Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Oct 2007 16:14 UTC, submitted by Rahul
Microsoft Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has warned users of Red Hat Linux that they will have to pay Microsoft for its intellectual property. "People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us," Ballmer said last week at a company event in London discussing online services in the UK.
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MS is not stupid
by opieum on Tue 9th Oct 2007 23:05 UTC
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They will not go after the big guys first. They will go after the second tier distro vendors first. What that will do in US law is build a case portfolio to establish that they can win. By setting precedents they get the law in the US to change in their favor. This has become very typical of larger companies.

The smaller companies will likley not have enough money to fight a suit like this. Now on the other hand a larger company or companies could step in and help as it would be in their best interests as well. MS knows all this. They know what they risk. So right now it is just FUD and will be so until they do something stupid (even tho I said they are not that does not mean they cant be stupid).

As it is with that comment alone they could actually be charged with extortion. Those sorts of tactics are actually very similar. Lets put it in this context

MS: Hey you owe me protection
Small shopkeeper: What? I dont owe you anything.
MS: You do or I will come after you with(insert threat here)
Small shopkeeper: Umm yea, how much?

and on and on. This is extortion and this is how it works. It is that simple and the legal system has outlined it. Our current DOJ is a bit friendly with corporations so they can and will get away with this sort of thing while others look the other way. It is likley tho that MS with this blatent comment has shown thuggery. If they cannot produce the patents and IP violations then they are guilty of extortion and can be tried as a criminal organization. Now to get an attorney with the guts to go after them.

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