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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RE: MS is not stupid
by lemur2 on Wed 10th Oct 2007 00:36 UTC in reply to "MS is not stupid"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

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.


This is indeed the way it would work if "GNU/Linux" were actually an American company. Microsoft has used this very process in the past with success.

However, GNU/Linux is neither American, nor is it a company.

GNU/Linux is neither small, nor defenceless. As soon as Microsoft attacked the smallest Linux distribution with a patent lawsuit, a large array of resources would band together to oppose Microsoft's suit.

http://www.linux-foundation.org/en/About
http://www.linux-foundation.org/en/Protect
http://www.softwarefreedom.org/
http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/about.php
http://www.patent-commons.org/

Microsoft would be looking at a legal battle against "everyone but Microsoft", and they would be entering a swordfight armed with a US-only pocketknife.

In theory, the Linux interests could file a fair number of patent counter-suit allegations against Microsoft and be able (as I say, in theory) to get an injunction that would prevent anyone in the US from being able to run Windows legally.

Microsoft won't sue. It would become a mutually assured destruction scenario.

Edited 2007-10-10 00:41

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