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back to article Microsoft: 'Google's secret government meetings let it avoid import ban' - Report

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit which claims US Customs officials failed to block imports of Motorola Mobility phones after the agency's ear was bent by Google in a series of secret meetings. The lawsuit was filed on Friday, according to Bloomberg News, and accuses the US Customers and Border Protection (CBP) Agency of failing to …

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Facepalm

Lame

"Generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device"

"Context sensitive menu system/menu behavior"

"Method and system for managing changes to a contact database"

These companies are just as bad as patent trolls. I no longer feel sorry for any of them. Maybe I should jump on the Linux bandwagon. Mint isn't that bad at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lame

Linux is not a bandwagon - neither is FOSS. Bandwagon's are used for propaganda. Propaganda has no technical merit. So please change your mind or GTFO. HHOS.

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Microsoft has already transferred (perhaps legally, perhaps illegally) patent assertion rights to certain entities for the express purpose of going against other firms. I get the feeling that they are using that to sidestep any DoJ attention on antitrust grounds. In any case, any prior sympathy for them has finally left the building.

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Meh

Soon

Soon Microsoft won't have to worry about antitrust issues any more.

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to sidestep any DoJ attention on antitrust grounds.

I think they have a much, much more effective policy to make all that go away.

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Linux

"Customs has a clear responsibility to carry out ITC decisions, which are reached after a full trial and rigorous legal review, Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel David Howard is reported to have said in a statement. "Here Customs repeatedly ignored its obligation and did so based on secret discussions."

I can't help but hear the quote in a whiny childs voice.

Tux doesn't mind sharing his toys.

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Tit for tat

This is no doubt due to Motorola trying to ban the Xbox 360 for using the H.264 codec. Doesn't mean that Microsoft isn't behaving like a petulant child though.

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Re: Tit for tat

You're right of course. I hope !icrosoft smash Google in the face with a very heavy toy.

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Mirror, mirror in my hand....

who's the most litigious in this land?

MS, you are so litigious that's true. But Apple are a thousand times more litigious than you.

I guess MS want a slice of Apple pie.

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Re: Mirror, mirror in my hand....

Lets be fair here, at least Google/Motorola uses the patent Microsoft got the products banned for. Google tried getting the Xbox and Windows banned because they wouldn't pay $4 billion to use a patent that only allows them to output in 480i, 720i and 1080i.

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Re: Mirror, mirror in my hand....

Why do you think Microsoft and Apple haven't seen each other in court yet? A gentleman's agreement that they would pursue all the other scummy companies and not go for one another. Good. Google need putting in their place, as do Samsung.

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Unhappy

"You can't play with *any* of my toys and they are *all* mine. No. No. No."

Is there anything much more embarrassing to watch than multi billion dollar corporations sound like badly parented pre teens?

First the Amazon/Apple whine fest now this.

I'd suggest the "look and feel" lawsuits of the early 80's started this s**t off.

One look at an Alto and that judge could have thrown everyone's claim about "originality" out the door, and them with it.

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Microsoft should keep its mouth shut

Its revelation that its security algorithms are so bad they can be got around, and that it tells others how they can have killed it off so it should die in peace and quiet.

ex-msft

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft should keep its mouth shut

So you don't find the fact that Google may have lobbied, threatened or bribed officials worrying?

Perhaps Google had some search history information on the officials which was embarrassing? they are like Big Brother.

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Re: Microsoft should keep its mouth shut

Less worried than amused that someone got their 'lobbying,threats or bribes' in before Microsoft!

I find it far more likely some patriotic idiot in the agency simply doesn't think ITC bans apply to US companies...

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Re: Microsoft should keep its mouth shut

You sound bitter Dave. Did Microsoft let you go because you were rubbish at your job or just surplus to requirements ?

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WTF?

Re: Microsoft should keep its mouth shut

I find it far more likely some patriotic idiot in the agency simply doesn't think ITC bans apply to US companies...

The ITC is a US organization...

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Re: The ITC is a US organization...

...dealing with international trade. I'm pretty certain you can find Americans that think a US company manufacturing in China is not international trade, while Koreans are. I'm 110% certain all areas of US gov have more than their fair share of them... including customs.

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Re: patent claims to block Americans from using ... calendar functions

Patent claims do not prevent people from using something, they are to prevent Google from stealing something

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Stop

Re: patent claims to block Americans from using ... calendar functions

>> Patent claims do not prevent people from using something, they are to prevent Google from stealing something

How can "people" use something if all the devices that implement it are banned by M$' patent extortion scheme?

Software patents are absurd. A developer can't create a program these days that doesn't violate one of M$' or Apple's patents. That's how broad and vague they all are.

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FAIL

There are 2 possible outcomes:

1) All these companies eventually grow up and start patent sharing, cross-licensing and respecting each other's work and contributions to a given technology.

2) Ultimately everything will be banned and nobody will have anything.

My money's on 2.

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Re: "There are 2 possible outcomes..."

Know what? I actually prefer options 3, 4 and 5.

3) Remove and outlaw broad patents

4) Remove and outlaw software patents

5) Throw the USPTO in the bin and create a new US patent system centered around sanity

Treat the disease, not the symptoms.

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Re: "There are 2 possible outcomes..."

>> 5) Throw the USPTO in the bin and create a new US patent system centered around sanity

Unfortunately the words "patents" and "sanity" can never be used in the same sentence. Every software patent system will eventually descend into the chaos we currently have right now because we inhabit a capitalist economy. Companies get bigger and bigger and so do their patent portfolios, and so eventually no software can be written which doesn't violate someone else's patent.

The only solution is to abolish software patents. Nothing else will work. Besides, copyright is more than enough protection against blatant code ripping.

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Google, just pull your finger out of your arse and start paying royalties.

But no, looks like stealing is Google's way of life forever... Here they lie about MIcrosoft preventing Americans from something, but how about paying taxes in Your Own Country for the Benefit of the said Americans?

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Re: Google, just pull your finger out of your arse and start paying royalties.

Well said.! People forget that because of Microsoft more money has been through their success to needy people then has been given by all the other charities in the world, ever.

Microsoft might not be perfect but that company and Bill's generosity have given the world more than anybody else.

I would rather see Microsoft succeed and Bill Gates make more money to give away then any other company.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google, just pull your finger out of your arse and start paying royalties.

Just because MS donates more money it doesnt justify the crap OS experience they gave to the world for years...•

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Mushroom

@Luke11 - Re: Google, just pull your finger out of your arse

Wrote :- "People forget that because of Microsoft more money has been through their success to needy people then has been given by all the other charities in the world, ever. ..... Bill's generosity have given the world more than anybody else."

"Forget" ? I'm sick of hearing about it. If I want my money to go to a charity it would be one of my own chosing, not via Gates and his chosing. FFS, the guy has so much money that he could not physically shovel it out of the window if he spent the rest of his life doing nothing else, so what do you expect him to do with it? If he gave so much away that he was left with no more than the average citizen I might start to admire him for it, but he remains one of the richest guys in the world.

Much of that money was obtained dishonestly. If I rob a bank, would it make it OK if I dropped some in the charity box on the way out? The first thing Gates could do is give a substantial part back to those he cheated, then he can do what he likes with the rest.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google, just pull your finger out of your arse and start paying royalties.

Microsoft (and many other IT companies) have moved beyond being helpful. The move to cloud and subscriptions is due to people not wanting to purchase new products from them - they are quite happy with the old one. Realistically, how much extra productivity do you get out of each Office 2013 license, over each 2010 license? How much more productive are employees using Win7 over XP?

If enterprises were not locked into MS formats and MS formats locked into other bits of the MS ecosystem requiring regular upgrade, do you think most people would pick the subscription model over a perpetual license?

Perhaps before we talk about charity, how about talking about how much money Mr Gates (and others) have pulled out of the UK economy. How much poorer has he made the country?

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FAIL

Re: Google, just pull your finger out of your arse and start paying royalties.

>> Well said.! People forget that because of Microsoft more money has been through their success to needy people then has been given by all the other charities in the world, ever.

What a load of bullshit. M$ only gives money or products away if it benefits them in some way. Usually it's for indoctrinating children or educational institutions in the M$ ecosystem. Any monies given away are used for tax purposes.

And even if that were true, it still doesn't excuse all the damage they have done and still do to the software and technology world. Something which could have benefited many more people than a few tax-deduction motivated donations to charities could ever do. Working against free software using patents hurts the world significantly more. Funding SCO, spreading FUD against free software, suing small companies using said free software using bogus patents ( TOMTOM ). NDA's with PC OEM's intended to discourage the use of non-M$ software. The list goes on and on.

The world would be a far better place without M$ in it that's for sure. No amount of shilling from "M$ reputation managers" will change that fact.

>> Microsoft might not be perfect but that company and Bill's generosity have given the world more than anybody else.

Generosity! haha. Bill gates does nothing that doesn't benefit himself or Microsoft, whether it's privatising schools, funding big phara with its proprietary and expensive drugs, or contaminating our food chain by pushing GM crops through Monsanto, in which Bill Gates is heavily invested.

Use this search term on Google for more info on Bill Gates' so called generosity: bill gates site:techrights.org

>> I would rather see Microsoft succeed and Bill Gates make more money to give away then any other company.

So you'd like to see people get ripped off on software and hardware so that Monsanto and Big Pharma can get it all? What a great idea, why didn't I think of that.

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Re: Google, just pull your finger out of your arse and start paying royalties.

>but how about paying taxes in Your Own Country for the Benefit of the said Americans?

Are you sure that MS haven't been playing the same game as Apple, Google etc. and been minimising their payment of taxes...

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Sue happy?

So, Microsoft thinks that utilizing Apple's "sue happy" strategy, will slow down Motorola from deploying compelling products (MotoX, Razr Ultra) and give it some hope of customers becoming more interested in the Nokia Lumia 1020, which is exclusive to just AT&T? Sure. That strategy didn't work very well for Apple against Samsung and it won't work very well against Motorola. Google can tie this nonsense up in court for years while Windows Phone 8 barely moves the needle and more MotoX's and Razr Ultra's than Windows Phones, get sold. Balmer has got to go. This nonsense, plus that ridiculous re-org, is the writing on the wall. GET RID OF BALMER!!!

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FAIL

Re: Sue happy?

Seriously? You think ANYONE is waiting to buy a Motorola handset which will, given history, be sub-par at best and literally NEVER be updated?

Yeuch.

All Nokia need to do to sell more phones than Motorola is highlight Moto's update history.

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Stop

Hang on...

If the ITC has banned imports of the device (whether that's considered right or wrong) surely the CBP are obliged to uphold that ban? It's not about the merits of the ban but whether CBP are doing their job.

It seems Microsoft hold the high ground here and it's not the CBP's role to decide if they should uphold the ban or not.

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FAIL

Call the waaahmbulance

Really? Microsoft is complaining that the one handset vendor they will never be able to extort with their bogus patent claims, is getting away with it because they have secret ties to the government?

All this, while we KNOW that Microsoft has handed the NSA direct access to all data that flows through their products and services?

Sorry, no sympathy here. Call the waaahmbulance.

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Windows

They would know

Fully briefed about the benefits to be had in secret meetings eh?

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Re: They would know

Indeed. Coming from the company that practically invented the NDA.

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Ahh Poor Little Micro$haft

Their government granted monopolies on decade old, every day and obvious things in technology are not being enforced. That's the sound of the world's smallest violin playing for you..

On a brighter note, M$' software, devices, and services are being used by less people every day. Perhaps we'll be rid of this mafia organisation and patent troll in due course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ahh Poor Little Micro$haft

What, and replace it with companies like Apple (steals every idea and claims it as their own) and Google (sells peoples private information).

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The title is not the patent!

I do wish people would stop quoting the title of a patent and assuming that is what is covered. Of course the title and the claims as filed are horrendously broad, but what gets granted is always less than the original claims - sometimes substantially so such that the actual granted claims have little to do with the title any more (which does not get changed regardless).

I don't know what the patents at issue here have as granted claims, but I am sure that they don't cover all "Generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device" just one particular implementation.

If you want to moan and whinge about patents, learn the difference between the application and the granted claims. As someone who has searched patents for a living (thankfully not any more) I have been led astray by titles too many times - take some advice and go straight for the (granted) claims

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Re: The title is not the patent!

You describe how the process is supposed to work not how it actually works (where works->fails to work). In reality the USPTO does very little filtering until faced with a legal challenge and for software what's granted is rarely much different to what's claimed. That 90% of claims get shredded when challenged doesn't help, it's too bloody late by then.

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Facepalm

Probably the way it should work...

Can you imagine the size of the USPTO, and the delay in granting any patent, if it had to completely validate the authenticity and applicability of every patent.

Better to just give an applicant the next ticket from the roll and let the contestants fight it out at their own expense in the courts (which is what the courts are set up to handle).

Do people really believe that if USPTO attempted to prove the validity of all patents there would no further legal challenges in the courts?

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Re: The title is not the patent!

Good point. Read the full thing before jumping at it.

However, in far too many cases, full text is even worse. Like those business patents are - buy cheap, sell expensive, pocket the difference. And a lot of foam to hide these simple "algorithms".

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morally right or wrong

no matter what you think about patents and their validity (in this case it's probably over broad) the issue here is about Google obeying the law or pressuring a tax payer funded organization to ignore a valid court decision.

the only "good" outcome from this is for he whole legal framework to be review but until that happens commercial organizations should not expect to be able to reach backroom deals with enforcement agencies to ignore the courts and the rule of law ... where does that end?

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