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May 14, 2007



It appears Microsoft is using the SCO playbook: claim infringement but withhold the evidence.

But then, wasn't Microsoft funding SCO? Now that the legal attack on Linux by SCO-as-proxy seems to be failing, Microsoft is switches tactics to a direct, albeit still nebulous, attack.

David-Paul Niner

Larry has the right idea here: Let's get these allegations out in the open once and for all so they can be debunked. That will allow developers to turn their attention back to more important tasks -- like developing better applications.

Isn't there some legal recourse that can taken against MS for this? Is there anyone out there familiar enough with the law to know whether it's a violation of civil tort to make such allegations without providing details?

It's time for RedHat, IBM, Oracle, et. al to come together and lay this matter to rest.

Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

Actually, Larry, a number, overwhelming or not, "is" rather than "are" if you want to get into copy editor nitpicking. That phrasing sounds stupid, though, so smart writers don't use that construction in the first place. :)

But your main point about Microsoft is correct, and that's what counts!

Steven Howe

Isn't it about time Congress worked on making such claims illegal, even punishable by money and time in jail?

It just bad for commerce as a whole to have a few companies make claims that are unprovable.

Perhaps if the courts considered this type of behavior 'advertising' they could be fined or jailed by the FTC.


ok but what about the companies using OSS who have under the pressure already paid up to M$? if it proves there's been no patent infringement, would M$ have to pay the money back?

I mean this has been going on now for a long time, and i've read several stories where companies have paid, but for what, i don't get it, M$ just says you infringe, and they pay without even asking what?

Marty Heyman

Eventually, they will either have to engage in real patent litigation and expose their claims to scrutiny or the market will discount the claims and they will lose any value. The failure to disclose discounted the value and impact of the claims at the outset. The market is no longer ignorant enough to take wild arm waving as significant. SCO (with Microsoft funding) did a lot to educate them.

Having worked with Xybernaut, a company convinced at the very top of the Executive Team that it had incredibly valuable patents, I have seen the arc. Xybernaut eventually, in bankrupcy, tried to auction off the patents and got bids that were, compared to the valuations they believed in, a pittance. It was quite a revelation and one that will be repeated frequently in this software patent world.

We all look forward to a day when this is all on the table and we can understand the situation on the facts. Until then, this is the kind of empty rhetoric powerless bullies use in moments of fear.

-- Marty

Wesley Parish

"Microsoft, put up or shut up". Precisely!

Microsoft is following in the footsteps of their mutant offspring The SCO Group. Unfortunately for Microsoft, those footsteps wound up in the mouth thereof. It is not a pretty sight. :)

John Chrisoulakis

Microsoft have elevated the magic list of OSS-violated patents to the status of "Trade Secret"!

Revealing these patents has the likely outcome of greatly reducing their value, having them worked-around, or even extinguished. Bye-bye extortion racket...

MS - Put up or shut up!!!



"I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party" - Sen. Joseph McCarthy

Jeff Knodel

Microsoft's goal is not to protect patents, or protect intellectual properties. Microsoft's goal is to slow corporate adoption of Linux, and protect their cash-cow, windows.

Their tried and true methodology has been, aquire or steal technology, sewing FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), and enbrace and smother. This is no different.

Microsoft us sewing FUD regarding patent litigation to make linux unattractive. Its 'open source' initiatives are attempts to embrace and smother competing technologies. The deal with novel is about 'legitimizing' the FUD claims. ("Obviously this is legitimate, see, this other company paid...") And the combination will lower stock prices of, say, Oracle and RedHat, and allow microsoft to aquire them for a song.

Matt C

I have a theory that there's quite a bit that can be done, even in the absence of further details by MS. Their patents are publically searchable; with a bit of effort, the one's they're likely referring to can be identified rather reliably.

To make it easier, I've set up a little website for this purpose:



"There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed."

Well, that's what you get when you file an even more overwhelming number of vague, obvious, and overly general patents, not to mention plenty of those with prior art.

Joseph Arruda

I think the only mileage they can even remotely hope to get out of this is a short term PR FUD-point.

I am quite sure recent SCOTUS decisions like KSR Intl. v. Teleflex and the like will not work in favor of MS either.

Were it to actually hit the courts, it could entirely (I would say very much likely end up very disappointing for MS, much as what came of Honeywell v. Sperry-Rand.


I would like to know exactly what part of the Linux gui Microsoft thinks violated their patent. As far as I can tell gnome looks nothing like windows in its design. In fact the theme engine already existed before Microsoft put there's in. What are they suggesting the icons are a violation. I'd day thats a bit of a stretch if you ask me. Whats left if anything?


Lets not forget where MS got the idea for icons in the first place... Anyone remember the old Xerox display on its copiers? Bill Gates does!! Look, a tiny picture and if I push it the copier starts!! Cool!! MS windows got started by patent infringments.


Everyone copies off of someone to some extent...

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