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. Links 8/4/2020: Tails 4.5, Septor 2020.2, GNOME Money Awards and Mozilla's New CEO

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 07, 2020



  3. GitHug - A Guest Article by Thomas Grzybowski

    "Now, if Azure revenue has increased 72%, but the gross revenue in this category has only increased 25%, that means that the other components, primary GitHub, are actually a substantial negative."



  4. Links 7/4/2020: Firefox 75, Python 2.7.1 RC1

    Links for the day



  5. The Fall of the UPC - Part XIV: Media Owned and Controlled by Law Firms Did Not Properly Cover the Decision of the German Constitutional Court (FCC)

    We take another look at the shallow if not deliberately misleading coverage in sites that are literally owned and run by law firms, for the benefit of law firms rather than informing the public



  6. The Media Paints Bill Gates as the Man Who Will Save the World While Seattle's Police Department Obstructs Access to Documents About Pedophilia Arrest at His Home

    We're still unable to receive even one single page of the police report about arrest for pedophilia at the home of Bill and Melinda Gates; the media says nothing about this and instead it paints Gates as a national or international hero



  7. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, April 06, 2020



  8. Software Patents Remain Junk Patents in the United States (Not Enforceable), Whereas the EPO Keeps Granting Them and Promoting Them

    We take note of the positive outcomes in the US, where courts continue to reject software patents, but in Europe the largest patent office, which sought to replace all the courts, still acts as if patent law does not exist and patents can be endlessly printed irrespective of their merit (or validity as judged by actual courts)



  9. The Fall of the UPC - Part XIII: A Death Worth Celebrating and Many Lies Worth Debunking

    We take stock of positive responses to the decision made by the German constitutional court (FCC) 2.5 weeks ago; we also explain why it has taken so long to piece together firm-by-firm scoresheet for UPC lies



  10. GitHub is Moving the Free Software Movement Into “Check”

    GitHub's growing levels of control over Free software projects (GitHub itself is proprietary and Microsoft-controlled) ought to alarm the community; it's a lot worse than most people care to acknowledge, based on weeks of detailed analysis of GNU/Linux distros



  11. Links 6/4/2020: New Red Hat CEO, elementary OS Hera Updates

    Links for the day



  12. When the Decision is OK and the Judge's Motivations Are Also OK

    Justice Huber made the right call; but the bullies and charlatans who conspired to undermine laws and constitutions will never be satisfied



  13. The Fall of the UPC - Part XII: Doing the Unthinkable by Blaming the Judge's (Justice's) Wife?

    Team UPC and its media partners never cease to amaze us; anybody who stands in their way is either portrayed as a Russian stooge or too ignorant to be worth talking to



  14. The Fall of the UPC - Part XI: Lies Told by Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) in Süddeutsche Zeitung

    Today we look at misleading claims (or lies) published by Süddeutsche Zeitung after the Germans' constitutional court (FCC) had pointed out the obvious, namely that UPC ratification would be in violation of the German constitution



  15. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 05, 2020



  16. Links 5/4/2020: MindSpore, Covid-19 Projects and More

    Links for the day



  17. EPO is Just Like Some Cruel Political Party and Not a Patent Office

    The "cabal" which runs today's EPO (even the word "Mafia" seems suitable here) isn't acting -- not even remotely -- like a patent office; it's a patent-printing operation ("protection money" as income) that uses shallow political stunts to manufacture consent with the EU's 'generous' assistance



  18. Digitalisation and Digital Technologies as a Ploy to Justify Illegal Software Patents

    Say "hello" to the next weasel word/s; from the "hey hi" hype wave we've now moved to something "digital" (which can mean just about anything, including algorithms of all sorts)



  19. The Fall of the UPC - Part X: How We Shall Catalogue UPC Lies

    The cult that Team UPC became (one member lying to another member, maintaining a false version of reality) will be judged based on underlying facts, not lying about facts; we start with a token of contempt for IP Kat and Bristows LLP (there are overlaps)



  20. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 04, 2020



  21. Major Revelation: Microsoft Blackmail Against LAMP (GNU/Linux and Free Stacks for Servers) Goes At Least 16 Years Back, Predating the Novell Patent Deal

    (Techno-)Anthropological analyses of Microsoft's patent war on Free/libre software must take into account what Microsoft did to MySQL, a Swedish company at the time



  22. Links 4/4/2020: Sparky 5.11, Firefox 74.0.1, POCL 1.5

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, April 03, 2020



  24. Links 3/4/2020: Ubuntu Beta, GNOME 3.36.1, ExTiX LXQt Mini, NetBSD 8.2 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Digital Communication, Digitalisation and Videogaming Among the EPO's Latest Smokescreens for Illegal and Abstract Patents on Algorithms

    The EPO keeps liaising with the EU to promote patents which EU officials have themselves said were illegal; to make matters worse, the EPO's violations of its own laws inspire the United States to do the same



  26. Emotional Blackmail for Illegal Software Patents

    Semantic tactics the European Patent Office (EPO) uses to promote software patents in Europe and may theoretically use in the future (satire)



  27. Clear Linux is to GNU/Linux What Clearly Defined is to Open Source

    The idea that we need Intel to take GNU/Linux ‘mainstream’ is ludicrous; as OSDL co-founder (now succeeded in the flesh of the Corporate Linux Foundation), Intel is more about Linux (with DRM, “secure boot” and everything that lets it be remotely controlled) than about GNU and it’s not too keen on GPL (copyleft), either



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 02, 2020



  29. Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

    Links for the day



  30. OIN in 2020 Resembles Linux Foundation in 2020 (Corporate Front Group Piggybacking the Linux Brand)

    We regret to say that the Open Invention Network seems not to care at all about Software Freedom; to make matters worse, it is a proponent of software patents and a voice for companies like IBM and Microsoft, not the "Community" it fancies misrepresenting


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

Recent Posts