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Red Hat's CEO Responds to Question About Microsoft's Patent Threats

When the departure of Red Hat's previous CEO was first announced, a reader suggested that we write a letter to the new CEO, so we did. The letter was read many times and we believe that it has reached James Whitehurst himself. In a New Interview for NetworkWorld, Whitehurst was asked about Microsoft a few times. Here is one question and answer of interest:

You have a strong business background, is signing a cross-patent licensing deal with Microsoft still bad business for Red Hat?

[Whitehurst:] If we knew what kind of patent issues we had that would be helpful. So it is hard to have productive conversation if we don't know what they are. So it’s way too early to say that. To be clear, I am not some type of religious zealot, I do not have a problem having relationships with proprietary software companies, but we need to think about if it is good for the customers. Interoperability - great - but we would like to do that on open standards. But in terms of patents, it would be helpful if Microsoft would be a little more forthcoming.


The way John Fontana (the interviewer) asked this question makes it rather catchy. In the remainder of this interview you can see the general attitude towards Microsoft, which is somewhat akin to that of Jim Zemlim, just without the "respect Microsoft"-type calls [1, 2, 3].

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