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Casio Paying Microsoft To Use Linux 262

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-never-get-rid-of-the-dane dept.
theodp writes "Will Tux be a rainmaker for Microsoft? GeekWire reports that Microsoft has struck a deal with Casio to provide Casio's customers with coverage for their use of Linux in Casio devices. The agreement, which calls for Microsoft to receive payments of an undisclosed amount, is an implicit acknowledgment of Microsoft's longstanding claims that Linux violates its patents, an assertion that members of the open-source community have long disputed."
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Casio Paying Microsoft To Use Linux

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  • A good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drolli (522659) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:41PM (#37461682) Journal

    i translates to:

    we dont use linux because its free of cost but because we believe it does a better job in the areas not protected by microsoft patents than microsoft os and believe a little overpaying in these areas is good for our customers.

    • Re:A good sign (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:46PM (#37461740)

      Ha ha, good point.

      Does not change the fact that Microsoft is running an arguably illegal protection racket.

      • Oh, and I do not doubt that Linux does a better job in all areas, including areas "protected" by Microsoft patents[1].
        ---
        [1] According to Microsoft.

      • by tepples (727027)
        How exactly is it a protection racket? For example, any file system that Windows can read and write without installing obscure installable file systems is patented. NTFS is patented, and modern versions of FAT are patented.
        • Microsoft is implying that it will sue and extorting money to protect against that possibility.

          "Hey Johnny... You wanna do business on this block, just remember that windows get broken from time to time by... well.. let's just say people. Pay us and we'll make sure you personally don't have a rock thrown through your window."

          Pretend I did a mobster impression.

          • Microsoft is implying that it will sue and extorting money to protect against that possibility.

            Which differs from the expected behavior of the lawful owner of an exclusive right in what way? What you call "extortion" they call "selling a license".

            • I think it's the lawful owner part that's in question.

            • by i.r.id10t (595143)

              So why hasn't MS gone to court about any of it?

              • Because it has: Microsoft v. TomTom [slashdot.org]
                • by dhammabum (190105)

                  But nothing was proven either way - Tom Tom settled. A pity because the vfat patents are weak and will no doubt be ruled invalid, both through previous art and non-inventiveness. MS could have (and still could) sue anyone using FAT but they pick their victims carefully so there is less likelihood of an actual trial. Extortion works best behind closed doors.

        • Re:A good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @09:27PM (#37463240) Homepage

          Because MS refuses to name any patent that is violated, but will only mumble that there are (may be) a few. They then demand money to make sure nothing bad (like attack of the lawyers) happens to you.

          Unlike legitimate insurance, if anything were to "happen", it would be deliberate on MSs part.

          How is it NOT like a protection racket?

      • by syousef (465911)

        Ha ha, good point.

        Does not change the fact that Microsoft is running an arguably illegal protection racket.

        I just had a mental image of Clippy popping up on my desktop. "It appears you haven't paid for protection this month. Would you like to: A) Pay up now B) Have someone sent round to break your kneecaps".

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Almost anything to do with patents these days is a protection racket.

    • by Jonner (189691)

      i translates to:

      we dont use linux because its free of cost but because we believe it does a better job in the areas not protected by microsoft patents than microsoft os and believe a little overpaying in these areas is good for our customers.

      But it's bad because every deal like this strengthens the perceived validity of Microsoft's patent trolling efforts, which may hurt anyone not willing to pay a Microsoft tax.

    • by Junta (36770)

      It says very little good actually. Casio undoubtedly has a lot of sunk cost in using Linux, therefore there is nothing to say that they wouldn't have chosen Windows from the start if they knew they'd do this. It also could mean casio agreed to pay some pittance to give MS some ammunition in exchange for some other consideration. In other words, there is no unambiguous endorsement of Linux as 'better' to be had.

      However, it does say that through legal intimidation large companies can bully their way into r

  • The subject line read to me that microsft employees were being paid to use Linux.

    I was wondering where I could sign up for the same deal.

    • The subject line read to me that microsft employees were being paid to use Linux.

      Some do, like the guys who write that kernel module for Hyper-V.

      I was wondering where I could sign up for the same deal.

      Any place that develops commercial Linux software - say, RedHat?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I've often times thought that Microsoft ought to pay people to use Microsoft products. Like recently when my MBR went bad and I had to spend several hours figuring out how to fix the damage that came because MS won't allow you to set the drive letter without booting into the same Windows install or using their stupid utility.

  • by gweilo8888 (921799) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:42PM (#37461690)
    "The agreement, which calls for Microsoft to receive payments of an undisclosed amount, is an implicit acknowledgment of Microsoft's longstanding claims that Linux violates its patents, an assertion that members of the open-source community have long disputed."

    That is, I will grant you, possible. However, it's equally possible that Casio's signing is nothing of the kind, and rather is an acknowledgement that Microsoft's lawyers would be willing to drag a case out for long enough that it's simply cheaper to sign on the dotted line, and have the class bully go pick on somebody else.
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOspaM.hotmail.com> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:42PM (#37461692) Journal
    Microsoft are a disgusting, disgraceful and unethical company.

    They have been a barrier to innovation, blocking so many new technologies they've set humanity back decades. They should be split up and forced to compete on merits

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by EvanED (569694)

      Microsoft are a disgusting, disgraceful and unethical company.

      In other words... they're a company?

    • by DAldredge (2353)
      Decades?
  • by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:58PM (#37461864) Journal

    I see that Microsoft has stepped up and started doing their own Linux license shakedown.

    I see a strong uptick in "$699 Linux License" trollage on this forum, except with "Microsoft" instead of "SCO" in the text.

  • Among other things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GumphMaster (772693) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @07:20PM (#37462064)

    The article starts:

    Microsoft Corp. and Casio Computer Co. Ltd. have entered into a broad, multiyear patent cross-licensing agreement that, among other things, will provide Casio’s customers with patent coverage for their use of Linux in certain Casio devices.

    (emphasis mine). I would not mind betting the "other things" are actually the ones that were worth paying for, and that Microsoft slipped the "Linux patents" into the mix because Casio is using Linux. It costs Microsoft nothing but they get "precedent" with which to argue they hold valid patents affecting Linux.

  • I don't really understand how Microsoft can claim something like this to scare people but not disclose what, if anything, Linux is infringing on. Shouldn't they be required to disclose this sort of information if they're going to threaten people with lawsuits?

    Or will it require some sort of lawsuit to get it out of them?

    My guess is that Microsoft is just going to keep accepting the money people are willingly giving them and won't actually attack anyone who uses Linux.

    • by Locutus (9039)
      read up on the Barnes and Nobel threats and you'll see how they operate. B&N told MS to tell them what patents, MS said that's proprietary information, B&N said WTF patents are public via the PTO tell us what patents, MS says only if you sign an NDA, B&N said we don't need an NDA to discuss public information, etc etc. B&N have some real lawyers while the others are cowering clueless idiots IMO. It probably helps that B&N has no connections with MS licensing since they've never sold PC
    • by andydread (758754) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @08:17PM (#37462652)

      This may answer your question. From geekwire.

      "Among the statements by Barnes & Noble are details of meetings between the companies "

      At the meeting, Microsoft alleged that the Nook infringed six patents purportedly owned by Microsoft. Microsoft had prepared claim charts purportedly detailing the alleged infringement but insisted that it would only share the detailed claim charts if Barnes & Noble agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) that would cover the claim charts as well as all other aspects of the parties’ discussions. Noting that the patents were public and that the infringement allegations pertained to Barnes & Noble’s public product, Barnes & Noble refused to sign an NDA.

      Insisting that an NDA was necessary, Microsoft discussed the alleged infringement on a high level basis only. Microsoft nevertheless maintained that it possessed patents sufficient to dominate and entirely preclude the use of the Android Operating System by the Nook. Microsoft demanded an exorbitant royalty (on a per device basis) for a license to its patent portfolio for the Nook device and at the end of the meeting Microsoft stated that it would demand an even higher per device royalty for any device that acted “more like a computer” as opposed to an eReader.

      After sending the proposed license agreement, Microsoft confirmed the shockingly high licensing fees Microsoft was demanding, reiterating its exorbitant per device royalty for Nook, and for the first time demanding a royalty for Nook Color which was more than double the per device royalty Microsoft was demanding for Nook. On information and belief, the license fees demanded by Microsoft are higher than what Microsoft charges for a license to its entire operating system designed for mobile devices, Windows Phone 7.

      This pretty much sums up what they are doing. They are approaching companies producing devices with Linux and threating them under NDA to sign a per-device license fee or Microsoft will sue them out of business. Thereby shutting them down.

      A scenario:
      Microsoft walks into a business
      Microsoft: what a nice open source business you have here but this is a dangerous neighborhood, you need some protection.
      Store owner: Protection? from who?
      Microsoft: well from us really. If you don't pay us to use open source and Linux in particular we will sue you out of the marketplace
      Microsoft: Oh and sign this NDA. You cannot talk about this to anyone... get it?

      Its really sleazy egregious mobster-like behavior on the part of Microsoft. Unless the Linux developers and greater community start lobbying the government, open source and Linux as we know it is screwed.

      • If Microsoft is doing it, then there is a lot going on like this in the business world that we're not aware of. There will be no change unless businesses demand the change. They aren't demanding it. They are embracing the current status-quo.

        It's probably been like this in some form or another since the beginning. Expecting better and thinking you can change things is probably somewhat of a folly. It's just business. If you don't like it, you stay out of business. Capitalism is more than a monetary sy

      • Gates: OK boys, buy him out.

  • by techsoldaten (309296) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @07:54PM (#37462450) Journal

    Casio is not acknowledging the validity of claims with this deal. They are acknowleding Microsoft owns numbers.

    • It matters not what Casio or any one else acknowledges. Unless Microsoft successfully defends its patent claims in court, the claims are meaningless and unenforceable. Linux, please feel free to "infringe" away.
  • MS gets a token payment from Casio in exchange for discounts and freebies on MS products. It wouldn't be the first time a company offered $2 of free stuff for a $1 "purchase" of a patent license. As I recall, SCO was bundling Linux "licenses" into a variety of unrelated contract matters and calling it a "sale".

    Given the unwillingness of MS to identify (much less litigate) these mysterious patents, the salesmanship must be very creative.

  • Nobody needs to be "right" when "rich" will suffice. Nobody wants to become Bleem! [wikipedia.org]
  • by Locutus (9039) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @08:09PM (#37462588)
    they will still pay Microsoft but don't want their software. I don't think I've read one story where these licensing fees were mention and it was brought up why they would still pay to use Linux instead of paying to use Windows.

    And the income from the Linux licensing deals is still in the noise level compared to the losses of say BING, Windows Phone, and even XBox.

    LoB
  • Microsoft is on a mission to destroy open source and this is their strategy. They approach companies producing devices with open source operating systems and use dubious software patents to force them to pay or face a massive litigation expense. I suggest people do a search on "Microsoft Barnes and Noble" to see how B&N is fighting back against this egregious campaign by Microsoft to own other people's code. I wish B&N well.
  • I'm missing something here: What the hell does Casio still make that would require Microsoft tech?

    Last time I checked, a six dollar digital watch doesn't really use anything that Microsoft makes. Or does it?

    Is Casio planning to fail in the smartphone business or something?

    • by macshit (157376)

      Er, well never mind that they're not paying to use MS tech, they're paying MS not to sue them over vague IP claims, but Casio makes vast quantities of things besides digital watches — cameras, digital pianos, printers, electronic dictionaries, lots of specialized business electronics (cash registers, that kind of thing), and, yes, smart phones (running android) [casio.jp]...

  • The interesting question is, how much is MS paying Casio to pay them and create news about it? Is it a deal like, Casio pays X, and gets 2X discount on whatever MS licenses they actually need?

  • Sex (Score:4, Funny)

    by xs650 (741277) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @11:40PM (#37464116)
    That is like having to pay a hooker before you can have sex with your girl friend.
  • Despite popular believe, Microsoft loves Linux and would not do anything to hurt it. If it makes them money.

  • Watches? Pocket Calculators? What do Casio make that runs Linux?

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