A book store, Microsoft and the future of mobile

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Back in 2002 I worked very briefly with colleagues who were trying to get their head around open source software in particular the so-called LAMP stack which threatened Microsoft’s server and tools business.  LAMP stood for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. A quick surf of The Register will show you some of the approaches that Microsoft took to try and address the open source software threat:

  • Miscellaneous whitepapers
  • Heavy government lobbying (I’m sure that it’s no accident that the NHS uses Windows)
  • Studies including the infamous “Get The Facts” website (a tactic that they’ve repeated with the recent BS-riven Do The Math site)
  • Lobbying all that would listen to them that the GPL licence was bad for innovation
  • Patent assertions and providing indirect financial aid to SCO’s legal actions against the open source community

It has extended its legal efforts to deal with threats on the mobile landscape by looking to hamper the Android operating system by using its patent pool to demand licensing arrangements from the likes of HTC and Motorola. Barnes & Noble has also been using Android on its Nook eBook reader (think a colour Kindle on ‘roids), so Microsoft legaled them as well. The interesting thing is that Barnes & Noble didn’t roll over but have instead rolled out the big guns attacking on two fronts:

  • The validity of the patents
  • The nature of Microsoft’s practices (this is especially interesting as Microsoft has just finished the terms of its agreement with the US department of justice following the late 1990s anti-trust trial where it was found to be a abusive monopolist)

If Barnes & Noble succeeds it could change the face and direction of the market for mobile devices and influence other legal actions involving parties like Apple, Nokia and Samsung.

More content here:

Barnes & Noble Charges Microsoft with Misusing Patents to Further an Anticompetive Scheme Against Android – Groklaw

TechEye stirs up trouble for Microsoft in Barnes & Noble case – TechEye