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Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:11 AM EDT

One of the exhibits Samsung has now made public tells an interesting tale. It's the slide presentation [PDF] that Apple showed Samsung when it first tried (and failed) to get Samsung to license Apple's patents prior to the start of litigation. While some of the numbers were earlier reported on when the exhibit was used at trial, the slides themselves provide more data -- specifically on the difference between what Apple wanted Samsung to pay for Windows phones and for Android phones. The slides punch huge holes in Apple's FRAND arguments. Apple and Microsoft complain to regulators about FRAND rates being excessive and oppressive at approximately $6 per unit, or 2.4%; but the Apple offer was not only at a much higher rate, it targeted Android in a way that seems deliberately designed to destroy its ability to compete in the marketplace.

I have some questions after viewing the slides. Is there a difference between licensing standards essential patents and licensing de facto standards patents? I ask that because Apple, if I've understood its slides, seems to believe that it is not possible to make a touch screen device without infringing Apple's patents. If that were true, ought there not to be a limit on the rates for patents that block an entire field like that, if there are to be limits on FRAND license rates? What's the difference? If you can't make a phone without someone's patent, should there not be concern about *any* oppressive rates on *any* unavoidable patents?

Jump To Comments

Here are five of the Apple slides. Notice the discount schedule, and as you look at the slides, think about three things --1) that Apple and Microsoft are both claiming that a 2.4% licensing rate ($6 per phone) on FRAND licenses is excessively high and would destroy their ability to make any money; 2) that Android is singled out in a way that is licensed at a much higher rate, $30 per phone and $40 per tablet, and for touch screens, Apple clearly believes you can't make one without infringing Apple's patents, making them de facto standards-essential in effect; and 3) that the schedule seems designed to favor making Windows phones instead of Android, since that would only cost them $9 per phone instead of $24, making it appear that Android is being targeted for destruction in the marketplace, which indeed matches Steve Jobs' threat to destroy Android:

So that is what Apple portrayed as its standard rates per unit, $30 per phone and $40 per tablet. That is, for starters, a great deal more than $6, a rate Apple, and Microsoft, have both claimed is so high, it would make it impossible for them to make any money selling phones and tablets. But Apple offered some discounts to Samsung, based on its own patent portfolio and other factors:

So Samsung's patents gave it a 20% discount, plus it could get an additional 40% discount if it made Windows phones or tablets, since Windows has an Apple license, according to Apple, and an additional 20% if the phone was QWERTY instead of touch. So, 80% off if Samsung sold that kind of a Windows phone:

What about Android, however? It got only the patent portfolio 20% discount:

How would that work out in real life? Samsung would only pay $9 per Windows phones to Apple (still $3 more than the $6 rate Apple and Microsoft are whining to regulators about FRAND patents) but $24 per unit for Android devices. Does that look even plausibly fair? What does it mean in terms of FRAND rates and fairness? Clearly, the pricing means it was Apple's position that Android had to infringe if Samsung sold any touch screen Android device. What's wrong with this picture?

Why are regulators not looking at the whole picture here, specifically at what appears to be a deliberate attack on Android, and hence Google, one where patents are the weapons of choice just because they are so damaging to any newcomer to the field? Are regulators looking at the right target? And if not, why not?

The Attacks on Google:

I ask that because the FTC has been trying to tell Google what it must or must not include in its search engine results. No. Seriously. Here's how Reuters describes the situation at the FTC:
Four of the FTC commissioners have become convinced after more than a year of investigation that Google illegally used its dominance of the search market to hurt its rivals, while one commissioner is skeptical, the sources said.
Not to be prissy, but US antitrust law is not supposed to be about helping competitors. It's only supposed to be about protecting consumers. And Google Search is free. It's also the best, and that's why we use it.

If you say, fine, but don't let them move into other areas of search, specialized search, because then competitors can't survive, I have to ask, how does that help the public? Do you use Google News? I do. Every day. It's my daily newspaper, you could say. If Google isn't allowed to move into specialized search, there is no Google News. Or Google Maps. Or Google Patents. Or Shopping, etc. That would be a loss to me.

Do you want to drive off a cliff because your maps service is inadequate? I don't. So I don't want the government to tell Google it has to advertise competitive maps services and give them a higher rank in search results, because I don't want to find *less good* maps services. They are dangerous. I want the best.

Reuters tells us what the complaints are about:

A long list of companies has been complaining to the FTC, arguing that the agency should crack down on Google.

Companies rarely talk publicly about their dealings with the FTC, but consumer reviews website Yelp and comparison shopping website Nextag have both complained about Google during open hearings in Congress.

Google rivals specializing in travel, shopping and entertainment have accused Google, the world's No. 1 search engine, of unfairly giving their web sites low quality rankings in search results to steer Internet users away from their websites and toward Google products that provide similar services.

Computer users are overwhelmingly more likely to click on the top results in any search. The low ranking often forces companies to buy more ads on Google to improve their visibility, one source said.

Of course, Google says it's not true:
"May I simply say that I can assure you we've not cooked anything," said Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in last year's congressional hearing.
If users don't like a service, it's going to affect its rank. That's just how it is. Google doesn't have to cook anything to make that happen. It's just how it is. These companies want Google to help them out, but that's not Google's job. That really would be cooking the results. If you go to Google Search and type in "travel agencies", for example, do you want a list of other search engines? Or do you want travel agencies? What if you are looking for a hotel in Hawaii? Do you want a list of other search engines? How about if you are looking for a new phone? Do you want a list of other search engines? It's ridiculous if you really think about it, but that seems to be what the complainers would like. I mean, if I want a list of search engines, Google will give it to me, but if that isn't what I want, why force me to accept it?

Google is about showing you the best results they think you are searching for. It's not Google's job to push any company. Nor is it against the law to be successful or even a monopoly. There has to be harm. Where is it? Where's the harm in a service that is free and that we can simply avoid if we don't like it?

So who's behind the complaints? Microsoft gave money to FairSearch, the group that then went to the FTC complaining about Google. Here's what the New York Times says is the likely outcome, as PC Magazine describes it:

According to the New York Times, a number of antitrust experts indicate that this is the most likely outcome from the antitrust investigation: A settlement that likely involves Google promising to not promote its products over those of its competitors, among other conditions.
Google says it isn't doing that now. So we can assume, I think, that this is not what this is really all about.

No, this is about competitors wishing to crush Google. Look at the patent smartphone wars. All of it is about destroying Android. All of it. It's all aiming at Google, all the legacy businesses that can't compete on a fair and even playing field. Like Microsoft, for instance. And Oracle, who tried to go after Google but failed in the courts and then went and joined FairSearch. Why would Oracle care about search?

This is about the old trying to destroy the new. It's about the Internet, trying to suppress it and all it makes possible. And that's a message that seems to appeal to governments these days, the idea of controlling and regulating the Internet.

A bit more on the complaints:

The one source said the FTC commissioners have given weight to other complaints that Google refuses to share data that would allow advertisers and developers to create software to compare the value they get on Google to advertising spending on Microsoft's Bing or Yahoo.

In a related issue, the FTC is looking at Google's handling of valuable patents, which are determined to be essential to smartphones. The agency is trying to determine if they are licensed fairly and whether patent infringement lawsuits are used to hamper innovation.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in mid-September that he expected a decision in the case by the end of the year. European regulators are conducting a similar antitrust probe.

If the claims by FairSearch about search engines are so valid, why is FTC looking at other unrelated claims? Maybe because it knows it can't prevail in a court of law? If it can't, why is it still investigating the FairSearch complaints? What is this really all about?

It isn't hard to see what FairSearch is all about. Forgive me if I say that after tracking the SCO saga for nearly a decade, I get suspicious any time I see Microsoft funding any entity that then goes after Linux, these days meaning Android and Google.

By the way, guess where FTC Commissioner Leibowitz worked before he arrived at the FTC?

In the private sector, Leibowitz served most recently as Vice President for Congressional Affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America ...
That is in his bio on the FTC website. Might that color his views? You think? Hollywood simply hates the Internet and they seem to equate it with Google. They imagine, for one thing, that Google arranged the public outcry over SOPA, which Google didn't do. It arrived late to that battle, in fact, but Hollywood is Hollywood, and it wants to keep its old business model going. How else do you interpret what Harvey Weinstein just said in a speech recently criticizing Google (and Apple, mystifyingly enough):
"I think we are being done a massive disservice by these companies," Weinstein told the crowd. "I think after the [U.S. presidential] election we need to rally filmmakers, content providers and musicians around the world as long as these companies [continue to make content available] under the guise of free Internet."
I gather he's donated to a candidate or both of them and intends to get his money's worth. And he hates the Internet. Doesn't want his movies to be available there, I gather. When was the last time you went to the movies in person? I can't even recall the last time. I'll bet most of you can't either. Or maybe one blockbuster. But mostly we watch entertainment on the Internet and on TV. It's just how it is. And Hollywood has to adjust.

There was a media summit in Dubai recently. Bill Gates gave a speech and Ari Emanuel, the co-CEO of WME, was interviewed in a session called "Hollywood vs Silicon Valley". You can watch it on the Internet, by the way, one of the reasons the Internet is better than Hollywood. Here's Emanuel's speech on YouTube. Yes. YouTube. Thank you, Google's YouTube. And yes, it was the media summit that put it there. Here's their channel.

And you know what Emanuel said? That in his experience Google was doing better at protecting Hollywood's content and that the old movie business is still making money. It's still a good business, he said, but over time, everything is moving to the Internet. In fact, he said this is the greatest time for "content creators" ever, *because* of the Internet, which increases distribution possibilities:

The boom in digital platforms and the continuing strength of traditional media makes this “the greatest time of all” for artists involved in content creation, said Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of WME, at the opening of the third Abu Dhabi Media Summit. “It’s a very dynamic environment we live in now in terms of form and content.”

That, in business terms, means more buyers of content. “I think it’s the greatest time for clients that it’s ever been, because of the proliferation of distribution points. It’s only going to become greater and greater,” he said, noting that WME’s current challenge was to “to stay ahead of it.”

In a conversation with Conor Dignam, Screen International’s Group Editor, Emanuel told the top-level audience that “old media works perfectly well” currently, especially at the high-end level of tentpole studio films and big broadcasters. But he knows the shift in power to include more new media will happen in coming years. “I’m changing every day” he said of adapting to new business models. As an agency executive, he noted: “my job is to understand as much as I can about different opportunities.”

That's Weinstein's job too. There is money to be made in entertainment, but not by killing off the Internet. The solution is right in front of Weinstein's eyes. Stop fighting the change, because nobody wants to go back to the good olde days. By nobody, I mean, us, the public.

For that matter, I don't want to go back to the good olde days of the Internet either. Do you remember what it was like before Google showed up? I do. There's a *reason* why we all switched to Google. There were lots and lots of search engines at the time, but we all switched. Why? Because Google's was better. It still is, and regulators are not supposed to block what the public enjoys and wants to use, just because a lot of us agree that Google is the best search engine.

Google didn't get a leg up by having anybody share anything with them. They were better from day one, for that matter. And it had nothing to do with accumulated data.

Microsoft is who is really upset about Google. Nobody wants its phones. Nobody much likes Bing, and it's not used to being last. And personally, I think it just hates being found guilty of anticompetive behavior unless others join it in the category. It has been found guilty, on two continents. And instead of improving, it finds a new way to go after its competition, which is what got it in trouble in the first place.

Let's look at FairSearch for a minute, the Microsoft proxy that is behind the attacks at the FTC. Here are the members:

TripAdvisor
Kayak
Hotwire
Expedia
Sidestep
Microsoft
Level
Foundem
ShopCity
Twenga
AdMarketplace
Travel Tech Association
buscape
thefind
allegro
Nokia
Oracle
Of course, Nokia.

Here's the FairSearch page on "search manipulation" and here's a report on just how fair, or not, FairSearch is:

Fairsearch, a group backed by Microsoft and other Google competitors to lobby that Google isn’t “fair” to them with its search results, has been having a event today to push its view of all that’s wrong with Google. That includes building a myth that Google requires that all Android devices to use Google search. Google doesn’t do that. It never has. But that’s a good story the group still wants to tell.

The FairSearch Event

Today’s mythbuilding came out of a panel called “Tech Executives: Exploring Barriers to Innovation in Mobile and Online Services,” part of the FairSearch “Searching for Innovation and Competition Online” event that was held at the Newseum in Washington DC today.

Susan Athey, a professor of economics with Stanford’s Graduate School of Business was on the panel, making it sound like there was an unbiased academic meant to balance things out against having Skyhook Wireless and TradeComet, both with grievances against Google, also on the panel.

The Microsoft Speaker & The Incorrect Android Search Claim

But Athey isn’t just a professor. She’s also a consultant to Microsoft and has the role of Microsoft’s chief economist. The Microsoft connections weren’t listed next to her name on the agenda, but at least they were made clear in her introduction to those at the event....

“Microsoft tried to make deals to become the default search engine on mobile devices. On Android, that was rendered impossible. They were told, Android makers, and carriers, were told, that you cannot use another default besides Google,” Athey said.

Debunking Time

That’s not true. Not only is it not true, it’s impossible. It’s impossible because Android code is released to anyone to do anything that they want with. But if just being impossible isn’t enough proof, how about proof of Android devices that have dropped Google as the default search engine?...

If Microsoft’s consultant putting out false facts isn’t bad enough, FairSearch makes it worse by reporting the error as being true and not picking up the correction that Athey later makes after a Google spokesperson in the audience calls her out on it.

FairSearch responded here. And here's some rebuttal on the antitrust arguments FairSearch makes, answered point-by-point. Remember Microsoft's bumbling "Get the Facts"? Why is the FTC listening to what is essentially a "Get the Facts" lobbyist for Microsoft that is so unreliable as to the facts?

Now I don't track all of Google's businesses and ways. I don't speak to their perfection, and I don't follow all the details. But I get the big picture clear as a bell. Microsoft is spending money to fund groups that attack Google. It isn't just FairSearch. Here's a report by Rick Falkvinge, "How Microsoft Pays Big Money to Smear Google in European Parliament," about another conference allegedly on privacy, sponsored by an entity called ICOMP:

I spent this week in the European Parliament in Brussels. One of the seminars I attended was advertised as being a seminar on privacy, big data, profiling, and online identities. As interesting as it sounded, it was anything but....

The next ten minutes were nothing like I had ever experienced. It was the most shameless bashing of a single company with hints and allegations that I had ever seen. In practically every sentence of the keynote, which was exclusively about how bad Google was as a company, words were snuck into the overall flow that were designed to plant ungrounded ideas in the audience’s mind.

“…in Google’s latest privacy scandal…”

“…Google made the headlines again…”

“…allegations that Google has downranked relevant search results…” (as if Microsoft gets to determine what is relevant?)

It went on and on. This was not a seminar on privacy at all. This was Microsoft-funded Google-smearing, plain and simple, and I felt my blood starting to boil. No free lunch was worth sitting down and taking this kind of language designed to smear a competitor for profit. I would not be a part of this.
The Economist covered that same ICOMP event, and notice the FTC tie-in:
On February 29th, a day before Google's new privacy policy kicked in, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace (ICOMP), a lobby group, held a seminar at the London offices of Burson-Marsteller, a public-relations firm. The title, “Protecting the Consumer: Data Privacy in the Digital Age”, suggested an evening of arcane wonkery. But the organisation and location hosting the seminar hinted that participants were in for a bout of Google-bashing. ...

The bland-sounding ICOMP is openly funded by Microsoft (among others), whose search engine, Bing, competes with Google's. ICOMP's homepage is littered with attacks on the search giant...

A few months ago, the Telegraph published a scathing review of ICOMP's antics. The organisation was unruffled.

The latest seminar was a textbook example of how not to lobby. ICOMP invited Christopher Graham, Britain's information commissioner, and Georgina Nelson, a lawyer with Which?, a consumer-rights group, to give the event a veneer of respectability. But the aim of the evening seemed to be to give Pamela Jones Harbour, a former commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, a platform from which to attack Google. Ms Harbour, who left America's consumer-protection agency to become a partner at an American law firm that represents Microsoft, began by telling the gathered activists and digerati that Google's new privacy policy hurts consumers. She then quickly turned to Google's dominance in the online ad industry with slides and flowcharts illustrating the company's anti-competitive behaviour, a topic not immediately related to privacy concerns.

So Harbour went from the FTC to a job at a law firm that represents Microsoft. Here's another report on the conference where Harbour spoke, with more details as to her suggested goal, namely government regulation of the Internet:
While the program started with a decent enough summary of the legal landscape the FTC is looking at by Bert Foer of the American Antitrust Institute (who clarified his organization has no stance on the current FTC investigation), the program quickly descended into shocking calls for government power grabs, international destruction of an American company, and the typical complaints we’ve discussed on this blog before.

Two incredibly disturbing points stood out: First, that a long-term government “management” role/entity is a real possibility (and more or less likely, depending on the speaker) and second, that there should be an International coordinated “solution” to the Google “problem.”...

Perhaps most new and shocking were the calls for an international assault on Google and adoption of European laws on antitrust.

Former FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones was most gung-ho on this front: “Maybe you get together a global task force and have regulators from all around the world … and come up with a comprehensive global solution for global consumers of the Internet.”
That's not a solution I would ever want. Nor are we "consumers of the Internet" here. I help write the content on the Internet. The Internet is not a product to be passively consumed. Which is why I'd prefer that the government stay out of it and refrain from regulating it, particularly when they so obviously don't even understand how it works.

And may I say I don't even allow Google or any search engine to scoop up most of Groklaw's content, and we've done just fine in terms of gaining and holding a loyal audience? There is life without Google.

I want the government to leave the Internet alone. In the US, we are fortunate to have a Constitution that does not allow the government to pass laws regulating speech. It's a very precious thing that benefits us deeply and profoundly. Let China control the Internet for its citizens, if it is so inclined. But to get together and globally control the Internet? Is Harbour out of her mind? Or is it Microsoft? What in the world is it suggesting? What good can come of having any government dictate what must or must not be in search engine results, under penalty of law? Nothing Google has ever done or ever could do could be as damaging as that.

If that isn't what you want for your Internet, you might want to let the FTC know how you feel before it's too late. I don't pretend I know they will listen. But if all they are listening to is Microsoft paid lobbyists, I'm positive no good can come of it.


  


Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj | 354 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
The Corrections Thread
Authored by: ais523 on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:35 AM EDT
In case PJ made a mistake. It helps to put the correction in the title of your
post.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Touch screen history needs looking at
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:40 AM EDT
They were around long before there was an Apple. The earliest publication (of a
working system) that I know about was in 1965. Given where E A Johnson worked, I
suspect the development was much earlier. I don't see how Apple can justify
their 'everything infringes' ideas.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The News Picks Thread
Authored by: ais523 on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:40 AM EDT
For discussing the links in the sidebar of the front page. Link to the pages
you're talking about in your comment, so that we know what you're talking about
once they scroll off the front page.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OFF-Topic
Authored by: soronlin on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:47 AM EDT
Not at all on-topic

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes Here Please
Authored by: soronlin on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:49 AM EDT
Thanks for all your hard work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A question to ask every WP Developer
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:54 AM EDT
to ask every WP developer:

How do you feel that MS has but both money and legal efforts
in betting on Android succeeding instead of WP ecosystem and
tools? Scared about your livelihood yet relying upon MS?

Also notice that FairSearch members are all supported by MS
investments...should we ask about RICO?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Jokes about PJ vs PJH Here Please
Authored by: soronlin on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 08:54 AM EDT
So she can ignore, or maybe delete them, easier.

:-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Standards Essential and FRAND
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 09:12 AM EDT
Quoth PJ:
I have some questions after viewing the slides. Is there a difference between licensing standards essential patents and licensing de facto standards patents? I ask that because Apple, if I've understood its slides, seems to believe that it is not possible to make a touch screen device without infringing Apple's patents. If that were true, ought there not to be a limit on the rates for patents that block an entire field like that, if there are to be limits on FRAND license rates? What's the difference?
There is a difference, and it's an important one. Patents in general are barriers to entry. Patents allow you to shut other people out of a market for building something similar unless they take a license. It's precisely what they're designed for.

So, for example, if Apple had invented the multi-touch capable touchscreen (they didn't, but they were the first to bring it successfully to market), they'd be within their rights to charge whatever they want for someone else to use it. Other people like it? Great! People can't live without it, and every decide needs it? Great! But they have to pay, and pay what the inventor chooses. To argue against this is to argue against patents as a general concept.

"People like the patented technology" isn't a reasonable argument for something to not be patentable. This would remove many of the incentives the patent system was designed to provide (i.e. the right of an inventor to control and receive maximum revenue from their invention). There's no REQUIREMENT to license to anyone under the patent system. FRAND is NOT an exception to that.

FRAND is different. FRAND is a bad solution to a technical problem. The problem is that most participants in the industry want there to be common standards for interoperability between various devices. Someone making cell phone towers needs to be able to talk to cell phones using an expected common format. And having a global standard allows useful things like voice and data roaming internationally. The point is that ALL market participants agree a standard is needed.

Standards aren't per se necessary - a company could invent its own competetor to LTE in the 4G space, and if you want to build all the hardware to implement it, you could. It's just not terribly practical - cell companies don't want to lock into a single-vendor network that only supports single- vendor handsets. So in practical terms, every vendor benefits from standards.

To have a standard, it NEEDS to be implementable by anyone. Otherwise, it's not a standard. It's not a standard if the cell phone companies can implement it but the cell tower companies can't.

The problem is that there's a lot of patented technology out there in telecom-land. Which means standard makers need to make a choice.

They COULD require all standards to be patent-free - standards must avoid using any patented technology or concepts. This would allow a truly patent-free standard, but would really limit effectiveness of the developed standard - it would be slow, buggy, and have coverage issues.

Or, they COULD allow patented technology into standards, and in fact did so. The challenge is what to do with the patents.

IMO the thing they should have done was insist on a free universal license - if you propose something as part of a standard, or sit in review of a standard that contains your patented tech, you've agreed to a free license for anyone to implement that patent specifically as part of the standard.

The problem with that approach is that the people with patents don't get any revenue from the patent (at least from implementing that specific standard, though they can get revenue from any other uses). People kicked and screamed, and the standards bodies folded and created FRAND, which in theory provides similar protection to an open free license, but in practice doesn't. The theory is companies maintain the patent, but agree to license the patent to anyone who asks at a "reasonable" rate, and at the same rate for everyone.

Note that FRAND is a VOLUNTARY agreement between the participants in creating the standard. They each individually agreed to license their technology under FRAND terms in exchange for their patented technology being incorporated into the standard. FRAND is a CONTRACTUAL requirement, not a patent requirement.

It's the "reasonable" part of FRAND that's the problem - companies are free to interpret it however they want. Once you've added a "judgement call" to the requirement (i.e. what's "reasonable"), you've created an issue for the courts, and created exactly the problem you were trying to avoid (standards someone can freely implement without a drawn-out court battle with patent holders).

The court battles around FRAND are precisely the reason why FRAND was a terrible idea. FRAND is not the answer. FRAND is the problem. Please don't argue for more FRAND.

The solution to the problems that are tying up the telecom space (and the software space) are two-fold:
  • Eliminate FRAND and for all future standards, require participants to grant a free open license to anyone implementing the standard
  • Have a major overhaul of what can actually be patented, and remove all the trivial and frivolous patents out there in the world.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Google news.
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 09:33 AM EDT
I didn't even know that Google news existed until this article. But then I'm in
the UK where even with the current scandal hitting the BBC we still get better
news reports from them than the Murdoch owned press.

---
Beware of him who would deny you access to information for in his heart he
considers himself your master.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nextag
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 10:02 AM EDT
One of the first things I learned when searching for stuff, was to ignore any
results from a web site called nextag. Nextag have the most absolutely, totally,
completely, uncompromisingly useless web pages. Search is SO much better now
that nextag is bounced way down in the search results.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Nextag - Authored by: Wol on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 04:25 PM EDT
    • Nextag - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 24 2012 @ 03:34 AM EDT
"Not using proprietary features"???
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 10:02 AM EDT
I may be jumping to conclusions here, but it sounds like
Apple is demanding royalties calculated on the basis of the
number of phones Samsung ships, *including* phones that don't
infringe any of Apple's patents (though those ones get a
discount).

Reminds me of railroad barons last century, Microsoft and the
PC makers, and in general of why I more or less gave up on
antitrust law a long time ago.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One possible explanation
Authored by: pem on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 10:52 AM EDT
I am the last person to defend Apple -- I think their actions in all this are
despicable -- but...

There may be good reasons for licensing Windows phones at a lower rate than
Android, that have to do with (legitimate) Apple and Microsoft cross-licensing,
and patent exhaustion.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Controlling the Internet
Authored by: JK Finn on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 11:12 AM EDT
It's about the Internet, trying to suppress it and all it makes possible. And that's a message that seems to appeal to governments these days, the idea of controlling and regulating the Internet.

For some reason, the governments these days seem to assume that removing the uncontrollable aspects of the Internet would result in them having the control. 'Twould be laughable were it not so sad.

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This is utterly frustrating
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 11:16 AM EDT
What is most frustrating about this whole mess is that no government entity can
step in and restore decency and common sense.
These old tech giants have spun way out of control and their money and influence
means there are no restraints on their behaviour.

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  • Corruption - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 07:40 PM EDT
Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 11:38 AM EDT
I do not believe that things will change for the good of
the majority of citizens. The US government is too much
composed of and controlled by citizens that believe that
only the wealthy have the correct beliefs to decide how the
nation must operate. So much of the entrenched wealthy
require that the citizentry be controlled and have no
siginificant free choice or options, otherwise they will
loose their undeserved and obscene income streams.

It is the adage of the Golden Rule: Those that have the
gold, make the rules.

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$40 per tablet
Authored by: JamesK on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 11:47 AM EDT
A couple of months ago, I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" tablet for $250.
That license fee would be 16% of the retail price. Seems a bit steep to me.
Also, there are many tablets under $100. With those, at least 40% would go to
Apple.


---
The following program contains immature subject matter. Viewer discretion is
advised.

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  • $40 per tablet - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 07:05 PM EDT
  • $40 per tablet - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 02:04 AM EDT
FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Gringo_ on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 11:48 AM EDT

PJ - I am so impressed with how well this article presents the situation. I really hope it is viewed broadly. The main stream press presents a fragmented view of the situation at best, but here you have it in a nutshell.

One thing that particularly irks me is how they (the press) pick up memes planted by Microsoft without realizing it. They do their readership a big disservice that way. For example, the meme about the insanity of "this patent war between smartphone companies". They imply with a few careless words that they are all the same and equally to blame. That view, as you have clearly demonstrated, couldn't be further from the truth. There is no "war" in that sense. Instead, there is Microsoft and Apple ganging up on Google, and Google backed into a corner trying to defend Android and our freedom from Apple's prison and Microsoft's predation. Now the courts are trying to emasculate Google by taking away their ability to fight back with FRAND patents. Meanwhile, the enemy is working full time to establish the meme that companies shouldn't be able to use FRAND patents this way.

I would suggest that it is the duty of journalists and writers of tech blogs to be properly informed so they don't end up being used as unwitting mouth pieces to spread propaganda from either Apple or Microsoft. This article would give them an excellent foundation on the issues in one go.

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Petition at Whitehouse.gov
Authored by: pem on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 12:17 PM EDT
This petition is not by any means perfect, but they only give you 800 characters to press your case. I used all of them.

If 150 people sign up, the petition becomes "public" -- available on the front page of the site. Obviously a high bar to overcome, given the few petitions that are public.

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Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 12:27 PM EDT
Question...

...Nokia do not pay Apple license fees as decided by the Apple-Nokia patent spat
a while back. The outcome of which was kept more or less secret (anyone know the
exact details?). We DO know what Apple is paying something to Nokia per device
sold...

I know that this is a "private" deal between Nokia and Apple, but does
it have bearing here? It seems that Apple chose to give up the fight (Nokia is
believed not to be a competitor anymore or that Nokia has far too many patents
in its portfolio that something would stick against Apple?)

Would any of this have any possible bearing later on with regards to
Samsung-Apple?

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Google's privacy policy change
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 12:28 PM EDT
Regarding the uproar about Google's privacy change to allow all its services to
share data, i recently read somewhere that ms had changed it's policy to do the
same.
Will look for the news item i read on this.

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Fairsearch
Authored by: MDT on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 12:45 PM EDT
I just noticed, that the travel site I use (Orbitz) wasn't on the list PJ put
up. I hope that means they aren't part of Fairsearch at all. I did notice that
Kayak and Expedia were, and I don't use either of those sites. Not because they
are part of Fairsearch, but because they weren't good sites. I don't use
Google's travel site (if they have one). I like Orbitz, it is intuitive, and it
works for me.

Maybe if the Fairsearch groups learned that lesson, this could all go away.

---
MDT

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  • Fairsearch - Authored by: PJ on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 04:48 PM EDT
  • Fairsearch - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 05:19 PM EDT
  • orbitz - google tech user - Authored by: jrl on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 05:57 PM EDT
  • Fairsearch - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 04:49 AM EDT
Is $9 vs $24 fair? Depends what was paid for license
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 04:02 PM EDT
How would that work out in real life? Samsung would only pay $9 per Windows phones to Apple (still $3 more than the $6 rate Apple and Microsoft are whining to regulators about FRAND patents) but $24 per unit for Android devices. Does that look even plausibly fair?
I can't say if its fair without knowing what Microsoft paid for their license. $30x40%=$12 & $40x40%=$16. IF Microsoft's license payment included $120M or $160M to license Apple's technology for 10M units, then the discount would be fair within that context. Of course, the base fee seems excessive and that's not fair to either Android or even Microsoft (if they actually paid something worth the discount).

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How do Microsoft feel
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 22 2012 @ 04:35 PM EDT
That their partners have to pay a licence fee to apple to
implement WP?

Obviously commercial software can incorporate some patent
licensing cost into the sticker price.

Open source free software cannot be subject to patent
licencing without destroying it.

This is purely about destroying open source software and
ensuring that it can't be viable in the market. Apple and
Microsoft would rather you pay money for software from their
competitor than get it for free, because free software
strikes at the heart of all they hold dear.

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I don't understand Example 2
Authored by: gfim on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 12:02 AM EDT
I don't understand Example 2. You've got a picture of an iPhone and an iPad, but
it talks about running Android.

What, sorry?? You're telling me that they're actually Samsung devices? Gee, they
really look alike don't they.


/sarcasm

---
Graham

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why?
Authored by: Tufty on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 12:35 AM EDT
If it is FRAND then why should Windows and Android have different rates?

---
Linux powered squirrel.

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Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 03:30 AM EDT

.. but I *would* argue against patents as a general concept.

We have academic research in hand proving that patents as a general concept to promote innovation is a failure.

Theoretical evidence - mathematic proof! - and practical evidence (research into the historic effects of patents on innovation).

Given this evidence, given *all* the evidence, I feel simply divorcing patents from software isn't enough. If software patents are disallowed the battle will just move to a new field, where all the problems we see today will just repeat themselves. Patents are no solution. Patents are a problem.

So we need to abolish patents entirely. Doing so in one fell swoop would be unwise, but it does need to be done.

The only real question left to me is how: How? How do we deal with fields where they fill a need? (However imperfectly...) As an example, the medical industry by necessity needs to be weened off this patent drug (it's causing harm there as well), and adjusting their processes to a new (contest based?) system will take years. For software it's a lot easier - getting rid of them right away will mitigate a lot of harm...

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When is Google going to leverage its reach and put some pressure on Washington?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 04:46 AM EDT
Reading this article made me wonder why Google does not use
its powerful leverage more to back up the politicians
in washington against the wall. Especially those that are
subworkers for the MPAA & CO.

In the last year or so I have often thought that Google
should startup their very own editorial department for
publishing own brand of news using their vast infrastructure
to reach out to their own Google Audience. That would
definately shake up some folks in high places and even Obama
would get a case of jitters, right now before the elections.

This Article also raised some questions in my mind about
conspiracy issues and whats going on around the MPAA and
their political interest groups. Its beginning to become
obvious and it smells. Its a good thing that there are still
at least some investigative jounalists around interested in
publishing the truth.

Thanks Groklaw.

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They are not complaining about indexing...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 05:28 AM EDT
Yelp and co are mostly not complaining about indexing. The
problem is that Google present in the result, link to its
own services that do not come from indexing. For instance,
if you search for "smartphone", the third link is "Shopping
results for smartphone" (from Google Shopping), and if you
search for a town, then you get a link to Google Map in a prominent position
(either third link or on the right side,
depending on your local Google service). And those links are
not results of the "fair" indexing algorithms, but they show
up because Google actively place those link there.

You might think that it is convenient that they provide this
information, and I would agree with you. However, this is
borderline in light of the anti-trust law. As you said, it
is fine that Google has a near-monopoly in the search space,
but it is not fine that they abuse this monopoly to expand
into other domains, and by putting those links to their own
Shopping/Map services, it is actually what they are doing.

For sake of completeness, they do indeed complain about a
change in google indexing that reduce the ranking for page
with duplicated content, which was very good at taking down
website "mirroring" wikipedia, but it had the side effect of
taking down contents aggregator as well. But they know that
this argument cannot fly for anti-trust laws.

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Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 05:33 AM EDT
Quote:
The one source said the FTC commissioners have given weight to other
complaints that Google refuses to share data that would allow advertisers
and developers to create software to compare the value they get on Google
to advertising spending on Microsoft's Bing or Yahoo.
End quote

I find this to be bizarre. I have extensive developement experience in this
area and I cannot understand what they are talking about and never heard
anything like this. If anything google gets more ad spend because the rest
are relatively incompetent both in terms of building business and in terms of
making it easy to get information into and out of them. It is laughable that
they accuse google of putting up barriers like this.

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  • Yep - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 03:41 PM EDT
Author's Google Bias
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 09:10 AM EDT
Well I suppose it's useful for your bias to be blatant, makes it easier to
evaluate your articles. To my mind Google aren't the white knights you paint
them to be, they've used their dominant position in search to muscle into many
areas and become dominant. The idea that they should be allowed to put google
maps at the top of searches for maps because "you don't want to find worse
products" are ludicrous and draw parallels with Microsoft's bundling of
Internet Explorer with Windows. (At the time it could easily have been argued
that IE gave the best browsing experience). If a better mapping solution was
out there, how would you know?
Google have no respect for people's privacy, and use personal data to make a lot
of money for themselves. Implying that google are doing good or fighting for
freedom is incredibly naive. Stick to the analysis of the law and stop
cheerleading for massive corporations, they don't deserve it.

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Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 11:47 AM EDT
Yay! Hope this remains invalidated! apples-rubber-band-patent-invalidated"

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Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 02:02 PM EDT
<blockquote>Where's the harm in a service that is free and
that we can simply avoid if we don't like it?</blockquote>

And thus PJ admits that she has been wrong for over a decade
in regards to Microsoft bundling IE with Windows.

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Apple's Licensing Offer To Samsung Raises Questions About FRAND Rates and What's Behind the Attacks on Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 03:33 PM EDT
Google rivals specializing in travel, shopping and entertainment have accused Google, the world's No. 1 search engine, of unfairly giving their web sites low quality rankings in search results to steer Internet users away from their websites and toward Google products that provide similar services.
A Google search for "travel sites" returns:
KAYAK, Expedia, Hotwire, orbitz, priceline, travelzoo, kiplinger, travelocity, online-travel-sites-review, and travel-nytimes
... on the first page of results

These are very predictable results and not a single one of them are google services. Every single one of them (well at least the first 8) are well known travel sites. if i did a search on travel sites and saw these results, i would be happy with the results.

A Google search for "map of las cruces, nm" returns:
A google map of las cruces, mapquest, lascrucescvb, yahoo-maps, tripadvisor, reenwichmeantime, city-data.com, and again city-data.com
...on the firs tpage of results

Yelp's complaints as i understand are that the Google Map data comes at the top. first. before everything else. But is this really even a valid arguement?

if i searched for a map, the first thing i want to see is a map. not a dozen links to another webpage that MIGHT show me a map of what i want. I fail to see the arguement.

A Google search for "hotels in las vegas" returns:
expedia, hotels.com, vegas.com, and google results for [Places for hotels near Las Vegas, NV]
...on the firs tpage of results

I still don't see anything wrong here. The top three travel sites information is listed first, ABOVE, the google links. The google links are not links to their own services. They are links to hotels that are in their maps database with the tag "hotel"

"flight to fiji":
expedia, tripadvisor, airpacific, cheapflights, skyscanner, jetstar, flightcentre, webjet...

I am really failing to understand why any of the travel sites on that list are angry with what Google's search results produce.

"men's rolex watches":
rolex.com, overstock.com, ebay.com, tic-tock.com, yahoo, other random shopping results... etc


Yes, there is the results for shopping.google.com on the right hand side of the screen. They are allowed to do this. They are allowed to put ads for whatever they want, wherever they want. But they are not polluting the search results. i did a similar search for "smartphone" and not a single mention of android in the results: wikipedia, cnet, att, amazon, blackberry, t-mobile,engadget, htc, about.com, computerworld, then news relating to smartphone

htc made the list. but one could argue they make phones with varying operating systems, not just android. Again, there are the shopping.google.com results on the right hand side of the screen, completely separated from the website search results. Are these the results that have everyone so worked up?

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The Apple discount structure
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 10:21 PM EDT
PJ wrote:

So Samsung's patents gave it a 20% discount, plus it could get an additional 40% discount if it made Windows phones or tablets, since Windows has an Apple license, according to Apple, and an additional 20% if the phone was QWERTY instead of touch. So, 80% off if Samsung sold that kind of a Windows phone:

So, is Apple a licensing agent for Microsoft? And is Apple admitting collusion with Microsoft? I fail to see any economic reason for Apple to offer Samsung a discount to use an alleged competitors (MS) product.

The whole discount structure reeks of an attempt to hamstring Samsung.

---

You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

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