The founder and initial campaign manager of NoSoftwarePatents.com, Florian Müller, is a software industry veteran who started in this industry in 1985.
Initially Mr. Müller wrote articles for computer magazines. In 1986, at age 16, he became the youngest author of computer books at the time. By the time of his graduation from high school in 1989, he had already written 10 books for Markt&Technik, a leading German book publisher that was later acquired by Viacom/Simon&Schuster and Pearson. Through his authorship, Mr. Müller became familiar with the practical benefits of copyright law at a young age.
From 1987 on, Mr. Müller was involved in the European publishing and distribution of American software products in various market segments. He acted on behalf of either the European licensees or the American licensors. His activities covered the entire span from the initial product scouting to the negotiation of agreements to the coordination of all publishing functions (translation, public relations, marketing, sales). Several of the respective software titles reached the top region of local sell-through charts. Math Blaster II was elected Germany's most popular education software title by the readers of a major magazine ("CHIP"), and Warcraft II sold more than 300,000 copies in Germany alone, topping the "Media Control" sell-through charts for seven consecutive weeks.
Additionally, Mr. Müller has been a strategy consultant to major companies, a speaker and moderator at conferences, and a board member of the Software Publishers Association Europe. He spoke on software and multimedia industry topics at a variety of events in the USA and Europe, including among others the International Forum at COMDEX/Fall in Las Vegas, the largest U.S. computer trade show. Among the companies that he advised on questions of strategy and market trends are one of Germany's largest schoolbook publishers, one of Europe's leading media conglomerates, two venture capital groups, and the research and development division of Telefonica. Mr. Müller also served as a "consultants' consultant" to three partners of Andersen Consulting/Accenture.
In 1996, Mr. Müller founded an online gaming and community company, which he managed until he sold it to one of Europe's largest telecommunications groups in early 2000. The "Rival Network" online gaming service was offered in cooperation with major partners (all of which were publicly traded companies) in German, Spanish, and Italian. It was the "Editor's Choice" in "PC Professionell", the German edition of the famous American "PC Magazine".
In 2001, Mr. Müller became an adviser to the CEO of MySQL AB, now the largest European open-source software company. The company's flagship product is MySQL, the world's most popular open-source database, with more than five million active installations. Many of the world's largest organizations, including Yahoo!, Sabre Holdings, Cox Communications, The Associated Press and NASA, are using MySQL.
In order to manage this campaign in the decisive stage of the political process on software patents, Mr. Müller temporarily interrupted his own software development project. That project will result in a new and innovative computer game. Mr Müller transferred this website onto the FFII in April of 2005 in order to resume his own project, and temporarily joined the political fray again in the build-up to the European Parliament's second-reading vote on 6 July 2005.
For his political efforts against software patents, several awards and honors have been bestowed upon Mr. Müller. In July of 2005, Managing Intellectual Property magazine listed him among the "top 50 most influential people in intellectual property". In September of 2005, IT website Silicon.com listed Mr. Müller among the Silicon.com Agenda Setters 2005. The NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign and the FFII jointly received the CNET Networks UK Technology Award in the Outstanding Contribution to Software Development category. And the EU-focused weekly European Voice nominated Mr. Müller as one of the EV50 Europeans of the Year 2005. In an Internet poll, he received more votes than such celebrities as U2 frontman Bono and Bob Geldof, and was handed the "Campaigner of the Year 2005" award.
Mr. Müller asked us to mention that he views those awards and honors as "a recognition of what our overall resistance movement achieved". He stresses that he owes his nominations "to all activists and citizens who supported our cause, especially to the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure)".
In an effort to capture and chronicle the thrilling moments our movement experienced in its resistance against the software patent directive, Mr. üller has written a book. The English title will be No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union, and the German title Die Lobbyschlacht um Softwarepatente.