PDA

View Full Version : Microsoft demands royalties for open-source software


tomoisyourgod
May 14, 2007, 05:49 AM
Basically greedy Microshaft believes open-source software users owe the company royalties on 235 alleged patent violations

open-source software users owe the company royalties... I use Linux at home for testing - does this mean Microshaft want me to give them money?

click here for story:-
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9019238&source=rss_news50

topgunn
May 14, 2007, 10:16 AM
Basically greedy Microshaft believes open-source software users owe the company royalties on 235 alleged patent violations

open-source software users owe the company royalties... I use Linux at home for testing - does this mean Microshaft want me to give them money?

click here for story:-
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9019238&source=rss_news50
If you use Linux at home, I want you to give ME money. Now, I have no grounds for that but, still, it would be nice. If you don't ask for anything, you won't get anything.

mkrishnan
May 14, 2007, 10:27 AM
I don't know how much merit the claim has... but in the end, open source has to comply with national and international law. End of story. The fact that profit is not made is irrelevant. I'm not saying it's the greatest thing in the world, but that's the way the laws of the vast majority of populous countries, who control financial resources, and who are members of the WTO, work.

Queso
May 14, 2007, 10:34 AM
Microsoft aren't just going after Linux here, but the entire GNU GPL. Success would mean even Apple are liable.

Take up of Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice and other OSS software is accelerating and the Mac is also increasing in market share. Looks like they're beginning to panic in Redmond.

IJ Reilly
May 14, 2007, 12:10 PM
Note the number of companies which have signed cross-licensing agreements rather than challenge the validity of Microsoft's patent claims. This divide-and-conquor technique might well work given that by definition, open source developers don't have much in the way of resources available to defend themselves in court. They need a white knight. Apple, perhaps?

Queso
May 14, 2007, 12:14 PM
Note the number of companies which have signed cross-licensing agreements rather than challenge the validity of Microsoft's patent claims. This divide-and-conquor technique might well work given that by definition, open source developers don't have much in the way of resources available to defend themselves in court. They need a white knight. Apple, perhaps?
I can't see Apple and Microsoft seriously going head to head in a patent war. Both sides have massive arsenals to fall back on. It would get very nasty.

Macmadant
May 14, 2007, 12:16 PM
Basically greedy Microshaft believes open-source software users owe the company royalties on 235 alleged patent violations

open-source software users owe the company royalties... I use Linux at home for testing - does this mean Microshaft want me to give them money?

click here for story:-
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9019238&source=rss_news50

Don't they earn enough money,

IJ Reilly
May 14, 2007, 12:49 PM
I can't see Apple and Microsoft seriously going head to head in a patent war. Both sides have massive arsenals to fall back on. It would get very nasty.

They've done it before. It all depends on what's at stake. Microsoft has been trying to control/restrain the open source community for a long time. Apple's got some markers on open source and if push comes to shove, they might not be willing to give in to Microsoft, as Novell and others already have.

killr_b
May 14, 2007, 01:25 PM
Surprise, surprise. A corporation that doesn't care about you and just wants its bottom line to be as fat as possible.

Maybe we should take away the rights of corporations to buy, sell and own as if they were a person, and reduce them to what they can be held accountable for.
According to corporate law a corporation is a person because there are persons involved. But I can't own you, so I don't see how a corporation should be able to own another corporation.

Corporations also now own patents of developing genes and engineered DNA sequences, micro organisms, and other keystones of biological life. The only thing they can't patent is a full fledged baby human.

So if the cure for AIDS is in your blood and you get a blood test and the company that does the test on your blood finds the results to their liking, they can patent your blood's genetic and chemical make-up. :eek:
Without your permission.

The U.S. is also the only country in the world where a patent can be used to suppress new inventions.

I think we should end this whole patent thing.

whooleytoo
May 14, 2007, 01:25 PM
They've done it before. It all depends on what's at stake. Microsoft has been trying to control/restrain the open source community for a long time. Apple's got some markers on open source and if push comes to shove, they might not be willing to give in to Microsoft, as Novell and others already have.

Considering how many patents Apple probably holds (and how litigious they are in protecting their IP), I doubt they're likely to join any fight that might weaken the patent holder's case in suits against the open source community.

Transic
May 14, 2007, 01:41 PM
*

Swarmlord
May 14, 2007, 01:58 PM
Basically greedy Microshaft believes open-source software users owe the company royalties on 235 alleged patent violations

open-source software users owe the company royalties... I use Linux at home for testing - does this mean Microshaft want me to give them money?

click here for story:-
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9019238&source=rss_news50

It's not "greed" when you protect what it is that you own.

What I question is the validity of some of the so called software patents that are issued. I don't mind someone patenting a new type of can opener, an engine that runs on grass clippings, or something along those lines, but patenting an icon or a way in software to queue up data or display it? Seems unenforceable to me.

IJ Reilly
May 14, 2007, 02:29 PM
Considering how many patents Apple probably holds (and how litigious they are in protecting their IP), I doubt they're likely to join any fight that might weaken the patent holder's case in suits against the open source community.

This isn't about the validity of patents in general, it's about specific patents Microsoft claims they own and the open source software community has violated. Microsoft views open source as pure evil. For years now, they've been trying every which-way to stop it. Apple, OTOH, does not have a problem with open source. In fact the heart of Safari is open source, not to mention, OSX itself. Again, it depends on what's at stake.

As to greed, I think Microsoft's motivations are often misunderstood. Sure, they're greedy, but that only makes them a corporation. Microsoft's other prominent personality characteristic is control, a trait they inherited from their control-freak founder. Microsoft hates the open source community because they can't control it. Most likely, this suit is more about control than money.

xsedrinam
May 14, 2007, 03:12 PM
This isn't about the validity of patents in general, it's about specific patents Microsoft claims they own and the open source software community has violated. Microsoft views open source as pure evil. For years now, they've been trying every which-way to stop it. Apple, OTOH, does not have a problem with open source. In fact the heart of Safari is open source, not to mention, OSX itself. Again, it depends on what's at stake.

As to greed, I think Microsoft's motivations are often misunderstood. Sure, they're greedy, but that only makes them a corporation. Microsoft's other prominent personality characteristic is control, a trait they inherited from their control-freak founder. Microsoft hates the open source community because they can't control it. Most likely, this suit is more about control than money.
Okay, you've well earned it.

IJ Reilly
May 14, 2007, 03:18 PM
Okay, you've well earned it.

Thank you, thank you very much.

(Or in the words of Milton Berle: "Please, don't. Stop. Please, don't stop.")

:)

tomoisyourgod
May 15, 2007, 03:14 AM
the way i see it is, Microsoft aren't an innovative company, we all know about Xerox/Apple in the 1980s about the GUI.

Apple invent things we all know - so they are innovative.

Open Source is healthy for IT as quaility is much better, look at the superiority of the Firefox browser as opposed to IE.

How many patent violations have Microsoft actually committed? Loads I reckon

Mr Skills
May 15, 2007, 05:46 AM
Do the open source organisations have patents of their own, or are they too diffuse to be that organised?

I was always under the impression that big companies like Apple and Microsoft are sometimes a little lenient with eachother over patents because otherwise the whole house of cards might come down for both of them...

Queso
May 15, 2007, 06:03 AM
Do the open source organisations have patents of their own, or are they too diffuse to be that organised?

I was always under the impression that big companies like Apple and Microsoft are sometimes a little lenient with eachother over patents because otherwise the whole house of cards might come down for both of them...
The nature of Open Source is that any innovation is donated back to the community under the GPL. In the past with these cases Novell or IBM have always come in on the side of the OSS parties until the case gets dropped or defeated. We'll see what happens this time, but it looks like Novell have finally caved and taken the Microsoft silver.

elppa
May 15, 2007, 06:44 AM
Microsoft are worried about being irrelevant in 15-20 years and are taking defensive action.

BlackMax
May 15, 2007, 08:54 AM
First we have all the SCO lawsuits, then IP Innovation LLC and its parent company Technology Licensing Corp purchase a patent originally owned by Xerox for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" and decide to sue Apple for patent violation and now we have MS claiming 235 patent violations against a myriad of different open source products.

I'm really tired of all these different patent violation claims and lawsuits. It's as if software patent lawsuits have become a whole new business model!!! They are nothing more than shameless attempts to make a quick buck and stifle the competition. They hurt everyone because their worst effect is to squash innovation. Some companies just apply for or purchase patents to sit on them so nobody else can move the technology forward. :mad:

I wouldn't be surprised if MS has made use of open source code in Windows. We have large VMware farms where I work and VMware ESX Server will share memory between servers when the memory being stored is identical. I've been told there have been cases where Windows and Linux servers are sharing the same memory location. This could only happen if both platforms are sharing some of the same underlying code.

I would like to see software patents reformed to follow the same model used with prescription drugs. You've got X amount of years and then your software patent is opened up to the free market.

jaw04005
May 15, 2007, 11:56 AM
I believe part of the 1997 agreement between Microsoft and Apple allows them to "share" patents.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1997/Aug97/MSMACpr.mspx

Either way, you won't see Microsoft coming after Apple simply because they are their protection from being classified as a monopoly.

Silencio
May 15, 2007, 06:21 PM
Typical Microsoft, using fear to keep their partners and customers away from open source solutions. Wouldn't it be easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar? That's not the Microsoft Way.

I have to agree with the article below that patents are like nuclear weapons: they're just as dangerous to the entity launching the first strike and as such as best used as deterrents. Those counter-strikes can be awfully rough, as Creative found when they sued Apple over iPod-related patents.

And I also concur that Mono is a dangerous sham that Microsoft is trying to use to trap and neutralize open source developers. If you dance with the devil, you will get burned!

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q2.07/878F362F-2BF5-4C86-84E7-9C976F7BDDD4.html

IJ Reilly
May 15, 2007, 06:29 PM
I believe part of the 1997 agreement between Microsoft and Apple allows them to "share" patents.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1997/Aug97/MSMACpr.mspx

Either way, you won't see Microsoft coming after Apple simply because they are their protection from being classified as a monopoly.

First, we don't know what patents Apple and Microsoft decided to share as a part of this agreement, but what we do know is that their patent dispute centered around Quicktime, so we're probably talking about multimedia patents only.

Second, if Apple provides Microsoft with any antitrust cover then they haven't been doing a very good job. Microsoft has been pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice, the EU, and other companies for antitrust violations for decades now, and Microsoft has effectively lost just about every case.

Winterfell
May 15, 2007, 06:38 PM
I don't think this is going to go anywhere. Linus sums up the issue pretty well in a retort he made today (http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199600443).

Come on? "You're violating 235 of our patents, but you have to guess which ones. Nyah, nyah. Give us money!"

Did Microsoft learn nothing from SCO? Patent Infringments, part deux. :rolleyes:

Silencio
May 15, 2007, 06:39 PM
First, we don't know what patents Apple and Microsoft decided to share as a part of this agreement, but what we do know is that their patent dispute centered around Quicktime, so we're probably talking about multimedia patents only.

Essential reading on Microsoft vs Apple re Quicktime:

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/5F0C866C-6DDF-4A9A-9515-531B0CA0C29C.html
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/592FE887-5CA1-4F30-BD62-407362B533B9.html

IJ Reilly
May 15, 2007, 07:13 PM
Essential reading on Microsoft vs Apple re Quicktime:

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/5F0C866C-6DDF-4A9A-9515-531B0CA0C29C.html
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/592FE887-5CA1-4F30-BD62-407362B533B9.html

Awesome stuff. Thanks a million for recommending it. Everybody should read this. I give these articles a rare five smilely faces rating.

:) :) :) :) :)

I especially like this line:

Apple's patent stockpile was reminiscent of the Soviet Union's warheads: scary during the Cold War, but potentially more erratic and dangerous after the country began to break up into sovereign nations.

tutubibi
May 15, 2007, 08:07 PM
I think Microsoft owes me some money. I have a patent for "Software Bug - process or procedure to make user annoyed and/or unable to complete the task".

Microsoft is extensively using my patent in every product for the last 20 years.

Also, I need to take a look at Microsoft source code to see how many lines of open source software was copied there.

Bobdude161
May 16, 2007, 04:17 AM
Essential reading on Microsoft vs Apple re Quicktime:

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/5F0C866C-6DDF-4A9A-9515-531B0CA0C29C.html
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/592FE887-5CA1-4F30-BD62-407362B533B9.html

Very nice read indeed. This site is awesome. I can't stop reading!