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Microsoft Android Operating Systems Patents Your Rights Online

Nikon Buckles To Microsoft, Will Pay "Android Tax" For Smart Cameras 272

Posted by timothy
from the by-all-means dept.
walterbyrd writes with news that Nikon is the latest company to agree to pay Microsoft for the privilege of using Android on its devices — as you might expect from Nikon, the devices in this case are cameras. (Microsoft's press release.)
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Nikon Buckles To Microsoft, Will Pay "Android Tax" For Smart Cameras

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  • Hey buddy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @01:35PM (#42990415)

    You settin' up shop on my street? Nobody, I sez *nobody*... sets up shop on my street without talkin' to me foyst. OK, listen pal. Here's what I'm gonna a do for you. You just pay me a little bidda money on everything you sellz, and I'z a gonna look dee otha way, capiche?

    You callin' this "extortion"? That's a big word, my friend. 'Round here we just call it biz niss.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @01:35PM (#42990419)

    They are a leach on modern businesses, their operating systems are found lacking, their office products are crap, their hardware is of the scaliest, slimiest design. In other words, they are dinosaurs in modern society.

    MPAA - On warning for extinction.
    RIAA - On warning for extinction.
    Microsoft - On warning for extinction.

    Time to open up the hunting licenses, and finish them all off.

  • Re:Hey buddy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @01:43PM (#42990473) Homepage

    You settin' up shop on my street? Nobody, I sez *nobody*... sets up shop on my street without talkin' to me foyst. OK, listen pal. Here's what I'm gonna a do for you. You just pay me a little bidda money on everything you sellz, and I'z a gonna look dee otha way, capiche?

    You callin' this "extortion"? That's a big word, my friend. 'Round here we just call it biz niss.

    It's basically an approved bribe. All legal and written out. Serves the same function, serves the same people. Might even be tax deductible.

  • Oy Vey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @01:45PM (#42990481)

    They also license patents from Apple, IBM and god knows who else, but it's not a big story then.

    Why try and spin it as some sort of evil "Microsoft tax", when we could actually have a discussion on the patent system, instead of some retarded online version of two minutes hate.

    This site has become completely worthless as a place to discuss technology.

  • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @01:56PM (#42990563) Journal

    So what happens if MS loses the patent claims to Google? Does the "Microsoft tax" get paid to Google instead? Or just gets them invalidated for being obvious?

    Seriously, "a record button on a computer system"... what the hell, US patent system. What the hell?

  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @02:29PM (#42990769)

    Right?

    No wrong. I am tired of closed being the new open , and well closed being the new open [Thank you Ars]. Android is an a modular OS where various parts are under different licenses GPL2 (Linux the Kernel) most of the userland (Apache which is why Honeycomb never got released) and proprietary (most first party Applications) with various stuff happening in the cloud (maps; various storage; mail)...and nothing has changed.

    Android does not protect you from patent trolls like Microsoft, but then it never did or claimed to...your choices have always been, work around the patents; pay them off; fight them in courts.

    In short though this topic has nothing to do with being open...and unless your a Tizen fanboi your just trolling [lets face it iOS and Bada the only serious contenders are closed], with an off-topic comment, now if you has said "But Android is still free [beer]?" you would have least been on topic...still a troll...but on topic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @02:36PM (#42990809)

    Awwwww poor widdle microsoft wubers crying cuz someone states the truth??

    No, your post was most likely deemed "flamebait" because it was laughable Internet Tough Guy [imageshack.us] drivel that wasn't even pretending to offer a realistic solution to the problem. Ooh, you're putting them "on warning" for extinction and going to "finish them all off"?! Please.

    Anyway, one may as well extend MS' lack of innovation to well over 30 years, since even the original MS-DOS circa 1981 was at best a workalike knockoff of CP/M that they bought in from someone else. In fact, while Gates may have written the first microcomputer implementation of BASIC in the mid-70s, he wasn't even the original creator of the language. MS were never, ever really innovators.

    Kinect is one of the few original things they've created recently, and it's a wonder *that* managed to escape from the black hole of Microsoft Research, which- despite being well-funded and having lots of apparently talented people working there- never seems to actually translate into anything in practice. In fact, I'd guess that Kinect only escaped because- being an XBox peripheral- it wasn't as big a threat to existing vested interests and departmental politics in the Windows division.

  • Re:Hey buddy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 23, 2013 @02:36PM (#42990815) Journal

    And this is different to what Apple, Motorola (now owned by Google who didn't stop the suits when they bought Motorola thus making them trolls by proxy in my book) and every other big tech company this decade has done?

    If you want to fix this kind of shit you have to get to the root of the problem which is the patent system is broken and until you fix it this kind of shit will continue. This is like blaming companies who take advantage of the fact that offshoring not only incurs them no monetary penalty but they can often get tax breaks for doing so....the problem is the SYSTEM is broken and encouraging bad behavior therefor the SYSTEM needs to be fixed.

    We need to push like hell for a law ending software patents, if you want protections for software copyrights and NOT patents are the logical choice and since you copyright specific works and NOT vague concepts like these shitty software "patents" you could nip this bullshit in the bud. I also personally think we need a law that says concepts required for interoperability (such as file systems and formats) should have to be published under RAND terms so that the user will always have a way to get their stuff on and off a device, but that may be just a personal beef, but no matter how you slice it these kinds of bullshit trolls and lawsuits didn't become a problem until software patents were hoisted on us and THAT is what must be fixed. You stop MSFT and they'll be a dozen more pulling the same shit waiting for their shot.

    Oh and on a final note, lets get something clear: Linux and Android by extension DOES infringe on MSFT patents, how do I know? Have you seen how many patents have been filed on software since the shitty ruling that allowed software patents? EVERYBODY is infringing! Hell the whole history of computers has been standing on the shoulders of giants so frankly with as vague as these patents are you can't build shit to do with a computer that doesn't infringe! Hell I wouldn't be surprised if every possible way to build a file system or make an audio/video format isn't covered by some vague as hell "method to store files on things" style patent, the whole thing is so broken you are tap dancing in a minefield.

    Is what MSFT doing shitty? yep, no doubt, but if we focus on that instead of the conditions that have ALLOWED them to behave shitty all we will be doing is playing whack a mole until the end of time. To use the famed /. car analogy if your front end is shot and eating tires you can change tire brands a billion times, the tires are still gonna keep getting eaten until you get off your ass and fix the front end. Until we fix the patents system this kind of shit is only gonna get worse.

  • Except we do. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tuppe666 (904118) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @02:37PM (#42990819)

    They also license patents from Apple, IBM and god knows who else, but it's not a big story then.

    Except we do in the case of Apple *endlessly* Its not just been big news here, but in every damn newspaper worldwide. In fact very little is said of Evil Microsoft(sic) shady deals which are in the main back room affairs "While the contents of the agreement will not be disclosed" , with it being spin as a joyful agreement "Microsoft and Nikon have a long history of collaboration".

    Perhaps if your not happy you could register and submit stories you feel more worthwhile, rather than attack a community.

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @02:53PM (#42990945) Homepage

    One less brand to ever appear on my shopping list.

    Help me understand - you are mad at the victim? Do you stop talking to friends because they paid for Windows? Don't buy anything with a Samsung-made component?

    I'm sure Nikon looked at the cost of fighting and decided it made business sense to pay them. Consider the volume of Android devices Nikon sells vs. Samsung and other cell phone companies. If it doesn't make sense for the cell phone vendors, it is unlikely to make sense for Nikon to fight in court.

    Frankly, your anger toward Microsoft might be better directed at Microsoft. And Google. Why hasn't Google challenged this?

  • Re:Hey buddy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RazorSharp (1418697) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @02:58PM (#42990965)

    The patent system is broken, I'll agree with you there, but this is different from what any other company does regarding the patent system. This isn't exploiting a broken system, it's extortion.

  • Re:Grow up, kid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @03:03PM (#42991001)

    Most of the people here get it. They get that Software Patents are inherently evil and wrong and should be abolished... and the patent trolls of the world need to all die in a fire. Reforming the Patent system to prevent patent trolls would go a long way towards making the Patent system what it was intended for...

    Until then, we'll see extortion like this from Microsoft (and everyone else).... I rather like the "hippie free-love software"... but then again I don't play in Apple's or Microsoft's sandbox.

    The rest of them can suck my balls.

  • Re:Grow up, kid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazorSharp (1418697) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @03:04PM (#42991009)

    Extortion doesn't necessarily have to be a big player threatening a small player. How does the age or size of Nikon change the fact that this is extortion? It doesn't change a thing, scale is irrelevant.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @03:08PM (#42991037)

    Google hasn't challenged this as they haven't directly been sued, for good reason I would guess. Barnes & Noble did stand up to them, and published the jokes being used for this extortion. What Microsoft are doing should be considered criminal. I'm guessing that these companies look at the legal fees and decide that paying the extortion is significantly less expensive than paying the extortion, especially when the danger of dealing with an American company in the American legal system is taken into account.

  • Re:Except we do. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @03:09PM (#42991043)

    Microsoft are also trying to hide the 'patents' they are using as threats.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @03:39PM (#42991237)
    Because Windows doesn't support anything else besides FAT and NTFS out of the box.
  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @04:54PM (#42991595)

    How does the age or size of Nikon change the fact that this is extortion?

    It is not extortion if Nikon considers the Microsoft patents valid and a useful addition to their portfolio.

    This is the argument the geek cannot accept.

    It has to be extortion. He has no other way of explaining what happened.

    No matter how wildly improbable it is that so junior and foreign a competitor as Microsoft could bully a core component of a Japanese industrial cartel as old (1870), culturally insular, rich, proud and powerful as Mitsubishi.

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @04:59PM (#42991623) Homepage

    Yeah - I get all that. In principle, I agree with you.

    But the practical is different. Nikon has it's hands full with its primary competitors, and a shrinking market. Smartphones are killing the compact camera market, and new "mirror-less" cameras are eating into the D-SLR market. Canon and Sony make lots of products outside the camera business, but 75% of Nikon's sales are dependent on cameras and lenses. They are being super aggressive in the D-SLR segment to make up for that revenue, and trying to find something to fit in the space between the smartphone and D-SLR. And they need the support of Microsoft, Apple and Adobe for processing those files. Right now, they need friends - not another enemy.

    I suspect the Android camera is an experiment to see if consumers will accept a compact camera that does pretty much everything a smartphone does, except for phone calls. Do consumers want Android-based cameras? Nikon makes just a single model with Android. It could be a flop, and something Nikon might drop. Do the sales justify an expensive legal fight in the USA - Microsoft's home turf.

      I'm sure they see two giants (MS and Google) about to face-off in a war, and they will pay the MS "tax" and sit this one out. This is a bit like someone fighting cancer who decides not to get involved in a conflict between nations.

    Nikon is fighting for survival, so I think we should give them a pass on this one.

  • Re:Grow up, kid. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @05:26PM (#42991819)

    Yet most people don't really get it:

    The concept of ownership of ideas is inherently immoral and a disgrace to the human intellect.

    It is corrupted capitalism, and it really does not matter if it's about software or something else.

  • Re:Hey buddy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HyperQuantum (1032422) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @05:32PM (#42991861) Homepage

    Extortion is just one way to exploit a broken system.

  • Re:Hey buddy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andydread (758754) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @06:32PM (#42992227)
    So what the fuck do you suggesst buddy? I mean you sit down at your computer and bang out some open source code that is your code yet you and possibly others have to pay MS for the privilege of using your own code? You think Joe BIden gives a fuck what you have to say about this? These are the same fuckers that worship bill gates when he shows up to petition congress. I don't know at this point what to do about it. Even the President was asked about this software patent bullshit by Lady Ada and his answer "blah we gotta protect 'intellectual property' blah blah" Then you have the current patent office head who equates litigation to innovation so what can be done? The bottom line is that Microsoft is abusing the system to put a cost on as much open source software as possible. THis is not about Android its per say its about Linux and opensource and being able to use any computing device without paying MS. Its egregious disgusting behavior.
  • by andydread (758754) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @06:46PM (#42992317)
    Your trolling here is not working. first of all the patents are bullshit patents that should have never been filed and should have never been granted. Sofware is already protected by copyright no need to patent swiping on a screen for gods sake. You don't get it. Software is authored works just like books and other media. Lets take books for example. Another authored work. You should not be able to get a patent on the idea of a story about wars in space. You should be able to get a copyright on your specific story(source code) about wars in space but you should not be able to go sue everyone else because they wrote a story about wars in space that is totally different from your story. If there was a patent on the idea of a story about wars in space then both battlestar galactica and star wars would infringe on that patent. THis is the problem with software patents. It should not be allowed its authored works and properly protected by copywright.
  • Re:Grow up, kid. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dwywit (1109409) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @07:44PM (#42992615)

    And the exploitation of resources is something humans have been doing since, well, forever. It's something that we do, and will continue to do. Ideas are a resource - a resource that should be shared and not "owned", but there's nothing wrong with you exploiting your own expression of an idea, be it selling your novel, or your software - or even selling your rights to exploitation of that product - it's the idiots who grant patents for "rounded corners" that need fixing. I haven't got a problem with you obtaining a patent and exploiting your innovative variation on an idea (your idea or someone else's), as long as it's innovative. I guess the problem here is that it's too easy to prove "rounded corners" are innovative and deserve a patent.

  • Re:Hey buddy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:28AM (#42994061)

    And apparently they are correct, because the link I posted also has a list of companies who decided it was cheaper to pay license fees than try to beat the patents in court.

    The FAT patents end this year.
    The rest have several more years to run, unless someone beats them in court.

    The key point here is that Microsoft is not claiming ownership of Android or ant core Android technology, but rather a miscellaneous collection of features the see in some smartphones and related devices.
    Most likely nikon is using fat patents and likely MTP patents as well.

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