Ballmer threatens Linux and open source with patents again

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in search of myself
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica]At a small meeting of Web 2.0 developers and partners on Oct. 1 at Microsoft's London office, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once more attacked Linux and open source for violating Microsoft's patents.

The meeting was a Microsoft-sponsored event: the UK Microsoft Startup Accelerator Programme launch event called The Online Opportunity.

According to Lars Lindstedt, who heads up Microsoft's UK Software Economy and Emerging Business programme, "The intention was to bring together some of the UK's brightest developers, entrepreneurs and investors who are working in the Web 2.0 space."

In the meeting's question and answer session, Ballmer took shots at Google ("They read your mail, we don't. That's not pejorative, that's just a fact.") as well as Linux and open source.

In a response to a question about Microsoft and open source, Ballmer started with a neutral position. "There will be other models for software. No one model will inherit the earth. We believe in the commercial software model," he said.

As far as open source and Microsoft is concerned, Ballmer said: "We need to offer better value ... we have to compete where there is a direct overlay ... Windows versus Linux, Office versus OpenOffice." He added: "Our battle isn't business model to business model [with open source] it's product versus product."

Ballmer then couldn't resist hammering on open source and Red Hat.

"The only other thing I would say that is probably germane is we spend a lot of money ... on R & D," he said. "We've spent a lot of money licensing patents, when people come to us and say, 'Hey, this commercial piece of software violates our patent, our intellectual property, we'll either get a court judgment or we'll pay a big check.' And we are going to [settle the matter]. I think it is important that the open-source products also have an obligation to participate in the same way in the intellectual property regime."

Ballmer went on: "That's why we've done the deal we have with Novell, where not only are we working on technical interoperability between Linux and Windows but we've also made sure that we could provide the appropriate, for the appropriate fee, [protection for] Novell customers [so that they] also get essentially the right to use our patented intellectual property. And I think its great the way Novell stepped up to kind of say intellectual property matters. People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to eventually compensate us."

As in his past remarks about open source and Linux using Microsoft IP (intellectual property) or patents, Ballmer gave no specifics. He also implied that because Microsoft has been caught illegally using other groups' IP, that open-source developers may be guilty of the same sin.

"There are plenty of other people who may also have intellectual property. And every time an Eolas comes to Microsoft and says, 'Pay us,' I suspect they also would like to eventually go to the open-source world."

After over eight years of fighting Eolas over its browser plug-in patent, Microsoft finally came to an out of court settlement with the company. In 2003, a jury found that Internet Explorer infringed on Eolas' patent and awarded damages of over half a billion dollars to Eolas and the University of California. A judge later overturned the $521 million decision and ordered a new trial.

To handle IP conflicts between open source and proprietary software organizations, Ballmer wants to see what he calls "an intellectual property interoperability framework between the two worlds." He did not give any specifics on what such a framework would look like.



He always does that and ur thread has a title with an "again" so what's gonna happen to linux??
Thanks for the info.


^MOst probably, nuthings gonna happen! MS n fanboys r gettin paranoid becoz of the rise of Linux and OSS world n that is taking a toll on their peanut brains!
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