EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.25.07

The Economics of FUD

Posted in Courtroom, Deals, Deception, Finance, FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Novell, OpenOffice, Patents, Red Hat, SUN, Ubuntu at 9:13 pm by Shane Coyle

Once upon a time, I had opined that Microsoft’s true bounty in the Microvell deal was Novell’s complicity in Microsoft’s attempts to undermine the E.C. Decision and fines, and that the FUD was merely a bonus.

Apparently, I hadn’t any appreciation for just how much of an economic interest the monopolist has in using any and all means to defend their position for as absolutely long as possible. While reading through the Linux Foundation’s response to Microsoft’s recent patent saber-rattling, I was taken aback at the truly staggering sums involved:

In the time it will likely take you to read this article, Microsoft will have made $500,000 in net profit. It’s instructive to note that the majority of that profit comes from its Windows operating system and Office suite of business software. Not coincidentally, those are the two product lines most threatened by Linux operating systems and Open Office.

Given the high stakes involved, it’s not surprising that Microsoft would take steps to protect its turf. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Let’s face it: If you were making $1 billion a month, what would you do? Perhaps engage in rhetoric and hyperbole to generate some old-fashioned FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt)? Just looking at the numbers, it’s easy to see that even if the scare campaign merely delays a customer’s migration from Windows to Linux by a single day, Microsoft is $34 million dollars better off.

Think about that – just one week of Novell-Fueled FUD pays for all of those SUSE subscriptions (7 days @ $34M each = $238M, MS payed $240M for 350,000 SUSE subscription coupons). Each and every day that Microsoft has been able to use Novell’s capitulation to FUD Linux since November 9th 2006 has been pure profit.

Does anyone still really want to argue that Novell was the party of advantage, as evidenced by the relatively larger (but insignificant to Microsoft, as these number indicate) payment for the patent covenant?

As far as the statement from the the Linux Foundation, they have called on Microsoft ("a rational actor") to "work with the Linux ecosystem to restore confidence in the patent system by making sure they are issued only for truly unique, innovative, and novel functions that advance the state of the art." The statement also includes not-so-subtle reminders to Microsoft that they are not the only people to hold significant patent portfolios.

Joining in the patent cold war recently, on the side of Free Software and toting a significant and focused patent portfolio of their own, was Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz, who has pledged to rally to the aid of Red Hat and Ubuntu, if need be. (It should be noted that Sun engaged in a controversial deal with Microsoft back in 2004, in which Sun secured protection from potential IP claims regarding OOO by MS for only Sun StarOffice customers – sound familiar?)

Of course, neither Microsoft nor Sun want to truly test their spurious software patents in a court of law, but moments such as these allow us some insight into the dispositions, and motivations, of the "leaders" of the software industry.

In this case Microsoft, Novell and Sun all have a vested interest in the perpetuation of the software patent myth, and would prefer just an adjustment of the broken system.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Good take on the main issues.

    What I cannot understand if what Zemlin has described in the past as “admiration” (IIRC) for Microsoft. We have seen some shades of this in Mark Shuttleworth recently. All in all, they seem to be constructive as long as no exclusionary contract is involved.

    Zemlin: “We ask Microsoft to stop engaging in FUD campaigns that only serve to undermine confidence in the U.S. intellectual-property system. Instead, please work with us to make the patent system tighter, more reasonable, and efficient for everyone in the software business.”

  2. Shane Coyle said,

    May 25, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Gravatar

    If you are in the software business (or looking to be), you may do well to invest heavily in OpenOffice.org development – it seems that whichever company is the primary contributor to the codebase gets a visit (and a check) from MS legal in exchange for your tacit acknowledgement of their "IP"

    If you haven’t any morals, it could be a winning business plan.

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Still Engages in Criminal Activities Against Linux, Openwashing Efforts Continue Nonetheless





  2. Microsoft Openwashing and Hatred of GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's outrageous claim that it really "loves" that which it is constantly attacking gets rejected by Free/Open Source software (FOSS) luminaries; the Microsoft-friendly media continues the charm offensive nonetheless



  3. Links 31/10/2014: Rubin Leaves Google, Neelie Kroes Ends EU Career

    Links for the day



  4. The EPO Is More Corrupt Under Battistelli Than Under Alison Brimelow: Part VIII

    After Brimelow, with all her flaws and her scandals, an even worse President is installed who then abolishes oversight and seemingly brings his old friends to the EPO, creating a sort of subculture that is impenetrable to outsiders



  5. Claiming That Microsoft 'Loves' Linux While Windows Update Bricks Devices With Linux

    The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft -- which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability -- 'loves' Linux



  6. Protectionist Reign: Corporations in Complete Control of Everything With Domination Over Patent Law

    How multinational corporations, joined by the corporate press that they are funding, promote a corporations- but not people-friendly patent policy in north America



  7. Links 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

    Links for the day



  8. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  9. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  10. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  12. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  13. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  15. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  16. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  17. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  18. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  19. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  20. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  21. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  22. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  23. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  24. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  25. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  26. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  27. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  28. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  29. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  30. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts