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Microsoft Software Patents Linux

Microsoft Sees No Conflicts With Patent Initiatives 84

Posted by Zonk
from the maybe-they-should-look-again dept.
AlexGr writes "According to Eweek's Peter Galli, Microsoft sees no contradiction between its open-source community building efforts and the more-than-thinly-veiled legal threats at Linux and other projects. Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's vice president of intellectual property and licensing, actually states: 'One makes the other possible, especially at a time like this, when interoperability is so important. Microsoft recognizes the importance of interoperability, which is why we are doing the things we are in our products, why we created the Interoperability Executive Customer Council, and why we are listening to customers.'"
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Microsoft Sees No Conflicts With Patent Initiatives

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  • by u-bend (1095729) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:07PM (#19342957) Homepage Journal
    "There IS no Conflict"
    • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:16PM (#19343109) Homepage Journal
      • War is Peace
      • Freedom is Slavery
      • Ignorance is Strength

      • by mollog (841386) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:56PM (#19343675)
        This seems to be a very widespread phenomenon; apparent illogic in public positions.

        At even the hint of a suggestion that Microsoft has made a living from using other people's ideas, Bill Gates will immediately start into a harangue about how Microsoft is a leader because of its innovation. As most people familiar with the subject (and not predisposed to believe what Microsoft/Bill Gates says) already knows, Microsoft is not an innovator.

        Many very big corporations like Microsoft, and all politicians, have learned to make statements that are based on false logic, falsified logic, and plain illogic. Big Tobacco denying the link between tobacco and cancer, Big Oil explaining their profits. I'll leave the political stuff alone because that seems to bring out the trolls.


        That Microsoft will openly state that there is no tension between its 'support' of open standards and software, and their other work which supports and extends 'closed' technology is not a surprise. But what disappoints is that this rather open hypocrisy seems to be so readily accepted, especially by the mainstream media.

        Have we become so jaded that truth and fact no longer matter? Am I the only one who tires of this open hypocrisy?
        • 'Tis the nature of the game. If you can win by playing it that way then it really doesn't matter to the player. Take comfort in the fact that it is not a strategy conducive to long term success; lament that short term success is always attractive enough so that tis doesn't matter.
        • No you are not. Open hypocrisy is in style these days. The main stream media rarely challenges it. its disgusting really
        • Hmmm.... You know in some countries telling lies about another person, or group could be construed as slander and is a suable offense. I think Microsoft should be careful in what they say. If they don't identify the patents that they are accusing the open source community is violating then the Open Source community has a good case to sue them for slander in those countries.
        • That Microsoft will openly state that there is no tension between its 'support' of open standards and software, and their other work which supports and extends 'closed' technology is not a surprise. But what disappoints is that this rather open hypocrisy seems to be so readily accepted, especially by the mainstream media.

          It's never accepted, it's only repeated in hopes to perpetuate it. If Bill Gates can only be quoted as saying one thing, how is anyone going to show him in another light unless they reso
    • Re:Vader quote. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HermMunster (972336) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @05:22PM (#19344921)
      Only veiled lies are part of any Microsoft statement about interoperability. Microsoft wants proprietary and it to be theirs to lock you into their OS and their technologies. This is not new. Let us be wary of the fact that Microsoft wants the IP from the open source community and are willing to extort it through blatant lies about IP violations. An attorney I spoke with just today while we were discussing this informs me that Microsoft's failure to disclose the patent numbers is essentially abandonment.

      Microsoft has been trying to extort IP from the open source. That's their only reason behind the threats. The Open Source community doesn't need to agree to Microsoft's terms. Microsoft needs to agree to the Open Source communities terms, or whomever has the IP. Since the Open Source community has little to no reason to cross license and are willing to remove any infringing code, Microsoft has no choice but to pay up to open source.

      It will be pretty funny when everyone comes to the realization that Microsoft has a significantly greater number of IP violations than open source does and they'll refuse to pay up when the time comes for the disclosure. They simply claim that the open source community didn't pay up when they were given a chance so Microsoft decided to play judge, jury, and executioner and make the balance themselves.

      Microsoft is like the big oil company threatening to sue the individual car driver, and any major company that uses cars, because those people are using gasoline that may be refined using some portion of their process that wasn't "allegedly" legally licensed. It doesn't matter that this big oil company probably stole the process to begin with. Nor does it matter that they won't tell you which part was infringed so the process can be adjusted.

      Microsoft's motives are not altruistic. They are not after interoperability. They are after the IP of these companies intellectual property. It is that simple. It is method of extortion. This moron that is in charge of the IP section is obviously crazy.
  • mmmmmmmmmm (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    thin veal....
  • Threatening us with lawsuits is part of their plan to HELP us... How did I not figure that one out... It's so obvious
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fireman sam (662213)
      Microsoft's new slogan: "We sue you because we care about you"
    • yes... it helps us switch to the right software...
    • Don't forget interoperability. Threatening to sue anything that would talk to a M$ application is for interoperability!
    • by Tribbin (565963)
      It's sort of a paradox.

      They could just file the use of patents as bug-reports so the FOSS community can actually be aware of it and DO something about it.

      But I guess it would be against their strategy to avoid people from using their patented ideas.
  • Hmmm ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:09PM (#19343001)

    'One makes the other possible, especially at a time like this, when interoperability is so important. Microsoft recognizes the importance of interoperability, which is why we are doing the things we are in our products, why we created the Interoperability Executive Customer Council, and why we are listening to customers.'
    I think he forgot 'And that's why we're threatening to sue people ... to ensure we have interoperability in courtrooms.'
  • How could it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:12PM (#19343051)
    "Microsoft Sees No Conflicts With Patent Initiatives"

    MS is a corporation. So among other things, we know that:

    (1) It doesn't actually "see" anything. It's comprised of individual humans (mostly) that see things.

    (2) Because it's actually a collection of minds that don't necessarily agree with each other, it doesn't tell us much that it's engaging in two actions that are potentially un-reconcilable. When we hear that a *person* "sees no conflict", we find that interesting because we figure maybe the person has discovered some reason that they two ideas in question can be reconciled. For a corporation of multiple persons, maybe no such reconciliation of the two ideas exists.

    Plus it's also quite plausible that MS management has private motives that are very different than its public motives. In that case perhaps the (inauthentic) public motives are in logical conflict, but the private motives held by MS's management are actually completely self-consistent.
    • Law in economics (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DrYak (748999) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @04:14PM (#19343995) Homepage

      (2) Because it's actually a collection of minds that don't necessarily agree with each other, it doesn't tell us much that it's engaging in two actions that are potentially un-reconcilable.


      There needs to be a law in economics that states that any corporation big enough, will starts to show symptoms of the corporate equivalent of Alien hand syndrome [wikipedia.org] once it has crossed a specific size.

      The recent mix-up at Microsoft (one hand is trying to be nice to open-source because FOSS is the current hyped buzzword of the day while at the same time the other hand is desperately trying to find a way to crush this "evil" concurrence that threatens to overthrow them from their dominant position in the market) is a perfect illustration of such dual minded corporate behaviour (for the exact reason stated above : it's made up of too many people to have a single coherent goal).

  • Embrace, extend, extinguish! Or something. Only they're extinguishing and embracing at the same time--possibly 'extending' at the same time too, thanks to the EU. Maybe Gates' official Fürher status was like a timing signal... now they've gotten everything all mixed up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NoMaster (142776)
      Bingo!

      There's a market developing in Free software - a small market, mind you, at the moment, but showing every sign of growing - and Microsoft want to own it. It's as simple as that.

      Doesn't mean they actually need to produce Free software though - they just need to own the mindspace. Their strategy over the last few years, right up to the recent events, has amounted to
      • "Oh, but we do embrace free software"
      • "Uh, but we're cautious because there may be some IP problems associated with it"
      • "Look - we said t
  • There is only Zuel.....
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:15PM (#19343103) Homepage Journal
    I would write another Open [slashdot.org] Letter [slashdot.org], but at this point, I give up. They won't respond.

    Brad Smith & Co: If you're listening at all, just give up the threats or sue us. Piss or get off the pot. Otherwise, maybe some open source developers might get fed up and sue YOU for slander and libel.

    • by thebdj (768618)
      Seriously, you are not helping. First, do you really think you are proving anything with this "open letter." It is a slashdot post in which you placed "Dear so and so". It is hardly a letter and almost guaranteed not to be read, since I really doubt most lawyers at this firm are really sitting around slashdot in their free time. Second, your letters hardly do anything other then yell and curse at the individuals. I hope you would be a bit better prepared then this when talking in a courtroom.

      If you r
      • I did e-mail the letters to the respective e-mail addresses.

        However, I *will* get an open letter published -- with more actual substance -- in a major trade rag if I have to write letters to the editor of every major trade rag on the planet.
    • by SoulRider (148285)
      You know its coming, they are trying way too hard to convince everyone they are not going sue anyone.
  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by peipas (809350) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:15PM (#19343105)
    So they're thickly veiled threats?
    • by jd (1658)
      Duh. If they're listening but can't hear, and visibility through the veil only works one way, it would have to be horribly thick and probably made of several layers of aluminium-coated wool.
  • by tgatliff (311583) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:17PM (#19343121)
    Of course they see no conflict. Alternatie would be that they admit that have a conflict, and then do what? There action is not a shorterm play. The reality is that MS is scared to death about the longterm of the software industry. The OSS model kills legacy applications, which is a good thing in most peoples minds. At some point, you need to stop charging for same application. Winzip comes to mind here... If OSS didnt exist, this simply would not happen.
    • by lawpoop (604919)
      I'm starting to really believe that this is the end of the road for MS' crappy development and release model. The open source movement has been growing for over 25 years and it's turning out to be a real competitor to MS windows. There are more and more articles about Joe Computer columnist installing Ubuntu and *not* encountering any fatal flaws. More and more apps are available for Windows, OSX and Linux. The endlessly delayed Vista with no real improvements and incredible system requirements shows the fu
  • Disconnect (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Smight (1099639)
    What customers say: "This open source stuff is starting to look pretty good, and free isalot cheaper than what I'm paying now." What microsoft hears: "All this extra money and constantly updated software is confusing and scary. I wish someone would destroy these companies and maintain the status qou."
  • Interoperability Executive Customer Council
    What?! Why are they now using spaces in these new .NET class names? What's wrong with InteroperabilityExecutiveCustomerCouncil? What was so difficult about reading InterlockedCompareExchangeRelease that they have to start with this new convention?

  • they never see wrongdoing on their part.

    Microsoft. the reason there is braille on the keys of the drive-through ATM.
    • Microsoft. the reason there is braille on the keys of the drive-through ATM.

      I would have figured it's just cheaper to make ALL keypads with braille than to manage two production lines, one with and one without...
    • by Lockejaw (955650)
      Hm. I thought it was because people sometimes walk up to them.
  • by psema4 (966801) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:24PM (#19343221) Homepage Journal
    TIECC - This Is an Exceedingly Clumsy Concept.

    What does "Interoperability Executive Customer Council" mean? An interoperability "council" of customers' executives? An executive council of (for?!?) customers?

    Try as they might, I cannot see how M$ can declare war on either side of the Patented/Open software fight. Do they really think that they can exist in both camps at once and still come out a winner?

    If I'm not mistaken, the Art of War deals pretty specifically with choosing one's sides/opponents carefully.

    If they wish to push for interoperability, why threaten (however thinly-veiled) the Open Source community? Particularly when they themselves are "trying" to be more open?
    • by psema4 (966801)
      "TIECC - This Is an Exceedingly Clumsy Concept.

      What does "Interoperability Executive Customer Council" mean? An interoperability "council" of customers' executives? An executive council of (for?!?) customers?

      Try as they might, I cannot see how M$ can declare war on either side of the Patented/Open software fight. Do they really think that they can exist in both camps at once and still come out a winner?

      If I'm not mistaken, the Art of War deals pretty specifically with choosing one's sides/opponents carefull
    • by sgt scrub (869860)
      If I'm not mistaken, the Art of War deals pretty specifically with choosing one's sides/opponents carefully.

      I think this might be the key. They don't know which side to take so they are throwing out BS until one looks like a winner. MegaCrap isn't known for being the first on the block on anything but stealing other peoples stuff.
    • Do they really think that they can exist in both camps at once and still come out a winner?
      Yes. They are making sure that either way they don't loose.
  • "'...and why we are listening to customers.'"

    Big difference between "listening" and "hearing"....
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      and twisting someone's arm until they yell loudly enough to suit you
  • by anubi (640541) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:38PM (#19343411) Journal
    Ok... Imagine Microsoft did indeed start flinging litigation all over the industry...

    Then any adopters of Linux ( rest of world ) will be afraid of "embracing" Microsoft, for fear of the lawyer letter in the mail.

    Then Microsoft is relegated to an American-Only protocol with not a helluva lot of political clout outside the US.

    This will leave businesses which have embraced the Microsoft Representative with a crippled system incapable of communicating to every customer.

    Unlike open source, which will.

    The businessman who shook the hand of the Microsoft rep may have to stand before the CEO and explain why he should keep his job, given the company's competitors can talk to everyone, and his company, under his signature, can only talk to a subset of the customer base.

    The handshake with the Microsoft rep could be the handshake of death for many corporate CIO, as the love of universally compatible systems - and systems open to verification of their operation - become the norm.

    Microsoft has now shown their hand... its got claws in it. Do you want to trust it? The smiling face of someone anticipating getting you into their cat trap could turn into a gun pretty fast if it doesn't get its way.

    I don't expect the American government to do much, but I do expect compatibility with the rest of the world will do it.

    When you live to face the ramifications of your selections, ignorance is NOT bliss.

    • And that's why the USA uses metric!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by xant (99438)
      Microsoft has now shown their hand... its got claws in it. Do you want to trust it? The smiling face of someone anticipating getting you into their cat trap could turn into a gun pretty fast if it doesn't get its way.

      I think that metaphor was the octopus of death.
  • No one should be surprised that Microsoft sees no conflict with anything that makes them money. I seriously don't mean this to be a troll but it's true.
  • Customers did not want to have to solve this problem themselves, they wanted industry leaders, their vendors, to solve the interoperability problem for them, he said. "The only way that's possible is for companies to really be open to licensing arrangements and building these bridges that people thought were impossible before, among different providers and among different software development models," he said.

    Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HermMunster (972336)
      How many friggen times do I have to say it. They are after IP cross licensing. They will do anything. Open Source has no real need to cross license. Microsoft has a great need. They have been getting sued over and over and over and over, and loosing nearly 100% of the cases. This means they have to cross license instead of outright stealing. Open Source is starting to set the stage and those that participate have large portfolios of IP. If they can't enter into a legal cross license they will threat
  • Any time a representative of Microsoft uses the word "interoperability" in a sentence we're drawn one step closer to the abyss. Quick, everyone start chanting "Embrace and Enhance" to hold back the tide.
  • Company says it is working for its customers. More at 11.
  • "According to Eweek's Peter Galli, Microsoft sees no contradiction between its open-source community building efforts and the more-than-thinly-veiled legal threats at Linux and other projects."

    More than thinly veiled? I'd say the veil was long ago taken off completely.

  • I actually read TFA. Microsoft is cheerfully threatening the spirit of Free Software: individuals freely contributing code to a shared project.

    However, Microsoft's point here is that they're happy to make patent licensing agreements (like the Novell deal) with open source software vendors. Remember, MS has stated publicly that they're happy to make the Novell deal with Red Hat, Canonical, etc.

    If you're MS, and your goal is to make more Novell deals, then it makes perfect sense to make noise about your pat
  • Microsoft recognizes the importance of interoperability, which is why we are doing the things we are in our products

    microsofts products aren't even interoperable with each other (Office and Works? OneCare and Outlook[ Express]?)...
    if they really wanted interoperability, then why
    - are you not allowed to write a 100% openXML compatible office software based on the docs?
    - is smb changed just when linux support was finally good?
    - is the default filesystem changed just when linux support for ntfs got kinda

  • No one will not actually trust that which lurks under the Surface.
  • It's quite a difficult job, but MS has been quite successful at it. They've made PR statements even less trustworthy than they used to be. And, amazingly, they've been able to keep it up for several years running. I think that they hold the undisputed title for most years in the past decade. Many years they even debase political PR.

    Now, of course, this is assuming that you tar all PR with the same brush. And there may well be honest PR people out there. Sorry, but if they are offended, then they shoul
  • Microsoft seems to have multiple personalities. One minute they're threatening the competition, the next they're embracing standards and coming to agreements with competitors.

    One thing is for sure, you'll have an easier life if you avoid relying on their software for your own commercial gains. You won't end up building solutions using their software and then ending up being a competitor to one of their solutions or infringing on their patents.
    • Nope its not a multiple personality disorder.

      If you have a large php or java servlet running linux you are less likely to switch to windows.

      MS is only helping build compability so when they go after your boss for patent infringement they can sell windows as a replacement for your linux apps.

      It goes hand in hand.

  • On the one hand, open source advocates embrace a business model some intend will put the for profit software model out of business, and then seem indignant when the for profit businesses attack the threat.
  • Awash in the near-infrared

    five cameras

    So much for energy efficient computing.
  • Microsoft used to be an evil, monopolistic company that has won big by taking advantage of their users instead of delivering value. After starting self-serving "community projects", publishing source code that only works on Windows, obtaining patent-encumbered standards, and attempting to wage a patent war on FOSS, they still are.
  • It makes sense that Microsoft wants to promote php, apache, and jboss on Windows. It helps their customers running Linux to switch to Windows when they threaten to sue them.

    Why not switch to windows where there is no liability risk? After all you can run your same applications.

    After this will be the attempt to switch former linux users into a pure Microsoft environment with all microsoft products.

  • We KNOW Microsoft never utters a word without LYING!

    This is a truth on a par with "the Earth revolves around the sun."

    Nothing to see here, move along.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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