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.