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Author Topic: "Microsoft: No plans to sue over Linux patents" but why?  (Read 1930 times)

Carol Haynes

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"Microsoft: No plans to sue over Linux patents" but why?
« on: May 24, 2007, 02:12:43 AM »
Article today published by ZDNet: Microsoft: No plans to sue over Linux patents but the question I ask is if their case is strong why would they lose potential revenue and not sue?

MS are such nice guys when it comes competition, aren't they?

My take on this is somewhat cynical. MS can claim things such as Kernel patent violations but to PROVE it in court they would have to disclose in public the Windows Kernel code. This would have two effects - open source windows kernel (which they won't wear) plus a huge number of patent infringment cases AGAINST MS for all the stuff they stole over the years from other people.

I bet you anything there are Linux patent infringements  (and certainly MacOS, CP/M, and Gem) in the Windows code not to mention loads of Lotus 1-2-3 infringements in Excel and probably WordPerfect in Word.

Any law suit brought by MS would be an opening salvo in huge war that they would not want to get in on!

mwb1100

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Re: "Microsoft: No plans to sue over Linux patents" but why?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2007, 12:24:41 PM »
I believe that Microsoft's intent is to sow seeds of FUD among the potential users (particularly enterprise users) of Open Source software.  Just something to keep buyers uneasy about deciding to 'bet the farm' on Open Source technology.  They want decision makers to have something like this in the back (or front) of their minds:  "Hmm.. if we use Linux will we get pulled into some sort of Intellectual Property dispute somewhere down the road?"

They can do this with zero cost and no real downsides by making threats.  But if they actually sue, then there are several problems:

1) lawsuits are costly (not that MS has much to worry about here)
2) bad public relations: MS looks like a bully (I'm not sure if they really care about this), and who knows - it may reactivate some sort of additional anti-trust scrutiny
3) lawsuits have a significant uncertainty in the outcome.  If the lawsuit were decided against Microsoft... well, they don't want that to even possibly occur.