Skip to comments.Microsoft's Patent on a Pile of Baloney
Posted on 05/23/2007 6:47:00 AM PDT by ShadowAce
"Microsoft patent threat to Linux! The world ... It ends!" shriek the headlines. There's so much hysteria over this it's like a being trapped in pre-teen sleepover. "And when they got home, a bloody hook was hanging from the car door handle!" "SQUEAL!!"
Can we all get a grip, just for a few minutes, pretty please? Ignore all those sources of conventional wisdom who rarely dig into a story, but simply slap together a Frankensteinian blend of warmed-over press releases and quotes from random people who get quoted just because they answered the phone. I know, we all love gossip and drama, but maybe we could put that aside for a little while and at least pretend to be rational, thinking people. Because there is no patent threat. None at all. I know, a lot of Linux fans have nothing to live for if they can't maintain a continual state of righteous indignation against Microsoft. And gosh knows there is plenty to be lathered and dudgeoned about. But there is more to life than being mad all the time, and it's a waste of energy being mad over nothing, which this whole patent hooha is.
We can let the fine spokespersons for Microsoft speak for themselves:
"Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them. But he does break down the total number allegedly violated - 235 - into categories.""All of this blustering and posturing are signs of desperation, a company that has lost its way and cannot find the way back."
Microsoft takes on the free world
"We don't believe it's constructive to identify specific products and start labeling them as infringing when responsible companies show an ability to manage patent issues privately."
David Kaefer, Can Microsoft shelling out for Linux be good?
"If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially, If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes."
Steve Ballmer, Ballmer Invites Patent Talks with Competing Linux Vendors
Now really. Do you have to be a legal or patent expert to identify a basket of road apples? Isn't this the same tired unproductive passive-aggressive stance that causes marital problems the world over?
"Ok, what's wrong now?"
"You mean you don't know?"
"That's right, I don't know, so that's why I am asking."
(Fit of weeping, loud nose-blowing.) "Well if you don't know, I'm certainly not going to tell you!"
(Weary sigh) "So what do you want me to do?"
(Perks up) "Buying me something useless, hideous, and frighteningly expensive will make it all better. For a little while."
Can they get any more undignified or childish? This is the biggest software company on the planet, and the most obscenely rich company of all time. Yet they pout, throw public tantrums, and emit the most amazing line of pure baloney on a regular basis. Nothing is ever good enough and everyone picks on them, all those mean governments and unhappy users and mouthy Linux hippies and everyone.
All of this blustering and posturing are signs of desperation, a company that has lost its way and cannot find the way back.
There is a saying in the marketing worldthe more you mention your competition, the more you show you have nothing. Wouldn't it be a radical concept to focus on promoting the merits of their own products and services, and maybe even telling at least a close approximation of the truth? Though that would require having a product line worth touting in the first place. Though hawking crapware has a long and honorable tradition. People will buy anything.
A lot of people smarter than me are calling this "patent threat" a protection racket, and I have to agree. Microsoft does not know how to compete, and will not (openly) use Free and Open Source software, so now it's trying to place a Microsoft tax on sales of Linux. Just like Tier 1 desktop PC customers pay for a Windows license whether they want one or not. Unfortunately it appears that Novell fell for it, and now Microsoft is trolling for more suckers.
If companies want to appease the bully, that's their business. Some folks fear it will set a legal precedent that could be used against all Linux users, not just commercial Linux vendors. I think that's a pretty remote possibility, though in this here modern world you never know what sort of insanity will triumph. And that's exactly what the root of all of this is if you're in doubt that a company can be mentally ill, Microsoft's patent shenanigans make the case for it.
Bill Gates is a liberal rich crook.
Something here reminds me of the mob inciting rhetoric of villains in an Ayn Rand novel. Maybe it's the unsupported smearing and character assassinations of the most successful and dominate player in the market. It's like they can just reference a fashionable charge as if "everyone knows it" to feed the resentment of an envious Linux mob and move on to the next load of crap.
Linux infringes on a lot more patents than just Microsoft’s, and why wouldn’t it since it’s a foreign clone of an original US product to begin with. You don’t have to take Microsoft’s word for it either, just ask Richard Stallman “the father of free software” who openly admits it. One of the lawyers that works for him at the FSF did a patent study that showed about 300 possible infringements in the Linux kernel alone.
Actually, PubPat did the work for OSRM.
According to published reports the head of “pubpat” is also a senior counsel at FSF. He found ~300 possible violations in just the kernel, but only about 30 were thought to be owned by Microsoft.
Nice article - this has been exactly my take all along. I also doubt this is the “End of the Linux World as We Know it”.
Also enjoyed the back-handed slap to what passes for journalism these days!
The article lays it out pretty well.
But Microsoft isn’t the most obscenely rich company of all time. There are a lot of companies with a higher market cap, Exxon for example.
But go through history and adjust for inflation and other companies were insanely huge and powerful, like the Dutch East India Company. And I don’t think anything compares to the wealth of the Medici family’s bank in its heyday.
Ridiculous, it once again shows the Linux crowd trying to blame Microsoft for their own problems. Patents do exist, and the foreign-born Linux is not immune from US law if it is distributed here no matter who they want to point their crooked fingers at.
The article isn't about any actual Linux patent problems. It is about Microsoft pulling an SCO, making vague claims in order to spread fear along with the absolute refusal to back up those claims. Any honest claim of patent infringement would have included the list of patents. Anything else is FUD. Put up or shut up.
The problem with bluffing is that you eventually have to put your cards on the table to actually win. I hope Microsoft gets roasted by estoppel if they ever sue anyone over these alleged patents (remember, we don't even know that they exist). The longer they wait, the worse it will get.
But I don't think they will ever sue. That's not their plan, which is to use fear to drive people, if not to Microsoft, then to its partners. Patents have to be shown and defended, but vague threats do not, unless a Linux distributor sues Microsoft like Red Hat sued SCO. That would be fun, and there wouldn't be an IBM case around to unfairly stall the suit.
But the responsibility does lie with Microsoft. Proving patent infringement is up to the patent holder. If they don’t produce specific details, they should be charged with fraud.
ROFL! Right on que you post more of the same bull. "Linux doesn't infringe on any patents, couldn't possibly. It's all the fault of that eeeevil Microsoft." LOL leep fooling yourself, because any halfway honest rational mind knows Linux could infringe on the patents of many others than just Microsoft. Studies done by those directly involved with the Free Software Foundation have already openly admitted it, and that Microsoft only owned ~10% of what was found. % of what
If they want to actually sue, yes. but for the time being they’re simply drawing attention to admissions made by Richard Stallman and others from the FSF itself. If you want to know more about Stallman start with his website www.stallman.org.
I’m sure we’d all appreciate you posting a patent number for a Microsoft patent that is infringed by a current Linux distribution. In addition, it would help if you could show how said patent is infringed. Without that, nothing you say on the subject has any relevance, troll.
You said that, I didn't. The fault of "eeeevil Microsoft" is using patents as an anticompetitive FUD tactic instead of doing what they're supposed to do, which is notify the party of all specific alleged patent infringements. Not only do I not like it, but the court system doesn't like it either.
At that time they'll likely be barred from collecting any damages between the time they claimed infringement and actually provided the evidence. They may even have their case thrown out or restricted due to the dishonest delay. It has happened, many times.
“Not possible, eeevil Microsoft again” LOL. The actual truth is Microsoft has patents on their file systems, which Linux has purposefully and specifically copied, and then distributed with almost every copy of Linux. These patents were recently validated by federal examinators in the US patent office as well. Keep believing your foreign Linux will get a free ride in the US if you want, but all free rides come to an end.
Silly me, I thought they were making vague assertions of harm in the hopes of generating a new revenue stream. More commonly known as extorting protection money.
It might have been more credible if they hadn't already tried run this play by proxy via SCO.
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