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. 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



  2. 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"



  3. 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")



  4. 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



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

    Links for the day



  6. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  7. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  8. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  9. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  10. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  11. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  12. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  13. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  14. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  15. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  16. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  17. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  18. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  19. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  20. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  21. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  22. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  23. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  24. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  25. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  26. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  27. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day



  28. Lawyers' Propaganda About Software Patents and a New AstroTurf Entity Called Innovation Alliance

    Patent propaganda and deception from patent lawyers (among other parasites such as patent trolls) continues to flood the Web, intersecting with reports that prove them totally wrong



  29. How Microsoft Handles Disasters: Grace Hopper Conference Has Been Infiltrated by "Microsoft Disaster Response"

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) must be a disaster to Microsoft's bottom line because Microsoft is sending "Microsoft Disaster Response" to infiltrate and disrupt a conference about women in FOSS



  30. Links 8/10/2014: Gummersbach Moves to GNU/Linux, Docker Acquires Koality, KDE Frameworks 5.3

    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