Thursday, October 18, 2007

Israel has more right to exist than most Muslim countries

Recently Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad complained that creation of the state of Israel punished Palestinians for crimes that they did not commit.

The main problem with this assertion is that it is blatantly false. The "Palestinians" were very much complicit in the genocide committed against European Jewry, and their terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians is just a continuation of such actions.

In the years leading up to World War II the "Palestinians" (I put the word in quotes because "Palestine" was what Rome called its Jewish colony and the Arabs living there did not start calling themselves "Palestinians" until 1967) acknowledged leader was Haj Amin al-Husseini, a.k.a. the Mufti of Jerusalem.

Haj Amin al-Husseini was a great admirer of Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany. He spent the last few years of World War II living in Berlin. There is no doubt that the Mufti supported Hitler's brutal actions against European Jewry. After the war, Haj Amin al-Husseini was sought by the allies who wanted to try him for war crimes. He escaped to Iraq.

Another fact not widely known is that at the time European Jews began immigrating to Palestine--in the late 19th century--the area was very sparsely inhabited. Jews had already been the majority in Jerusalem for several decades. Arabs immigrated to Palestine from surrounding countries is response to the economic opportunities engendered by the Zionists.

My point is that the Jews of Palestine had as much right to self-determination as the Arabs. A two state solution was proposed, but the Arabs rejected it. Like many Muslims today, they believed that Islam must rule and non-Muslims should accept second-class status.

Also lost in the debate is the fact that while many Arabs fled their homes in Palestine when Israel was created, they did so at the urging of surrounding Arab states. Jews living in those Arab states also fled, but they were forced to do so and in most cases were stripped of their money and belongings.

Why do most Arabs and Muslims in general hate Israel? There are three reasons. First, Islamic supremacists believe that if Islam is to conquer the world then destroying a non-Muslim country located in the heart of the Muslim world is a crucial first step.

Second, they hate Israel precisely because it is a tolerant, largely secular democracy. In Israel, gays and lesbians proudly stage marches. In surrounding countries, they are hunted down like beasts and executed. In Israel, girls prance around on beaches in skimpy bikinis. In several Muslim countries, women are forced to "cover," and failure to do so may result in public beatings (this recently transpired in Iran).

Third, Arabs and Muslims hate Israel because they are brainwashed to do so beginning in early childhood. It's ironic that Western liberals and leftists sympathize with the Palestinians, because the Palestinians and their supporters harbor and openly express a great deal of racism towards Jews. The distinction that some Muslims make between "Jews" and "Zionists" is strictly for the consumption of gullible Western liberals and leftists.

I recently saw a cartoon produced by Hamas about the arrival of a young boy with dual Palestinian/U.S. citizenship to the Palestinian territories. The video portrayed Israelis mistreating the boy the moment he arrived at Ben Gurion airport. Never mind the irony that Israel provides transportation and other services for Palestinians. They portrayed the security personnel as hassling the poor boy. That certainly has not been my experience re: treatment of Arabs and Muslims in my trips to Israel. I've seen Israeli security personnel go out of their way to be friendly to Palestinians, some of whom respond most rudely. Meanwhile, I've seen Palestinians waved through security while I've been questioned at length for no apparent reason.

Many Arab countries are contrived. Even today, the Arabs are largely a tribal people. The borders of countries such as Iraq were created by foreigners. The people in Iraq tend to see themselves not as Iraqis but as Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds.

Most Arab and Muslim countries are run by dictators. The people had little to do with the creation of their state and little to do with its governance. By comparison, Israel is far more legitimate.

EU Investigates Qualcomm

At the request of companies using the CDMA wireless technology invented by Qualcomm, the European Commission is investigating Qualcomm's business practices. Based on Europe's track record, it's doubtful the EC is even capable of being fair in this matter.

If the EC is concerned about ensuring a truly competitive market, why hasn't it investigated Europe's actions during the 1990s to prohibit Qualcomm's technology from being deployed in Europe? Note that one of the main charges against Qualcomm is that the firm offers a discount to companies that license its technology and buy its chips. What customer would not expect a discount in such cases? It's called economy of scale.

Is the EC investigating Airbus for using government subsidies to artificially lower its prices?

This case is about one thing and one thing only: European protectionism. The EC has ruled against Microsoft, Intel, and Rambus. This is a concerted effort to weaken U.S. chip and software makers in the European market.

There is only one thing that could cause the EC to dismiss the Qualcomm case or rule in Qualcomm's favor. It has nothing to do with principles or fairness. The EC could act favorably for Qualcomm in order to give its rulings against bigger firms such as Microsoft more credence.

But I seriously doubt the EC will do that. Europe has been quite brazen in pursuing its hypocritical, protectionist policies, and they are not about to miss this opportunity to help firms such as Nokia, Ericsson, and other GSM industry vendors.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Qualcomm vs. Broadcom

A vicious legal war is raging between Qualcomm, the inventor of the CDMA wireless technology that serves as the foundation for all third generation (3G) wireless systems, and two other firms. One of those firms is Broadcom, a competing supplier of wireless semiconductor products, and Nokia, the world's largest handset maker.

I'm going to address four issues: (1) who invented the CDMA technology that underlies all third generation (3G) wireless networks and products?, (2) how important are standards and the committees that set them?, (3) is patent reform needed?, and (4) what are the key facts in the legal war being waged against Qualcomm?

I've seen comments on some discussion boards suggesting that Qualcomm is a company that has made no important contributions to wireless technology and exists merely to extort other manufacturers. It's hard to say whether these comments are more remarkable for their ignorance or mean-spiritedness.

When Qualcomm proposed CDMA in 1989 a number of voices complained the concept was fatally flawed and probably just an investment scam. Fast forward to 2007, and we have people posting on discussion boards claiming that Qualcomm didn't invent CDMA. One poster asserts it was Hedy Lamar's Austrian husband. This would be an amazing revelation to the nearly 200 companies that have licensed CDMA from Qualcomm and even Hedy Lamar were she still alive.

Hedy Lamar and George Antheil, a composer of music for automated instruments, obtained a patent for a spread spectrum frequency hopping scheme for radio-controlled torpedoes and intended to evade enemy jamming. While this was a primitive example of wideband communications, it was not CDMA, which is a multiple access scheme that can be used with frequency hopping or other wideband schemes such as (and more commonly) direct sequence spread spectrum.

There is absolutely no doubt that Qualcomm invented CDMA. Irwin Jacobs, in particular, is credited with solving the dynamic power control problem that was an obstacle to its successful implementation.

On to standards. Standards are important to telecommunications. Just as trains and railroad tracks must match to work properly, telecom standards ensure that diverse users can communicate with each other. In the early days, a "standard" was generally a proprietary technology that became so successful everyone started using it. In some cases, governments chose technical standards to avoid drawn-out market battles. Today, standards-setting is highly political and largely a charade. Companies use standards to boost their own prospects and/or derail competitors. Standards committees pretend to serve consumers, but in reality they almost ways serve the big, incumbent vendors who can afford to send people traipsing around the world representing their interests. Most standards never gain traction, and many of the most successful standards are simply repackaged versions of a proprietary technology that most vendors are already sold on.

Regarding patent reform, the key issue to remember is that patents were intended to protect inventors. For example, if an inventor brings an innovative new product to market, a larger company should not be able to just copy that product and sell it for less. It's that simple. Unfortunately, our legal system has strayed far from the original intent, and we have companies patenting sunshine and buying patents mainly to use them in court. There have also been many difficult patent cases that made a fetish of priority. Patents should not be used mainly to reward the first person to think of an idea--we may never know who that was--but to reward the first person to think of, develop, and promote an idea. In other words, priority should not go to someone who suddenly shows up with a scrap of paper on which they claim they wrote down the idea first; additional consideration should go to those who made the invention succeed as long as they can show they conceived and developed it independently. (Admittedly, there may be exceptions in which the first person to conceive an idea was blocked from proceeding for reasons beyond their control--particularly if their work influenced others.)

So what are the facts in Qualcomm vs. Broadcom and Qualcomm vs. Nokia? I don't claim to know all of the details but I think at this point what's needed is a high-level view. It's generally believed that Qualcomm licenses CDMA for royalties of about 5%. That is a perfectly reasonable royalty rate--particularly for a company that has been slandered and attacked in court so many times over the past two decades.

Make no mistake about it, the legal war is nothing more than an attempt by Broadcom and Nokia to exempt themselves from that 5% rate. As best I can tell, Broadcom believes Qualcomm should cross-license with them so that Broadcom will be the only other chip maker that doesn't pay royalties for CDMA. In Nokia's case, the firm admits it needs a license from Qualcomm, but claims 5% is exorbitant because other firms including Nokia contributed IP to WCDMA, the leading 3G standard.

Qualcomm and its lawyers have made some serious mistakes, failing to fully disclose documents in a timely manner and misreading others' perceptions regarding standards committees. They are also tough business people (perhaps partly because they have taken so many arrows over the years), and that rubs some the wrong way.

But mainly, Broadcom and Nokia are exploiting longstanding prejudice and enmity towards Qualcomm. In the ITC case, Broadcom purchased wireless LAN patents and is using them to make claims regarding cellular implementations. In another case, Judge Rudi Brewster handed down a stinging rebuke to Qualcomm for failing to follow a standard committee's policy that "encourages" participants to make early disclosure of essential patents, though Brewster fails to show that Qualcomm intended to spring its patents on the entire industry at the last minute.

Nokia claims it should not have to renew its license with Qualcomm at the same rate it already agreed to, and along with companies including Broadcom is attempting to revive the European protectionist policies that prohibited Europe's mobile operators from implementing Qualcomm's original CDMA technology.

I welcome anyone who can show through facts and sound reasoning that any of the above is inaccurate.


Welcome to I Dare to Speak. I am using this blog to air controversial ideas about politics, religion, health care, education, and more. The idea is simple: instead of posting essays to diverse discussion forums, I am posting short comments in those forums with links to this blog.