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The Usual Suspects, The Game

Posted in Antitrust, Corel, Deals, Deception, Humour, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, SUN, UNIX, Xandros at 1:24 am by Shane Coyle

As a follow-up to a previous train of thought, regarding the Usual Suspects (so to speak) in Microsoft’s intellectual property saga, I thought it would be fun to review just some of the players who have had a role – recurring, walk-on, or otherwise.

Actually, to make this more engaging, this will be our first contest on the site, I believe. Put the following events in chronological order, the first correct answer in the comments section gets a coupon, redeemable for a free download of EDU-Nix Dual-Mode CD, or our very own SueMe Linux ("still in early development stages", ie vaporware).

  1. Caldera buys, then becomes SCO
  2. MS and Sun make a deal, in which all OOO installs prior to the deal were absolved, as was Sun’s StarOffice going forward, from MS IP claims.
  3. Corel acquires Wordperfect from Novell
  4. Corel invests in Xandros
  5. SCO sued IBM for who knows what, the story changes often.
  6. MS and Sun took a Unix license from SCO Update June 6: Sun also took out a Linux right-to-use license for their end users
  7. Caldera acquired DR-Dos from Novell, allegedly promising to sue MS but not mention Novell’s involvement.
  8. SCO tried to impose a right-to-use license on Linux users
  9. Novell claims ownership of IP SCO using to extort Linux users
  10. MS makes a deal with Novell in which Novell agrees to pay ongoing royalties based on open source software shipped under the agreement in exchange for a right-to-use license (covenant not to sue) for Novell customers.
  11. Caldera Sues MS over DR-DOS
  12. Novell sells some unix rights to SCO
  13. Novell Sues MS over WordPerfect
  14. MS makes a deal with Xandros
  15. Sun sues MS over their Java implementation
  16. MS makes a deal with Novell for Novell to pull out of EU antitrust suit
  17. Corel pledges to implement OOXML in Wordperfect

Of course, this is almost certainly a woefully incomplete, and perhaps even wholly inaccurate (hey, it’s late and I’m working from memory) listing of just some of the events in recent software industry history involving our friends from Redmond, meant mainly as a fun exercise and a conversation starter…

What did I miss? What did I mess up? And, what does it all mean? Tawk amungst yaselves

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  1. Alan Polinsky said,

    June 7, 2007 at 1:10 pm


    I don’t believe that Corel invested in Xandros. Quoting from Dr. Frederick Berenstein, (http://linux.sys-con.com/read/44559_p.htm)

    “Xandros originally came from the acquisition of the former Corel Linux Business Division by a group of investors called Linux Global Partners. That took place in 2001…”

  2. shane said,

    June 7, 2007 at 1:35 pm


    Hmmm. I was working off of Stephe’s entry, but I can check into that I am sure…

    “By putting a framework in place to share intellectual property, ….” There is no “sharing” happening today. A quick search of the USPTO database reveals the number of patents with “assignee name” of Xandros: ZERO. The number of patents with an “assignee name” of Microsoft: 6776. The number of patents with an “assignee name” of Corel (one of Xandros investors): 40. It might be interesting to know what rights Xandros had to Corel patents, and what rights they may have just cross licensed, but that’s Corel’s problem.

    Thanks for the information, I’ll update once I can confirm/deny… it still doesn’t say Corel didn’t invest in them, just where they descend from. MS invests in many spinoffs of themselves…

  3. shane said,

    June 7, 2007 at 1:53 pm


    That didn’t take long, lookie here:

    Who owns Xandros?

    Linux Global Partners provided the initial equity financing for Xandros. Other stockholders include Corel Corporation and vested employees.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 7, 2007 at 3:20 pm


    Just follow the money and see who is serving who.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 7, 2007 at 3:47 pm


    Just caught this quote which Groklaw considers to be funny:

    “Under the third version of the General Public License, expected to be published in final form this month by the Free Software Foundation, all such deals that were not inked by March 28 are forbidden. As a result, it would appear that Xandros will not be allowed to distribute open source code licensed under GPLv3 because of its relationship with Microsoft. Typaldos [Xandros CEO] said he’s not concerned. “If you are a businessperson, you can’t worry about every eventuality.”


    So, maybe business prospects are not truly a priority here.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 8, 2007 at 2:53 am


    Here is another one from the news:

    “Microsoft and LG have been partners since 2004.”


    Well, well, well. The pieces are slowly falling into place, but what about Samsung and Fuji-Xerox?

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