The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lawyers, lawsuits, operating systems, and us

I get a lot of spam interesting emails. On purpose. My fault. I sign up for, or allow, some sites to send me "news, articles, and offers" and these constitute most of these "interesting emails." It is not really "spam" if you request it, is it?

The other day I received one of these from about a lawsuit [link] by Barnes & Noble against Microsoft. People love to hate Microsoft. Especially Apple people. And now we will toss in Android people. You see, the B&N folks use the Android operating system on their Nook devices. And Microsoft seems intent on reducing the market footprint of Android (so is Apple, as we will learn). This is economic warfare as practiced by Beeg Bidnezz. I am not so naive as to think that rules aren't bent (or simply ignored) in these battles. I fully expect that to happen. I am sure so did B&N. They just thought that the courts would act as a kind of buffer.

B&N seems on the ropes these days. Their business model must change if they are to survive in the Digital Age. People are buying fewer physical books and more digital books. These eReader thingies are getting more and more popular. Tablet computers are displacing laptops. And tablet computers are also beginning to eat into the eReader share of the market since tablets can be used as eReaders and do not cost significantly more. So eReaders are morphing into tablets.

But B&N has been dealt a blow by the court. Sayeth the judge:

Microsoft’s tactics are certainly hard bargaining, but they do not rise to patent misuse because there is absolutely nothing about such tactics that expand the scope of any patent.

And it appears that Apple is aligned with Microsoft. According to the article:

Microsoft isn’t the only mortal enemy Google and its Android hardware partners face. Before he died, Steve Jobs said “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.” And he promised he would “spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.”

Think this doesn't affect you? Think again.


Steven Scott said...

apple's constantly suing android device makers over trivial & invalid patents they have, just like when they repeatedly sued microsoft for coming out with Windows. they lost all of their GUI look'n'feel suits, but it hasn't deterred them. now they're suing for stuff like "slide an image to unlock a portable device" that they have patents on - but their patents are often preceded by prior art for years and sometimes decades. they didn't invent the touchscreen or the touch metaphors they use, but they still think that they're the only ones that should be allowed to use them.

they keep on suing Samsung for their android devices...I can't wait until Samsung gets tired of it and stops selling them all the flash memory and LCD panels that they're the (almost) sole manufacturer of. but apple is scared - Android 4.0 is fantastic (and only officially on 2 devices ATM, both samsung) and it's no longer in the realm of "powerful to geeks but hard to use."

i like apple computers, they're extremely high quality, and the OS is fantastic for us unix geeks that like a slick interface. they're doing great stuff with touchpads and the hybrid touchpad/mouse design of the Magic Mouse - they're doing a good job of melding the tablet/touch metaphor into PC computing. something as simple as reversing the scroll direction in the latest OSX translates into a more real-world metaphor - you're sliding a document up, like you might do with a piece of paper, not moving the "viewport" of a "window." pinching to zoom, using multiple fingers to slide between desktops, 5-finger expanding/contracting to expose your desktop or drop an app launcher over your screen, etc become second nature very quickly. they're experts in Human-Computer Interaction & interface design.

but they really need to change their business practices.

Douglas4517 said...

 You weren't born yet when the VHS vs Beta "war" was raging. Sony had Betamax and licensed it to one other VCR maker. The rest of the industry used VHS. The picture quality of Beta was much better than VHS but VHS had longer recording times (2, 4, and 6 hours to Beta's 1.5 and 3 hours). VHS was cheaper, too. So VHS got the market and Beta disappeared. Apple nearly did, too, but Bill Gates bailed them out by investing in them when Jobs came back. But their practice has always been a proprietary nature and a litigious attitude. For that reason alone, I will not buy Apple products.

Steven Scott said...

IIRC, one of the windows GUI lawsuits ended up witha settlement- the "bailout" (MS's purchase of non-voting stock) and a promise to keep making office for mac for some number of years. also IIRC they divested themselves of the stock long before AAPL would have made them a HUGE profit.

again, IIRC, the need for the bailout was because apple ousted jobs and tried the route of licensing MacOS for clones, which apparently was a terrible move.

i definitely hate apple's litigiousness...but I hate BoA and do business with them. just one of those necessary evils.

and apple is far more open and un-proprietary these days. FireWire was made into an IEEE standard, and I believe Thunderbolt is open. Most of OSX is BSD-licensed. They purchased CUPS and continue to release it openly. WebKit was taken from KDE's (poor) browser code, and developed and released openly, and is now the basis of every good non-IE/Mozilla/Opera browser (Safari, Mobile Safari, Chrome, Chrome for Android, Android Browser, Amazon Fire, Dolphin, Aurora, the list goes on)...that alone caused a quantum leap in web development and open web standards- which has truthfully de-emphasized OS since we can now do so much from a web browser. Maybe in hindsight they shouldn't have done that, heh. apple brought GUIs/mice mainstream...created the digital music industry (my Diamond Rio was an awful product, so glad they made the ipod)...made the world start using USB (developed in part by MS) and CDs by dropping the floppy drive from iMacs (caused an uproar, but in hindsight helped the entire industry)...put out the iphone when the most advanced phones ran windows CE/palmOS/symbian and pushed that industry into a new era...anyway. don't really have a point besides being glad that apple has existed.

Douglas4517 said...

 That's interesting, I hate BoA and, therefore do NOT do business with them. I do it with their competition. I haven't done business with BoA since 1970. Actually, I only did it then because my employer at the time wrote my paycheck on his account with them. I once had an account wit them, in 1969. But they wanted to charge me for a 4th withdrawal in a single quarter and I closed the account instead.

Same with Apple. If others wish to buy their products, that's fine with me. But I don't. They've got enough competition that I don't have to.