Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
fud, linux, open source, patents

Microsoft Can't Resist: Ramps Up FUD On Linux Patent Pressure Again

from the gotta-keep-people-afraid dept

Apparently, Microsoft's new strategy against open source is to keep repeating over and over again that open source software violates patents. This is a practice the company started years ago, and repeated earlier this year, with Microsoft execs ominously saying that open source products violate Microsoft patents. Of course, Microsoft has yet to show a single patent where this is true or actually do anything to prove it's true in a court of law. Perhaps that's because it knows the backlash would be a lot stronger than what was seen against SCO (who eventually failed in following a similar strategy). But, that won't stop Steve Ballmer from repeating the threats that Microsoft could sue the likes of Red Hat at any moment for patent infringement. This time, he lobbed in an extra suggestion as well: that open source providers may also face lawsuits from the likes of Eolas, the patent holder that Microsoft recently settled with. Folks from the open source community have asked Microsoft to put up or shut up before -- and it doesn't seem like the company plans to do either thing. Little surprise, really, since apparently the strategy of making people afraid works. The biggest reason companies avoid using open source software is an irrational fear of opening themselves up to patent liability. Still, this is another clear misuse of the patent system to hold back innovation in the market by making companies far and wide afraid of adopting innovation. That's not what the patent system was intended to do at all.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 11:23pm

    Microsoft are targeting 'Open Source Software'? Geez, could we be any more ambiguous folks? I write open source software so does this mean Microsoft are coming after me too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    illegalprelude, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 12:08am

    MS has to protect itself somehow. Its loosing in all fronts and all though its still a huge and mad money making company, its lost its touch so it has to now settle with just suing the big jesus out of everybody.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Hidden Force, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 12:27am

    Force Microsoft Into Court

    Maybe Red Hat should take MS to court for libeling them with false statements claiming that Linux is "stealing MS's IP and make MS prove what they are claiming.

    And while we're tying up the courts, maybe BSD should take MS to court for the code it uses in its IP stack (I think that's where it was), copyright and all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 1:20am

    No one will ever take this to court. This would be the mother of all patent cases. You'd see money coming from IBM, Google, Yahoo, Sun, Intel, and a slew of other companies pouring into the defense of Linux. Too many large companies have invested in Linux. All of them have contributed code to the cause and can't afford to see it lose. On the other end, you'd see MS. No one, absolutely no one, wants to see this one go to court. Not MS, not OS who depend on the goodwill of the other companies above for support, no one. No matter who wins, it would change how business in the tech industry is done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    ECA (profile), Oct 10th, 2007 @ 2:56am


    You pay MILLIONS of dollars to lawyers...And they have Nothing to do...
    So, you put them to WORK for all the money you PAY them.

    A suit against MS, on the grounds of TO MANY SLANDERS/threats... that they NEVER do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Mike F.M, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 3:00am


    Surely there is a legal way to make M$ either shut up and stop with the threats or go to court over it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    OKVol, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 6:08am

    And the corpse

    ...of SCO isn't even cold yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    bobbknight, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Re: Force Microsoft Into Court

    Umm the BSD license specifically allows companies to do what Microsoft has done ie. the BSD IP Stack.
    Now if the copyright was not included it would be in violation of the BSD license.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Comment Spam Sucks !, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 9:32am

    phenon please stop

    your spammy links are trite, boring and very irritating. On the plus side, I think your blog is a piece of Shite !

    find a different forum please, ya jerk !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    HumbleNarrator, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 7:20pm

    This is getting ridiculous

    Seriously, what's next -- is Microsoft going to patent the Latin Alphabet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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