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[News] OSI Sees the Beginning of the End of MicroSCOft

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- From the End of the Beginning to the Beginning of the End

,----[ Quote ]
| For more than 10 years Microsoft has toyed with the idea of using the 
| entirely questionable practice of using software patent litigation as a kind 
| of trump card in its battle against open source innovation. The idea was 
| present in Halloween III and stepped up a notch in May 2007 when Microsoft's 
| general counsel Brad Smith made the unsubstantiated claim that Linux 
| infringed 235 Microsoft patents. As many of you may recall, Microsoft played 
| very coy, refusing to identify a single infringement with any specificity. 
| (The open source and free software communities have a great track record [1], 
| [2], [3] of devising alternative implementations to avoid the possibility of 
| patent infringement, and so perhaps Microsoft was more interested in using 
| the element of surprise attack than indeed any timely remedy of the 
| infringement. But that is mere speculation.)           
| [...]
| Whatever the arguments may be, by filing against TomTom Microsoft has 
| effectively pulled the pin from their legal grenade and have lobbed it into 
| the center of the open source community. Can we pick it up and throw it back 
| (like the FTC attempted to do with Rambus)? Will the grenade be judged a dud 
| (if Bilski holds)? Will the legal shrapnel kill those who are trying to 
| protect our village? And if it does, will Microsoft win anything more than a 
| pyrrhic victory? As Brian writes, Microsoft's actions are despicable. But I 
| remain optimistic. I believe that thanks to the financial meltdown and the 
| stories of fraud and abuse coming from the most well-polished offices on Wall 
| Street that the world understands now, better than it has for a very long 
| time, that sustainable success depends on success we can all share and 
| participate in. When monopolies rise all-powerful, when the power of a 
| company becomes so great that we no longer question our need to police it, 
| then that is the moment we must say "ENOUGH!". It is neither a sustainable 
| nor a desirable condition to become beholden so such power, and we should do 
| nothing, neither legally nor legislatively, to protect those monopolies 
| against our own interests. Rather, we should fight against them with every 
| strength that we have, knowing that when they are defeated, we can all build 
| a stronger, shared success.                  


Microsoft will due like a bully:

Microsoft Roils the World with FAT Patents

,----[ Quote ]
| So here's what it looks like to me
| 1. Microsoft has abandoned its long history of not suing on software patents, 
| in order to attack the Linux operating system. (Other patents at issue are 
| specific to GPS systems.)  
| 2. It has attacked Linux in the embedded devices market, where Linux has been 
| conspicuously successful. This avoids the problem of suing developers or 
| users of Linux distributions, such as Red Hat, which would threaten the many 
| large Microsoft customers that use both Windows and Linux.   
| 3. Even if the Linux community rides to the rescue, TomTom will be under 
| pressure from its shareholders to settle quickly on "undisclosed terms" and, 
| weakened as is, to avoid the cost and uncertainty of making a posterchild of 
| itself.   
| 4. More likely, TomTom will sell out to Microsoft, which tried to buy TomTom 
| in mid-2006. Companies with large patent portfolios can drive hard bargains. 
| With TomTom in a bind at the bank, Microsoft can use its patents to acquire 
| TomTom on the cheap.   
| 5. By demonstrating its willingness to sue a small company, Microsoft can 
| induce others to settle, while undermining confidence in the market for 
| embedded Linux. By contrast, when IBM sought to impress the world with its 
| patent portfolio, it at least picked on Amazon -- a company able to defend 
| itself and with a reputation for asserting patents aggressively. (Remember 
| the one-click ordering patent that Amazon used in its holiday-season attack 
| on Barnes and Noble?).      



Why Microsoft Should Fret

,----[ Quote ]
| But what if at stake in the battle isn't just Microsoft's position in selling
| ads, but the very survival of its core software business? Microsoft would
| never admit that so much is on the line.


P. Graham: Microsoft is Dead

,----[ Quote ]
| A few days ago I suddenly realized Microsoft was dead. I was talking
| to a young startup founder about how Google was different from Yahoo.
| I said that Yahoo had been warped from the start by their fear of
| Microsoft. That was why they'd positioned themselves as a "media
| company" instead of a technology company. Then I looked at his face
| and realized he didn't understand. It was as if I'd told him how much
| girls liked Barry Manilow in the mid 80s. Barry who?
| Microsoft? He didn't say anything, but I could tell he didn't quite
| believe anyone would be frightened of them.


Will Microsoft Survive the Next 10 Years?

,----[ Quote ]
| I am not really an expert in this but when I read all the negative
| headlines and articles I ask myself if Microsoft really will survive
| the next 10 years.
| [...]
| I am pretty sure that the Open Source Community, the new Ubuntu,
| Google and of course Apple are those companies that are ready for
| our century and they will get more and more people that know what
| they really want.

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