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Novell Joins Microsoft Seminar While Microsoft Hits Red Hat with “IP” Slurs

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Virtualisation at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s and Novell’s shared
love is their jealousy/hatred of Red Hat

Summary: The same old story seen and told in people’s inboxes and the news

AN anonymous reader has just mailed us what he calls “the joint Novell-Microsoft vision.” It is the text which describes an upcoming (21st of April) virtualisation seminar. It is organised by Microsoft, Novell, and possibly ANS and it takes place at Microsoft’s Headquarters in Thames Valley Park, Reading. Here is how it’s summarised:

Microsoft and Novell would like to extend to you a complimentary invitation to attend our half-day seminar on Windows and Linux Interoperability – “The Impact of Virtualisation on Reducing Complexity” At this summit, you and your peers will learn about the latest options for taking advantage of Windows and Linux interoperability to employ virtualisation, reduce systems overhead, and tame the complexity brought on by combining disparate environments. +

“Translated into English,” says our reader:

• “Run Windows under Linux Virtualisation and you’ll still have to pay us for a license.”

• “Run Linux under Windows Virtualisation and you’ll still have to pay us for a license.”

• “Use it for anything else and some people we don’t know will sue you.”

Speaking of Microsoft’s patent war of fear and extortion, some time ago we wrote about Microsoft's new book, “Burning The Ships," which is patent propaganda that it had generated and published under Phelps’ name. IP Watch, a proponent and maximalist of patents, covered this release by speaking to those involved. There are some true gems in there. For example:

IPW: Does the recent case involving TomTom navigational devices and open-source software – in which Microsoft sued over patent infringement and TomTom sued back – represent the kind of business environment Microsoft promotes? Why or why not?

PHELPS: What happened here and has happened on a very few cases, is that MS had great difficulty getting attention from TomTom and was forced into action. There have been a couple of others and all were settled quickly as was TomTom. But, whatever business model a company follows, the IP it invents needs to be respected and sometimes it’s necessary to show you’re willing to defend your legal rights to force the issue. Some say this doesn’t apply to open source companies, but they’re wrong. Just try appropriating RedHat’s famous logo and see what happens.

Watch how Microsoft’s Phelps is skillfully mixing trademarks with software patents using the “IP” umbrella that Richard Stallman constantly warns about.

Trademarks and patents are totally separate things which serve different purposes. Suffice to say, software patents are not even legal in the vast majority of the world.

Here is another unsubstantiated attack on Red Hat, whom Phelps was unable to sign a patent deal with.

KLINE: In fact, Red Hat has probably filed more IP suits than Microsoft has to protect their IP.

What does IP mean? And does back room pressure (racketeering) count for nothing?

IPW: Is there anything else you would like to add?

PHELPS: What we’ve tried to do with “Burning the Ships” is take IP questions out of the realm of arcane debate among lawyers and show real people, in the midst of a highly dramatic internal struggle at Microsoft, learning how to deploy IP for tangible business benefit.

In simple terms, Microsoft is encouraging companies to turn patents into tools of extortion and anti-competitive strategies. No wonder a Sun executive labeled Microsoft a patent terrorist.

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  1. William New said,

    April 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm


    To clear the record on a small point above, Intellectual Property Watch is very happy to see any of our posts generating debate about their subjects, but that’s the first time we ourselves have ever been accused of being “IP maximalist” as far as we know (did we read that comment right?). We’d rather be left out of the equation. In this case, we believed an interview with Microsoft’s IP counsel could be useful to readers, and we tried to be tough in our questioning – but apparently fell short in some people’s eyes (despite our delivery of some on-record “gems” that you can go to town on)! I guess now it’s time for that Red Hat interview. And please don’t be shy about sending us other story ideas!

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thank you, William.

    As a reader of IPW, I hope to find balanced discussions that hopefully separate and distinguish between trademarks, copyrights, and patents. In this case, there was an attempt to blur the distinction and it went unchallenged.

    I guess now it’s time for that Red Hat interview. And please don’t be shy about sending us other story ideas!

    May I suggest that you publish an interview with Red Hat about AMQP? We are still trying to decipher the company’s view on patents in this area.


  2. NotZed said,

    April 7, 2009 at 8:23 pm


    “In fact, Red Hat has probably filed more IP suits than Microsoft has to protect their IP. ”

    At least this obvious and out-right falsehood could have been challenged.

  3. William New said,

    April 8, 2009 at 2:00 am


    Thanks for the reminder, we should always be kept on our toes. In the interview it tripped us up a bit that the assertion about Red Hat was tossed in as an aside by former journalist Kline rather than Phelps. But we fully agree that any assertions in an interview should be challenged, and will endeavour to be more alert in future. If someone has official facts related to that assertion it might be possible to add a note. On the Red Hat story, we will need more info on that, preferably offline.

  4. Andre said,

    April 9, 2009 at 6:54 am


    Dear Roy, dear William,

    I found the interview excellent because it exposes the ideology and strategy of Marshall Phelps which does not seem undisputed. Time will show if his shark model is sustainable for the software industry or will run it to the ground. Phelps represents an older generation of the industry. The article reveals that his views are not undisputed.

    IPWatch is one of the best information services. It really needs our support. Why not abandon all communication of the institutions and dump the money on IPwatch and bloggers instead. I don’t want to read WIPO press releases but an IPwatch article is almost informative.

    What Roy can learn from IPwatch is high quality articles but quality has a price and sure, BN is more sensationalist. We will see which model will pay off in the end.

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