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back to article Android 'stands on Microsoft's shoulders', says MS lawyer

A top Microsoft legal eagle has moaned that Android smartphones and the like are profiting from cash that his bosses have invested in research and development. "These devices have moved from having a rudimentary phone system to being a full-fledged computer, with a sophisticated, modern operating system. In doing that, they have …

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FAIL

Software Circuits

yes, I understand that all new processors will be implemented entirely in software!

Imagine, you could download a new CPU off the interwebz. Awesome.

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FAIL

You can already you muppet, have you heard of FPGAs?

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Trollface

You can already you muppet, have you heard of FPGAs?

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Yes kermit, I have, and I'm pretty certain our legal friend who I was taking the piss out of was not referring to FPGA's.

Boom Boom!

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Anonymous Coward

Software Circuits

And what do these software processors run on??

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Facepalm

And what do these software processors run on?

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The cloud!!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Stop

A couple of quotes stand out

1/ "...stood on the shoulder of companies like Microsoft"

Yes, "like" MS. That is, companies like AT&T, Sun, HP, Xerox etc. i.e - companies that have, over the years, been heavily involved in Unix dev. MS is a large tech company "like" these; but it has done nothing to improve Unix (and hence Linux that Android is built on); in fact it has waged a very very long campaign to destroy it.

2/ "Microsoft has invested for decades more money than anyone else in research and development directed toward the efficiency of operating systems"

Microsoft? Efficiency of the OS? I never thought I would ever see these two phrases in the same sentence! Some sort of Halloween joke maybe?

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Coat

Well, ...

"Microsoft? Efficiency of the OS? I never thought I would ever see these two phrases in the same sentence!"

I've seen them together before, connected with "NOT"

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To be fair

"2/ "Microsoft has invested for decades more money than anyone else in research and development directed toward the efficiency of operating systems"

Microsoft? Efficiency of the OS? I never thought I would ever see these two phrases in the same sentence! Some sort of Halloween joke maybe?"

To be fair though, he never said that they were successful

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@Rich

Agreed.

1/ It seems to me as if MS is trying to attack the very foundation of OSS here, a disturbing move IMO. After all; can't this easily be translated to: "Tech guy has a regular job, learns by experience some shortcomings of $preferred_os, Interested in IT he comes up with a solution in his spare time and releases this as OSS". Is this guy now "selling" the companies intellectual property or is this experience fully his own to with as he pleases? I'd say this seems like an easy issue at first; but never underestimate what strange things the law manages to come up with.

2/ Another dangerous statement. Because what they say can be fully true, yet it directs the attention away from the obvious questions; "What operating systems were involved and were the results of the R&D process publically available?"

Investing in, say Windows 98, Windows XP and thus leading up to Windows 7 doesn't seem like R&D based investments to me; more like mere development based investments. Something any company would have done; investing money in a development process in order to get an end product put onto the market, thus making more money.

2 arguments which IMO take the attention away of things which really matter.

Still... When looking at the Win8 preview one has to wonder about the real efficiency of said researchers too ;-)

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¿ Innovation @ ♡ ?

Let's not forget that the little bar along the bottom of the Windows screen is just a poor implementation of the RISC OS icon bar... which may have come from something else before that...

It seems to me this patent stuff is being used more and more as a legally sanctioned weapon to get around what would otherwise be shocking antitrust and anticompetitive practice. Someday soon, the main customs entries into the United States are going to have a banner over them, and they will read "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US".

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Android may have stood on the shoulders of others, but that's only after Microsoft trampled on their heads.

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Microsoft should be grateful to Google for utilising all those billions of R&D dollars to make a worthwhile mobile OS. That way they can at least recoup some of the investment through patent litigation.

I HATE windows mobile OSes, always have, right from CE to the new monochromatic Fisher-Price / Lego style thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Just their mobile OSes?

Can't say I'm particularly impressed with this POS Win7 that's turning my core i5 laptop into a 486.

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FAIL

You must really be bad at keeping your system 'clean'. Do you install every software program you can find and never remove them?

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WTF?

No Microsoft will take care of it

Just install Windows updates. Microsoft will take care of your speed....all in due time

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WTF?

"You must really be bad at keeping your system clean"

Why should a user have to worry about keeping their system "clean" lest it start to run like a three legged dog?

Perhaps a better idea would be to develop an OS that is not based on a monolithic binary registry abomination that collects kruft faster than a cat with a bee stung arse?

Hmmm, there's an idea eh?

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Anonymous Coward

ah, you wanna download yourself a better fpga

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Anonymous Coward

Sour grapes..

Whilst Microsoft was wasting their time on follies like Zune and Xbox, Google were making a fantastic OS...

Now Microsoft have woken up, their only defence is FUD.

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Pint

The Zune was a disaster but I would hardly call the XBOX a folly.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

By making a fantastic OS, do you really mean buying someone else's linux distro, slapping a slightly different skin over the top and putting loads of spyware into it, then passing it off as their own?

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Xbox was a folly if you view it from an ROI perspectie It's unclear if MS will ever recoup their investment, nevermind their cost of capital.

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Anonymous Coward

Xbox IS a folly

It's got all the hallmarks of a folly:

It's not very good

It's not very useful

It's not very reliable

It's not very profitable

Is that enough?

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Anonymous Coward

XBOX live works out better than PS3's or Wii's online network, hard to argue it doesnt but you are entitled to that opinion. And xbox as a franchise has been pretty successful. Sure there was a huge botch up with the 360's but Microsoft I believe made good on the issue, or at least tried as hard as they could by taking a hit to their pocketbooks to replace the units. My point at the end of this, if they dont screw up the next gen hardware so bad they have built more rapport with people than others.

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The Xbox cost billions - at one point I read it had cost MS six billion dolla. Not sure how much MS make from the games but it my take forever to get the initial cost back.

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Thumb Down

No different from any other console then?

In the 8 year life of a console, you maybe make your money in year 7 and 8. *IF* you are successful. And that's all from game licenses.

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Linux

The fantastic OS

...if you believe that Android is nothing more than Linux slapped together with some spyware then clearly the people that ought to be complaining about theft are AT&T rather than Microsoft since Linux is a variant of Unix and not some DOS clone.

If Linux is running afoul of any Microsoft patents they likely mainly involve "compatability".

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Linux

"XBOX live works out better than PS3's or Wii's online network"

Why? because you have to pay for it ?

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@AC 13:33

I like my XBox and think it is good

It plays games, DVD's and television streamed from my PC: I find it useful because it does these things

Although I know people who have had Xboxes fail on them, mine is still going strong, and it is my first one. I have no issues with its reliability.

I'm not really bothered if its profitable or not, but there are more new games coming out than I have the money to buy or the time to play, so I'm happy.

I also have a Wii, which I enjoy, and have nothing against the PS3, before I get labelled a Fanboi.

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It's doubtful that microsoft is able to turn the patent screw on linux for long.

For example the FAT patents don't have long befoore expiration. If I remember correctly the first ones will be gone by 2013.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Yes, but that's only FAT16, the FAT32 specific and long filename specific patents have a lot longer to run. The key is the long filenames, but it's also highly likely that a large chunk of the settlements that MS is making with the android producing companies are to do with their replication tech with Exchange/Outlook. Probably a lot more.

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Here's Something to consider

Yes, I suspect that you are correct and that most of the patents are related to compatibility, specifically FAT and long file names.

Apparently it is considered important that people be able to plug devices into a Windoze PC and have it show up as a "drive".

With that in mind, consider that the market, for better or worse, is moving to a model where devices can only be accessed via a proprietary client.

This trend was "poplularised" by apple with itunes (although Sony were the original <ahem> innovators in this area) and even Microsoft are copying this model with WP7 which (I beleive*) requires their Zune app for access.

So, given that (apparently) the ability to mount a device as a drive is no longer important then it becomes less necessary for devices to include that functionality, and therefore there are no MS patents to breach.

The current (disturbing) trend to use proprietary applications to access devices may indeed have a silver lining after all.

* I may be wrong, I have never owned a WP7 device

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Silver badge

What has Gutierrez been smoking ... ?

I want some!

I never cease to be astounded what people will say because they hope to extract cash from someone. Not unlike the bloke with an asian accent who phoned me this morning saying that he had detected a security problem on my Windows computer (news to me - since I run only Linux) ... and accused me of being a poor liar when I repeatedly asked for his 'phone number so that I could call him for future assistance.

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Trollface

he's trolling for fandroids.

It worked, too. It worked really well.

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Demanding money with menaces

Until MS come out cleanly and say which of their patents they feel are being infringed then their legal campaign is little different from a mugger holding a knife to your throat in a dark alley demanding you cough up a pile of money.

Last time a checked demanding money with menaces was a criminal offence. Surely any lawyer engaging in such activities should be arrested and thrown in the slammer.

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Meh

Alas

As the law is written by Failed Lawyers (Politicians), they are exempt from Such minor inconveniences as the rules the rest of us live by.

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Pirate

If we're going to have crime...

Let's have organised crime.

"their legal campaign is little different from a mugger holding a knife to your throat in a dark alley demanding you cough up a pile of money."

But you do get a receipt, and the reassurance that you won't be mugged again, for a while at least.

Welcome to Ankh-Morpork!

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Stop

Ah yes and M$ have nnever done that themselves.....

Oh no not at all. They single-handedly invented Networking, Web Browsers, CD Burning Software, DVD Burning Software, Photo Editing, Video Editing etc etc, and innocently built them into their OS without even knowing that in doing so they would put other software houses out of business.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

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Anonymous Coward

I won't diss them for most of that

Better M$ than some of the laughable cheap photo/video/DVD software included with burners.

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Linux

Cry me a river

"These devices have moved from having a rudimentary phone system to being a full-fledged computer, with a sophisticated, modern operating system"

If that is true then they have done it despite MS, not because of anything MS has managed to botch together and foist off onto the gullible..

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Gold badge

BS

There are very few patents that Linux infringes on. FAT32 (whoopee) and some other Windows compatibility options that aren't really used such as SAMBA.

This is merely a PR stunt to get more Android device makers to back down and pay up for licences. It's a bit late now as all the big names have paid up.

What are all these investments? as far as I can see the development of most desktop OSes has largely fallen into maintenance mode. Just tweaking and improving the code and GUI. Nothing astounding has appeared in years. The last big jumps where Windows XP and OSX.

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I think you'll find that samba is in fact quite heavily used by all sorts of devices...

The claims of the MS lawyer are almost hilariously ridiculous though.

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Linux

Samba does not infringe any Microsoft patents.

Just want to be *very* clear about that. Microsoft has to notify us of any patents they claim cover the implemented protocols. See the EU agreement for details.

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WTF?

And on whose shoulders does Microsoft stand?

If DEC had rigourously patented all the developments* in VMS, I wonder how far MS would have got with NT/2000/XP?

Just how blinkered do you have to be to speak for Microsoft? But then it's always been impossible to embarrass a lawyer.

* excluding all the prior art in Unix, RSTS, etc upon which VMS itself was built.............

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Anonymous Coward

re: UNIX

MS were actually the owner of UNIX for a while, before they decided to focus on DOS.

Anyway, I think that he was actually referring more to UI development, which MS has clearly spent a lot of money on.

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MS were NEVER the owner of UNIX. They were the owner of Xenix a licensed variant of System V. Unix was owned by AT&T, then sold in its entirety to Novell. Novell sold some rights and future license revenues to SCO, but as recent litigation has concluded, Novell retain copyright on the UNIX source code.

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Pint

NEVER has to be repeated.

Still the tragedy, the biggest so far in IT, is that MS did not build Windows on Xenix. What a difference that could have meant for us, consumers.

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> Xenix a licensed variant of System V.

Xenix was originally a licenced variant of _Edition 5_ which was "System I". Much later, long after it had been sold to SCO, it became System III as OpenServer and then did move to System V.

> Novell retain copyright on the UNIX source code.

There is doubt that there is any protectable copyright in Unix SVRx, but if there is then much of the code has different copyright owners (eg BSD, plus much other donated code). All that can be said is that Novell did not transfer any copyrights to the source code, especially the ones it did not own.

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Happy

The idea

that the NT was based on VMS is an other myth that lives on and on. It was not, something anybody who has worked with VMS knows very well. I suppose this myth is due to the fact that one guy who worked with VMS later worked for MS with the NT.

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Coat

Not exactly a myth...

Do youself a favor, google for Dave Cutler, NTFS, HPFS.

The man was a main lead on both projects: VMS and Windows NT.

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