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05.14.07

We Should Really Be Dancing, Microsoft Has Just Caved In (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A large number of people appear to be worried about Microsoft’s intent to sue, threaten, and litigate in one form or another. If you come to think about it, not much has happened at all. Microsoft simply listed some numbers. The company was even silly enough to say that “Linux GUI” infinges on some patents. Microsoft, there’s no Linux GUI. There is X server and there are window managers. Not everyone builds a monolithic (and thus undepdeable) kernel.

In any event, once you get some people’s opinions you come to realise that Microsoft is its own worst enemy with these moves. Here are a couple of early reactions. The first one comes from Groklaw.

My reasons for not worrying are:

1. The recent KSR decision by the Supreme Court on obviousness…

2. FSF has told us that its lawyers believe that Microsoft has already become a distributor of GPL’d Linux…

3. Prior art searching is better organized.

4. What kind of companies threaten to hurt you if you don’t pay them protection money?

5. To actually sue, Microsoft has to sue its own customers.

6. The Pentagon uses FOSS.

7. This is, to me, Darl II…

I particularly like the following interpretation of the situation. The
following columns explains why Microsoft was virtually forced to take action.

Vista isn’t selling as well as expected. Hints that Linux infringes Microsoft’s patents aren’t working well as a protection racket. And the third revision of the General Public Licence is due to come into force soon.

So, Microsoft’s move may in fact be defensive. It is a toothless tiger boasting a loud roar, without a bite. Some months ago I turned a screenshot of SCOX into a little joke about MSFT. In retrospect, looking at the headlines, this was a bit prophetic. Some people told me that Microsoft would become a patent troll rather than a software company one day. Most its peripheral businesses are failing in terms of their ability to return revenue and cover lavish and excessive spendings. As for Microsoft’s software division/s, well… read the following article.

“Software prices will eventually fall to zero. The open-source software movement has already started that commoditisation.”

Update: the following short item could not escape our attention.

Personally, I think that if Microsoft ever does starts with a patent smackdown, it won’t be 235 patents, it’ll be two or three, the strongest ones they can find, and 90 minutes after the plaintiff(s) is/are served the infringing code will be history, and we’ll go back to living our lives as normal.

Well said. There’s further explanation about the journalist’s inability to understand the problem at hand.

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