Open Handset Alliance: Who’s Paying the Tax and Who’s Not.

Many manufacturers are using Android/Linux for their smart phones and tablets. Let’s see how M$’s campaign to tax Android/Linux is going.

The Open Handset Alliance has 20 members who make handsets: Acer, Alcatel, ASUS, CCI, Dell, FoxConn, Garmen, Haier, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and ZTE.

Several manufacturers using Android have entered licensing agreements with M$: Wistron, HTC, General Dynamics Itronix, Velocity Micro, and Onkyo. M$ is reported to be demanding $15 a copy for Android/Linux from Samsung and Barnes and Noble has gone to court over the issue. It is interesting that M$ has apparently secured royalty payments around $5 per copy while demanding $15. Thus it seems that some are paying M$ to go away. Others will fight.

Some Android/Linux devices cost as little as $100. It is unconscionable that M$ is demanding $15 for what might be as little as 1% of the technology in a smart phone. Considering that software patents are completely invalid in law, and that M$’s share of the smart phone market is tiny, this appears to be an anti-competitive act and not anything to do with protecting a monopoly on technology. Since almost everyone on the planet will eventually have one of these gadgets, even a tiny tax is a windfall for M$ and it will be well worth fighting M$ over this issue.

One of the technologies at issue is FAT and the OHA should immediately move to do away with FAT and provide clients for that other OS to deal with some other open standard file system.

The world is far better off to fight M$ on this issue. The manufacturers would be better off to contribute $1 per handset to take the case to the highest court. $100 million or so would go far. While they are at it they should put the screws to M$ by attacking software patents which make no sense and do not promote innovation. Software cannot be innovative on its face. Given a problem, an instruction set and some hardware, anyone can synthesize software that solves the problem. That is Computer Science 101. So, all software is obvious and fails the test of non-obviousness required by law. The proof of this in this instance is that Google developed Android without copying any of M$’s technology, because there wasn’t any technology to copy…

see Software Design

see Programming Language

see Iterative and Incremental Development

In the UK, “According to BBC, 17% of computer science students could not find work in their field 6 months after graduation which was the highest rate of the university majors surveyed”

In the USA, “Enrollment in computer-related degrees in U.S. has dropped recently due to lack of general interests in science and mathematics and also out of an apparent fear that programming will be subject to the same pressures as manufacturing and agriculture careers”

Making software is not a creative act and software patents are not stimulating innovation, it would seem. Software is a data structure and an algorithm, nothing more nor less. Once the information in the specification of those two elements is defined, the software follows and it can be created by almost any programmer skilled in the art. Thus, it fails non-obviousness. The information in the specification of the data structure and algorithm is not patentable, being merely an idea without physical embodiment. Putting software in a computer may give it physical embodiment but it is still obvious how it works when one looks at the source code.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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49 Responses to Open Handset Alliance: Who’s Paying the Tax and Who’s Not.

  1. Contrarian says:

    “You won’t find many of these on retail shelves in North America ”

    You will not find ANY of these on retail shelves in North America. I don’t know for sure what you might see on the shelves in Timbuctoo, but then I don’t shop there. Perhaps you do and could take a picture.

  2. Contrarian, sadly, wrote, “There have never been any Linux computers to exclude from retail shelves”

    Sigh. see LXer’s Pre-installed Linux/The Pre-Installed Linux Vendor Database

    Contrarian, go have a lie-down…

    If you want global OEMs producing GNU/Linux PCs, check out ASUS, Lenovo, Dell, HP, a host of white-box OEMs and then there are thin clients running GNU/Linux. There are many regional/local PC builders who put GNU/Linux on PCs custome built. You won’t find many of these on retail shelves in North America but they abound in other parts of the world where the Koolaid has not been drunk.

  3. Since most people don’t install operating systems, this excluded GNU/Linux from retail shelves on machines where most people find operating systems.

    There are plenty of organizations which will give a free ($0) download or sell a CD at reasonable prices:

  4. http://www.linuxcd.org/?ref=distrowatch
  5. OSdisc.org