Microsoft: "You are going to have to pay us for NOT using our products too!"

Microsoft have an image problem. You know they have. They know they have. Almost every time you see a Microsoft employee get up to speak they invariably start by meekly, almost apologetically, admitting they are from Microsoft.

Why do they have an image problem? It dates back to the browser wars of the 90s when they used their market dominance to squash competitors. They were bully’s.

Over the last number of years they have been fighting hard to combat that image. They have tried to appear all warm and fuzzy. They have made clever hires like Jon Udell and even contracted Hugh MacLeod to help improve their brand.

Then what does Microsoft go and do? In an article in Fortune

Microsoft claims that free software like Linux, which runs a big chunk of corporate America, violates 235 of its patents. It wants royalties from distributors and users.

Update: Wow, this one is really exploding on Techmeme
Good God, are they really serious? Many people use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) precisely because they don’t want to be giving money to Microsoft and now Microsoft are saying “You know all that Free and open Source Software you are using, yeah well, you are going to have to pay us for using that now too, thanks!”

It really is quite an incredible situation. What if the oil industry started saying, “All you solar energy, wind energy and renewable energy users will have to pay us for not using our products”

Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

As Simon Hibbs said:

It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that so many Microsoft products are based on patentable innovations contributed freely. I’m thinking of Kerberos and LDAP that are the guts of Active Directory. Where would we all be if Tim Berners-Lee had patented key elements of HTTP, or if the TCP/IP stack were proprietary? Microsoft has done very well embracing and extending the innovations of others.

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6 thoughts on “Microsoft: "You are going to have to pay us for NOT using our products too!"

  1. Pingback: Irish Job News - News on Jobs for Ireland » Microsoft to thinking of 250 new Dublin jobs

  2. alan p

    Probably quite hard to actually prove there was no prior art in many cases, and the US is now tightening up on patent trolling in general.

    Reply
  3. Peter Rock

    I think that saying by Ghandi was something like -

    “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    We’re well out of the first and second stages (ignore/laugh). MS is playing with fire now. They’re risking losing everything though one doesn’t see any other possiblity a for-profit megacorporation could consider. They will keep trying to prolong this patent FUD as long as possible because really, if they were to go to court over this, they just might lose everything. These “threat” tactics will likely go on for several more years.

    Reply
  4. Branedy

    Very likely, but they will still manage to extract a toll from the major corps who use Linux, making implementation a less profitable alternative.

    Maybe it’s time to sue MS for the open source code they have stolen? For the slander, trade infringement, obfuscation and lies. Make it a personal fight. Put Gate’s on the stand, that would sway a jury.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: MacManX.com » Blog Archive » Blogroll Dive: 5/15/07

  6. James O'Neill

    “Many people use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) precisely because they don’t want to be giving money to Microsoft and now Microsoft are saying “You know all that Free and open Source Software you are using, yeah well, you are going to have to pay us for using that now too, thanks!””

    No. What’s being said is “We have intellectual property, if you use it you pay for it. If you get it in someone else’s sofware That doesn’t get you out of paying”.

    Reply

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