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Patent Wars in Mobile Software

My latest article published in India Telecom Brief on the patent wars-

 

Patent Wars in Mobile Software

Why are Apple, Microsoft and Google spending billions to acquire patents? Recently Google, maker of the largest selling mobile operating system, Android decided to acquire Motorola Mobility for 12.5 billion dollars, giving it some 17000 patents with another 7500 patents pending.
Meanwhile some months ago, a consortium led by Microsoft, Apple and Research in Motion (maker of Blackberry) bought 6000 patents by Nortel Networks for 4.5 billion dollars.
These are only the defensive moves in these patent wars. In offensive moves, Microsoft has sued HTC, Barnes and Nobles, Motorola for patent infringement over them using Android operating system claiming some aspects are patented by it. Though Google does not earn any money directly from selling Android, ironically Microsoft is earning money from Android vendors including up to 5 dollars per handset from HTC.

Read the full article at http://www.indiatelecombrief.com/from-the-editors-desk/51839-patent-wars-in-mobile-software

 

Related-

A brilliant infographic  from George Kokkinidis at Design Language http://news.designlanguage.com/post/1473307539 sums all the absurdity up- where almost everyone is suing everyone. Truly a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

 

 

 

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What to do if you see a possible GPL violation

GNU Lesser General Public License

Image via Wikipedia

Well I have played with software (mostly but not exclusively) analytical, and I admire the zeal and energy of both open source and closed source practioners- all having relatively decent people executing strategies their investors or owners tell them to do (closed source) or motivated by their own self sense of cool-change the world-openness (open source)

What I dont get is people stealing open source code- repackaging without adding major contributions- claiming patent pending stuff- and basically making money by creating CLOSED source from the open source software-(as open source is yet to break the enterprise glass cieling)

you are either open source or you arent.

bi- sexuality is okay. bi-codability is not.

Next time you see someone stealing some community’s open source code- refer to this excellent link.

 

But, we cannot act on our own if we do not hold copyright. Thus, be sure to find out who the copyright holders of the software are before reporting a violation.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-violation.html

Violations of the GNU Licenses

If you think you see a violation of the GNU GPLLGPLAGPL, or FDL, the first thing you should do is double-check the facts:

  • Does the distribution contain a copy of the License?
  • Does it clearly state which software is covered by the License? Does it say anything misleading, perhaps giving the impression that something is covered by the License when in fact it is not?
  • Is source code included in the distribution?
  • Is a written offer for source code included with a distribution of just binaries?
  • Is the available source code complete, or is it designed for linking in other non-free modules?

If there seems to be a real violation, the next thing you need to do is record the details carefully:

  • the precise name of the product
  • the name of the person or organization distributing it
  • email addresses, postal addresses and phone numbers for how to contact the distributor(s)
  • the exact name of the package whose license is violated
  • how the license was violated:
    • Is the copyright notice of the copyright holder included?
    • Is the source code completely missing?
    • Is there a written offer for source that’s incomplete in some way? This could happen if it provides a contact address or network URL that’s somehow incorrect.
    • Is there a copy of the license included in the distribution?
    • Is some of the source available, but not all? If so, what parts are missing?

The more of these details that you have, the easier it is for the copyright holder to pursue the matter.

Once you have collected the details, you should send a precise report to the copyright holder of the packages that are being misused. The copyright holder is the one who is legally authorized to take action to enforce the license.

If the copyright holder is the Free Software Foundation, please send the report to <license-violation@gnu.org>. It’s important that we be able to write back to you to get more information about the violation or product. So, if you use an anonymous remailer, please provide a return path of some sort. If you’d like to encrypt your correspondence, just send a brief mail saying so, and we’ll make appropriate arrangements.

Note that the GPL, and other copyleft licenses, are copyright licenses. This means that only the copyright holders are empowered to act against violations. The FSF acts on all GPL violations reported on FSF copyrighted code, and we offer assistance to any other copyright holder who wishes to do the same.

But, we cannot act on our own if we do not hold copyright. Thus, be sure to find out who the copyright holders of the software are before reporting a violation.

 

Towards better quantitative marketing

Cycle of Research and Development, from "...

Image via Wikipedia

The term quantitative refers to a type of information based in quantities or else quantifiable data (objective properties) —as opposed to qualitative information which deals with apparent qualities (subjective properties)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantitative

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations,[1][2] politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs.

Source-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

Top 5 FUD Tactics in Software and what you can say to end user to retain credibility

1) That software lacks reliable support- our support team has won top prizes in Customer Appreciation for past several years.

  • Our software release history-
  • graph of bugs filed-
  • turn around time box plot for customer service issues
  • quantitatively define reliability

2) We give the best value to customers. Customer Big A got huge huge % savings thanks to our software.

  • Pricing- Transparent – and fixed. For volume discounts mention slabs.
  • Cost to Customer- Include time and cost estimates for training and installation
  • Graphs of average ROIC (return on capital invested) on TCO (total cost of ownership)  not half a dozen outlier case studies. Mention Expected % return

3) We have invested a lot of money in our Research and Development. We continue to spend a lotto of money on R &D

  • Average Salary of R and D employee versus Average Tenure (Linkedin gives the second metric quite easily)
  • Mention Tax benefits and Accounting treatment of R&D expenses
  • Give a breakdown- how much went to research and how much went to legacy application support
  • Mention open source projects openly
  • Mention community source projects separately

4) Software B got sued. Intellectual property rights (sniff)

  • Mention pending cases with your legal team
  • Mention anti trust concerns for potential acquisitions
  • Mention links to your patent portfolio (or even to US PTO with query ?=your corporate name )

5) We have a 99.8% renewal rate.

  • Mention vendor lock in concerns and flexibility
  • Mention What-If scenarios if there are delays in software implementation
  • Mention methodology in calculating return on investment.

 

 

 

Also

http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/infrastructure-and-operations/2010/10/three-fud-statements-used-not-to-implement-standards-based-networking/index.htm

Software Lawsuits :Ergo

The latest round of software lawsuits makes things more interesting especially for Google. There are two notable developments

1) Google’s pact with Verizon for Even more Open Internet -From

http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/08/joint-policy-proposal-for-open-internet.html

A provider that offers a broadband Internet access service
complying with the above principles could offer any other additional or differentiated services. Such other services would have to be distinguishable in scope and purpose from broadband . Internet access service, but could make use of or access Internet content, applications or services
and could include traffic prioritization.

2) Oracle’s lawsuit against Google for Intellectual Property enforcement of Java for Android. ( read here http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20013549-264.html

I once joked about nothing remains cool forever not even Google (see http://decisionstats.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/11-ways-to-beat-up-google/ ) and I did not foresee the big G beating itself into knots on its own.

It is hard to sympathize with Google (or Oracle or Verizon) but this is a mess that is created when lawyers (with a briefcase) steal value rather than a thousand engineers can create value.

Interestingly Google owns the IP for Map Reduce – so could it itself sue the Hadoop community over terms of royalty someday-like Oracle did with Java- hmmmmm interesting revenue stream

All in all I would be happy to see zero tiers on an internet (wireless or wired) and even Java developers to make some money on writing code. Open source is not free source.

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