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Networking

Cisco Pushing 'Cloud Connect' Router Firmware, Allows Web History Tracking 351

Myrv writes "Reports have started popping up that Cisco is pushing out and automatically (without permission) installing their new Cloud Connect firmware on consumer routers. The new firmware removes the user's ability to login and administer the router locally. You now must configure the router using Cisco's Cloud connect service. If that wasn't bad enough, the fine print for this new service allows Cisco to track your complete internet history. Currently, it appears the only way to disable the Cloud Connect service is to unplug your router from the internet."
Microsoft

Microsoft's Hottest New Profit Center: Android 276

jbrodkin writes "One of Microsoft's hottest new profit centers is a smartphone platform you've definitely heard of: Android. Google's Linux-based mobile operating system is a favorite target for Microsoft's patent attorneys, who are suing numerous Android vendors and just today announced that another manufacturer has agreed to write checks to Microsoft every time it ships an Android device. Vendors paying off Microsoft for the right to use Android now include HTC, Velocity Micro, General Dynamics, Onkyo Corp. and Wistron. Microsoft likely makes more money from Android than its own Windows phone platform, and its latest patent agreement announced Tuesday indicates Microsoft is also going after Google's Linux-based Chromebooks."
Patents

MPEG LA Attempts To Start VP8 Patent Pool 186

Confirming speculation from last year, an anonymous reader tips news that MPEG LA has posted a request for information about establishing a patent pool for the VP8 video codec. "In order to participate in the creation of, and determine licensing terms for, a joint VP8 patent license, any party that believes it has patents that are essential to the VP8 video codec specification is invited to submit them for a determination of their essentiality by MPEG LA’s patent evaluators. At least one essential patent is necessary to participate in the process, and initial submissions should be made by March 18, 2011. Although only issued patents will be included in the license, in order to participate in the license development process, patent applications with claims that their owners believe are essential to the specification and likely to issue in a patent also may be submitted."
Cellphones

Microsoft To Charge Phone Makers a Licensing Fee 225

angry tapir writes "Microsoft may be one of the only remaining mobile operating-system providers that charges handset makers a licensing fee, but in exchange vendors get at least one important benefit: protection from intellectual property worries. 'Microsoft indemnifies its Windows Phone 7 licensees against patent infringement claims,' the company said. 'We stand behind our product, and step up to our responsibility to clear the necessary IP rights.'" In related news, Windows Phone 7 will be exclusive to AT&T at launch, and it seems Microsoft is counting on Xbox Live integration to be the "hook" that gets people interested in the new devices.
Cellphones

Submission + - Microsoft to charge phone makers a licensing fee (goodgearguide.com.au)

angry tapir writes: "Microsoft may be one of the only remaining mobile operating-system providers that charges handset makers a licensing fee, but in exchange vendors get at least one important benefit: protection from intellectual property worries. "Microsoft indemnifies its Windows Phone 7 licensees against patent infringement claims," the company said. "We stand behind our product, and step up to our responsibility to clear the necessary IP rights." In August, Oracle sued Google, saying that the way Android handles Java infringes its patents."
Patents

MPEG-LA Considering Patent Pool For VP8/WebM 399

An anonymous reader writes "Well, that didn't take long. Larry Horn, CEO of MPEG-LA, the consortium that controls the AVC/H.264 video standard, says the group is looking at creating a patent pool license for VP8 and WebM, Google's new open source, royalty-free HTML5 video format... So much for a Web video standard unencumbered by patent issues." We talked about VP8/WebM a couple of days ago when Google open sourced it. Reader Stoobalou points out another late-night email from Steve Jobs, who was asked to comment on VP8 vs. H.264. Jobs laconically sent a pointer to the technical analysis we linked before, where the poster says "VP8 copies way too much from H.264 for anyone sane to be comfortable with it, no matter whose word is behind the claim of being patent-free."
Microsoft

Microsoft Sues Salesforce.com Over Patents 243

WrongSizeGlass writes "CNET is reporting that Microsoft is suing Salesforce.com in Seattle federal court, claiming it infringes on nine patents. Two of the patents in question are a 'system and method for providing and displaying a Web page having an embedded menu' and a 'method and system for stacking toolbars in a computer display.'" Microsoft says it first notified Salesforce more than a year ago about the alleged infringement.
Microsoft

Microsoft Gets Back Its FAT Patent In Germany 113

Dj writes to let us know that Microsoft has regained its FAT patent in Germany. (We discussed it three years ago when the German Federal Patent Tribunal ruled that Microsoft's patent on the FAT file system, with short and long names, was not enforceable.) "The [German] appeal court's decision brings it into line with the US patent office's assessment of the FAT patent. In early 2006, after lengthy deliberations, the latter confirmed the rights to protection conferred by [US] patent number 5,579,517, claiming that the development was new and inventive."
Software

Flaws In a BSA Software Piracy Report? 288

Ian Lamont writes "The Business Software Alliance has just released its state piracy study (full PDF also available). The BSA says that one in five pieces of software in use in the United States is unlicensed, and notes that piracy rates are highest in Ohio (27%). However, as noted by the Industry Standard, there are problems with the state study, and the way the BSA is presenting the data: the study only includes eight states, and it is making some questionable connections, including the claim that lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to 'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.'"

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