As part of an ongoing effort to secure more patent cross-licensing deals, Microsoft said Wednesday that it has signed a pact with Korea’s Samsung Electronics.
As with Microsoft’s recent deal with Fuji Xerox, the software maker specifically notes that the deal will allow Samsung to offer products using Linux without concern that Microsoft will sue it or its customers.
“This is kind of a theme we expect people will see in future patent cross-licenses that Microsoft reaches,” said David Kaefer, Microsoft’s general manager of intellectual-property licensing.
Thank you Novel for pioneering the future where Microsoft doesn’t even have to use or code for Linux to profit off of it. Thank you for the future where we essentially need Microsoft’s permission to run free software. This “patent indemnity” system is turning patent monopolies into patent cartels as protection rackets.
And Samsung now joins Novell on my blacklist.
Last Sunday morning, our pastor noticed a young boy, about 7 or 8 years old, staring up at a large plaque that hung in the foyer of our parish’s small church. It was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it. The youngster had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy and said quietly, “Good morning.”
“Good morning, sir,” replied the young man, still focused on the plaque. “What is this? He asked, gesturing to the plaque.” “Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.” Soberly, they stood together staring at the large plaque. Then, with a barely audible voice, trembling with fear, the boy asked, “Which service? The 8:30 or the 10:45?”
If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had gone to the Senate yesterday to convince the world that he ought to be fired, it’s hard to imagine how he could have done a better job, short of simply admitting the obvious: that the firing of eight United States attorneys was a partisan purge.
Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch.
He had no trouble remembering complaints from his bosses and Republican lawmakers about federal prosecutors who were not playing ball with the Republican Party’s efforts to drum up election fraud charges against Democratic politicians and Democratic voters. But he had no idea whether any of the 93 United States attorneys working for him — let alone the ones he fired — were doing a good job prosecuting real crimes.
He delegated responsibility for purging their ranks to an inexperienced and incompetent assistant who, if that’s possible, was even more of a plodding apparatchik. Mr. Gonzales failed to create the most rudimentary standards for judging the prosecutors’ work, except for political fealty. And when it came time to explain his inept decision making to the public, he gave a false account that was instantly and repeatedly contradicted by sworn testimony.
At the end of the day, we were left wondering why the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer would paint himself as a bumbling fool. Perhaps it’s because the alternative is that he is not telling the truth. There is strong evidence that this purge was directed from the White House, and that Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s top political adviser, and Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, were deeply involved.
Lieutenant George: Oh, sir, if we should happen to tread on a mine, what do we do?
Captain Blackadder: Well, normal procedure, Lieutenant, is to jump up 200 feet into the air and scatter yourself over a wide area.
The Iranian Supreme Court has overturned the murder convictions of six members of a prestigious state militia who killed five people they considered “morally corrupt.”
The reversal Wednesday, in a five-year-old case from Kerman, in central Iran, has produced anger and controversy, with lawyers calling it corrupt and newspapers giving it prominent coverage.
“The psychological consequences of this case in the city have been great, and a lot of people have lost their confidence in the judicial system,” Nemat Ahmadi, a lawyer associated with the case, said Wednesday by telephone.
According to the Supreme Court’s earlier decision, the killers, who are members of the Basiji Force, volunteer vigilantes favored by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considered their victims morally corrupt and, according to Islamic teachings and Iran’s Islamic penal code, their blood could therefore be shed.
The last victims, for example, were a young couple engaged to be married who the killers claimed were walking together in public.
Iran’s Islamic penal code, a parallel system to its civic code, says murder charges can be dropped if the accused can prove the killing was done because the victim was morally corrupt.
This is true even if the killer mistakenly identified the victim as corrupt. In that case, the law requires “blood money” to be paid to the family. Every year in Iran, a senior cleric determines the amount of blood money required in such cases. This year it is $40,000 if the victim is a Muslim man, and half that for a Muslim woman or a non-Muslim.
The U.S. Department of Justice has joined three whistleblower lawsuits alleging that Hewlett-Packard, Sun, and Accenture paid and received kickbacks from IT partners in exchange for preferential treatment on government contracts, the DOJ said Thursday.
The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, allege that the three companies submitted false claims to the U.S. government on “numerous” government contracts since the late 1990s. The lawsuits, originally filed by Accenture employee Norman Rille and another whistleblower, accuse the companies of creating alliance relationships with dozens of other vendors, giving each other discounts or rebates on products or work for government contracts. The companies did not pass the rebates on to their government clients, according to a DOJ court filing.
“Millions of dollars of kickbacks were sought, received, offered and paid” among the three companies and other technology partners, the DOJ said in a court filing made public Thursday. Any rebates vendors receive as part of a U.S. government contract belong to the government, the DOJ said.
HP issued a statement saying it is confident its business practices are legal. “We plan to vigorously defend this action and look forward to demonstrating that HP has done nothing wrong,” the statement said.
Legal? Perhaps. Corruption? Certainly.
Apple’s soon-to-be-launched iPhone will be irrelevant to business users because it is a “closed device” and does not support Microsoft Office, a senior executive with the software giant said this week.
“It’s a great music phone, and I’m sure it will be fantastic and have an interesting user interface,” Chris Sorenson, Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific head of smart-phone strategy, told press during a recent visit to Australia.
“However, it’s a closed device that you cannot install applications on, and there’s no support for Office documents. If you’re an enterprise and want to roll out a line of business applications, it’s just not an option. Even using it as a heavy messaging device will be a challenge,” the executive added.
Somehow I don’t think this is Apples’ greatest worry:
According to a Web survey by Harris Interactive Technology Research, nearly one fifth of American adults are planning to buy Apple’s first cell phone.
A recent Web poll revealed that a whopping 47 percent of American adults have heard of the hotly anticipated iPhone. The Harris Interactive Technology Research survey also found that 17 percent of those polled planned on actually buying the handset.
Among the 17 percent interested in purchasing the iPhone, 9 percent said they would buy it at launch and 8 percent said they would buy it before their current wireless contract was up. However, 17 percent of those interested in purchasing the iPhone said they planned on waiting till their contract is over.
If you’re wondering why conservative blogs have been mysteriously quiet about the Gonzalez hearing…
It’s because they’re too busy suggesting that the deranged Korean-American spree killer was actually a Muslim sleeper terrorist who was enraged by his sister’s participation in the Iraq war.
Christ, I wish I was making that up.