Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 17th Sep 2007 15:17 UTC, submitted by Rahul
Legal Microsoft suffered a stunning defeat on Monday when a European Union court backed a European Commission ruling that the US software giant illegally abused its market power to crush competitors. The European Union's second-highest court dismissed the company's appeal on all substantive points of the 2004 antitrustruling. The court said Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, was unjustified in tying new applications to its Windows operating system in a way that harmed consumer choice. The verdict, which may be appealed only on points of law and not of fact, could force Microsoft to change its business practices.
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Linux is the only real threat to Microsoft here, and it won't get the benefits of this ruling because there will still be a patent license, and it won't be royalty-free.

Making this assumption about a patent license is, I think, where the Windows cheerleaders get it wrong.

Here is the fact: Windows networking does not have patent protection.

How do I know?

The underlying protocol is an IBM invention, not Microsoft's:

What happened was that originally, Windows networking was a minor player, competing against Netware. Microsoft got everybody to interoperate, even going so far as to share specifications with the early Samba project. Then, after some time Netware began to fail, and Windows networking became dominant, suddenly Microsoft stopped the co-operation and deliberately obscured the protocol.

Microsoft did not invent SMB, they just obscured it.

Microsoft have no patents here. You need to reveal how an invention of yours works in order to get a patent. Windows networking is neither revealed, nor is it an invention of Microsoft's.

The interesting question is if you can charge a royalty for something which another company invented, and you just obscured, and for which you hold no patents.

I don't believe you can charge a royalty for that ... especially if you are a monopoly.

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