you don't get and get wrong with this entire post. Google isn't directly making money off of Android for example, Google bought Android, which Google would shift any lawsuits to the sellers of the technology, etc.

If Google gave a 'crap' about their product or the companies using Android, they would step in to 'defend' them. Microsoft steps in to defend any of their partners or people using their products, as they stand behind the legality of the technology and solid licensing.

Google 'knows' they couldn't defend Samsund or HTC from Microsoft, and it would more than likely lead to Google having technology ripped away from their right to use it as well.

Microsoft_Bob said,

I believe software patents should be abolished, so I wasn't one of them. Though, I can see why some might take delight in it considering Microsoft's past and present behaviour.

Agree, which is why Apple should be taken to task for creating the mess we are in now. If you follow software patent law it was Xerox and Apple that created this insane mess.


The Nexus phone? Besides, Microsoft is suing because of software, not hardware patents.

Google doesn't make the Nexus phone, and even with the 'Google' name on it has arms length distance from the product when it comes to legal liability and licensing.


Look at the timing of the demands/suit. Microsoft waited until Samsung was in the middle of a huge patent case with Apple before moving in for the kill, reminiscent of the vulture/jackal.

Well you are right about the timing. However, the timing is what has 'pushed' Samsung to want a deal with Microsoft. As a deal with Microsoft, with a WP7 or Windows 8 device released that is under violation of what Apple is suing Samsung for, would allow Microsoft to step in, and tell Apple to go jump off a cliff. Microsoft's licensing just for WP7 alone provides legal protection for the OS and the products, just like Windows does.

Apple and Microsoft not only have their own agreements from the 1990s, but Microsoft also by 'holding' to these agreements keep Apple in business. I know people think of Apple as the great 'innovatin' company, but their products are so filled with technologies owned by Microsoft it is freaking amazing when you actually do a bit of research in it.

Samsung is seeking out Microsoft, and Microsoft is in return telling them that they need to 'license' and protect themsevles from other companies as well. A Microsoft licensing deal would also fend off other patent trolls.


The original thought process might have had good intentions, but it has been exploited and twisted for anti-competitive purposes in the case of Microsoft.

Microsoft isn't using it for anti-competitive purposes or they would be going after FOSS implementations that COMPETE with Microsoft. Instead they are offering 'deals' with these companies that not only 'license' the technology in both Linux and Android that Microsoft created and owns, but they are also offering the companies more access to Microsoft technology in return.

If you were a company, would you pay to ensure your products were properly licensed? Especially if in doing so, you got acces to even more technology? I think the answer to most intelligent people would be yes.

Microsoft has shown companies like RedHat, HTC and others what they own and have under NDA, and they seemed to think Microsoft was not blowing smoke or trying to enforce patent troll crap. And I would bet that both HTC, RedHat, and others have more technical knowledge and legal advise than anyone posting in these forums.

These deals are not 'bullying' they are something every company has walked away gaining something from and are very happy with what Microsoft has offered them.


Funny how Apple can bring a BS lawsuit, trying to get the 'look and feel' patent crap going again, and Samsung reaching out to Microsoft for help looks makes Microsoft the bully.

Seeing Microsoft as a bully is such a disconnect in intellectual reasoning and honesty it is amazing people will end up blaming Microsoft. Why are people not YELLING at Google for not protecting Android OEMs. Why are people not YELLING at Google for not ensuring Android is completely and legally licensed properly? Why are people not YELLING at Apple for trying to squeeze Samsung and trying to get patent law to enforce look and feel crap that what virtually done away with in 1998?

So many 'experts' on these boards, but yet when pushed, they know nothing of facts or history, just their 'emotional' response and ease to buy into the myth that Microsoft is a Bully.

If Microsoft was a bully, they would have shut down Linux and other OS projects YEARS ago. (Which as RedHat concluded, Microsoft very easily could have.)

thenetavenger said,
Samsung is seeking out Microsoft

Are they? Source?

thenetavenger said,

Microsoft isn't using it for anti-competitive purposes or they would be going after FOSS implementations that COMPETE with Microsoft. Instead they are offering 'deals' with these companies that not only 'license' the technology in both Linux and Android that Microsoft created and owns, but they are also offering the companies more access to Microsoft technology in return.

The fact that they are only disclosing the allegedly infringed patents under NDAs shows that they aren't as interested in protecting their IP as they are about monetizing it. Else they would openly disclose the list of infringed patents so that potential infringers can either get in contact with MS to license them and/or implement workarounds where possible.

Could it be that they are afraid some of them could be invalidated if put under public scrutiny? If so, that wouldn't show much confidence in the actual ownership of all that "technology (...) that Microsoft created and owns".

dekoy said,
Nice bait headline. Grow the eff up.

Hey Tzvi - nice article. I was just about to write the same for my site which advertisers pay to display on. Seems you won't mind if I just use yours today, oh and anything else you come up with....thanks mate. Great business model of yours.

dekoy said,
Nice bait headline. Grow the eff up.

I presume "Microsoft making money legally" didn't have the same ring to it.

greenwizard88 said,
It's Tzvi. What do you expect. If I could block all articles by him, I would.

Then why are you posting here? Just to troll? It's an Op-Ed. It doesn't have to have a nice controversy free title.

Nihilus said,

I presume "Microsoft making money legally" didn't have the same ring to it.

What is legal and what is ethical are not necessary the same thing. Just ask wallstreet or the banks when they crippled our countries.

Microsoft_Bob said,
What is legal and what is ethical are not necessary the same thing. Just ask wallstreet or the banks when they crippled our countries.

Ever since had being ethical anything to do with business? I'd rather be unethical and successful than failing in the marketplace but being ethical…

dekoy said,
Nice bait headline. Grow the eff up.

Dude, it doesn't take a brain to see it... $15 is the profit they make from licensing WP7, $15 is what they're charging to license the patents... either that means WP7 OS is worthless, or they're placing too much value on the patents.

Tweaky Nippleton said,

Then why are you posting here? Just to troll? It's an Op-Ed. It doesn't have to have a nice controversy free title.

I didn't realize it until I clicked on the link.
Owen W said,

I'm sorry... why?

I've just noticed that most of the articles I disagree with on Neowin, are authored by him. Perhaps more importantly though, I share names with him, and it annoys me when someone with my own name writes something I disagree with

MFH said,

Ever since had being ethical anything to do with business? I'd rather be unethical and successful than failing in the marketplace but being ethical…

That's why our country is going to ****. Because so many are out for themselves and don't give a rat's ass about anyone else. Obviously, you're one of those. How about ethical and successful?

MFH said,

Ever since had being ethical anything to do with business? I'd rather be unethical and successful than failing in the marketplace but being ethical…

Really?! Wow.

farmeunit said,

That's why our country is going to ****. Because so many are out for themselves and don't give a rat's ass about anyone else. Obviously, you're one of those. How about ethical and successful?

I don't know why YOUR country is going to ****. Mine will go because Greece is killing the Euro….