In the red corner is Microsoft v "the World" in the Blue

Microsoft claims that free open-source software, like Linux, violates 235 of its patents and is planning to act, according to a report today in Forbes.

The article makes passing reference to how music companies have sued their "users" and questions whether Microsoft might do the same to its user for patent infringement. However, there is a huge difference here in that the users in question include many major corporations around the world. Moreover, open source is actually big business too with IBM having made a big commitment to it. Hence, Microsoft will have a much bigger fight on its hand.

Having begun the fight, you have to assume that Microsoft have done some end-game analysis. Clearly this isn't going to endear it to a large portion of the tech community and you can expect a PR backlash that will test even Hugh MacLeod and his Blue Monster, let alone Steve Clayton! If Microsoft does proceed with action, it will alienate many customers but if it does step back it will have done itself some reputational harm for executing a flawed strategy. So, what other outcomes are there? Does Microsoft gift these patents to the community as a goodwill gesture? It seems unlikely too.

Hmmm. Got me a bit stumped on what Microsoft perceive this happy ending might be.

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posted by John Wilson @ 10:58 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit



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