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02.07.09

Microsoft Distorts the Linux and Virtualisation Markets

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, Xen at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell just one player among more

EARLIER in the week we remarked on a Microsoft-Brother patent deal that covers Linux [1, 2]. Although it received too little coverage in the press, there is this column from ZDNet which makes valid points worthy of echoing:

It’s a familiar story. Microsoft does a secret deal with a company over patent licences. Almost no details are provided about which patents, how much money has changed hands, or why, except for one vaguely worded press release that talks about how such secret deals benefit the customer through openness and innovation.

This time, the lucky donor of cash for secrets is Brother, which will now be allowed to use Microsoft patents to make printers. As Microsoft doesn’t make printers – indeed, doesn’t even make printer drivers – it is an interesting exercise to try and guess what’s actually happened. It’s fruitless to ask either of the companies – and we did try. In cases like this, as in the best gangster movies, nobody ain’t sayin’ nothin’.

[...]

Otherwise, Microsoft’s trick of gaining revenue from licensing open-source software behind closed doors will smell more and more like extortion. As the economy sours and curdles, the values of trust and accountability will prove to be worth far more than a handful of dollars in secret taxation raised on other people’s software.

The signing of patent pacts (cross-licensing) that involve Linux is merely one battlefront to Microsoft. The other strategy being harnessed is one involving exclusion of distributions/vendors that do not pay Microsoft. This is achieved not only by Microsoft but also through its subsidiaries or partners.

“Someone with regulatory powers ought to step in.”Microsoft seemingly took greater control of VMware in order to take it further away from Red Hat. It sure seems like Paul Maritz (along with his new COO from Microsoft) is trying to steer VMware users toward the patents-encumbered SLES. Meanwhile, Tucci is up there shaking hands with Steve Ballmer and allowing all this to happen. The NYT covered the ugly story about him expelling Greene, which had a different plan for VMware.

Someone with regulatory powers ought to step in. This is market distortion and anti-competitive manipulation. Citrix plays this game too. Novell, VMware, Citrix and a few others (PlateSpin comes to mind) are all playing ball for Microsoft. On the other hand we have KVM, which Red Hat took control of.

Microsoft is trying to marginalise GNU/Linux by controlling virtualisation vendors. Now, if only the mainstream press could realise and cover this properly.

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10 Comments

  1. Eruaran said,

    February 7, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Gravatar

    My level of disgust at the behaviour of this corporation (and that it gets away with it) is at an all time high….

    I have no words to express my anger…

  2. aeshna23 said,

    February 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Gravatar

    “Microsoft is trying to marginalise GNU/Linux by controlling virtualisation vendors. Now, if only the mainstream press could realise and cover this properly.”

    I’d prefer not to be negative, but the ideas here are just complex for the mainstream press. The best you can hope for is that press on tech issues report these issues accurately, but so much of that press has been bought by Microsoft.

  3. Dave said,

    February 10, 2009 at 12:02 pm

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    Mainstearm press wont touch this, because its pointless, Microsoft owns patents, and is within their right to enforce them there is NO law saying that they have to inform the public, or that the patent has to relate to what they do or sell.

    You clearly have little knowledge about the law or patents.

    If microsoft owned the rights to a patent for a light globe, they are within their rights to mak agreements to be rewarded for the patent they have the rights to.

    NO they dont have to invent it, anyway can negoiate with inventor or the owner of the patent and come to an agreement (or not).

    Its up to the company or person with the patent or the rights to that patent.

    Sure ifyou want to steal the idea and use it for yourself then you might be interested in seeing what the patent is,

    But WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH YOU ?? Seems like it is a deal between Brother and MS.

    So get as mad as you like, hate MS or any paent holder, (like Tomas Edison), say people who hold patents stifle innovation, then look at what Edison did for innovation and tell yourself how stupid you look for being so narrow minded.

    Patents are a fact of life, they are for a reason, they help innovation, and they stop crooks and criminals stealig other peoples ideas.

    Something that FOSS do alot of,

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm

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    “Dave”, you are obviously the “darryl” Microsoft AstroTurfer changing names again and spreading lies I won’t bother responding to.

    I can see your IP and I can see where you’re coming from. Microsoft AstroTurfing is not permitted in this Web site and you were already banned from LinuxToday for doing the same thing.

  5. Jose_X said,

    February 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm

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    “Dave” I think you can post here, but try to reply to points people make (if they make any) when they reply to you instead of ignoring the arguments and then going off and posting another rant along the same lines elsewhere.

  6. Gentoo User said,

    February 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Gravatar

    changing names again and spreading lies I won’t bother responding to.

    Your partners do that. In fact they’re doing it right now, and part of what they do is promote your website. But that’s OK though, right?

  7. Jose_X said,

    February 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Sure ifyou want to steal the idea and use it for yourself then you might be interested in seeing what the patent is,

    Supposedly, people are supposed to look at patents. That’s part of the reason they are made public (vs trade secrets).

    Many hate to waste/spend time researching patents that for various reasons.

    Almost any new combination of things can be given a patent. It’s not that difficult to come up with a unique combination of existing things.

    Some people eventually do look at patents, but it’s to see what they can do so that their product does not infringe.

    See this http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/04/the-api-trap-part-1/

    >> Seems like it is a deal between Brother and MS.

    There are various reasons people might be bothered. If nothing else, there is an effort to keep tabs on Microsoft. As for their patents, they keep alleging Linux/FOSS violates but they give no indication of what is violating which patent where.

    People like myself and many others think the patent system is broken. Why wouldn’t we care that a company try to leverage a broken unfair system to shut down FOSS?

    >> then look at what Edison did for innovation and tell yourself how stupid you look for being so narrow minded.

    It’s always debatable what would have happened if…. In this case, Edison dealt with material objects whose mass production (to enter the market) required high expenditures.

    That’s definitely not the case for software today that once you have the invention, you have to put up a huge amount of money.

    Trade secret and copyrights work fine and strike a much better balance than patent protection.

    >> Patents are a fact of life, they are for a reason, they help innovation, and they stop crooks and criminals stealig other peoples ideas.

    Do you mean crooks like Bill Gates and Microsoft? Are you talking about crooks like those?

    Patent law was created way before computers and software existed.

    FOSS development gives the world a lot more than the people creating patents. Patents have no detail over implementation and try to monopolize a huge area. FOSS attempts to monopolize nothing and provides everything you need to know to build a working product.

    Why should FOSS be penalized for the selfishness of groups like Microsoft using a broken patent system?

    Microsoft looks weak when their lifeline to fending off FOSS are government monopolies and not a better development or marketing model or apparently better products.. certainly not more cost-effective ones.

    Dave, I could go into more details, but if you are in fact Darryl from LT, then I am fairly sure you have read a lot of things I and others who are against software patents have written.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, it’s him

  9. Jose_X said,

    February 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Gravatar

    This link was from irc (roy posted it i think) http://techdirt.com/articles/20090203/0304073621.shtml “Directors Admit They ‘Steal’ Ideas… But Most People Recognize That As Inspiration”

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Gravatar

    Ideas can be copied, not stolen. Theft leads to loss/gain at one’s expense.

    Microsoft’s entire history (from the start) is based on copying other people’s work and stealing staff from competitors.

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