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[2]: Show 'em
by SEJeff on Tue 9th Oct 2007 20:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Show 'em"
Member since:

Hate to break it to you, but IBM has a WHOLE LOT MORE patents than Microsoft. Also, do you not think that Linux distributors and companies around the world will not band together to fight a common enemy?

If Microsoft sues Redhat, what makes you think they won't sue the Gentoo foundation, or any other Linux "distributor"? Many very large companies make their bread based on Linux. Thinking they won't come together is naiive of Ballmer at best. Whos to say that Microsoft doesn't violate hundreds of patents owned by some of these companies like OIN or IBM? I bet they do.

Jeff Waugh put it best, "Say it with me: DON'T f--k WITH DIVERSITY. cf. The War of the Worlds, H. G.
Wells, 1898.":

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Show 'em
by raynevandunem on Wed 10th Oct 2007 01:55 in reply to "RE[2]: Show 'em"
raynevandunem Member since:

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.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Show 'em
by lemur2 on Wed 10th Oct 2007 02:08 in reply to "RE[3]: Show 'em"
lemur2 Member since:

Customers of these companies will be scared by an impending legal battle, will back out and place their bets with Microsoft.

I don't think you understand.

There is a respectable body of patents that have already been pledged to support Linux. In the event that Microsoft sued Linux over patents, Linux would counter-sue Windows over patents.

There would be no point in customers seeking refuge in Microsoft software, because Microsoft software will be in as much strife as Linux. In fact, due to the suit and counter-suits, it may even reach the absurd situation that no-one in the US is allowed to run any software through court injunctions.

As soon as it reached that point, there would be a political solution. The US would be forced into a position of "no software patnets" to stop the insanity.

At the end of that process, Microsoft will have lost a whole heap of goodwill and money, and it will still not have stopped Linux.

Ergo, Microsoft will not sue Linux over patents.

Edited 2007-10-10 02:09

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[4]: Show 'em
by SEJeff on Wed 10th Oct 2007 03:10 in reply to "RE[3]: Show 'em"
SEJeff Member since:

Yes, but do you realize how many companies using Linux are also using windows? What if it backfires and those companies go whole hog Linux?

FUD is a double edged sword, and if ballmer doesn't quiet down he is going to have to swallow it.

Reply Parent Score: 3