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Re: RF > RAMMED * Deadline extension? * W3C should serve the PUBLIC interest

From: Chris Worley <cworley@symbionsys.com>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 07:45:06 -0600
Message-ID: <3BB9C4E2.2040703@symbionsys.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
John Gilmore wrote:

> I understand that RAND terms are common among the national and
> international standards bodies.  I've served on standards committees.
> I also understand why these bodies are full of fights among
> organizations to get THEIR technology adopted as a standard.  It's so
> THEY can get the windfall profit from forcing everyone else to license
> it.

These standards committees are what Microsoft refers to as 
the "Balkanization of Unix", see:


In game theory, it's referred to as the "prisoner's Dilemma, 


Where OS vendors work together as a team to create 
cross-platform standards while simultaneously plotting 
against each other since more profit can be made if they can 
assert their own proprietary lock in.

Since Microsoft is a dominant player, unlike any one Unix 
vendor, they can win the "game".

Note that they don't have to own the IP to use IP to lock 
out competition.

For example, the "submarine patent" from Eolas (see: 
that has emerged concerning the "embed" tag.  If MS were to 
settle this case and pay millions in royalties, it would 
legitimize the patent, and allow them to only license 
activeX and .net code embedded in html.  That means IE 
couldn't funnel Java to anybody's Java VM, thereby not only 
not supporting their own Java VM, but making sure that no 
support can exist for any Java VM on any IE-centric 
platform, killing Java.

The really sneaky side of this is that Microsoft can then 
blame the IP holders (Eolas) for the kill -- Microsoft can 
easily claim that they were "minding their own business" and 
just abiding by somebody else's license!

Simultaneously, legitimizing that patent means Open Source 
(i.e. mozilla) and small companies browsers (i.e. Opera) 
using the "embed" tag will get letters from Eolas' lawyers, 
which will immediately end their "embed" tag support since 
they won't be able to fight off a company with IP recently 
funded by Microsoft.

If the W3C allows such patents into the protocol, then 
Microsoft could also deflect any anticompetitive blame to 
the W3C.

If Microsoft is going to allow licensed protocols to be 
handled by IE in order to kill competition, then they must 
do it on their own, and not get the W3C's blessing.  They 
must take credit for their own anticompetitive behavior and 
not be allowed to deflect blame to IP holders and the W3C.

The W3C should have a mechanism to work around such 
submarines, and not "give in" under any circumstances!  Web 
protocols and formats must remain open and unencumbered, and 
it is the W3C's job to maintain that goal.

Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 10:26:37 UTC

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