back to article Microsoft milks Casio for using Linux

In the latest news from the tech world's ongoing global hunt to find someone to sue over/deal with on patents, Microsoft has signed a licensing agreement with Casio. The "broad, multiyear" contract, which neither party will put a price to, will help protect Casio devices that use Linux. While Linux is supposed to be open …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “We’re pleased to reach an agreement and to see continued recognition of the value of our patent portfolio, particularly as it relates to operating systems..”

    There's just something cold, calculating and downright nasty about that statement. And there are people who are happy to do business with these arseholes?

    One day, their day of reckoning will come. When it comes, I'll be standing on the sidelines and cheering as those trolls get reamed with their own weaponry. I hope it's hard, relentless, and doesn't stop until there's nothing left but smouldering ruins. I hope I find myself in a position to put a few boots in myself. Yes, that's a nasty statement to make. At least I'm being honest about my animosity. Anonymous? Well, I'm hoping to have a career in IT you know. Wouldn't do to let such wankers know my name, would it?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What complete...

    ... jackasses.

    1. nyelvmark
      Thumb Down

      And there people who are happy to do business with these arseholes?

      Yes. It's called capitalism. The quote you refer to is a bog-standard publicity release. It says nothing whatsoever, and certainly isn't written by senior management.

      >> Anonymous? Well, I'm hoping to have a career in IT you know. Wouldn't do to let such wankers know my name, would it?

      By the time you've qualified for such a career - if, indeed, you do so - I hope you'll have grown out of such childish vituperation. Business is business - if it makes you money it's good, if it loses you money it's bad. Bad publicity can lose you a bit of money, which is why massive corporations employ PR people to produce cute-sounding but meaningless statements like this. Ask Casio for a statement and you will find that they are "pleased with the new arrangement, which should lead to great new areas of growth for both companies", or some such bullshit.

      Oh, and many of my best friends are wankers. Come to think of it, all of them are. What's up with you, weirdo?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        "Business is business"

        No, the original poster is right.

        It's bad enough for Microsoft to send around their bully boys to extort money for these dubious claims (remember, they have likely not substantiated or proven them, just leant on Casio hard enough that they would prefer to stay out of court), but they "dress it up" to the outside world as though MS and Casio are the best of mates and they are both signing on the dotted line for their mutual benefit rather than the obvious shafting that it is.

        Bollocks I say.

        MS are giving it to Casio up the arse and telling everyone that they love it and want more.

        Bastards they are.

      2. TheOtherHobbbes

        Well then

        "By the time you've qualified for such a career - if, indeed, you do so - I hope you'll have grown out of such childish vituperation. Business is business - if it makes you money it's good, if it loses you money it's bad."

        Perhaps one day you'll realise how adolescent, inane and poorly educated these sentiments sound.

        In the meantime, here's a clue - MS, Apple, and the other dinosaurs have literally cost the economy billions, if not trillions, by evangelising and strong-arming their own peculiar brand of capitalist dis-intelligence.

        What you don't understand is that as more IQ and innovation are spread around, more people benefit. And with real innovation, they benefit in spectacular, life-changing ways.

        Collective intelligence is orthogonal to idiot quarterly profit.

        A company like Microsoft creates a massive brake on true innovation - by enforcing de facto standards made of yesterday's technology, by legally challenging genuine innovation, by saturating sales markets with juvenile marketing that lowers expectations of computing, and by squatting like a giant all-consuming stomach in the middle of the tech market, eating start-ups that could turn into something useful before they've had a chance to develop.

        Because of monopoly capitalism, technology, media and the arts are about two decades behind where they could be.

        If you think idiot profit makes up for this in any way at all, you *really* don't understand reality a tenth as well as you think you do.

      3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        "Business is business - if it makes you money it's good, if it loses you money it's bad."

        Ahhhhh, the greed is good argument, if it's making money it must be good, tell that to the tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs and their futures (not the financial ones) at RBS, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan, Barclays, HSBC, and the thousands of other companies due to the greed of a wunch (collective noun) of bankers.

        FAIL, yours and theirs

        1. nyelvmark

          Greed is good? Yes, I think so.

          Perhaps I'm missing something, but are you saying that "RBS, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan, Barclays, HSBC, and the thousands of other companies" are shedding staff because they're making money?

          Aside from that, yes - my position on "corporate ethics" is that there's no such thing. A company does not have a conscience. It simply has an overriding directive - make as much money as you can. You are not going to rise to the top in any company, except by finding ways of making more money.

          It is the responsibility of democratic governments to make and enforce laws preventing companies from engaging in behaviour that is detrimental to the general public good.

          If a company is doing something which increases its profits, but is not illegal (or can be argued about in court for long enough that the company profits despite losing the case), then it is doing exactly what its shareholders want. If you don't like it, then you should campaign for changes in the law.

          Of course, companies that depend upon public confidence, trust or goodwill are vulnerable to losses (both reduced sales and reduced share price) if they get bad publicity, which is why they invest large amounts into public relations and marketing. This doesn't mean that they want to do whatever is in the public interest, only that they want to present themselves in this way.

          The above philosophy isn't prevalent in all companies, but if you're thinking of investing, I think it's a better bet to invest in one where it is.

          Thanks for all the socialist downvotes. I foresee The Register saying "Vote Labour" at the next election, in order to maximize its readership and, therefore, advertising revenue.

          If we're talking social responsibilty, I'd like to see some of these "OMG, Google, Microsoft and Apple are evilly hiring evil lawyers to find evil loopholes in the law" people to turn their attention to the activities of multinationals in the third world.

          The law of business I propounded above applies in the third world as well as here, but with the added advantage to massive corporations that, with enough money, they can effectively rewrite the laws to suit themselves, making anything that they do legal.

          Santa Claus is good. The Great Goblin is evil. Companies are either profitable or not.

          1. SoftFox

            Re: Greed is good? Yes, I think so.

            Perhaps I'm missing something, but are you saying that "RBS, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan, Barclays, HSBC, and the thousands of other companies" are shedding staff because they're making money?


            Well the last couple of years seem to have gone right over your head.

            They did indeed try and make money, unfortunately too much and it blew up in their face. We have unfortunately got the crap end and paying for it. (and ironically paying them off as well).That why they they are shedding jobs as you say. Entirely self created scenario.

            As for MS, Apple etc. this sue you/me and the dog is a relatively new phenomenon in software patents and just a self perpetuating merry-go-round...they should be heavily restricted or at least have reduced validity period

    2. Anonymous Coward 101

      "One day, their day of reckoning will come"

      But the reality is, the people cable of giving Microsoft their day of reckoning would be a considerable degree worse than Microsoft. Considerably more calculating and more evil.

      It would be like somebody hating the coalition and so cheering on Nazis as they whip David Cameron and Nick Clegg through the streets - satisfying to watch, until the implications are realised.

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    235 secret patents

    If Microsoft ever said which patents they were talking about, a pile of prior art would be found for each within a month.

  4. sisk Silver badge

    If Mircosoft would just disclose which 235 patents are being violated the kernel guys would work around them (or in some cases, I'm sure, laugh the claims off...a patent for deleting a file anyone?). But I suppose it's more profitable for them to be the schoolyard bully ("Whatever's in your pocket is mine! Hand it over or I'll pound you!")

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge

      They're not bullies, they are just using plain extortion. "Nice product you've got there, would be a shame if something happened to it..."

    2. Justin Clements

      of course...

      Because non of these companies have lawyers and have ever thought of looking for prior art.

      1. David Hicks

        But Justin...

        ... (puts on best attempt at Agent Smith voice) how can you look for prior art, if we don't tell you what the patents are?

      2. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Because non of these companies have lawyers and have ever thought of looking for prior art.

        Actually because the bean counters did a profit and loss and decided that paying the Microsoft Gelt eas the cheaper option.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Working around patents isn't easy

      I'm the author of some of the kernel that MS claims infringes on one of their patents. In this case the patent is bollocks and should never have been granted. Further, the code does not even infringe although MS's expert witnesses claim it does,

      Unfortunately patents, even bad ones, stand until they are overturned by a court of law. That means you cannot just "laugh them off".

      Many companies will just pay MS their protection money rather than risk having their products blocked from the market.

      MS is making huge money out of this. Enough to run a group of people to hunt for potential infringements and pay vast legal teams - including expert witnesses earning more than $400/hour.

      1. Turtle

        So, uh, you don't mind working on software that will be used for their own profit by IBM, who some people consider a far worse patent troll and extortionist than Microsoft?

    4. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Careful there.....

      one of the "great innovations" that mickeysoft have patented is using the page up and page down buttons, and get this...., I mean this is truly brilliant...., genuine innovation..., I can't understand how nobody never thought of this before..., to scroll a display up and down 1 display page.

      Truly, a ground breaking new development.

      1. David Perry 2

        @ Careful there...

        Maybe that's why no mac keyboard I've seen explicitly says page up / down. Or any software done it for that matter

        Keyboard cos it's a keyboard thing...

  5. LawLessLessLaw

    > While Linux is supposed to be open source, Microsoft has claimed since 2007 that more than 235 of its patents are violated by the project.

    Care to explain what "supposed to be" to is trying to say here ?

    And what on earth does that have to do with the claim by Microsoft ?

    v. sloppy Brid-Aine

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And people criticise Apple for what they do with patents...

    They're all as bad as each other.

  7. Ano Nymous
    Thumb Down

    Note who they WON'T sue

    They don't go after anyone that they think will challenge them: not Red Hat, not IBM, not Google, etc... all with far more widespread use of Linux. And more $$ if Microsoft wins.

    But they know that when someone takes them to court rather than knuckling under, then they'll have to disclose their patents, and that's the first step to either invalidating them or working around them. Then they lose their FUD which is far more valuable to them than the patents.

    1. CmdrX3

      Maybe the companies that are settling just don't believe they would win in court. Casio is a multi-billion dollar company, as is HTC, Acer and quite a few other companies that have settled, in fact most are richer by a long way than Red Hat. These companies can quite easily afford a long court battle.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge


        I think that in this case it is the distinction that would be made between a software company i.e. someone using a RedHat/Oracle/IBM distro and an appliance manufacturer (HTC, Casio etc) whereby you could probably claim some alteration has been made to the standard kernel or base image etc for device compatibility and therefore that customisation makes it not a Linux problem per se but a manufacturer problem. If I'm running a software company I just turn around and say "fuck off and sue IBM, it's their OS". Not sure why Amazon would have signed, maybe that's kindle related (an appliance yet again).

    2. amehaye

      They actually tried to bully Redhat

      Red hat's response? 'sue me'.

      As we all know, this is when the bully got cold feet.

    3. Syren Baran

      How could they?

      "They don't go after anyone that they think will challenge them: not Red Hat, not IBM, not Google, etc..."

      You think people use FAT32 on servers?

      1. Mike Pellatt

        You think the FAT32 patent is valid ?? (Yes, I know part of it was upheld. It's still bollox and full of prior art)

      2. bean520

        Syren, whether FAT32 is used on the servers is neither here or there. The fact is the infringing code is still in their version of the kernel.

        Linux-Because im using it as we speak

        1. Syren Baran


          "Syren, whether FAT32 is used on the servers is neither here or there. The fact is the infringing code is still in their version of the kernel."

          Last i checked it's not in the Red-Hat kernel (and i seriously doubt it's compiled into IBM's versions). And those FAT32-patents seem to be pretty much the only thing MS has against Linux (bullocks those patents may be, but they havent been invalidated yet).

          "Linux-Because im using it as we speak"

          That crappy OS (or kernel, depending on definition)?

          Gees, only runs on rubbish. Like my computer. Or my servers. DSL-router. Hmm, and the TV. And the tablet as well (no, NOT Android)..

    4. Alan Firminger

      The word patent means open for anyone to know. A secret patent is a contradiction in terms. It isn't just linguistics. Patents are open for anyone to know so that when the period of exclusivity expires everybody has access to the invention.

      What is meant is that MS have thousands of patents and they are not saying which ones are being infringed.

      1. CyberCod

        The problem here is that the damn things just don't expire fast enough.

        If I were in charge (and I'm never going to be) I'd have a five year limit on patents, and they'd be non-transferable.

        Enough to give an edge, but not enough to create a dynasty.

        This shit is broken.

    5. bean520


      "supposed to be" means that in theory you should be able to use the code without paying out royalties etc, as penned in the GPLv2 (the kernel's governing license). If MS has their way, this won't be the case, as we would have to buy 'licenses' off MS

    6. Robert Halloran

      MS v. Barnes & Noble

      When B&N told the Monopolist they'd see them in court over patents supposedly violated by their Nook Color e-reader (an Android tablet underneath it all), *AND* called out the triviality of some of them in the response, MS promptly moved the dispute to the Court of International Trade, likely so they wouldn't have to expose them for the trash they likely are...

  8. croaker

    Don't ship to the US!!

    I've said it before and I'll say it again.

    Until the US citizens rise up and force a law change on Patents, do not R&D in, or ship your products to, the USA. They'll soon get the message when they can't buy the watch they want without a plane flight to Europe!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      umm, if I fly into germany, I can't buy a samsung galaxy tab simply because its flat, thin with approximately the same dimensions as ipad. But I agree about our SW patent situation in general.

      1. Eponymous Cowherd

        Not the same

        The claim by Apple against Samsung has nothing to do with Patents, it is concerned with design rights, claiming that the look/feel of the Samsung device is a "slavish copy" of the Apple device.

        Software Patents are, generally, not upheld anywhere but the US

      2. Demosthenese

        Actually you can buy the galaxy tab in germany. Only Samsung's german subsidiary is barred from selling it, while other retailers are able to continue selling and restocking the galaxy tab from other wholesalers or Samsung subsidiaries.

    2. Curtis

      US Patent

      At the same time, why don't you stop using the results of US companies intellectual property. The patent war is something that will never be resolved (except by freetards who just take what they want). Pfizer spends $US4 billion to develop a drug, but the EU and UK refuse to recognize patents on drugs and reap the benefits of copycats.

      One thing that patentards forget is that the licensing fee of a patent is also about the research and the wrong turns that were made to get to the final product. simply copying the end result of someone else's hard work is theft. But good luck getting anyone in the UK or EU to see it that way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Considering how much money my govt. pumps into research for these corporations (tax breaks, direct/indirect grants, university co-funding, relaxed enforcement of environmental/labor laws) and how much they make by gouging their 'clientele' in areas where they can patent, I don't feel particularly sorry these companies. They have more rights than we do for some reason. All the benefits of a person but no repurcussions like a person if they break the law. Medicine (as well as healthcare, most food, most clothing and most housing) should be a non-profit venture because it impacts human basic human needs. I could care less if someone is gouging people that want to buy the latest gadget for fun. I could care less if candy, soda pop, cigarettes and such are overpriced either. While I'm not talking about price collusion or monopoly, I don't think that making a killing on a product is a bad thing.

        It just needs to be on the 'excesses' and not the necessities.

        How much of that $4 Billion you're quoting went into pure research and how much went into the advertising/legal/marketting departments?

        1. Nick Pettefar

          I am pretty sure you meant to say "you couldn't care less". Saying "you could care less" means the opposite of what you want to say I believe.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a totally unrelated note

    I can hardly wait for the day when FSF will start sending their lawyers to all these (suckers) companies that have signed patent agreements with MS. A simple licensing compliance audit will establish the naked true. If the patents are really valid, those companies have clearly violated GPL and they deserve to pay for it. If not, then they are really suckers and they deserve to pay Microsoft for it. Oh, and we'll get to know what those patents are about.

    1. The First Dave

      How the hell are the FSF (who have no real connection with Linux anyway) going to get any company to let them do a "simple licensing compliance audit" ? Is there some clause to that effect in the GPL that I have missed?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, it's not in GPL and yes, you missed it.

        It is called FSF GPL Compliance Labs and it is responsible for enforcing GPL licensing terms. Oh, and they have lawyers too. In short, if you're distributing GPL software, FSF has the right to ask you about compliance.

  10. DutchP


    "nice store you got there. What a shame if it'd burn down"

    Now where's that A-team when you need them?

    1. Cunningly Linguistic

      Gearing up for the forthcoming iphone 5 frenzy and employing extra "geniuses"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gearing up for the forthcoming iphone 5 frenzy and employing extra "geniuses"?

        yes, I have dozens of them in the basement.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    TomTom was different

    They were explicitly using the FAT filesystem patent on their devices, and that's what MSFT sued them over.

    The reason they don't use EXT2 or something like that, is they do updates by mounting the device as USB mass storage and copying files to it, so it needs to be a filesystem that Windows can handle.

    Classic Catch-22.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Could they not have used UDF?

      1. bean520
        Thumb Down

        Windows won't read UDF or any other filesystem MS did not create

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge


          I hope you were being sarcastic as all versions of Windows after 3.11 are fine with v1.02 of UDF, Windows 2000 onwards are fine with v1.50 (virtual re-write), and XP onwards support v2.0

          UDF is the disk format of CD-R/DVD-R/DVD+R... in case you weren't being sarcastic.

          I suggested it because it requires no drivers so would work (in theory) for plug-n-play devices whereas EXT2 could be used if you wanted users to use a "driver disk"


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