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Old 2007-05-15, 06:28   Link #1
jay2000
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Microsoft details patent breaches

Microsoft Corp. has given the most detailed description to date of the number of open-source computer programs it says infringe on its patents, but the company says it still prefers licensing deals with open-source developers, software distributors and users instead of legal action against them. “There is no reason why any segment of the industry needs to be exempt from intellectual property rules,” Horacio Gutierrez, a Microsoft vice president for intellectual property and licensing, said in an interview Monday. At the most basic level, open-source software is distributed free of charge to consumers or businesses to use on their computers, and to programmers to modify, build on, and distribute again — also for free. While proprietary software companies like Microsoft make money by selling licenses for programs, open-source companies give away the program and usually make money selling support services.

http://jayed.us/2007/05/15/microsoft...tent-breaches/
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Old 2007-05-15, 07:26   Link #2
felix
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So~ what else is new.. :/
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Old 2007-05-15, 08:04   Link #3
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Actually all Microsoft did was specify the number of patents they say are violated (235, I believe), but they refused to identify even one single patent that was violated by any open-source program. It's unlikely that any modern desktop operating system, including Mac OS X, does not include some technology that supposedly violates one of Microsoft's patents. Many of their patents are extremely broad and cover things like how windows appear on screen. In addition, a recent decision by the US Supreme Court may make enforcing a number of such patents more difficult.

It's also an open question whether, or how, Microsoft would enforce these patents. Given the solid backing for open-sourced software from companies like IBM and Oracle, a sudden burst of patent litigation by Microsoft could embroil it in a patent war. IBM has a lot of patents, too, and it's pretty likely that Windows violates at least some of them as well. I suspect that most of this patent talk is really intended to bolster the spirits of Microsoft's investors, who aren't so happy about the slow adoption rate of Vista and Office 2007 and fear the potential for competition from both open-sourced products like Linux and proprietary systems like Mac OS X. When long-time partners like Dell continue to offer XP on all their systems and are about to start shipping machines running Ubuntu Linux, the sense that Redmond is an invincible force in the computing marketplace might be fading a bit.

In amongst the usual Microsoft-bashing found on Slashdot, the thread on this subject has a number of informative contributions. The whole sordid history of the attempts by SCO to make infringement claims against Linux, which Microsoft helped finance, is well-documented at Groklaw.
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Old 2007-05-15, 10:40   Link #4
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Ditto what Seiji said.... the thing is mostly FUD designed to scare businesses considering a switchover to FOSS and to make technically-illiterate MS investors feel better.

IBM would bury them in cross-patent fire and with the recent Supreme Court ruling on "d'uh" patents --- a lot of patents are going to go *POOF* if tested in court anyway.

I'd say carry on.... Microsoft is just flailing around since Vista has not been the golden calf (too many Fortune 100 companies and government agencies responding "WTF?" to it).


PS: I'll say it again and I'll keep saying it --- there is NO SUCH THING as "intellectual property", there is copyright, trademark, and patent law.
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Old 2007-05-15, 21:36   Link #5
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Microsoft is losing lots of business from large employers like wal-mart using Linex, cause it free. At the end it's all about money. CNN had a more in-depth article ^_^
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Old 2007-05-15, 21:48   Link #6
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That's why everyone should go open source. If that'd happen, we wouldn't have all of this patent bullshit going around.

(It's like charging intellectual rights for the invention of the chair, or the table...)
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Old 2007-05-16, 07:35   Link #7
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Or anime ;-)


As for Microsoft's claims. I think we've all gotten used to this sort of corporate smack-talking by now. It is more of a political statement than anything else. Actions speak much louder than words, so I'll start worrying about it when Microsoft actually starts a lawsuit against Torvalds or something.
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Old 2007-05-16, 07:38   Link #8
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This is ridiculous. Microsoft should realize that, once a program/etc. is out there, someone copying or modding it to their own uses is not only probable, it's inevitable. They should just accept that and move on.
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Old 2007-05-16, 08:14   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crovax View Post
Actions speak much louder than words, so I'll start worrying about it when Microsoft actually starts a lawsuit against Torvalds or something.
There's no point in suing the developers; they don't have any money, and they're scattered around the world. The more appealing target would be Fortune-100/500 corporations using open source software on servers (desktops aren't an issue in most companies yet).

SCO, for instance, tried to get corporations to pay them $699 per Linux server to "license" the portions of Linux that allegedly infringed SCO's Unix (and, whether SCO owns "Unix" or not is being litigated by SCO and Novell). SCO's suit against Autozone for alleged infringement is wending its way through the courts.

There are many large corporations that have replaced Windows servers with Linux boxes in the data center to run software like Oracle. This is the trend that worries Redmond the most, followed by losing control of the office software marketplace to OpenOffice. (Some countries and US states have adopted the OpenDocument format, which OO supports, and are abandoning MS formats because they are proprietary.) I don't think they're really all that worried about Dell shipping Ubuntu boxes in the short term, though who knows where things will stand in another decade.
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Old 2007-05-16, 20:14   Link #10
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Actually, according to this article...

Quote:
Originally Posted by article
Microsoft currently collects royalties from some companies that use Linux in their computing environments, Gutierrez said. However, he declined to indicate the number, the dollar amount Microsoft receives from those payments, or identify any of the companies by name.
...which sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me. Besides, in the first place, why would MS know which operative system does my company use? Is it mandatory for companies to state that somewhere?

And the fact that they refuse to disclose the list of companies involved and the amount they pay makes it quite a doubtful statement.
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Old 2007-05-17, 02:46   Link #11
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Its a racketeering variation on the "Blank CD" tax some countries have ... they just assume everyone is "stealing" somehow. Many companies just bend over rather than legally challenge it (short term risk/benefit analysis).

Microsoft has reached the end-stage of looking for revenue streams by any means rather than actually selling something customers might want.
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Old 2007-05-17, 07:08   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Microsoft has reached the end-stage of looking for revenue streams by any means rather than actually selling something customers might want.
In a form they prefer without any extra garbage attached.

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