It’s not patently obvious

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If you want to know what the current patent battle is about the answer is simple: money. The bottom line is that Apple and Microsoft’s litigation against Google are nothing more that attempts to undermine the Android mobile operating system, which, for those who don’t know, the search giant gives away free, gratis and for nothing to mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola. This is unacceptable behaviour in Cupertino and Redmond, where serious cash is generated by “selling” operating systems – but I digress.

The bottom line is that I applaud Google’s acquisition of Motorola’s mobile phone business because has potential to defuse the ridiculous patent litigation from Apple and extortionate license fees demanded by Microsoft. You see, Motorola has been around a lot longer than either of those two and has a portfolio of over 17 000 patents. That gives Google the option to threaten litigation of its own and, thereby, keep Android free-of-charge and unburdened by unreasonable licensing.

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IBM jumps into OpenOffice.org; or does it?

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Lucy Sherriff over at The Register reported earlier in the week that IBM has joined the OpenOffice.org development community by donating code it has developed for Lotus Notes and promising to contribute to improving the “feature richness and code quality” of OpenOffice.org. ComputerWorld‘s Todd Weiss also reported the news, adding that Big Blue will dedicate a team of 35 Chinese programmers in China to the project and that more people will be added as needed around the world.

In the interim, however, IBM’s press release on the announcement seems to have disappeared from the company’s web site. Perhaps the more recent Inq story provides a clue, noting that some of the code IBM promised actually belongs to Microsoft.

And assuming the the Redmond monopolists have objected, why? Two reasons spring to mind: IBM’s participation in the project will certainly boost OpenOffice.org in its battle for market share against Microsoft’s similar product; and the widely reported remarks of John McCreesh, head of marketing for the open source project:

“We welcome IBM’s contributions to further enhancing the OpenOffice.org product. But equally important is IBM’s future commitment to package and distribute new works that leverage OpenOffice.org technology supporting the ISO ODF standard.”

and

“ODF is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the IT industry to unify round a standard, and deliver lasting benefit to users of desktop technology.”

Given Microsoft’s current battle with ISO and its members to have it’s own competing standard certified, the second reason would probably make most sense.

Financial Mail’s Duncan McLeod wrote about that battle on his blog, here and here. I’ve also mentioned the issue in previous posts here and here. And Groklaw‘s Pamela Jones has a comprehensive report on the issue right here.

Bias? What bias?

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My brother accused me last night of showing an obvious bias on this forum. So I had a look at what I’ve posted so far and I have to concede that he may have a point – there has been a rather unhealthy focus on Microsoft. I’d like to point out that it wasn’t deliberate but merely a function of stories that caught my eye in the first week or so of doing this blog. Can I help it if a certain monopolist was in the news for all the wrong reasons? 😉

However, since I am now aware of this apparent bias I shall endevour to post stories about other areas of technology that interest me. But before I do that, I HAVE to post another piece that concerns Redmond, albeit tangentially.

Research house Evans Data has just released a new report that indicates a dramatic shift in the priorities of North American software developers. According to the press release there is now a move away from Windows:

“Windows dominance on the client is cracking … Targeting of the Windows OS has declined by 12% from a year ago, continuing a two-year gradual decline. Currently 64.8% of North American developers are targeting some version of Windows, as opposed to 74% last year and this is expected to drop another 2% in the coming year. “

The company also notes that while Windows remains the largest market segment developers are increasing targeting Linux (up 34% from 8.8% a year ago to 11.8% today).

You can read the full press release here and if you want to purchase the survey send an email to sales@evansdata.com. Oh yes, you may want to mention the title of the report: The Spring 2007 North American Development survey.