Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 17th Nov 2006 13:23 UTC, submitted by Tanked
Linux In comments confirming the open-source community's suspicions, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Thursday declared his belief that the Linux operating system infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property. In a question-and-answer session after his keynote speech at the Professional Association for SQL Server conference in Seattle, Ballmer said Microsoft was motivated to sign a deal with SUSE Linux distributor Novell earlier this month because Linux "uses our intellectual property" and Microsoft wanted to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation."
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Don't misunderstand me.
by ccchips on Fri 17th Nov 2006 21:36 UTC
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I guess I get taken literally here for some reason. Must I say "is likely to believe?"

He made a public statement that "Linux users our Intellectual Property." If that's not true, then Microsoft could be in for a very, very serious problem; there could be lawsuits for slander, damages because of business lost due to erroneous statements about risk, and Heaven knows what else. Do you honestly thing that man would risk a company the size of Microsoft on an off-hand statement like that?

The real question here is, as I have said, "what will they do about it?" There's also, "What intellectual property?" Just because someone holds, or believes they hold, something called "intellectual property" doesn't mean they control it from the standpoint of the law.

Neither does it mean that Ballmer is going to use such "property" as a club against anyone. He's a smart persone, but he's also a smart business person. Microsoft has held patents on technology used in OpenGL, but it's still freely available in Linux 3 years on. If commercial Linux vendors *are* at issue with Microsoft over IP, they may work out any number of agreements that will benefit both parties.

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