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06.29.09

What People Say About Microsoft’s Alleged Anti-Linux Lawsuit (via T3)

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Servers at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

T3 lawsuit IBM
Screenshot of T3′s Web site (from January)

Summary: Thoughts and analysis of the T3 lawsuit

LAST WEEK was the last time we wrote about the T3 lawsuit, having pointed out that it is part of an innovative pattern. Over at Groklaw, in relation to the T3 lawsuit, Pamela Jones wrote: “Microsoft rivals end up defendants in litigation with Microsoft showing up somewhere in the background? How could that ever happen? Kidding. We saw SCO, which also targeted IBM and Linux. Google has been targeted. Apple is getting hammered. Is it coincidence? Or antitrust? Hopefully, we’ll find out someday. But remember when SCO first started and Larry Ellison said about the litigation that Microsoft was innovating? Think of the damage to the economy. No. Really. Think of the loss of productivity, the money that could have gone into jobs not lost, into research and development instead of being wasted on bogo litigation. Look at the SCO saga. Was it legitimate litigation? You tell me. Here’s what Ellison said in 2003 when the news first hit that Microsoft had licensed something from SCO, paying them millions: “Bill [Gates] is innovating. Microsoft has always had incredible innovation. You’ve had advanced bundling, and what you see now is extreme litigation. They have a lot of experience with extreme litigation, actually.” Maybe someday a regulator will take a look at what happens to competitors of Microsoft, and the extreme litigation innovation, as Ellison courageously put it.”

Here is yet another article about the T3 lawsuit — a lawsuit which one of our more apprehensive readers interprets as follows:

Few more details [see] the CCIA press release. They say ground are product tying and interop.

I checked the E.C. DG Competition news site. Nothing there yet about the complaint. Suspect it got filed just before close of business Brussels time on Friday. DG Competition is normally very prompt in cranking out press releases acknowledging receipt of a complaint.

A bit of context. Microsoft is building whopper server farms to rival those being built by Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. See e.g., this. What’s driving all that is big-time bets on cloud computing becoming the next big thing, with big money in wheeling data center capacity to big customers on demand. Google, Microsoft, et ilk are building around massively parallel x86 processors. IBM presently has a lock on the mainframe part of the cloud market to be.

Interop in the cloud is emerging as a big deal for customers. They don’t want to be locked into a single cloud service provider. There’s been a lot of talk about it in the trade press but not much progress on developing *software* standards for interop in this area that would enable customers to switch. I don’t know what interop barriers, if any, might exist at the hardware level. But I suspect the gripe is at the software level, perhaps at the server operating system level because IBM has its own operating systems for its mainframes.

But the really big point here is that there’s a whole new major branch of the computing industry emerging with gigantic investments and everyone involved trying to grab early market advantage. This probably won’t be the only legal action that flies out of that struggle.

I might have stated my major point more finely. I doubt that this initiative is just Microsoft retaliating for IBM having instigated the ECIS DG Competitition complaint re the Office software stack. Not that there aren’t people at Microsoft would wouldn’t like a bit of revenge, but I do think this is aimed at the struggle for advantage in the cloud services market.

In relation to another article, Pamela Jones later added: “Ed Black, CCIA’s chief executive, mentioned in the article is the man who received $9.75 million in a settlement with Microsoft in 2004, when CCIA pulled out of the EU antitrust action against Microsoft, leaving FSFE and the SAMBA guys all alone to pursue the matter to a successful conclusion. CCIA got the rest of the $19.75 million settlement money.”

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