Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 16:04 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Legal Reminiscent of the much-discussed deal with Novell, Microsoft has entered into a patent agreement with Amazon, in which both companies promise not to sue one another over patent-related issues. So far, that doesn't sound all too uncommon, but what makes this one stand out is that Microsoft explicitly mentions Amazon's use of open source technology such as Linux, rekindling an old claim from Microsoft.
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Obviously
by vaette on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 16:12 UTC
vaette
Member since:
2008-08-09

Of course Microsoft has bunches of patents which can be applied to various things in a Linux distribution. Most likely all major software companies have some, seeing how wide patents can be and the raw number of applications made. It seems unlikely that Microsoft has any complaints which are sufficient to make bringing the patents to court (which would gain them little even if they were to win) however. There is probably a deal involving a collection of actually interesting patents at the bottom of this, but a grab-bag cross-licensing deal is bound to involve a lot of iffy stuff as well.

The patent system is quite broken, and one can't really blame Microsoft for taking part, since it is more or less a question of a cold war mutually-assured-destruction kind of environment between corporations.

Edited 2010-02-23 16:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Obviously
by Stephen! on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 18:41 in reply to "Obviously"
Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

It seems unlikely that Microsoft has any complaints which are sufficient to make bringing the patents to court (which would gain them little even if they were to win)


Suing Linux would probably end up being one big patent war, considering how many companies using Linux could end up be dragged into it, IBM, Google, Red Hat, Novell, Intel, Canonical etc

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Obviously a scam
by lemur2 on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 22:28 in reply to "RE: Obviously"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"It seems unlikely that Microsoft has any complaints which are sufficient to make bringing the patents to court (which would gain them little even if they were to win)
Suing Linux would probably end up being one big patent war, considering how many companies using Linux could end up be dragged into it, IBM, Google, Red Hat, Novell, Intel, Canonical etc "

There are a large number of patents donated by those companies and others towards the defence of Linux. Open Invention Network and the Patent commons are two of the organisations that collect such patents (Google them if you want).

If Microsoft were really interested in gaining shareholder value from their patent holding, and at the same time really interested in interoperability, then Microsoft could simply join the OIN and the Patent Commons and get the benefit of those patent holdings as well as their own.

Instead, Microsoft choose to scam companies like Amazon, who did not write GNU/Linux but who are using it.

When we come down to it, GNU/Linux is a work-alike (or a re-write, if you will) of UNIX, which in turn is a technology which pre-dates Windows, and even pre-dates Microsoft, by decades. Given this fact, and also given Microsoft's avoidance of dealing directly with the Linux Foundation and OIN and Patent Commons, it is highly unlikely IMO that there is really any technical merit at all in Microsoft's claims.

It is probably just a case of being cheaper for companies that Microsoft attack to sign a deal (that probably costs them nothing) but which lets Microsoft crow about the deal in the press.

Reply Parent Score: 3