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Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux? 204

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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  • 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.

  • 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: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?

  • by apexwm ( 1612713 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:45AM (#31508480) Homepage
    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. []
  • Re:FUD article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rattaroaz ( 1491445 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:24AM (#31509038)

    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.)

  • 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.

  • Re:FUD article (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:55AM (#31509486)
    So Microsoft is now using Apple as a proxy in a patent war with Linux. In other news, Hell has indeed frozen over!
  • 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.
  • Re:FUD article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:01PM (#31510746) Journal

    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 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?

  • Also MPEG-LA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fritsd ( 924429 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:36PM (#31513846) Journal
    Six weeks ago, this story was posted on Slashdot: []. Seemingly indicating that six more years of baiting were required to get all content providers thorougly hooked on H.264 before tightening the thumbscrews.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost