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[News] Bill Gates Becomes a Patent Troll Because Microsoft is Dying

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Bill Gates' New Career? Patent Troll For Nathan Myhrvold?

,----[ Quote ]
| Plenty of folks have been wondering just what Bill Gates is up to now that 
| he's left his full-time position at Microsoft. Longtime rabble-rouser theodp 
| has alerted us to one thing that Bill Gates is spending at least some of his 
| time on: a bunch of patent applications for a company named "Searete LLC" -- 
| including this one for rewarding influencers and another for a method to 
| inject fluids into animals.     
| So, what's Searete? Well, it appears (warning: pdf file) that it's one of the 
| many ultra secret shell front companies for Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual 
| Ventures, a company that unabashedly plans to be a huge patent tollbooth on 
| just about any kind of innovation. We've already noted that he's been setting 
| up shell companies as part of the operation's secrecy.     


Gates joins ex-Microsoft CTO to register patents

,----[ Quote ]
| TechDirt has uncovered that Bill Gates is named as an inventor on nine 
| patents registered with a company called Searete since he stepped down from 
| day-to-day responsibilities with Microsoft. Gates is also named on a further 
| two Searete patents pre-dating his Microsoft departure.   
| Searete is one of a clutch of companies operated by Myrholvd's Intellectual 
| Ventures (IV). Myhrvold holds 241 named patents in Searete, whose catalogue 
| goes back to November 200  


Billy left Mr. Softee after the company had lost $18 billion in one year (1998)
[*]. Next Enron? Is Microsoft still engaging in what it calls "Jihad" [***]?


Patents & Financial Meltdown

,----[ Quote ]
| Brian Kahin draws the parallel between the financial/real-estate “bubble”
| with the still-expanding “bubble” in patents. As Brian suggests, combine that
| bubble with a Ponzi scheme (Intellectual Ventures) and you might have a real
| perversion."


Tech Guru Riles the Industry By Seeking Huge Patent Fees

,----[ Quote ]
| Millionaire Nathan Myhrvold, renowned in the computer industry as a
| Renaissance man, has a less lofty message for tech companies these days: Pay
| up.
| Over the past few years, the former Microsoft Corp. executive has quietly
| amassed a trove of 20,000-plus patents and patent applications related to
| everything from lasers to computer chips. He now ranks among the world's
| largest patent-holders -- and is using that clout to press tech giants to
| sign some of the costliest patent-licensing deals ever negotiated.


Controversial patent buyer to start Indian operations in Oct

,----[ Quote ]
| New Delhi: Individual inventors and research organizations here may find
| their patents turning liquid with the imminent entry of Intellectual Ventures
| Llc., a controversial company that owns an estimated 20,000 patents and is in
| the market for as many more as it can lay its hands on.
| The company has already entered into agreements to buy patents from the
| Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology,
| Bombay, and is close to signing an agreement with the Council for Scientific
| and Industrial Research, India’s largest research and development
| organization, said a person familiar with the developments who did not want
| to be named.


Intellectual Ventures turns its attention to India

,----[ Quote ]
| Intellectual Ventures is moving into India says a report published this
| weekend. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Livemint Lounge, IV has
| signed deals to acquire patents from the Indian Institute of Science,
| Bangalore, IIT in Bombay, while it is close to signing an agreement with
| Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
| What the report does not say is whether this is a deal for Indian patents,
| for US patents or for patents internationally. My guess is that there is
| going to have to be a pretty substantial international element. On that
| front, it is worth noting that CSIR is by far the biggest Indian filer of
| international patent applications, filing over 350 in the US alone between
| 2005 and 2007.



Litigating against innovation: Legal attacks on Linux

,----[ Quote ]
| Patents and how they're controlled are damaging the way technology is
| developed - and the Linux case is a key example of this.
| [...]
| Litigation as a mode of business is fashionable in the current climate, but
| offers little or nothing of benefit to users or developers. Authorial
| copyrights in the US have been extended to 70 years after the author's death.
| The law that made this possible, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act,
| was passed in 1998. Patent law, meanwhile, increasingly protects the
| interests of the powerful, encroaches upon notions of innovation and freedom
| to operate, and is used to inhibit competition. Both are in critical need of
| reform.


Memo to Microsoft: Put up or shut up on patent claims

,----[ Quote ]
| They have signed innumerable contracts based on the claims, contracts which
| assume the truth of the claims, and caused the production of products whose
| chief  selling point is that their makers admit the legitimacy of the claims.
| Microsoft seems in no hurry to change the status quo. They are not going to
| put up, in the form of a lawsuit. They are not going to shut up, either,
| given the commercial advantages they have created.


'PatentGate,' one year later: Microsoft against the open-source world

,----[ Quote ]
| "Claiming you have IP that folks are infringing isn't the same thing as
| proving it," wrote Pamela Jones, author of the open-source legal blog
| Groklaw.net, in an e-mail. "I think they [Microsoft] are in a weaker position
| because they did the [cross-licensing] deals. It makes them look needy,
| like they can't make it any more without Linux."
| "The [legal] threat [to open-source] is no greater" today than a year ago,
| wrote Mark Radcliffe, a lawyer with DLA Piper's Silicon Valley office and the
| general counsel of the Open Source Initiative, which oversees the approval of
| open-source software licenses, in an e-mail.
| Take Redmond's attempts to persuade vendors to sign cross-licensing deals
| that include protection from potential open-source patent lawsuits by
| Microsoft.


Feeling the heat at Microsoft

,----[ Quote ]
| If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?
| Ballmer: Open...Linux.


Sun exec accuses Microsoft of 'patent terrorism'

,----[ Quote ]
| The efforts of Microsoft to pressure the Linux community over alleged and
| unspecified patents is akin to "patent terrorism", according to a local
| executive for Sun Microsystems.


Microsoft, the art of Corporate Terrorism.

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft, no longer the technological leader in the Computer Desktop
| market, is taking on a terrorist role in its attempt remain in power
| at all costs. (see the link to the CNN story below)
| The tactic is intended to frighten current, and would be, free
| software users away from products that Microsoft just can't compete
| with. It's not a new tactic, but for the first time desperation is
| beginning to show.


Convicted Monopolist Terrorizes Software Industry

,----[ Quote ]
| That headline is designed to grab your attention. Sensationalistic as
| it may be, it also happens to be true, if what you mean by 'terrorize'
| is to provoke fear.
| If you've been following the presidential race in the United States,
| you know the present crop of candidates have been exploiting the fear
| of the American people as they never have before in the history of
| the country.


[*] http://etheridge.ca/articles/economist-options.html

"For instance, Microsoft, the world’s most valuable company, declared a profit
of $4.5 billion in 1998; when the cost of options awarded that year, plus the
change in the value of outstanding options, is deducted, the firm made a loss
of $18 billion, according to Smithers."

[***] http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071023002351958 (From

"5:  Jihad

A Jihad is a road trip. in which an evangelist visits a large number of ISVs
one-on-one to convince them to take some specific action. The classic Jihad is
one focused on getting Tier A ISVs to commit to supporting a given technology
by signing the technology's Letter of Agreement (LOA - see above).

A Jihad focuses on the Travelling Salesman aspect of evangelism. As in sales,
the purpose of the exercise is to close – to get the mark the ISV to sign on
the dotted line, in pen, irrevocably. Not to get back to us later, not to talk
to the wife about it, not to enter a three-day cooling-off period, but to get
the ISV to sign, sign, sign.

If the start of the meeting is the first time the ISV has seen the LOA, then
he's not going to sign it at the end of the meeting. Since we're asking for a
very serious commitment, we want the ISV to give their signing serious
consideration. If the ISV cannot deliver, then his committing to deliver is
worse than useless – the ISV's participation may occupy one of a limited
number of available slots, keeping some other ISV from participating.

To maximize the chance of getting the ISV to sign during the Jihad visit, make
sure that

    -- The ISV has seen the LOA at least a week before the Jihad visit

    -- The LOA is very clear about what exactly each side is promising to
deliver, and when

    -- An Officer of the ISV's corporation will be attending the meeting

    -- Microsoft's Director of DRG has positioned the LOA with sufficient
seriousness, in a cover letter or other communication in advance of the

    -- You make it clear from the start that the purpose of your visit is to
answer any questions that they might have, preparatory to signing the LOA
while you're there

    -- They understand that those who do not sign the LOA, are frozen out of
all further information about the techology until it goes into public beta

    -- They understand (without being crude about it) that you will be making
the same offer to their competitors

    -- You have T-shirts or other swag to give to those who sign. lt's amazing
what some people will do for a T-shirt.

There are a million tips and tricks to effective road trips, and to being a
Road Warrior in general, all of which is beyond the scope of this discussion.


8: The Slog
Guerilla marketing is often a long, hard slog.

    slog (sl^g) v. slogged, slogqing, slogs. –tr, To strike with heavy blows,
as in boxing. -intr. 1. To walk with a slow, plodding gait. 2. To work
diligently for long hours. –n. . 1. long, hard work. 2. A long, exhausting
march or hike. [Orig. unknown.] -slog'ger
    –American Heritage Dictionary, 1991

In the Slog, Microsoft dukes it out with the competition. MSDN and Platform
marketing are the regular forces, exchanging blows with the enemy mano a mano.
Evangelism should avoid formal, frontal assaults, instead focusing its efforts
of hit-and-run tactics.

In the Slog, the enemy will counter-attack, trying to subvert your Tier A ISVs
to their side, just as you should try to subvert their ISVs to your side. New
ISVs should be sought, and directed to MSDN's one-to- many programs.
Evangelism should constantly be on the lookout for killer demos, hot young
startups, major ISVs, customer testimonials, enemy-alliance-busting defections
and other opportunities to demonstrate momentum for our technology. If bugs
are found in our technology, or missing features are found to be critically
important, then now is the time to identify and fix them. Stay engaged with
the technology development team; ensure that you are a valuable resource for
them, not a hectoring pest. Document all of your progress (ideally in
regularly updated internal Web pages) and forward it regularly to management.
If management is not aware of your progress, your successes, and your
stumbling blocks, then they can't help. (They may not help anyway, but they
can't if they don't know what you need.)

Keep those Tier A ISVs on track to delivery! They are your strongest weapons
and cannot be forgotten.

The elements of the evangelical infrastructure - conference presentations,
courses, seminars, books, magazine articles, whitepapers, etc. – should start
hitting the street at the start of the Slog. They should be so numerous as to
push all other books off the shelf, courses out of catalogs, and presentations
off the stage.

Working behind the scenes to orchestrate "independent" praise of our
technology, and damnation of the enemy's, is a key evangelism function during
the Slog. "Independent" analyst's report should be issued, praising your
technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). "Independent"
consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations
and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts
in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). "Independent" academic
sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money
granted). "Independent" courseware providers should start profiting from their
early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should
be sought and turned to our advantage.

I have mentioned before the "stacked panel". Panel discussions naturally favor
alliances of relatively weak partners - our usual opposition. For example,
an "unbiased" panel on OLE vs. OpenDoc would contain representatives of the
backers of OLE (Microsoft) and the backers of OpenDoc (Apple, IBM, Novell,
WordPerfect, OMG, etc.). Thus we find ourselves outnumbered in almost
every "naturally occurring" panel debate.

A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with
people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact
strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able
to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to
select the panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can't
expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to
get the moderator to agree to having only "independent ISVs" on the panel. No
one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies
would be allowed – just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the "real world."
Sounds marvelously independent doesn't it? In fact, it allows us to stack the
panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the "independent" panel ends up
telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the
press to cover this panel, and you've got a major win on your hands.

Finding a moderator is key to setting up a stacked panel. The best sources of
pliable moderators are:

    -- Analysts: Analysts sell out - that's their business model. But they are
very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes
them very prickly to work with.

    -- Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a
well-known consultant on your side early, but don't let him publish anything
blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference
organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up. Since he's
well-known, but apparently independent, he'll be accepted – one less thing for
the constantly-overworked conference organizer to worry about, right?

Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the
Slog. We need to know who their allies are and what differences exist between
them and their allies (there are always sources of tension between allies), so
that we can find ways to split 'em apart. Reading the trade press, lurking on
newsgroups, attending conferences, and (above all) talking to ISVs is
essential to gathering this intelligence."

                                -- Microsoft, internal document
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


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