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[3]: Show 'em
by raynevandunem on Wed 10th Oct 2007 01:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Show 'em"
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Because it hasn't gone after non-profit software organizations like Gentoo, Fedora, Debian or GNU/FSF. It is a corporation that competes against companies like Novell, Red Hat or (in the past) Netscape.

That Ballmer has specifically targeted Red Hat, a corporate vendor that depends upon a non-profit organization, in the press puts the company closer to a dangerous precedent: suing non-profit software organizations. And since GNU/Linux distributions are usually created and distributed by non-profit projects, it seems inevitable that Microsoft will target these projects as well.

However, that is the future potential of this war, once it ever reaches U.S. courts. The current situation, from the surface, seems more like a messy battle between companies for customers.

Where this could really hit the GNU/Linux fandom is in the pocketbook, as these companies - Red Hat, Novell, Mandriva, Canonical, Xandros - are often the prime corporate backers for these projects. Customers of these companies will be scared by an impending legal battle, will back out and place their bets with Microsoft. The pro-Linux companies will then have to wage their own PR campaigns to woo back the customers, which may or may not mean that the companies will publicly distance themselves from their pet non-profit projects.

So this could be interpreted in one or more of the following ways:

1) A dirty move to win customers from, and weaken, a corporate competitor.

2) A move to weaken the relationship between corporate companies and non-profit projects.

3) A protracted, indirect move to weaken the non-profit projects through hurting the marketshare of their financial backers.

Take your pick.

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