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Now that Microsoft's big operating systems, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, are on store shelves, is it time again for them to pick up the legal sledgehammer and go after Linux? I think the evidence for it is mounting. Microsoft has signed a deal with Novell, penned an agreement with Red Hat, sued and won against TomTom, signed a secret deal with Amazon, has lost costly suits against Uniloc and VirnetX and lost an appeal in its case against i4i. But this time, they're going to go for the jugular with a broad and sweeping patent infringement suite against major Linux adopters that haven't signed indemnification deals with them.

I'm not going to say directly who I think Microsoft is sharpening its legal blades for this time but you can bet that they are big names in the IT industry and they use a lot of Linux.

This next wave of suits will make the SCO suits look even more petty and ridiculous than they already were.

Will they win?

Who really wins in such law suits? The lawyers.

Who loses? Everyone including Microsoft and whomever they set their sites toward.

Microsoft hopes that these companies will want to settle peacefully, which ultimately means that the defendants will have to cough up millions of dollars in "licensing" fees. Their clever strategy is fight us in court for years and spend millions or settle for our unreasonable terms and we'll all be friends. And, by friends, I mean a victim and an extortionist.

And if you think I'm spreading Internet FUD, of which so many love to accuse me, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Read "Microsoft's Linux Patent Scare Trumps SCO" and "What Apple's and Microsoft's patent threats mean for start-ups."

So, why is the richest software company in the world doing all this? Not for the money. At least that isn't the number one reason. The number one reason, you ask?

To kill innovation.

There, I said it.

Microsoft can't monopolize an industry legally by purchasing all of its competition but it can legally keep potential competitors out of the market by creating barriers with these types of lawsuits. If you want to play ball in this industry, you either buy their ball or rent the freely available ball from them. Interesting concept, isn't it?

So get ready to see the headlines light up with lawsuits and rumors of lawsuits courtesy of Microsoft.

I have to hand it to them. It's smart.

Microsoft, 1. Everyone else, 0.

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Last Post by khess
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If they go a legal attack on Linux it may have the effect of moving a lot of tech companies out of the USA and to countries that do not have software patent laws.

This could be good for the EU (who voted overwhelmingly against software patents even in the face of much ms bribes) .

Would be weird that if in years to come the only place you are not allowed to choose your OS was the land of the free..

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This article is fraught with conjecture and not well thought out. It is pure FUD.

Linux CAN'T be sued because one company does not control it. Linux CAN'T be stopped...because it has the GPL...and Microsoft has complied with the GPL on numerous occasions which subsequently means that they know they have to comply with it aka they've endorsed it with their actions.

All in all, this article is just a bunch of bull crap.

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@TKS

Microsoft has twisted the arms of several companies by suing or threatening them. Did you read the related links?

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And, just so you know, the GPL doesn't prevent anyone from being sued. The reason is that Microsoft says it owns patents to technology that is being used in the Linux kernel and other programs. I'm not saying that they are correct but if I lift code that you own and put it in my product without payment or acknowledgement of any kind, you can sue me. You can, in fact, sue anyone for any reason. There are no rules.
Whether you win or not is a different story entirely. So, it isn't FUD, it is reality. In fact, the SCO vs. Novell case is still raging in Utah about the ownership of Unix.

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@Khess,

Who's MS going to sue with Linux? Name the company? Red Hat gives Linux away (they provide full source in compliance with the GPL) and sells support for it.

Who's arm they going to twist? They gonna sue everyone that has Linux out there? Sony with the PS3? The Wii? Every smart phone vendor out there? I don't think so...the GPL has held up in court across the world.

Not only that, if they do bring up proprietary claims...Linux will expunge it out of their code base and move on. MS can't kill Linux because there is no central company they can sue.

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Then why would Red Hat, Amazon, Novell and others enter into agreements with Microsoft? And why is IBM named in the SCO suit? No, there's no Linux to sue but there are plenty of companies that use Linux that Microsoft wants out of the way.

Edited by khess: n/a

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@TKS;

You seem to be confused as to the difference between patents and copyrights. If some company owns a patent and that patent is infringed by Linux, they can sue anyone who makes or uses Linux. It doesn't matter one bit whether or not the defendant is complying with GPL or not, and it doesn't matter one bit whether or not the plaintiff has distributed GPL software in the past (or even currently).

GPL would only matter if the company suing had distributed GPL software that included the patented technology. Has Microsoft distributed the Linux kernel?

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