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Microsoft's Extortion Ventures and Blowback

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Summary: The latest news about Microsoft and its proactive-aggressive attitude with software patents; A look at Microsoft's "IP Ventures"

IN RE BILSKI is slated for release today. It may derail Microsoft's plan with patents -- a plan it has been implementing by suing Linux-reliant companies such as Salesforce. Microsoft's actions are widely denounced [1, 2] and they are a call for trouble. Here is a PDF of the complaint from Salesforce [PDF]. There is a lot of news coverage about it (we gave links to about 15 articles), but it is mostly based on this original filing. From VirnetX there is the new press release which we mentioned several days ago and here is some resultant coverage [1, 2, 3] (biased due to the authors). The short story is that Microsoft too is a serious patent violator. Everyone is. The presence of software patents criminalises programming in the same way that today's copyright law probably makes any university presentation a copyright infringement (those with images in particular). The solution is to reform the law, not to prepare for counter action, which relies upon one's own wealth of retaliatory monopolies.



There are quite a few articles right now about Microsoft's patent/spinoff arm, "IP Ventures". We wrote about it last year and last week's coverage says that it's half a decade old:

Today marks the fifth anniversary of IP Ventures, Microsoft's program that opens up technologies developed internally at Microsoft to entrepreneurs and new businesses.


The "IP" stands for an umbrella of patents, not "Internet protocol". It says a lot about Microsoft's perception of products, unless it also refers to copyrights. Microsoft is excluding competitors, still; if not by technical sabotage then by threats and lawsuits. Microsoft is lunatic company of sorts; it spread the perception that it will act irrationally to retaliate and punish anyone who stands in its way.

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