Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Did it Again, History Repeats Itself

The folks at Groklaw have just identified a Sun/Microsoft transcript, which used to reside on Microsoft's Web site back in 2004. Fortunately, the text is still stored in the Web Archive and it's a real eye opener. Have a look.
STEVE BALLMER: No, there's a few things. First, we put in place -- we deal with all of the antitrust matters. That has to -- just so we have a foundation to move forward.

Second, we put in place what I'd best describe as a patent regime between the two companies that serves as a framework to make -- to ensure that we don't run afoul of one another in ways past or forward-looking that would be problematic to the technical collaboration.

Third, we agreed on specific technical collaboration as it relates to how you make servers and clients talk to one another across the network. And each of these is long and detailed and certainly the detail of that is best probably gone through with the key teams on both sides and there are folks here from both Sun and Microsoft who can do that. But there are things that need to get licensed in terms of making these things plug together over the network. There's a licensing framework that's put in place for that.

So I'd say that's the elements and then if you take a look at the payment, some of the money is to resolve our antitrust lawsuit. Some of the payment takes a look back and says let's make sure we are clean with respect to one another on patents. Some of it is forward-looking in terms of how we work together from a patent perspective. And then some of it is forward-looking, us to Sun and Sun to us, in terms of the licensing of key intellectual property that relates to making these things plug together and interoperate well over the network.


Deja vu anyone? The sheer resemblance between the two deals was mentioned before. Ever since, Sun Microsystems has moved closed to the GPL. They have recently selected the GPL for Java, one of their CPU designs, and they already speak about applying the same type of licencing transformation to Solaris. Meanwhile, on the contray, Novell seems to be going in reverse, back to its proprietary roots. It has escaped in persuit of temptation---short-term gains and egocentric existence.

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