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EU Warns Nokia Not To Become a Patent Troll 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-nice dept.
Barence writes "The vice president of the European Commission's Competition unit has warned Nokia not to become a 'patent troll'. Nokia is in the process of selling its devices business to Microsoft, giving rise to fears that the remaining part of Nokia will make more aggressive use of its patents portfolio. Vice president Joaquin Almunia said that the commission had dismissed the possibility that 'Nokia would be tempted to behave like a patent troll' when it cleared the way for Microsoft to acquire Nokia's devices division – but warned that 'if Nokia were to take illegal advantage of its patents in the future, we will open an antitrust case.' 'I sincerely hope we will not have to,' said Almunia."
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EU Warns Nokia Not To Become a Patent Troll

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  • Oh dear (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintrainingpants (1954872) on Monday December 09, 2013 @04:42PM (#45643071)
    When I worked at Microsoft, we were joking about how this would happen. One guy I knew about in another department actually got canned over just the joking. He literally said "Lolwut" when they fired him. They don't take this stuff lightly anymore!
    • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @04:56PM (#45643231)

      Microsoft in general don't take too kindly to jokes and fun any more in general.

      I miss the fun Microsoft, the cool developer-friendly Microsoft that were only dickish in a business sense.
      Now they are just plain old dicks.
      Expect Microsoft Research to get scaled back horribly in the coming years as well, they already killed some developer-related services as it is.
      MSR, MSDN and all the dev-related groups were great while they lasted.
      Likewise with Google and how they just killed theirs pretty much. RIP Google Labs.

      • by Teun (17872)
        Look here, development is a cost center, BD (Sales) is where the next management bonus is.

        So it's perfectly normal that our development targets will from now on be decided by BD.

        Signed, your CFO.

        • On the other hand, to outsider like me, Microsoft's R&D center has over the last several years looked more to center who's role is to find occupation for big brains so they are kept in microsoft's clutch instead of going to innovate elsewhere.

          Microsoft has had tons of fun tech demos. (Photosynth [wikipedia.org], for exemple, for a visually appealing one. I was under the impression that Microsoft was among the first to show software doing something to gather visual data from tons of references pictures. Microsoft Singul [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pspahn (1175617) on Monday December 09, 2013 @04:58PM (#45643243)

      Sounds like your friend was one of the lucky ones.

      Last time I got canned, I was told part of it was because of my "toxic attitude". A few days prior I had sent an email describing how to do something correctly (based on industry accepted practices) and had a conversation with the "Director" about some of the developers in India that were making a mess of several of my projects (he told me to send the email).

      After they gave me my severance and I got home, I started to realize just how lucky I was. Thank god I don't work for that outfit anymore.

      • I know what you mean. But -- toxic attitudes are the best: between you, me and Socrates we're in good company.
      • by anubi (640541)
        I have been in this business as a design engineer for 40 years. One thing I have seen for sure within the last decade is a strong disdain from the management types toward the creative types.

        My conjecture is that the industry as a whole is saturating, and people fortunate enough to have landed the higher echelons in companies are doing the animal-planet alpha-male thing and running anyone possibly more technically competent than themselves out of the company while they still have the power to do so.

        I am
  • Part of the plan (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I suspect that that is a part of Microsoft's business model for the future Nokia.

    It already dabbles in it, but now it will be free to pursue Android manufacturers without having any product of its own which could be attacked in a MAD world.

  • by bazmail (764941) on Monday December 09, 2013 @04:54PM (#45643199)
    American Slashdotter: "Our government ought to do something about these god damned patent trolls!!!!"

    European Government actually does something about patent trolls.

    American Slashdotter: "Damn europeans! Always picking on our good ol hard workin corporations. Its about freedom and choice. Don't they get it."
    • Americans are reactive, Europeans are proactive. We're just waiting for Nokia to actually screw up to do anything.

    • by pspahn (1175617)
      Your sense of hypocrisy is not without irony.
    • by ericloewe (2129490) on Monday December 09, 2013 @05:11PM (#45643389)

      Nokia is as far from a patent troll as you can get. Unfortunately, many just assume that because they sue everyone and their mother they're trolling. They sue everyone and their mother because they invented many crucial parts of the thing everyone and their mother owns.

      Besides, since when is Nokia a "good ol hard workin [American] corporation"?

    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday December 09, 2013 @05:14PM (#45643437) Homepage Journal

      This American Slashdotter thinks it's good. Companies and people should be regulated in proportion to the harm they are capable of doing. Monsanto, a corporation that has literally created PCBs that cover the entire planet, should be regulated to hell. The corner small businessperson shouldn't. I don't see how that is unreasonable.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        The corner small businessperson shouldn't. I don't see how that is unreasonable.

        So you can have the same shrewd business practices so long as you keep some token competitor alive? Anti-competitive practices should be disallowed across the board, not just for the biggest player, it fosters a rotten culture.

    • American Slashdotter: "Damn europeans! Always picking on our good ol hard workin corporations. Its about freedom and choice. Don't they get it."

      Well considering you are like the third comment on this post, and there are no comments that actually say that...

      I'm just going to leave this here.

      [Citation Needed]

    • oooh, nice one. I may have a better one:

      Slashdotter: "Uninformed blanket statement which not only demonstrates a lack of knowledge about whatever I'm talking about, but also alienates those who I may have wanted to inform in the first place"
    • by edxwelch (600979)

      > European Government actually does something about patent trolls.
      Yeah, right. A warning carries a lot of weight.

  • Nokia: We swears! We swears on.... on the preciousssss.

    And we all know how well that went. Just wait until there'll be another, more "friendly" commissioner or until they'll "persuade" the current one.

  • by Krakadoom (1407635) on Monday December 09, 2013 @06:10PM (#45644205)
    Nowhere does it say that Nokia cannot leverage it's patent portfolio and make a business out of that. The operative word in the Commission statement is "illegal". Being a patent-owning business (and nothing else) is not illegal, nor is licensing the property for considerable fees. Heck, suing for profit isn't either. So the actual value of this statement is minor.
  • Kingmaker, self (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Monday December 09, 2013 @06:17PM (#45644301) Journal

    "but warned that 'if Nokia were to take illegal advantage of its patents in the future, we will open an antitrust case.' 'I sincerely hope we will not have to,' said Almunia."

    This behavior by government officials is, or should be, illegal. Patent trolls are bad, but officials threatening to withhold licensing or "review" it for legal behaviors that have nothing to do with the issue in question is a gross, kingly abuse of power.

    If patent troll behavior of the remnant is illegal, you deal with that directly as a criminal issue.

  • Keep in mind (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoronGames (632186) <cam.henlinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 09, 2013 @06:35PM (#45644549) Journal
    In 2016, Nokia can re-enter the cell phone market under its own name. This may mean them going back into designing their own phones, or purchasing Jolla, the spin-off company run by former Nokia engineers. Jolla has already put a very nice looking low-end cell phone on the market, and I expect them to continue to build out their smart phone portfolio in the near future. I can definitely see them once again becoming a part of Nokia in 2016. I don't think Nokia would be content to remain a patent-only business. Also, keep in mind, they are retaining their very lucrative mapping business as well.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Uhhh...why would they want to? The cell phone market is a shark tank right now, between the big Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei cranking out some nice low end smartphones to LG and their sliders to Samsung dominating the high end frankly they couldn't pick a worse time to be a hardware maker.

      Say what you will about the deal but they kept all the profitable bits and sold the ones that were going downhill, a smart move in my book. Thanks to Android being the Windows of mobile you'll see a huge race to

  • Here is their most popular video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGywo81G6lk [youtube.com]

    and the Wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finntroll [wikipedia.org]

    "Finntroll is a folk metal band from Helsinki, Finland. They combine elements of black metal and folk metal. Finntroll's lyrics are mostly in Swedish, the only exception being the song "Madon Laulu" on Visor Om Slutet. Finntroll's first singer Katla decided to use Swedish over Finnish since he was part of a Swedish-speaking minority in Finland and the sound of the langua

  • Now can we get the same in North America ?

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