by Zachary Knight

Filed Under:
linux, patents

casio, microsoft

Microsoft Convinces Yet Another Company to Cough Up 'Protection' Money

from the you-wouldn't-want-something-bad-to-happen,-would-you? dept

Neppe alerts us to the news that Microsoft has claimed yet another victory in its war on the Linux Operating System. According to multiple reports, including Thinq_, the Register and others, Casio has coughed up an undisclosed amount of money to "license" the Linux operating system from Microsoft.

Microsoft has been claiming since 2007 that Linux infringes on 235 patents. If you go back to 2004, it was just 228. Despite the lack of any public list of these patents, Microsoft has been able to use them quite skillfully in convincing a number of software and hardware vendors to pay licensing fees. Microsoft claims that such licensing deals are for the benefit of the companies who pay up.

So just what are the benefits of paying Microsoft a licensing fee for free software, especially when said software was not developed by Microsoft? If these quiet settlements are any indication, the sole benefit would be to avoid being dragged through the courts by one of the largest software developers in the world. Seriously, what other benefit is there? Is there a collection of patent trolls jumping at the chance to sue companies using Linux that have yet to surface thanks to Microsoft's cradling licensing deals? Not that I have read about. The only patent holder jumping at the chance to sue over Linux is Microsoft itself.

What this really looks like to me is an old school protection racket in which the resident mob enters the new business or residence and demands protection money in order to protect said establishment from some malevolent threat.

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  1. identicon
    Connie New, 23 Sep 2011 @ 1:33pm

    So free things are worth paying for...

    The license payment is just a way to get out of hassle for companies not used to the American patent system. Now for a company to continue to use a free (whatever definition of fee you want to apply) piece software, despite having to pay some corporate marauders threatening some FUD, must imply
    1) that the free software is worth something...
    2) MS recognises this worth and chooses to monetise this using any means foul or fair, as the developers have opted not to...
    Clearly unfair, but that is business without moral standards. We sponsor these practices, as we use MS products.

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