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


Impressed by OpenOffice, Bill Gates Schemes to Use Software Patents Against It

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenOffice, Patents at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates (when Microsoft was smaller)

THE sheer hypocrisy rears its ugly head. Bill Gates applied to Open/StarOffice the same strategy (and hypocrisy) that he applies to GNU/Linux. Having realised that Microsoft faces competitive pressure from more affordable products, he reaches out for his software patents cabinet. It’s a complete change compared to the company’s philosophy as reflected in the quote above. Nowadays, as Microsoft’s Marshall Phelps points it, “other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio.”

Eric Rudder, a manager whose role we witnessed in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], brings up the following article from CNET to inform Bill Gates:

Software maker Star Division said today that it is offering the latest version of its desktop application suite for free download off its corporate Web site.

StarOffice 5.0 Personal Edition is a productivity package which runs on Windows 95, 98, NT, Solaris, Linux, O/S 2, and Java, and consists of word processing, spreadsheet, graphic design, presentation, database front-end, HTML editing, mail, event calendar, and formula editing applications.

Here is the reply from Gates, as seen in Exhibit px04023 (1998) [PDF]. This was sent to Jon DeVann, Steven Sinofsky, and Bill Neukom, with a carbon copy going to John Mason.

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Monday, December 07 1998 8:28 PM
To: Jon DeVann; Steven Sinofsky; Bill Neukom (LCA)
Cc: John Mason (LCA)
Subject: FW: free desktop suite from star

Importance: Low

Attorney client privileged

An Interesting development…

At some point we will have to consider the patents they violate.

I am unclear of what their business strategy is with the free version. It is a good product developed by a surprisingly lean team of people.

What led to this patent fetish after denouncing patents when Microsoft was a small company? And again, Gates used the same strategy against GNU/Linux, as other memos from Comes vs Microsoft have shown. It continues to this date because Steve Ballmer says the darnest things, e.g. “People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”

This is merely the tip of the Comes vs Microsoft iceberg. It’s an unexplored treasure trove which appeared only briefly before Microsoft paid a fortune to make it vanish (in 2007). There’s plenty more where that came from.

The exhibit is added below, in full.

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px04023, as text

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Monday, December 07 1998 8:28 PM
To: Jon DeVann; Steven Sinofsky; Bill Neukom (LCA)
Cc: John Mason (LCA)
Subject: FW: free desktop suite from star

Importance: Low

Attorney client privileged

An Interesting development…

At some point we will have to consider the patents they violate.

I am unclear of what their business strategy is with the free version. It is a good product developed by a surprisingly lean team of people.

—Original Message—

From: Eric Rudder
Sent: Monday, December 07 1998 1:55 PM
To: Bill Gates
Subject: free desktop suite from star

Subject: free desktop suite from star

Star offers desktop suite for free

it’s scary the corel’s code is potentially in play too … if i were oracle or sun, i’d think abt either supporting star, or picking up a snapshot of corel really cheaply, and offering at an insanely low price.


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


  1. twitter said,

    February 10, 2009 at 11:02 am


    Looks like he failed to use patents against OO and had to play format and patent games with OOXML. Their previous failure does not bode well for their current efforts but their failure to gain traction with OOXML makes this a moot point. The best and most natural thing that can happen is for people to use ODF instead of M$’s disfunctional non standards.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 10, 2009 at 11:17 am


    They actually signed a related patent deal with Sun and in May 2007 they threatened OOo in public, using mythical software patents they refuse to specify.

What Else is New

  1. IRC Proceedings: September 13th, 2015 – October 3rd, 2015

    Many IRC logs

  2. Article Explains Why SUEPO Went Silent Well Over a Week Ago: Nobody is Allowed to Talk to Journalists Without Permission From Battistelli

    More threats from Benoît Battistelli (threats of termination and legal actions on top of it) help hide the abuses of Battistelli and his fellow thugs at the EPO

  3. A Linux World: After Billions of Dollars in Losses Microsoft Changes How It Reports Financial Results

    The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over

  4. Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

    A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

  5. Links 4/10/2015: Linux 4.2.3 , 4.1.10; MPlayer 1.2 released

    Links for the day

  6. Links 2/10/2015: Qubes 3.0, Linux.Wifatch

    Links for the day

  7. Microsoft-Connected Firm Net Applications Used to Mislead About Vista 10 Share and Mock GNU/Linux

    People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%

  8. Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and EPO Vice-President of DG3 Suspiciously on Unlimited Sick Leave After Benoît Battistelli's Unprecedented Attacks on Other EBoA Staff

    Rumours suggest that Benoît Battistelli's affairs at the EPO may have something to do with Wim Van der Eijk's longterm absence

  9. Microsoft's Secret Special Relationship With EPO Illustrates Serious Corruption at Microsoft and the EPO

    A big story about the EPO and Microsoft working in a sort of collusion-type setup so as to serve Microsoft's patent agenda, which involves aggression, even against European software that is Free (as in freedom)

  10. Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

    Links for the day

  11. The 'Microsoft Loves Linux' Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that 'Microsoft loves Linux'

  12. The Microsoft Botnet Goes Bonkers and ATMs Running Windows Spew Out Cash

    The terrible security (by design) of Microsoft Windows is causing all sorts of very serious and collectively expensive issues

  13. Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

    Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

  14. Links 30/9/2015: New Kernels, Nexus Devices

    Links for the day

  15. Links 28/9/2015: Last News Catchup Before Resumption

    Links for the day

  16. Links 25/9/2015: GNU/Linux in Indian Government, NeoKylin in China

    Links for the day

  17. Süddeutsche Zeitung Explains Imminent Federal Scrutiny Against Battistelli's EPO in Germany

    The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reveals that actions by the German government may be imminent against the EPO's cliquish management, including its ringleader Benoît Battistelli

  18. EPO Managers, Patent Lawyers, Commissioners and Other Non-Technical Personnel Tackle Democracy, Alter Laws in Bulk and in Secret

    The reckless assault on European democracies and long-established laws across Europe are now lucidly demonstrated when it comes to patents

  19. Europe's Acceptance of and Resistance to Software Patents, Courtesy of Corporate Front Groups and Courtrooms Respectively

    A snapshot of recent developments and upcoming developments in Europe, regarding software patents in particular

  20. German Press Explains EPO Investigation Unit (I.U.), Struggles to Openly Speak to the Secretive EPO

    The secretive Investigation/Investigative Unit (I.U.) of the European Patent Office (EPO) is further studied/explored by a recent article from junge Welt, an old and well-established German newspaper (since 1947)

  21. Links 24/9/2015: GNOME 3.18, Fedora 23 Beta, New Firefox

    Links for the day

  22. Translation Needed of Article About EPO Threats Against SUEPO's Elizabeth Hardon

    A call for translation of an important article that may help shed light on the modus operandi of the Investigation/Investigative Unit of the EPO, which works with Control Risks Group (CRG), the 'British Blackwater'

  23. Media Filled With Spin and Lies Amid Microsoft's Admission of Internal Usage (and Modification) of GNU/Linux

    Further analysis of Microsoft's admission that it uses Linux internally and the media's poorly-researched response to that

  24. EPO Management Justifies Censorship (Even of Journalists) Using Its Vice-President Željko Topić

    The Topić connection to EPO-imposed and universally-induced censorship not just of news sites but also sites which speak about the censorship itself, or dare question the integrity of the EPO's management

  25. Changes at Techrights

    A few short notes on how we are going to re-align the site with disruptive trends, notably patents-related

  26. EPO President Benoît Battistelli Compared to Famous Criminals on European Television

    The Belgian TV network featured a show which was making fun of Battistelli earlier this month

  27. Dutch Politician John Kerstens Says EPO Investigative Unit is Called ‘the Gestapo’

    The infamous Investigation Unit (I.U.), which secretly bullies staff of the EPO with notorious interrogation techniques under virtually no oversight, is described on Dutch radio

  28. The European Patent Office's Autocracy Has Proven the Streisand Effect, Amplifying Its Opposition's Messages

    The management of the European Patent Office (EPO) is still trying to suppress negative messages about managerial failures, violations and abuses, thereby serving to only increase media coverage (newspapers, radio, television) of increasingly well-known and widely-covered scandals

  29. IBM is Again Attacking Free/Libre Open Source Software by Pushing for Patents on Software

    A timely reminder that Big Blue is no true friend of GNU/Linux and other Free software projects, just an opportunist that uses the Linux brand and wants to make the platform a commodity (for servers that run IBM's proprietary software and use IBM-branded hardware)

  30. Windows is Dying, Based on my Conversations With Microsoft Windows Staff

    The arrival of Vista 10 heralds the continuation of a trend that Vista 8 cemented, namely an inevitable demise of Microsoft's common carrier (and formerly cash cow), Windows


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