Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Corporation: A Licensing Company

Your rights are neither granted nor sold; they are leased

E

arlier in the day we wrote to mention Microsoft's so-called interoperability 1.0, which practically excludes software that's licensed under the most prolific licence: the GNU GPL. Digital Majority studied this. Having followed bits of the pertinent details, it turns out that people can purchase Microsoft 'protection', as we pretty much predicted long ago. Here are some of the takeaways:

If you don't trust the OSP (Open Specification Promise), ask for a patent licence at Microsoft. "If you would prefer a written license, or if the formats are not covered by the OSP, patent licenses are available by contacting iplg@microsoft.com" they say on their website.


Benjamin went further and decide to test them.

Benjamin Henrion <bhenrion at ffii.org> to iplg at microsoft.com date Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 3:23 PM subject Request for a written license for ECMA 376 implementation

Dear Microsoft Licensing,

I would be interested to receive a copy of the terms of the proposed written patent license that you propose for the standard ECMA 376, as mentioned by one Microsoft employee on the following page:

[...]


It will be interesting to see how this turns out. He sent this from a FFII address, so it might trigger a mental alarm at the receiver's end.

Speaking of fake interoperability, watch this new Bizarre Cathedral cartoon. And also mind this unrelated but seemingly similar news from last night.

Microsoft adds licensing option for businesses



Microsoft said Monday that it is adding a new licensing option, this one dubbed Select Plus and targeted largely at midsize firms.


Microsoft aspires to become a licensing company as much as a software vendor. Remember SCO?

To be fair, people never really bought any software from Microsoft anyway. They paid for a license to 'rent' the software, rendering them tenants of their own computers which they paid for. With recent versions of Windows, the landlord has a convenient kill switch, too.

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