Microsoft bullying users into paying for patent licensing?

Story: A dystopian future - looking beyond Windows VistaTotal Replies: 3
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Feb 11, 2007
7:36 PM EDT
Quoting:Don Marti over at LinuxWorld mag interviewed Jeremy Allison last week. One of the most interesting points is the idea that Microsoft is strong-arming customers into paying for patent licenses without disclosing exactly what patents they own.

LinuxWorld: One of the persistent rumors that's going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects. And the Novell deal -- isn't it just taking that and doing the same kind of thing wholesale?

Allison: Yes, that's true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using, which they then cannot redistribute. I think that would be the restriction. I would have to look quite carefully. So, essentially that's not allowed. But they're not telling anyone about it. They're completely doing it off the record.

Posted by Dave Rosenberg on February 11, 2007 08:11 PM

Feb 13, 2007
5:33 AM EDT
nice - someday they will really piss somebody off that will bite back.

says a lot about a company that has to make money off of other people's work and not do a pinch of work themeslves except hire lawyers.

maybe this will be microsoft's new business model - just hire lawyers - file patents - then threaten lawsuits.

Feb 13, 2007
5:53 AM EDT
I get kind of wary when I hear "won't go on record" because that translates to me as "can't or won't back up what they're saying". You can't assess the quality of such testimony. For all we know, the people saying this to Jeremy may have just been telling him what he wanted to hear as a misguided show of support.

It's like when SCOG insisted on an NDA to see what turned out to be very flimsy evidence. They knew their evidence was weak, and tried to hide it from the world but still make it seem like they had a strong case.

Feb 13, 2007
11:53 AM EDT
"Won't go on record" can mean exactly what DarrenR114 says. On the other hand, we can now see all the choicest bits of evidence in the Iowa Anti-trust trial: emails from Dell, HP, etc to MSFT, demonstrating to a casual observer that MSFT *does* strongarm even the biggest vendors. And when the vendors go public with a contrary opinion, MSFT punishes them.

So, "off the record" might just mean that these anonymous tipsters want people to know about it now, rather than at MSFT's next trial.

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