Microsoft’s Latest Attack Plan on GNU/Linux Has Become Clearer and It’s Still About Software Patents
Whereas in Munich, Microsoft’s allies from Accenture continue to game the media with claims (years in the making now, always in vain) that GNU/Linux is a “failure”
“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”…”
–Matt Asay, formerly Novell
Summary: Microsoft’s so-called ‘love’ of GNU/Linux is conditional; Microsoft is willing to just tolerate GNU/Linux and not sue its users/distributors to death (or hefty settlement) as long as they pay Microsoft some royalties
AFTER a bunch of days without a single article (two of my laptops broke down, the connection went bust and other serious issues came up in the course of just 48 hours!) I can finally catch up with a lot of news which I was eager to write about. One might joke that for the past few days I’ve experienced the stress levels of EPO employees.
“The marketing/slogan was similar 10 years ago and we are beginning to see what Microsoft was plotting with this whole Azure “Microsoft loves [GNU/]Linux” façade.”Last week’s most popular article was this one about Microsoft's latest PR twist — a claim that balkanisation of Free/Libre Open Source software (“safe” and “unsafe”) is somehow benign and even desirable. A lot of the corporate press played along [1, 2] (Googlebombing “microsoft troll” as we noted here before). The latter, for example, is a highly misleading headline (“10,000 Microsoft patents free of charge”) because they pay Microsoft, otherwise Microsoft’s trolls can go after them. Notice the name of the programme, “IP Advantage”. If it sounds familiar, it should; these are same words that were used back in the Novell days. There was even a domain named along those likes. The marketing/slogan was similar 10 years ago and we are beginning to see what Microsoft was plotting with this whole Azure “Microsoft loves [GNU/]Linux” façade. It’s not too hard to see what really happens here and it’s probably not a coincidence or a side-effect but something that Microsoft’s strategists came up with. This is how they try to leverage software patents to ‘milk’ Free software.
“No other company pushes the envelope on IP value creation quite like Microsoft,” said Microsoft’s friends at IAM. “Yesterday the software giant was at it again with the announcement of a new level of patent protection for its cloud business through the launch of the Microsoft Azure IP Advantage programme.”
“So Microsoft is now looking for new ways to tax, using patents, the technology which is taking over (and isn’t Microsoft’s).”Watch how these mesmorised writers from IAM spin Microsoft’s passive-aggressive patent tactics. These tactics show that Microsoft has not changed. Only the marketing got tweaked a little. To quote more: “Microsoft’s recent value creation drive comes at a time when one of its traditionally strong IP areas — licensing fees — are on the decline; thanks, in large part, to a slumping smartphone market.”
So Microsoft is now looking for new ways to tax, using patents, the technology which is taking over (and isn’t Microsoft’s). Michael Loney too missed/lost sight of the Microsoft plot. He acts like a courier of Microsoft. “In an interview,” he wrote, “Erich Andersen explains Microsoft’s new programme to protect customers against IP litigation related to cloud computing, including making 10,000 patents available and pledging to Azure customers that if it transfers patents to non-practising entities they cannot be asserted against them” (like those entities that are operated by or are connected to Microsoft).
Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer after his promotion (showing increased focus on patents, not products, a couple of years ago), is promoting “Microsoft Azure IP Advantage programme,” but let it be clear that this is just the latest Microsoft assault on GNU/Linux and Free software. Anyone who believes otherwise is just refusing to see the obvious; or maybe we just failed to explain this clearly enough last week. We expect to say more about it in the near and distant future. Wait for trolls like Intellectual Ventures to go after hosts (or their customers) that are not Microsoft-’protected’. █