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A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:25 am
by viking777
So Microsoft just spent over 1 billion dollars on the "intellectual property rights" owned by AOL.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17657205

Now leaving aside any feelings you might have about the 'ethical' side of trading "intellectual property", (whatever feelings you have about this I doubt they can be more antagonistic than my own), does this impact on Linux at all? What did AOL actually own patents for I wonder? No doubt the Redmond lawyers are salivating over what they have acquired right now, and how long will it take them to start using this new weapon - days, weeks, months? No longer than that I am sure.

One thing is for certain, you don't spend 1 billion dollars on stuff like this unless you expect to get it back with interest.

I did have AOL internet once so I can tell you from first hand experience, they certainly hold a patent for screwing up dial-up connections :lol:

(probably not worth much now though :) ).

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:14 am
by esteban1uy
That seems to go in the opposite direction of this: "Microsoft has announced a new wholly owned subsidiary known as Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., to advance the company’s investment in openness – including interoperability, open standards and open source".

They are buying tons of patents and licenses and, at the same time, founding an Open Source division... :roll:
(no troll intented, just legitimate curiosity)

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:43 pm
by wyrdoak
Just off the top of my head, if I remember correctly, FireFox and Thunderbird come to mined forked from Netscape Navigator. Wasn't a lot of AOL using Netscape Navigator as a base?

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:13 pm
by viking777
@esteban1uy

Interesting post! I wonder what it really means?

@wyrdoak

I think you are right there - unless we have been having the same dreams :lol:

Obviously nobody can tell at this stage what that huge investment was about, but you can pretty well guess what it wasn't about, and it certainly wasn't about protecting open source.

Only time will tell I guess.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:10 pm
by exploder
Microsoft knows that Linux is always going to be around no matter what kind of tricks they pull so they have to be able to work along side Linux. Microsoft buying patents is nothing new and it is a dirty way of conducting business. Fortunately for us Redhat and others have their own patent portfolios and are fully prepared these days to battle with Microsoft if the situation arises.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:32 pm
by viking777
I hope you are right Exploder, but I still find it a sinister move, this one has a lot of distance to run before it is over.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:42 am
by sunewbie
Does the open sourced project gets adapted by some proprietary firms and after some years they make some changes and patent it.

since Linux desktop is not famous as Mac and M$, many people do not know anything about the features linux and open source offers.

e.g. Floating bars in LibreOffice writer were present in the then OOo V2.0. These were adapted by M$ Office 2007. Now what if they patent it?

Similarly, my friend was saying that windows 8 has Ubuntu lens like feature (not sure, as I have not checked win 8).

So they copy / rob and then when someone claims the rights, they buy it, by offering big sum or by force. I am saying by force, bcos, I saw a show on discovery, which talked about evolution of internet and when talked about Netscape and IE (at that time M$ was busy with Win 95, so they were not concentrating on IE and they did not think net would make a big impact). The representative said that their marketing team is like mafia, they strike any kind of 1/2 million $ deal and they come to us and say, we want these features. Tech team cannot say anything to them and you have to listen to them by keeping your head down. They are like mafia, bcos you cannot go against them and have to follow what they want. The spokesperson was the lead dev of IE and they were simply copying what natscape was doing at that time and then when the war intensified, they bundled IE for free with win 98.

Before that they had meeting with Natscape founders and wanted to purchase the firm, but when they refused, Bill Gates wanted to break them. But then Natscape had secretly recorded all the meetings adn a day came when Bill Gates, who broke many laws at will was forced to answer questions which no one dared to ask him. Finally, the very strong dictator, was so mentally down that in a core meeting, he broke down (in 2000) and began to cry. from that day, his programming skills, which he was known for began to fade. After that he slowly pulled himself from active development.

This is what I remember was broadcasted in the show.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:50 am
by idiotkiwi
Are you guys not being a little slow???

In 5 years they will be claiming to have INVENTED open source.

Regards

Euan

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:41 am
by viking777
idiotkiwi wrote:Are you guys not being a little slow???

In 5 years they will be claiming to have INVENTED open source.

Regards

Euan
:lol: :lol:

I like that Euan - you should save that for next April Fools day - "Microsoft claims ownership of Patent Rights to Open Source"

It is so believable it could almost be true. The best thing is you have got nearly 12 months to come up with some really convincing links :D .

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:00 am
by sunewbie
viking777 wrote:
idiotkiwi wrote:Are you guys not being a little slow???

In 5 years they will be claiming to have INVENTED open source.

Regards

Euan
:lol: :lol:

I like that Euan - you should save that for next April Fools day - "Microsoft claims ownership of Patent Rights to Open Source"

It is so believable it could almost be true. The best thing is you have got nearly 12 months to come up with some really convincing links :D .
+1 :lol:

you will certainly have great traffic, be it any day :D another way of getting attention

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:58 am
by viking777
I like that Euan - you should save that for next April Fools day - "Microsoft claims ownership of Patent Rights to Open Source"
I'll tell you what I will even give you a start. How does this sound? I read it in my local paper :wink:
California courts today began a preliminary hearing into the case of "Microsoft vs Richard Stallman", poised to be the 'geek' courtroom drama of the year.

"It could even outsell the OJ Simpson movie" said a spokesperson for Fox TV present in the courtroom.

Microsoft claim that Mr. Stallman has repeatedly and flagrantly breached their lawfully held copyright by promoting Open Source projects without first paying royalties for the use of their 'intellectual property'.

In their initial submission to the court Microsoft lawyers explained that in 1979 Mr. William Gates, former Microsoft CEO, invented and applied for a patent for the idea of freely sharing ideas and computer code relating to technical projects, mainly in the computer industry. This patent number 18,247.182 was duly granted and registered. The patent was subsequently transferred to Microsoft who now hold it.

Defending counsel responded by asking how an idea that purports to support the sharing of information could possibly be subject to a patent?

Judge Ballmer (no relation we are told) overruled this objection by stating, "this patent clearly exists and it is not the purpose of the court to dispute this fact only to decide how much damages, I beg your pardon, if damages are due to the patent holder".

After the court was adjourned for lunch this reporter was able to interview Mr. Gates, the original patent holder, and ask him if he didn't see a conflict between the ideals of open source and that of patenting its invention?

"None at all", said Mr. Gates, "all users of open source are fully free to share and modify open source code once they have paid royalties to the patent holder of the idea".

Asked if this was not just a crusade against Linux he replied,

"What's Linux?"

We can expect this one to run and run.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:10 pm
by wyrdoak
Microsoft has formed the Microsoft Open Technologies arm and is ready to help facilitate the relationship between open source and MS. Are you ready to don your tinfoil cap? Here is Jack Wallen’s take.

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/openso ... ag=nl.e011

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:52 pm
by xenopeek
@viking777, thanks for that. Gave me a chuckle, though it seems to be what patent lawsuits are about these days...

@wyrdoak, I don't foresee the Open Technologies arm being anything but a one-way effort, so not in the least making Microsoft's technologies more open. The threat to Linux seems undiminished.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:47 am
by sunewbie
Microsoft does not invest in anything that does not benefit itself.

So even if it's funding Opensource, it will earn out of it. Like it will incorporate innovative work of very talented core programmers into Microsoft, all for free.

Will it be like working for Microsoft for Free.

* I do not intend to bash Microsoft. It's just a concern. Microsoft is instrumental in bringing PCs to common man.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:38 am
by xenopeek
sunewbie wrote:So even if it's funding Opensource, it will earn out of it. Like it will incorporate innovative work of very talented core programmers into Microsoft, all for free.
Microsoft is not funding open source; the aim I think is to ensure their own commercial offerings "play nice" with open source solutions that increasingly more consumers and businesses are using. Some open source licenses, like the GPLv3, enforce that when you take licensed work of others, and incorporate it in your own product, you have to publish your changes to that work under the same license as well (keeping the work open source). Not likely that Microsoft will be eager to go that way. However, the BSD licenses are more permissive, and indeed allow taking something developed by the community and not share anything back to the community. Apple made good use of this when it based the core of its operating system on FreeBSD's code.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:53 am
by sunewbie
Vincent Vermeulen wrote:Microsoft is not funding open source; the aim I think is to ensure their own commercial offerings "play nice" with open source solutions that increasingly more consumers and businesses are using.

...something developed by the community and not share anything back to the community. Apple made good use of this when it based the core of its operating system on FreeBSD's code.
Hmm. So they are trying to play safe. To switch users from open source to proprietary by propagating the opposite.

Being active helps me understand things from a different perspective :)

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:23 pm
by wyrdoak
Facebook is paying Microsoft $550 million in cash for a chunk of the patent portfolio that Microsoft recently acquired from AOL.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-574190 ... for-$550m/

Just for giggles here's some more info:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57411 ... =mncol;txt

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:45 pm
by hellfire695
one thing i can think of here with this Microsoft openness arm is silver-light, after they really seem to get off on control. by making silverlight open source ( i refuse anything ms will make free software) it would nit be highly detrimental to them since they give it away anyway, and it may help lower development costs. but more so if they were silver-light like that it would give silver-light a stronger position against flash.
because silver-light does not run under Linux or BSD I suspect many system admins are reluctant to use because they do not wish to run windows on there servers.
also that makes a nice little way to sneak there intellectual property BS into the Linux and other open-sourced environments. lol I'm going to laugh when they go after redhat, or oracle, who knows maybe they'll try to sue them both at the same time, which would be hilarous.
also I'm happy to admit that redhat is in better fiscal shape then Redmond. no they are not as big and do not have the as high of equity, but they have a stronger profit margin, higher growth, and greater stability

so together windows and gates where they belong
windows belong in my walls
gates belong in a jail.

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 2:56 am
by esteban1uy
Hmmm...
Take a look at this:
“If Oracle prevails in its claim that APIs can be copyrighted, nearly every aspect of programming will be changed for the worse.”
(...)
“Numerous products will suddenly find themselves on an uncertain legal standing in which the previously benign but now newly empowered copyright holders might assert punitive copyright claims. Chief among these would be any re-implementation of an existing language. So, Jython, IronPython, and PyPy for Python; JRuby, IronRuby, and Rubinius for Ruby; Mono for C# and VB; possibly C++ for C, GCC for C and C++ and Objective-C; and so forth. And of course, all the various browsers that use JavaScript might owe royalties to the acquirers of Netscape’s intellectual property.”

Microsoft, by the by, is the one that’s buying the rights to JavaScript. So, if APIs can indeed be copyrighted, all of us who use programs based on these languages—that would be everyone on the planet—will face much higher software prices.
Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/t ... rial/10907

By the way, isn't Cinnamon also written in JavaScript? :roll:

Re: A billion dollars worth of trouble?

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:02 am
by viking777
I don't know whether to laugh or cry or just get madder than I already am, or all three at once.