May 15

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

"I have in my hand a list of 206 known communists at the State Department"

Does Microsoft's claim that Free and Open Source Software infringes on 235 Microsoft patents remind anyone of Joseph McCarthy's famous claim about communists at the State Department? Whether or not it's true, citing such a number without providing any detail is such a classic FUD move that, to me at least, it just makes Microsoft look ridiculous. More recently, it's reminiscent of the bluster of the SCO case against IBM.

I've been holding off posting, since my analogy verges on a violation of Godwin's law, but as the drumbeat continues, I couldn't help myself.

I say, "Put up or shut up." If you want to sue, go ahead and sue. But don't bluster about it. I like Brad Smith. He's a smart guy. And maybe this will help worry some corporate customers. But frankly, this flawed PR ploy smacks of desperation to me.

tags: open source  | comments: 15   | Sphere It

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Comments: 15

  Deepak [05.15.07 12:45 PM]

... and just when I was softening on Redmond. This is ridiculous.

  Tony [05.15.07 12:51 PM]

Seriously... is microsoft really that threatened by linux? I guess so. Kind of hypocrytical considering the number of ideas, features and technologies that microsoft has been stealing. Linux needs to start filing patents and then licensing them for free to anyone but microsoft... or is this illegal?

  Bernardo Kuri [05.15.07 01:01 PM]

Looks like MS has finally listed the (alleged) patent infringements:

(Source: slashdot.org)


Main story:


Let's just hope (for everybody's sake) that this gets resolved quickly and quietly.

  Krish [05.15.07 02:48 PM]

Hey, every bit of Microsoft's code violates the patents of Newton to Einstein to Bohr to Bardeen. They should get the hell out of this world before they try to sue anyone else.

  Don Marti [05.15.07 03:22 PM]

So what are they hiding? Everything about this sounds like the big obvious attack that hides the quiet, effective one.

  Frank Daley [05.15.07 03:53 PM]

Hurrah for having the gumption to make an analogy that hits the mark.

It is clear that Microsoft is getting more and more desperate. It is under a veritable fire storm of competitive attacks, and it is losing many more battles than it is winning.

Microsoft is desperate and is making big mistakes because it does not know how to fight on a level playing field.

  steve [05.15.07 11:07 PM]

Microsoft is the midget attacking the giant in this case... count up the total number of people who work for Microsoft vs the number of people who work on open source.

What amazes me is that Microsoft is so concerned about its business that it is willing to attack people who are freely contributing to the world. The community is far more important than any business, so it is this kind of crap that is the tragedy of the commons as played by monopolistic practices.

  Roy Schestowitz [05.16.07 12:07 AM]

> But frankly, this flawed PR ploy smacks of desperation to me.

Nail. Head. Sums it all up.

omputerWorld said this too. Even Jonathan Schwartz said this yesterday. When you do badly, then you look at your rival (with malice).

  Raghu Nayak [05.16.07 02:09 AM]

Here is a popular quote of Mahatma Gandi: "“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you, then you win”

So True...

  Raghu Nayak [05.16.07 02:10 AM]

Here is a popular quote of Mahatma Gandi: "“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you, then you win”

So True...

  Ny Nj [05.16.07 02:35 AM]

It is important out of respect for the original developers that the record is set straight regarding the Patents- regardless of the monetary outcome.

Shouldn't they be acknowledged for their talent- as will as their Employee for its investment.

Also, imagine how much money Microsoft has lost due to software piracy over the decades, can anyone blame them for taking this stance?

  joshuadf [05.16.07 07:38 AM]

Your dkosopedia link has a typo, the "http://" is missing the "h".

  kuriharu [05.16.07 09:34 AM]

Not to go into history too much, but later the Soviets admitted that they DID have people working in Hollywood, so McCarthy's investigations did actually have a point, viscious as they were.

I don't think that defends MS in this case, tho'. If MS really had proof of these violations, wouldn't they take legal action rather than leave it up to the PR people? You know there's something fishy when the patent violations are handeled by the marketing department...

  Kameran Ahari [05.21.07 07:13 AM]

Just keep in mind, the top lawyers went to a marketing event (interview with Fortune). They did not file with the courts or seek cease and decease orders.

After spending a week studying the issue, I am convince this the beginning of a new campaign by Microsoft to:

- Leverage FUD to sell more indemnity
- Launch a line of Linux business insurance
- Push Linux - but through channels partners
- Demonstrates end of licensing business model
- Milk the cash cow one last time
- Buy its way into FOSS space

You can find more at http://gotastrategy.typepad.com

Kameran Ahari

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