Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.
The SCO lawsuit didn’t go anywhere so the FUDmeisters are back again with a frontal assault. This should surprise no one especially after the Microsoft-Novell deal. All that Port25 interoperability crap was just to buy time till the other shoe dropped. Now here it is.
Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they’re being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.
But he does break down the total number allegedly violated – 235 – into categories. He says that the Linux kernel – the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware – violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces – essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up – run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.
I have said this before. This is a disgusting, despicable, morally and ethically bankrupt monopoly. They will not “put up or shut up”. They will continue spreading this FUD and CIOs and CEOs will cave, scared of the giant Microsoft legal machine. The US DOJ was powerless to stop this monstrosity and I doubt if any corporation out there has the stomach for this fight. I had stated in this blog that Novell had made a “deal with the devil” and this proves it. So did every FOSS developer that got taken in by the “we have turned over a new leaf” Microsoft. I hope this opens the eyes of every developer out there. This is just an variation of the Embrace/Extend/Extinguish theme with a “Patent” twist. The independent developer is the last line of defence against Microsoft owning everything. It is time to stand up and be counted.