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01.27.10

Microsoft Signs Deal with Acacia and Builds More Patent Walls Against Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer FAT

Summary: An accumulation of new information about Microsoft’s i4i fallout and use of software patents against its most potent competition, GNU/Linux

LAST night we reminded readers that Apple's patents are a threat to GNU/Linux. Apple is already using them against Linux. We presented coverage from the past week in order to support this contention. Now we come to Microsoft, which is extremely busy on the patent front.

We will start with an issue that was mentioned here before, but this time we use a variety of new references. Software patents are biting Microsoft’s rear side as Microsoft Office gets pulled from some typical distribution points in the market.

“Microsoft falls on its face,” says The Inquirer, whereas Microsoft Nick tries to justify Microsoft’s abhorrent actions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], as usual. When something is called “Microsoft blog” it can usually be assumed that it’s strongly pro-Microsoft (and sometimes paid for by Microsoft). More older coverage:

Microsoft today said that retailers can continue to sell unmodified versions of Word 2007, even though a court order that required the company to remove custom XML technology from the software took effect Monday.

Many clients of Microsoft cannot license its software anyway, due to downtime:

Nearly a month after a software upgrade bumped Microsoft partners and customers off the company’s volume licensing site, the main problem has been fixed but some users are still locked out.

This problem was mentioned here before. The i4i fallout mostly means that for the time being it is harder to acquire Office and OOXML gets even more badly fragmented. It’s all due to software patents.

On we move to the news about Acacia settling with Microsoft. Microsoft and Acacia are to enter a licence agreement.

Acacia Research Corporation announced on Friday its Freyburger LLC subsidiary settled litigation and entered a license agreement with Microsoft Corp.

Acacia is the company which was suing GNU/Linux shortly after it had hired Microsoft staff. Another new press release speaks about Microsoft’s licence agreement with Funai. Microsoft Nick received an additional statement from David Kaefer, Microsoft’s general manager of intellectual property licensing who played a role in the extortion of GNU/Linux distributors (we mentioned him in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]). Here is what he said about the Novell deal back in 2006.

As we noted before, the Funai deal is about exFAT, which is Microsoft’s way of excluding GNU/Linux from the market.

Microsoft said that the agreement covers consumer audio-video products including LCD TVs. Funai also will gain access to Microsoft’s extended file allocation table (exFAT) patents.

We also wrote about this Funai deal in [1, 2]. Microsoft is already suing Linux and using threats to coerce companies like Funai. Last week Microsoft even sued TiVo — a subject that we covered here.

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A Single Comment

  1. williami said,

    January 27, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Gravatar

    I guess OIN has to somehow get it’s hands on the exFAT patent, so that GNU/Linux isn’t sued over that.

    Either that, or we can just stop using exFAT and then we GNU/Linux users won’t be sued.

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