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Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux? 204

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-for-an-excuse dept.
Glyn Moody writes "Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, has just published a piece called 'Apple v. HTC: A Step Along the Path of Addressing IP Rights in Smartphones.' In it, he notes that today's smartphones are all about the 'software stack,' not the 'radio stack,' and that 'as the IP situation settles in this space and licensing takes off, we will see the patent royalties applicable to the smartphone software stack settle at a level that reflects the increasing importance software has as a portion of the overall value of the device. In the interim, though, we should expect continued activity.' That 'activity' obviously means lawsuits against those producing those software stacks, and Gutierrez seems to be hinting strongly that Microsoft intends to join in. So where does that leave all the Linux-based stacks such as the increasingly-popular Android? Is this just a clever way for Microsoft to start a patent war on Linux without appearing to do so?"
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Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux?

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  • FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:21AM (#31508090) Journal

    What a complete piece of FUD article. Nowhere in the original post he say anything about Linux or using this to attack Linux or Open Source in general. In fact, this is a guy who has previously wrote this about Microsoft open sourcing:

    Some observers question how a company can contribute to open source projects while, at the same time, insisting on respect of its intellectual property rights by its competitors. In fact, these two things are not inconsistent, and striking a balance between them is one of the key things every commercial technology company must do in order to compete effectively in a mixed source world.

    Yeah, it really seems like his out there to destroy Linux.

    Did the article writer also forget that Microsoft does Windows Mobile? He says " one that doesn't even involve Microsoft directly.". How does mobile market not concern Microsoft directly when it's making Windows Mobile, an OS that HTC has always been it's flagship manufacturer.

    Then completely out of context he quotes Bill Gates words from 1976, 34 years ago, how programmers should be paid for their work instead of doing everything for free. Did he just completely ignore how well funded Linux and some other OSS projects actually are? Mozilla alone brings in $80 million a year.

    It's not about destroying Linux, it's about making some sense to patent fights in mobile markets.

    • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Informative)

      by bguiz (1627491) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:26AM (#31508180)

      Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux?

      Title is sensationalist, has nothing to with the first article. And well, parent has rightly pointed out the FUD-ness of the 2nd article.

      • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:30AM (#31508254) Homepage

        I've noticed Slashdot doing this more and more. There used to be a frivolous article once a week, twice at most. Now though, it seems there is at least one or two every day. What happened?

        • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:36AM (#31508330) Journal

          It draws more people and pays the bill.
          Just like how TLC is no longer a learning channel, but gets more viewers

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Just like how TLC is no longer a learning channel, but gets more viewers

            What are you talking about? I've learned so much - I've learned what not to wear AND to say yes to that dress!!

          • by Obyron (615547) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:22AM (#31509008)
            TLC has taught me that God wants me to crank out children until my wife has complications and dies in childbirth, because the 18 kids I already have aren't enough.
          • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

            by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:56AM (#31509494)

            >Just like how TLC is no longer a learning channel, but gets more viewers

            How dare you, sir! I have learned lots from TLC and the History channel. Specifically:

            1. The Paranormal powers of Hitler and the eventual return of his ghost.
            2. How Jesus and Bigfoot are flying to Alpha Centauri to establish a new religion.
            3. That Nazi gold is buried in the Andes and only an expert dowser and his sidekick spirtual medium can find it.
            4. How prophecies from hundreds of years ago apply in my everyday life!
            5. That Stalin's mustache was the seat of his paranormal power!
            6. That Nessie was the dinosaur Noah rode after the flood!
            7. That special codes in the Bible reveal winning lotto numbers!

            Thats stuff they wont teach you in school.

        • Kevin Dawson happened. And Zonk. And Michael Sims. And Jon Katz.
        • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

          by east coast (590680) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:01AM (#31508714)
          Slashdot took a serious nose dive when they left behind the tech and took up the banner of political activism. I knew that on the day they (as in KDawson) started posting non-tech political articles on the front page that all kinds of weirdos and trolls were going to come out of the woodwork. The genie is out of the bottle and nothing is going to stop the endless cheap shots and mud smearing between idealogical camps.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Megaweapon (25185)

            /. is desperate for page hits, nothing more. Taco and crew sold the site out long ago, and what was once (think pre-2000) a great resource for geekdom has devolved into a pathetic flamebait aggregator operated by lemmings. Sad, really.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by xtracto (837672)

              I will hang on this thread to ask *again* if anyone knows of a site similar to slashdot (tech-news aggregator, commenting) that real geeks/nerds or tech people frequent?

              I guess nowadays that would depend on a more specific area. For example I like osnews.com but they do not update as often. I also like sites as arstechnica but the discussion is almost non-existent.

              Fark, Digg, Reddit and similar are completely out of consideration.

              Anyone knows any options?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by NeutronCowboy (896098)

                No. And this is why people keep going to Slashdot. Because while it isn't great (and I can tell you that the old memories are heavily clouded), the alternatives are much, much worse. People who complain are the same people complain that democracy sucks, all the while forgetting the alternatives.

            • I don' understand why Slashdot keeps linking to Computer World. They have been outed as encouraging trolling by their writers.

              http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/02/21/2329249/Windows-7-Memory-Usage-Critic-Outed-As-Fraud [slashdot.org]

              http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2010/02/editorial-confessions-of-internet-shock.html [blogspot.com]

              http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2010/03/editorial-incriminating-email-sinks.html [blogspot.com]

              But eventually, things changed. Eric settled in as Editor in Chief, and a new Executive Editor, Galen Gruman, emerged to forever change my life. For starters, Galen took a liking to the xpnet.com idea. He began championing the idea internally, working with me to refine the messaging and coordinate with the various sales and marketing groups to achieve buy-in. At the same time, Galen took it upon himself to become the primary editor of my now paid blogging gig. He helped me to identify which topic areas were having the most impact – and thus started me on my descent into internet “Shock Jock”hell.

              You see, what Galen and I discovered was that the topics that were most effective in drawing readers were also those that skirted the edges of both legitimacy and taste. For example, if I wrote an entry detailing some deeply held belief about a particular IT vendor or technology, nobody paid any attention. However, if I simply vented about something that was bugging me – a mysterious crash in Vista or some piece of VDI “marchitecture” coming out of VMware – the attention level shot through the roof.

              Eventually, I found myself enjoying the buzz that my “angry missives” would generate. Little did I realize how quickly such a model could deteriorate or how much it could damage me, personally, once it fell apart.

              This guy was behind half the bullshit stories that Slashdot reported against Vista and Windows 7. Of course, the antiMS brigade on here

          • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:08PM (#31509678) Journal
            The whole tech world took a serious nose dive when politics began to cluelessly try to regulate how to programm, interconnect computers, transmit content and say what I can or can't do with a screwdiver and the electronics I purchased.

            The fact that we techies have to learn more about legalities and politics these days than about the latest tech is a serious problem, and slashdot articles unfortunately reflects that but I really think that it is the whole field that is moving in this direction.
        • kdawson has hacked all of the other editor's accounts and is posting his inflammatory bullshit at every opportunity.

          I swear, he's the /. version of Panorama on the BBC, or Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 (now the Panorama presenter). That man is contradictory just to get a reaction.

          The very definition of a troll.
        • by Bucc5062 (856482)

          /. := Fox News

          Its not just about entertainment, its all about entertainment and how to make money.

          (I'm in a sarcastic mood today. /. tends to post a good balance of articles and I feel the editors are fair about their choices)

        • by maugle (1369813)
          An editor realized that there hasn't been a Linux story in a while, he decided to manufacture one. It's pretty easy, you just search for "Microsoft" and "patent", and then add "could this be an attempt to destroy Linux?".
      • by pitchpipe (708843)

        Title is sensationalist, has nothing to with the first article. And well, parent has rightly pointed out the FUD-ness of the 2nd article.

        I know, I read the title as:

        Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux or WHAT!?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jav1231 (539129)
        So Microsoft is now using Apple as a proxy in a patent war with Linux. In other news, Hell has indeed frozen over!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gyrogeerloose (849181)

          So Microsoft is now using Apple as a proxy in a patent war with Linux.

          What I can't figure out is why this was listed as an Apple story at all since Apple is only tangentially related. Better that it had been labeled "Microsoft" since even "Linux" would have been a stretch.

    • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:29AM (#31508248)

      If Microsoft started a patent war against Linux, wouldn't Linux-oriented companies, like say IBM, join in on the fun as well? With big companies, the patent situation is more like a cold war with all the cross-licencing going on.

      Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

      • Re:FUD article (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:39AM (#31508376)

        Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

        Yeah exactly like with Mono. If Microsoft was really wanting to launch a patent assault over mono they would have done it years ago they wouldn't be waiting for some unspecified time in the future to do so. It's the same FUD as the supposed "java trap" that also never materialized and was never going to materialize.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rattaroaz (1491445)

          Yeah exactly like with Mono. If Microsoft was really wanting to launch a patent assault over mono they would have done it years ago they wouldn't be waiting for some unspecified time in the future to do so. It's the same FUD as the supposed "java trap" that also never materialized and was never going to materialize.

          It's all about strategy. With MP3, the patent holders waited until the use became main stream, and then sued for patents and royalties. If they would have sued too early, they would not have the broad usage they wanted. In this case, if MS was to sue and create fears, it is more likely to scare people (users and developers) away. If you are trying to get market share, suing too early is a great way to fail. Basic strategy really. It's too bad that isn't taught in school. (I am not arguing that MS is going to sue in the future. I am just analyzing the strategy.)

          • With MP3, the patent holders waited until the use became main stream, and then sued for patents and royalties.

            If that's the strategy, don't patent holders run the risk of having their claims estopped by laches?

            • IANAL, so I cannot speak to its legality, only that it is being done. I was told by a lawyer that this also happened with bar codes many years ago, so it apparently is not a new strategy (I did not verify his statement, but he's a lawyer, so he MUST be trustworthy!)
          • Also MPEG-LA (Score:3, Interesting)

            by fritsd (924429)
            Six weeks ago, this story was posted on Slashdot: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/02/03/1528242/MPEG-LA-Extends-H264-Royalty-Free-Period [slashdot.org]. Seemingly indicating that six more years of baiting were required to get all content providers thorougly hooked on H.264 before tightening the thumbscrews.
        • Yeah exactly like with Mono.

          Exactly. Wait for enough sheeple to take the bait before springing the trap.

        • by dnaumov (453672)

          Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

          Yeah exactly like with Mono. If Microsoft was really wanting to launch a patent assault over mono they would have done it years ago they wouldn't be waiting for some unspecified time in the future to do so. It's the same FUD as the supposed "java trap" that also never materialized and was never going to materialize.

          You must be new here, what you describe would be a very bad business model. The good business model is to wait until your patented tech is used by everyone and THEN you sue everyone for infringement. When you tech is new and barely used by anyone, it would be too easy for everyone to just migrate away from it as soon as you started making any kind of threats, but when your tech is deeply entrenched in the industry, you can have everybody by the balls.

      • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jezza (39441) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:43AM (#31508440)

        IBM have already stated that they will use their IP to protect Linux, especially against Microsoft. If Microsoft really want to try this they'll do so knowing they'll need to defend Windows IP against IBM - I wouldn't fancy their chances.

        • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ircmaxell (1117387) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:55AM (#31508642) Homepage
          That's why these lawsuits aren't directly attacking Linux (yet). Apple went after HTC, even though most of the meat of their suit involves Android. They are doing this in the hope that going to court and winning will set the legal precedent they need to increase the chances of victory against the far more powerful forces at play. MS will likely do the same thing. I HIGHLY doubt they would go directly after Linux (the kernel), Red Hat, Ubuntu, or Android right off the bat. What's more likely to happen, is they will start going after the small players, and get to the point where they have done enough damage to take on the big ones...

          All this does is show how broken the US patent system really is, and how entire markets could be taken out in a mass suicide strike unless something is done about it.
          • Re:FUD article (Score:4, Insightful)

            by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:16AM (#31508916) Journal

            They don't even have to go after the "big" ones. If they can keep the upstarts from using open source, they don't need to attack the "big player" if nobody uses anything but closed source, patent encumbered stuff. (ie: help anyone attacking open source so people second guess using open source for fear of being attacked by patent infringement...)

          • Oh what a FUN society we live in where the corporations struggle for power, and the government does likewise. It makes living under the dictatorship of the Roman Empire look peaceful.

            "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed
            corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a
            trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
            -Thomas Jefferson

          • That's why these lawsuits aren't directly attacking Linux (yet). Apple went after HTC, even though most of the meat of their suit involves Android. They are doing this in the hope that going to court and winning will set the legal precedent they need to increase the chances of victory against the far more powerful forces at play.

            does not matter how likely you are to win on a particular patent. Even if your case is 100% winnable, the other guy just puts 10 patents of his own that you violate on the table.

            So, "right off the bat" or not doesn't matter in the slightest, and there's no point in waiting if you want to go for it.

            The only case where waiting is worth it is when the company is a pure patent troll (i.e. doesn't produce anything, so not in threat of violating others' patents; and only hopes to make money on licensing the paten

        • In such a scenario I wouldn't count on IBM being eager to become Linux's protector. No doubt IBM and MS have agreements that might make it difficult for one to sue the other, particularly over Windows.

      • by The Moof (859402) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:49AM (#31508532)

        Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

        The author's site needed a traffic boost now, not 5 years ago, not last year.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314)

        "Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?"

        Yeah exactly, it starts making a lot more sense when you just put Apple's lawsuit in the context of their fallout with Google.

        I'm sure Microsoft are taking notice though, because if Apple can enforce those patents, it can enforce those patents against everyone, including Microsoft, and not even necessarily just on phones, because most if not all the patents in Apple's claim actually seemed very generic, enough so to be applicable against desktop Win

        • by Jurily (900488)

          because if Apple can enforce those patents, it can enforce those patents against everyone, including Microsoft

          There's a lot more going on in the background. How many patents does Microsoft have that could shut down the iPhone/iPad/OS X/whatever Apple sells? I'm pretty sure there are people at MS who know precisely.

          • by Xest (935314)

            The point is though, if Apple's patents could shut down Microsoft's core business- Windows and Office, then it's still going to put Apple in a position where they can force concessions out of Microsoft.

          • Re:FUD article (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Xest (935314) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:36AM (#31509202)

            Actually, as an afterthought I just realised that HTC is somewhat important to Microsoft too- HTC has been one of the biggest Windows Mobile success stories and one of only a small handful of manufacturers who have not dropped Windows mobile. HTC are largely responsible for Windows Mobile gaining the marketshare it did in the pre-iPhone era, so it's probably also worth noting that with Windows Mobile 7 coming out, Microsoft trying to work their way back into the cellphone market with HTC being one of their most experienced and only remaining cell phone partners, that Microsoft also may not be interested in seeing harm come to HTC.

            • In fact, if I remember correctly, the original /. story that enumerated HTC phones that Apple claims to be violating their patents included both Android phones and WinMo phones.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:35AM (#31508318) Journal

      Then completely out of context he quotes Bill Gates words from 1976, 34 years ago

      Yeah but, isn't it obvious that when Bill said that he was referring to Smart Phones? He is clearly against the current App Market setup.

    • Then completely out of context he quotes Bill Gates words from 1976, 34 years ago, how programmers should be paid for their work instead of doing everything for free.

      I have started to not take seriously any article or piece of "journalism" that presents Bill Gates as Microsoft's decision maker anymore. He is a non-executive chairman. Granted he still has the power if he chooses to use it, but I think he left for a reason - he has entrusted Microsoft to other executives that have proven to be...well, what he wants.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I think he just wants to see Linus say "Bring it sweaty, chair throwing fat man!"

      That would make a rocking cool ringtone!

    • Re:FUD article (Score:4, Insightful)

      by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:16AM (#31508914) Journal

      not just that.

      Please, please let them actually insinuate a patent war against linux. All they have to do is show the patents, which, you know, they never did before. At which point people will initiate prior art reviews faster than MS can request patents from the patent office.

      This way, we can invalidate them, move on, and ignore windows as most people have done. I am amused when people think windows is a bigwig and enterprise basically has no interest in it, other than for their employee desktops, and mostly because people don't even know how to use anything else at this point.

    • by Weezul (52464)

      Isn't this just a subtle puff piece for Windows Mobile? Microsoft has no stake in the entertainment phones market currently, i.e. Android vs. iPhone. Windows Mobile competes against business phones offered by RIM and Nokia.

      Yes, business and entertainment phones are completely different markets because touch screens are good for games but bad for writing emails. See my previous comment :
      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1583886&cid=31492008

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        HTC makes mostly touch screen phones and they are Windows Mobile's best supporter. Windows Mobile 7 will also be more like iPhone and Android, and with full 3D XNA games [slashdot.org] and acceleration. Not exactly for business use, but for entertainment.

        • by nschubach (922175)

          Since you claim HTC is WinMo's best supporter, why would Microsoft speak out against them in this suit? Obviously it's not to attack HTC if that were true, but if I were HTC I'd seriously think twice about supporting someone that stabs me in the back.

      • The newly announced Windows Phone 7 is squarely in the "entertainment" market, though, so it definitely counts as a stake.

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      But you gotta love how Slashdot manages to turn the "Apple bad bad" case into a "Microsoft evil" story. Apple can't never be bad to the eyes of Slashdot (I keep pointing out there is only APPLE menu on the left, while the others are generic names such as "science", "news", "technology".

      Dear Slashdot, I enjoy reading the forums with knowledgeable people, but I'm taking a break from you... I had enough.
  • Prior Art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by saider (177166) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:27AM (#31508190)

    I guess open source developers need to get their ideas, no matter how primitive, into the various open source repositories so that there is ample prior art to defend with.

  • I need pop corn.
    The whole FiaSCO deal zombie is dying soon and now Microsoft loads the foot gun.
  • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

    today's smartphones are all about the 'software stack,' not the 'radio stack,'

    So what? That doesn't mean that software patents are any more important than hardware patents. Actually, quite the opposite, even ignoring the standard 'software patents suck' thing, all that fancy software is worthless if it doesn't have nice radio hardware to run on....

    • I followed the link and did a precursory read. There are a few follow ups that might be of interest. The granddaddy of this stuff is Sophistry [wikipedia.org]. The ideas behind Sophistry have roots in the Ionian Enlightenment [wikipedia.org] which also lead to the Ancient Greek concept of the Dialectic [wikipedia.org] method. And so we get Socrates, Plato Aristotle, and, so on to Roman ideas of Rhetoric [wikipedia.org]. This stuff spills into all of Western Philosophy, Law and Politics. You can take this stuff anywhere from William Empson's Seven Types of Ambigu [wikipedia.org]
      • by Rhaban (987410)

        An interesting thing about the right of free speech, is the fact that I am as free to say someone's speech is crap as he is to say said crap.

  • Begun... (Score:3, Funny)

    by dtzitz (937838) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:32AM (#31508282)
    ... the patent war has
  • by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:34AM (#31508308) Homepage Journal

    This isn't about Linux. It's about Google. Google could be using a closed-source kernel, and Apple would still be suing them, with Microsoft quietly cheering.

  • Sleeping giant (Score:4, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:45AM (#31508478) Journal

    The second Apple or Microsoft started a patent war with Linux someone would in their camp would utter the same words Isoroku Yamamoto did right after attacking Pearl Harbor in World War II.

    Isoroku Yamamoto: I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

    • by jim_v2000 (818799)
      The same terrible resolve that brought Linux to dominate the desktop, right?

      The funny thing about Linux advocates is that they have this odd idea that there is some giant, unified Linux community that would stand up to Microsoft and whoever else. The truth is that the Linux community is fragmented and preoccupied with internal disputes about pithy bullshit. If Microsoft did decide to start a patent war (if their patents actual exist and are enforceable), Linux wouldn't stand a chance.
  • Software patents have been promoting this type of activity, and it's doing way more harm than good. It's undermining fair competition. It's time we get rid of software patents once and for all. I'm rooting for the Supreme Court to do just this. http://members.apex-internet.com/sa/windowslinux [apex-internet.com]
  • WILL MICROSOFT LAUNCH A PATENT PEARL HARBOR AGAINST LINUX?

    Article text, in 10-point Times New Roman: "No, not really."

    Wow, even the /. lameness filter thinks that's too much shouting.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Wow, even the /. lameness filter thinks that's too much shouting.

      the slashdot lameness filter thinks any capitalization more than what e e cummings would use is too much shouting you also posted within the last five minutes slow down cowboy

  • Take a good look at the hostility that Apple is getting for its store/SDK policies and now it's patent war with HTC. They have an entrenched product that is a 800lb gorilla in market share and arguably quality, compared to the embryonic lemur you call Windows Phone 7 (no apps, no phones shipping it yet). If you want to steal from Apple and the Android community, the only way is to be magnanimous toward developers of all stripes so that Windows Phone 7 can get traction with apps.
    • Take a good look at the hostility that Apple is getting for its store/SDK policies and now it's patent war with HTC.

      What hostility? I still see tons of people buying iPhones all the time at Best Buy and when I go into my local AT&T store. Apple's App store is still seeing tens of millions of downloads a day. Oh, you were talking about the hostility of a bunch of people on this site who aren't iPhone owners or users of the App Store instead of actual customers.

  • 1...2...3...4, I declare a patent war! :)

    • by Marcika (1003625)

      1...2...3...4, I declare a patent war! :)

      5...6...7...8, litigate, don't innovate!
      9...A...B...C, free software is not for me!
      D...E...F...0, open source has got to go!

  • Here's what I have already on them:

    swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Is that your site? If so, I commend you on the effort! There's a lot of good information on that site (with resources!)

    • The answer I submitted to FSF last time MS made noise like this was a grand fund raising of a billion dollars war chest to fight the patents.

      We can help MS or any idiot corporation pour away their money on patent litigation and match it dollar for dollar - only our money will be collected precisely for that purpose, and their share holders will be cursing them for every dollar that vanishes.

      The plan is that all open-source supporting companies, groups, agencies can become fund-members through which fans and

      • by jim_v2000 (818799)
        If the patents are valid and Linux indeed infringes on those patents, a billion dollars won't matter.
  • What good is a smart phone without the ability to make phone calls? That's the problem with Apple - they took the radio for granted and Nokia said bzzt - try again.

    The irony is MS can cheer Apple on and not fear anything because they cross licensed most of this stuff in the settlement to the look and feel lawsuit.

    Its kind of a sad mess when you literally can't switch on your phone without paying up (because that method is patented too).

  • Best treatment of this story [thedailyshow.com], beats the cracked article or anything else I've seen, IMHO.

  • MS guy says "Open innovation is only possible through the licensing of third party IP rights" - the last 400 years of scientific progress would tend to refute this

  • I notice that Microsoft has been working more and more closely with Linux - having the SAMBA team come on their campus (for example) and then coming up with variations on NTFS in Windows 7 afterward. We will see more of this: Microsoft learning and studying its competition then putting into place strategies that will create a further divide between the closed and open source worlds (despite all the rhetoric out there to the contrary). This is fully in line with Sun Tsu's "The Art of War" - essentially: "Kno
    • by nschubach (922175)

      That's why they will never go head to head. They'll play this tactic you are seeing. They'll announce to the world that they support Apple in this because they are resting on patents for this suit. They don't have to engage the front, but they can keep playing coach from the sidelines while other companies fight to secure patent rights on insecure patents. This is the "cheap way" out of doing it themselves. Apple pays all the lawyers and Microsoft sees benefit.

      They've already found out it's too expensi

  • Patent wars and the global copyright delusion will definitely be the cause of the coming self-destruction of all industries, from crops to software. From babies to shoes.
    Everyone will sue the hell out of each other, counter-sue, counter-counter sue, question their commercial preference, suggest to settle, note to go bankrupt, and utter nonsensical statements involving plankton. Until the government responds to the the random lawsuits and treats to ban the opposing sides, unless words of praise for fishfood

  • The headline should read, "Is Microsoft about to conjure up a hellstorm of backlash and animosity on themselves?" The answer is No.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:09PM (#31510926) Homepage Journal

    Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?

    What I want to know is this: when is Microsoft going to pay everyone for all the IP they've stolen. borrowed, and cheated others out of?

    Remember the MSIE screwjob they did to the original developers? That they'd give the developers they licensed it from a cut of the profits from sales, then proceeded to GIVE it away, getting MSIE nearly for free when they had NO browser to compete against Mozilla, Netscape, et al

    Remember when MSIE needed a TCP/IP stack and had nothing to compete against trumpet, sun, and so forth? What did they do? Copy & paste from BSD. Since they recognize that hobbiests cannot do all that work for nothing, when are they going to pay the BSD developers for the BSD sockets stack that became winsock?

    When are they going to pay the Stacker folks what they really deserve, rather than the pittance the courts awarded? Shouldn't they (Microsoft) have been fined $750,000 per unit shipped since it was copyright infringement at its most blatent level, and distributed for commercial use?

    Funny how MS loves to talk about IP when they perceive the fact that they're past their peak, but when it comes to others' IP, the value of IP suddenly diminishes.

  • by jim_v2000 (818799)
    They are not.
  • Either they start litigating or they do not. No court of law gives a damn about a random blog post unless they actually, like _go_ to a court.

    Press releases don't really hurt in that regard (they can create fear though. Congratulations on falling for that)

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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