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Microsoft Patents

Microsoft Admits Japanese Monopoly Battle Hurting Image 133

News for nerds writes "The head of Microsoft Corp.'s Japan unit, Michael Rawding, acknowledged that the battle with Japanese anti-monopoly authorities over a controversial licensing clause has hurt its corporate image. But he said the company will continue to oppose a Fair Trade Commission ruling ordering Microsoft to retroactively remove the clause from its licensing agreements, as similar investigations in the United States and Europe found it 'lawful and appropriate' according to him, though Longhorn faces another delay. Commission officials are not certain any patents have been violated by Microsoft. But several Japanese electronics makers have complained about suspected patent infringements since December 2000, especially regarding multimedia technologies (VC-9 and H.264/AVC, anyone?). Major Japanese CE companies that are partners with Microsoft include Sony, Toshiba, and Matsushita."
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Microsoft Admits Japanese Monopoly Battle Hurting Image

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    $COUNTRY1 and $COUNTRY2 did it, $COUNTRY3 must too!

  • Double Standards? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dominatus ( 796241 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:44PM (#9943166)
    The question is, is it hypocritical to nail Microsoft (in the community) for patent violations and at the same time consider software patents wrong by their very nature.
    • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow.wrought@O ... il.com minus bsd> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:53PM (#9943239) Homepage Journal
      It comes down to the old adage live by the sword, die by the sword. MS uses patents as weapons whenever it can. Since this is anathema to the community, they cheer when the same thing happens to MS. Kind of like how everyone cheers when the bully gets beaten up;-)
      • Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:58PM (#9943276) Homepage
        Microsoft has a long history of seldom using patents as an offensive measure, and only resorting to them in defence when another company sues *them*.

        There are any number of patents Microsoft could be using to try and hurt Linux right now. Have you heard of any lawsuits? I haven't.

        • Re:Wrong. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dmanny ( 573844 )
          I find your position interesting. Could you elaborate on their history of defensive use of patents?
          • Re:Wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:04PM (#9943317) Homepage
            One in recent memory was the Sun case.

            Sun sued Microsoft for its use of their corrupted non-Sun JVM. Then Microsoft counter-sued Sun for technologies in Java that are patented by Microsoft.

            Of course then Sun counter-counter-sued for technologies in .Net that they have patened.

            They end dup reaching a settlement where Microsoft paid out some money and now they both get free unlimited use of each-other's patent portfolio.

            • Re:Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

              by arose ( 644256 )
              This is not the type of defensive use grandparent was talking about. If they would only raise patent claims in response to patent claims that would be another matter.
            • Re:Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow.wrought@O ... il.com minus bsd> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:32PM (#9943487) Homepage Journal
              To elaborate a bit. MS does not need to file numerous lawsuits in order to utilize patents as coporate weapons. As their own patent head, Marshall Phelps said he's running a "licensing shop, not a litigation shop [slashdot.org]." Since MS is also attempting to up its patent output to 3,000 [slashdot.org] this year (think 8 a day!), it follows that they would apply pressure to their competitors through restrictive licensing, more so than through the courts.

              How many of those 3,000 patents do you think are truly valid? How many companies are actually capabale of initiating and following through the neccessary litigation required to invalidate just one of those 3,000 patents? The issue at hand is the restrictiveness of the language in MS's licensing agreements, because that is how MS asserts itself with patents.

            • Sun sued Microsoft for its use of their corrupted non-Sun JVM. Then Microsoft counter-sued Sun for technologies in Java that are patented by Microsoft. Of course then Sun counter-counter-sued for technologies in .Net that they have patened. They end dup reaching a settlement where Microsoft paid out some money and now they both get free unlimited use of each-other's patent portfolio.

              This word `defensive,' I do not think it means what you think it means.
        • by LS ( 57954 )
          Do I have a misconception here? I thought patents were used to protect the owner from others using their ideas for profit. Linux is not for sale, it's written by people for free, often by people at home in their den. Does this imply that I am not allowed to, for example, build a go-kart at home with some patented engine technology?

          LS
        • ...or in our case, Linux will not be threatened by Microsoft patents. Do you really believe it? Or would they, perhaps, be holding back until patent law is in place in all major territories?

          If Microsoft strikes before Europe introduces software patents, the future of those software patents might very well be rather limited in Europe. Thus they wait until those laws are on record before acting.

          If that doesn't convince you, this *Microsoft* we are talking about - one of the most ruthlessly aggressive com

      • Re:Double Standards? (Score:5, Informative)

        by the quick brown fox ( 681969 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:01PM (#9943295)
        Is that really true?

        A google search for "microsoft patent lawsuit [google.com]" comes up with a ton of examples of them settling or losing lawsuits where they're the defendant, but I don't see any where they're suing someone else for infringement.

        • by rokzy ( 687636 )
          what makes you think that it would get as far as a court case if they decided to go on the offensive?

          kinda like saying, "no one I've killed ever complained to the police, so they must have all been fine with it"
          • Fine. I changed "lawsuit" to "attack" (I couldn't think of a more suitable word) and the results didn't change much... although it does surface a lot of hits speculating that MS may launch a patent attack on Linux in the future, and coverage of their announcement that they will beef up their patent portfolio.

            So again... anyone have any evidence?

    • Could you please stop nagging.

      You're making me feel bad.
    • by SpaceLifeForm ( 228190 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:55PM (#9943254)
      No, it's not hypocritical. Just because software patents are wrong does not preclude you from saying that it is wrong for an entity to violate what currently is the law. Until software patents are outlawed, only outlaws will violate software patents.
      • "Until software patents are outlawed, only outlaws will violate software patents."

        http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/08/05/ 12 34237&tid=136&tid=163&tid=155

        "This comes following an independent study by insurance firm OSRM who revealed this week that the Linux kernel might use up to 283 patented methods."
      • Does this argument remind anyone else of the standard line of debate whenever copyright infringement comes up?
      • No, it's not hypocritical. Just because software patents are wrong does not preclude you from saying that it is wrong for an entity to violate what currently is the law. Until software patents are outlawed, only outlaws will violate software patents.

        You could have said the same thing about slavery.

        The reality is that sometimes the government does things that are just wrong and it's better to work outside the system. Whether this is one of those cases is up for debate but pretending that one should ALW
    • I would have to say YES.

      Based on the definition of "Slashdot Fanboy", however, I would probably say "no". At least not in this "community".

      Those who really care know software patents are bad, period, no matter what company is being hurt by them in the news. But to many /. people just the idea that Microsoft is hurting will cause them to turn a blind eye to the larger issue - that this could set a precedant that would hurt other software companies, and open source, in the long run.

      • And I would have to say this is not a troll. The parent makes a valid point. If you are against them, then you should be against them regardless of whom they are directed towards. It is not a point I happen to agree with (see earlier live by the sword, die by the sword post), but that doesn't make it any less valid, and is certainly not a reason to call it a troll.

        All I ask is that you think before you mod.

      • by Aim Here ( 765712 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @07:12PM (#9943640)
        Sorry, but you're missing the point. The fact that the legal immunity that Microsoft is pressuring these guys into signing happens to be with respect to patent law is somewhat irrelevant.

        If Microsoft used it's monopoly power to force these guys to sign an agreement allowing it to breach their copyrights while still being able to enforce it's copyrights in return, then that would clearly be an unfair agreement. The fact that it's patents, not copyrights or trademarks, makes no odds to the unfairness of these licenses.

        Sure the laws regarding software patents are bogus, but even you should be able to tell the difference between a bogus law applied fairly and one applied unfairly. It would be a bogus law applied fairly if Microsoft allowed it's customers to use Microsoft's patents in return. It would be a bogus law applied fairly if we could be sure that Microsoft wasn't going to use it's patent portfolio against it's customers.

        But when Microsoft can go to the patent office 10 times a day, while at the same time denying other patent holders the rights to use their patents in return, then that's not fair. See?
        (Yes, I know Microsoft's track record at initiating bad IP lawsuits isn't that bad at all, but the mere fact that MS or anyone else has patented your favourite algorithm to perform function X is enough to stifle competition, since the risk of lawsuits still has to be taken into consideration.)
    • by pHatidic ( 163975 )
      I don't think there is anything wrong with the concept of patents, only that the U.S. patent system is deeply flawed because it grants patents left and right where no real innovation has occurred. I think it would be fair for everyone to be able to patent something or for no one to be able to patent anything, but microsoft is reaping the double advantage here. Because they are an 800 lb corporate guerrilla they can not only prevent other people from using things they patent but can also use others peoples p
      • Disagree.

        Patent stakes out your right to solely exploit your invention for commercial purposes. This was the original idea behind patents. It has been lost over the years.

        In fact it has been lost for 100+ years now. AFAIK the first to start the practice of filing/buying patents and shelving them for purely defensive purposes was Dupont in the beginning of the 20th century. They patented and shelved numerous inventions which prolonged tire life so that they could continue generating revenue by selling load
    • by bstone ( 145356 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:59PM (#9943283)
      I don't see anything wrong with being against software patents in general while at the same time being against companies that abuse the patents they have. How is that "hypocritical"?

      In this case, a company with a virtual monopoly forcing anyone who uses their software to give up their own patent rights. How many companies don't have at least ONE copy of windows, especially if they're writing and patenting software themselves? If they want to test their software to insure that it works with Windows, they have to agree to give Microsoft their patent rights.
      • by Dominatus ( 796241 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:04PM (#9943316)
        I dont think you are understanding what's going on here.

        "Commission officials are not certain any patents have been violated by Microsoft. But several Japanese electronics makers have complained about suspected patent infringements since December 2000, especially regarding multimedia technologies (VC-9 and H.264/AVC, anyone?)"

        Microsoft (potentially) violated software patents. If you are against software patents, its hypocritical to want MS to suffer from them..

        It's like someone who says they are completely against war but being OK with a war as long as it's against a country they don't like.
        • How is this trolling?!
        • Hey, idiot moderators: parent is not a troll. Mod points are not supposed to be a way for you to push your own agenda.
        • "If you are against software patents, its hypocritical to want MS to suffer from them."

          Anything that makes Microsoft oppose software patents is good in my book. I don't want a software patent system with which Microsoft is comfortable; I want software patents out of the system.

          Its like waging war against a country that is on the offensive (e.g. Japan and Germany in the '40s; Iraq in the early '90s). The real issue here, as regards Microsoft, is abuse of monopoly power. I would be satisfied with this cl
          • But Microsoft doesn't use patents offensively. Shouldn't we do things that attack them on the correct front?
            • This is attacking them on the correct front. This is cancelling an abuse of monopoly power. That is the important precedent that is being set. The fact that it could allow other companies to abuse the patent system is irrelevant. If Microsoft does not have enough resources to protect itself from bad patents without abusing monopoly power, then what hope do the rest of us have?

              To get back to the war analogy, this is like forcing a small country to disarm its nukes (monopoly power). This has the side ef
        • Sigh... no, it's not hypocritical. What I am saying is that the law is wrong, but that it should be applied evenly if it is to be enforced at all.

          Microsoft are one of the main proponents of software patents. If they were to be hit by some patent cases, perhaps they will re-think whether software patents are a good idea. Speaking of which, don't you find it hypocritical of a software patent advocate to be violating other's patents at all?

          To use an analogy, it's like how I believe the drinking age in the U.
          • But microsoft *doesn't* use these patents to hurt others. Apple gets software patents all the time, yet this community doesn't criticize it. Therefore, it's only reasonable that the community is against companies being hurt by them.

            For example, if Linus decided to file for a patent for some algorithm he made, I don't think many people on this site would protest. If, however, company X were to sue Linus for abusing their patent, there would be outrage.

            There's no consistancy in the community about what is r
        • What if I'm against software patents, or other patent/copyright/IP law abuse, yet am still in favour of upholding the law while it is the law? Then it's not hypocritical to feel that MS should feel the full impact of the law. This has a double effect. It may show the burden software patents place on society, and it shows the possible hypocrisy of corporate giants supporting software patents when even they can't operte without knowingly or unknowingly violating them.

          So, while I'm in support of some serio
    • by Veridium ( 752431 )
      I think you miss something about this particular story, at least from my perspective... This isn't about Microsoft violating patents, it's about microsoft making people agree that they are free to violate the patents of anyone who agrees to that license. I don't like software patents, but if you're going to be a major holder of patents, thereby playing the game of patents, then this is a dirty dealing.

      And really, what is the logic of making someone agree to let you violate their patents as part of a lice
      • "several Japanese electronics makers have complained about suspected patent infringements since December 2000, especially regarding multimedia technologies (VC-9 and H.264/AVC, anyone?)"

        Is what I'm referring to, not the former part of the story. Sorry I wasnt clear :)
      • Ignore my last reply, I just confused myself. What I meant to say:

        I'm not referring to the contact being right or wrong, I'm referring to the very act of violating patents and getting punished for it. If Microsoft is using this contact to avoid being punished for software patent violations, but software patent violations are wrong anyway, then what's wrong with the evasion? I just feel its hypocritical to want a company to get punished for something you think is wrong to begin with.
        • by Veridium ( 752431 )
          I'm referring to the very act of violating patents and getting punished for it. If Microsoft is using this contact to avoid being punished for software patent violations, but software patent violations are wrong anyway, then what's wrong with the evasion?

          If they provided a reciprocal clause, I'd say nothing. As it is, it is a one way street AFAIK, and that's kind of dirty, don't you think? Especially since it's a software license and not a patent sharing agreement.

          That's the key thing I think should
    • he question is, is it hypocritical to nail Microsoft (in the community) for patent violations and at the same time consider software patents wrong by their very nature.

      No, because MS is the one being hypocritical. They claim to believe that strong enforcement of IP is a good thing and that IP violators are ethically defective, but their actions prove otherwise.

      So, I personally nail microsoft for such blatant hypocracy as demonstrated by their history of IP violations rather than for the violations the

  • by knix ( 555545 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:45PM (#9943173) Journal
    Besides the release of SP2, what has Microsoft done recently to actually boost its image? Hurting the image wouldn't be so bad if they tried to do good things every now and then.
    • "Besides the release of SP2, what has Microsoft done recently to actually boost its image?"

      My TabletPc is pretty damn cool.
  • by Pahalial ( 580781 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:45PM (#9943174)
    HTML Version of the recommendation [216.239.59.104]

    Specifically:
    Microsoft, when licensing Windows OS to personal computer manufacturers (hereinafter "PC manufacturers"), has concluded agreements with PC manufacturers containing certain provisions that a licensee covenants not to sue, bring, prosecute, assist or participate in any judicial, administrative or other proceedings of any kind against Microsoft, its subsidiaries, or other licensees for infringement of the licensee's patents. Such conduct by Microsoft shall be construed as dealing with PC manufacturers on conditions which unjustly restrict their business activities, which the JFTC concluded correspond to the Subsection 13 of the Unfair Trade Practices, violating the section 19 of the Antimonopoly Act.

    So Microsoft is forcing people it deals with to stay quiet if MS happens to infringe on their patents? I don't think there's any doubt whatsoever who is (*should be) in the right here. Of course, the frightening part is the US & Europe both found this perfectly normal.
  • Culture (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c0dedude ( 587568 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:45PM (#9943176)
    Most of Japan, as I understand it, actually cares whether its companies are following its laws, especially foreign companies. This could actually hurt, instead of drive up (publicity), sales of Microsoft products in japan.
    • Re:Culture (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jesterboy ( 106813 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:42PM (#9943519)
      I'm not sure where your "understanding" comes from, nor why this is modded "Insightful", but I suggest you read Dogs and Demons [amazon.com] to get a more complete understanding of Japan's situation. It was assigned reading for a n English class I took in Japan, assigned by a native Japanese teacher. While you won't benefit from my teacher's ability to fill in holes with other tragic incidents inflicted upon the area of Japan he calls home, I believe it provides a cursory understanding of some of the problems that plague Japan's bureaucratic system.

      One of the main points of the book is the absolutely disgusting interaction of Japan's goverment and corporations. Try googling "amakudari" (lit. "descent from heaven"), and see if you still feel the same way.
    • I think you should mean "Only foreign companies"

      Japan goes out of its way to make it harder for international interests to do ANYthing, while their own companies are very much the Megacorps of Shadowrun/Cyberpunk literature
  • Hooray! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Commission officials are not certain any patents have been violated by Microsoft. But several Japanese electronics makers have complained about suspected patent infringements since December 2000

    Hooray for software patents! Down with Microsoft!

    (Did I get that right? TIA)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    as similar investigations in the United States and Europe found it 'lawful and appropriate'

    Surely he realizes that that doesn't matter, since United States and European laws and rulings do not apply in countries other than the U.S. and the European Union, respectively.

  • Lets See... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Izago909 ( 637084 ) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dogsiuat.> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:48PM (#9943196)
    The US and Europe consider MS to be a monopoly. Japan looks like they will come to that conclusion too. How many more countries need to declare them a monopoly before it becomes true?
    • Re:Lets See... (Score:5, Informative)

      by James Turpin ( 789479 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:04PM (#9943315)
      The question is not so much whether they are a monopoly, but what (and how much) illegal activity they have done. And even more importantly, in what way (and how much) will Microsoft be penalized. Since anti-trust laws vary from country to country, this must be determined individually by each country. In fact, the US and Japan have very different anti-trust laws. For instance, Japan allows businesses in the same industry to cooperate in ways that are illegal in the US (such as pooling R&D resources). The laws Microsoft violated in the US do not necessarily apply in Japan, and visa versa.
    • "The US and Europe consider MS to be a monopoly. Japan looks like they will come to that conclusion too. How many more countries need to declare them a monopoly before it becomes true?"

      It's a delicate situation to deal with seeing as how it's a de-facto monopoly.
      • Re:Lets See... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by red floyd ( 220712 )
        Actually, in the US, since a court has ruled so, Microsoft is a de jure monopoly, not a de facto one.

        I'm not sure whether the EU has ruled one way or the other on this.
    • Re:Lets See... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And has it all REALLY made much of a difference? In the U.S. MS has gotten away without a scratch. The ruling in the EU has yet to really show results (and no, some measily fine is not a result). Does it even matter any more? No matter how much MS sucks, or how bad it gets, most people are totally unaware or simply do not care. That seems to be carrying over to the govenment.
  • what a deal ! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tsiangkun ( 746511 )
    On Wednesday, Microsoft for the first time divulged specific information about what the Starter Editions will contain. For instance, the bare-bones operating system's screen resolution maxes out at 800-by-600, it lacks support for home networking and shared printers, and only allows three programs to be running simultaneously.


    Hmmm, while the cheapo version of windows may have a market, I can think of three different kernels that support a whole GNU world of software running simultaneously, for much less
    • Re:what a deal ! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kenja ( 541830 )
      "On a more serious note, are all the little nasties that windows aquires from the web going to count towards the three processes ?"

      Proccess != Programs. Open up task manager, first tab is Applications (aka Programs) the second tab is Processes. A single application can be running several processes and background tasks such as spy/mail ware dont show up as applications. So rest assured, you'll still be able to run your favorite trojan.

      • FlameBait ??? I thought this was informative, funny and insightful.
      • a program can choose if it's on the list labeled as tasks or in the one labeled as processes.

        a piece of code running is a program none the less.

        you run a firewall *bang* there goes one 'program'(no matter how you count it is a program), then you have the special volume changer app for your sound card *bang* another program...

        so this starter edition is going to be a painful edition.. just another product in the line of *intentionally limited* products(ie, there went work into making it a lousier product,
    • On Wednesday, Microsoft for the first time divulged specific information about what the Starter Editions will contain. For instance, the bare-bones operating system's screen resolution maxes out at 800-by-600, it lacks support for home networking and shared printers, and only allows three programs to be running simultaneously.

      So they're bringing back Windows v3.1 then?

      Im not sure about the max resolution though ...
    • Of course getting a networked printer to work still requires a google search.

      "Of course"? I've always found setting up a networked printer in linux to be a matter of a few mouseclicks and the printing of a test page -

      Perhaps you could let us all in on the private joke it seems you were trying to make? I think you lost your audience here, but perhaps they are all too polite to mention it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:48PM (#9943202)

    i think worms,spammers zombies, viruses,spyware,dialers,malware,160+ internet explorer exploits, even mobile phone viruses !

    MS's image was damaged the day they decided software quality was secondary to marketing, quarter balance sheets and screw the customer for everything you can

    • by Anonymous Coward
      MS's image was damaged the day they decided software quality was secondary to marketing, quarter balance sheets and screw the customer for everything you can

      You mean the day they opened?

    • You forgot to mention that little issue of being convicted of breaking anti-monopoly laws in the US.
  • by intnsred ( 199771 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:48PM (#9943203)
    Who the hell do those Japanese think they are? Do they think they run their own country?! Do they think that the Japanese Parliament gets to enact laws that protect their citizenry from monopolies?!

    Don't worry though; they'll soon fall into line lock-step behind the American and European plutocrats.
    • Who the hell do those Japanese think they are? Do they think they run their own country?! Do they think that the Japanese Parliament gets to enact laws that protect their citizenry from monopolies?!
      Shows you don't know Japan very well, they are under the influence of monopolies(just look at the farm market) and the politicians are almost as corrupted by special interests as they are in the US. The difference is they are willing to take action against a foriegn company(much like the way the US took protec
  • Easy fix (Score:5, Funny)

    by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:50PM (#9943212) Homepage Journal
    All they have to do is give up the New York Ave and Illinois Ave monopolies. They can have Boardwalk, but the Japanese are particularly frustrated with the free parking corner.

    *sigh* The end of the day is always my most productive.
  • by scd ( 541350 ) <scottdp&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:50PM (#9943214)

    as similar investigations in the United States and Europe found it 'lawful and appropriate'

    Surely he realizes that that doesn't matter, since United States and European laws and rulings do not apply in countries other than the U.S. and the European Union, respectively.

    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:57PM (#9943266) Journal
      An american judge ruled against MS so MS went to europe to fight lindows. Europe rules against MS and MS claims that the american verdict shows europe has no case.

      MS reminds me most of the mafia from the movies. The mafia is free to kill rape and plunder but if someone kills a mafia member they sinned against the family. A real case of being able to dish it out but not being able to take it. Or a cry-baby bully.

      Lets see that the Microsoft apologists come up with this time. Will they as ever reach a new low?

    • I think it is a matter of perspective. When you are a senior manager of a company that controls your market and suppliers you may think it logical to assume that US law applies to the rest of the world. I know that may seem a giant leap in logic for many of us, but it is the only way to explain his comment.
  • Whew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:55PM (#9943251) Journal
    For a while, it looked like we were going to have to go through a day without a "Longhorn is delayed!" story! I applaud the submitter's ability to jam "...though Longhorn faces another delay." into this writeup for no apparent reason.

    Let's see -- we've had the Two Minutes of Rage Against SCO, Google IPO, Sun vaporware and Wireless Technology That Americans Must Be Forced To Want -- if the editors can scrape up an new IE vulnerability and a stupid Linux Is/Is Not Ready For The Desktop article, we can call it a day.

  • While I could go into a long tirade of how this works, Japan is generally considered more self-centric when it comes to businessand as a rule, if the Japanese company feels threatened (and it has reason to feel so - no FUD allowed), the Japanese courts will deal harshly with it. If you have ever read Michael Chricton's Land of the Rising SUn, it goes into a surprising amount of depth (albeit with alot of fictional twsits).
  • This is probably off-topic but I found it kind of humorous.

    At the bottom of the document it says "Copyright (C) yada, yada, yada All Rights Reserved"

    "All rights reserved" is a notice used to claim rights under the Buenos Aires Convention, a copyright treaty between the U.S. and most South American countries. I don't think Japan is a member of the BA Convention, but even if it was, they're still using a notice that has no meaning, since Japan - like the U.S. - is a member of the Berne Convention and so is every other country that is a member of the Buenos Aires Convention. In short, the additional notice is totally superfluous and has been since 1988!

    • Oh my God, that's hilarious! I'm laughing my ass off here! You know, just the other day I was watching the movie Airplane and I heard the line, "looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue" and I thought to myself, "that is perhaps the funniest line in any movie ever." But, man, you've shown me. This is much more hilarious! You could make a fortune on the stand-up circuit.
  • I cannot be the only one that finds the title of this /. article amusing. So I guess all the complaints over the years regarding the security vulnerabilities in their software and the outcries of people annoyed by their business practices didn't have the same or greater negative impact on their "image" as has this "monopoly battle"?
  • I'd oppose the Fair Trade Commission [jftc.go.jp] too. I mean, good god look at their web page! What's fair about using a lens flair in your logo?
  • Can someone post the clause in question, preferably translated into English?
  • Licenses have to fit on a single page in a 12 point font with reasonable margins and no words above three syllables.
    Less is more, and greater is (baroque|broke).
    Feed ye not the sharks.
  • Who else gets pictures of Godzilla vs a Borg Cube in their minds? Go Godzilla!
  • This may be slightly off topic, but interesting nonetheless. I just read in the Wall Stree Journal that Windows XP Starter Edition can only run 3 applications at a time.

    3 seems a little low when you figure you have to first start up your antivirus program, anti-spyware program, and firewall. And does spyware itself count for software running?
  • Microsoft Admits Monopoly Battle Hurting Image... in Japan!

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