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Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the looking-for-an-excuse dept.

Patents 204

Glyn Moody writes "Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, has just published a piece called 'Apple v. HTC: A Step Along the Path of Addressing IP Rights in Smartphones.' In it, he notes that today's smartphones are all about the 'software stack,' not the 'radio stack,' and that 'as the IP situation settles in this space and licensing takes off, we will see the patent royalties applicable to the smartphone software stack settle at a level that reflects the increasing importance software has as a portion of the overall value of the device. In the interim, though, we should expect continued activity.' That 'activity' obviously means lawsuits against those producing those software stacks, and Gutierrez seems to be hinting strongly that Microsoft intends to join in. So where does that leave all the Linux-based stacks such as the increasingly-popular Android? Is this just a clever way for Microsoft to start a patent war on Linux without appearing to do so?"

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204 comments

FUD article (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508090)

What a complete piece of FUD article. Nowhere in the original post he say anything about Linux or using this to attack Linux or Open Source in general. In fact, this is a guy who has previously wrote this about Microsoft open sourcing:

Some observers question how a company can contribute to open source projects while, at the same time, insisting on respect of its intellectual property rights by its competitors. In fact, these two things are not inconsistent, and striking a balance between them is one of the key things every commercial technology company must do in order to compete effectively in a mixed source world.

Yeah, it really seems like his out there to destroy Linux.

Did the article writer also forget that Microsoft does Windows Mobile? He says " one that doesn't even involve Microsoft directly.". How does mobile market not concern Microsoft directly when it's making Windows Mobile, an OS that HTC has always been it's flagship manufacturer.

Then completely out of context he quotes Bill Gates words from 1976, 34 years ago, how programmers should be paid for their work instead of doing everything for free. Did he just completely ignore how well funded Linux and some other OSS projects actually are? Mozilla alone brings in $80 million a year.

It's not about destroying Linux, it's about making some sense to patent fights in mobile markets.

Re:FUD article (4, Informative)

bguiz (1627491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508180)

Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux?

Title is sensationalist, has nothing to with the first article. And well, parent has rightly pointed out the FUD-ness of the 2nd article.

Re:FUD article (5, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508254)

I've noticed Slashdot doing this more and more. There used to be a frivolous article once a week, twice at most. Now though, it seems there is at least one or two every day. What happened?

Re:FUD article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508322)

I've noticed Slashdot doing this more and more. There used to be a frivolous article once a week, twice at most. Now though, it seems there is at least one or two every day. What happened?

You must be new here.

Re:FUD article (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508330)

It draws more people and pays the bill.
Just like how TLC is no longer a learning channel, but gets more viewers

Re:FUD article (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508576)

Just like how TLC is no longer a learning channel, but gets more viewers

What are you talking about? I've learned so much - I've learned what not to wear AND to say yes to that dress!!

Re:FUD article (4, Funny)

Obyron (615547) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509008)

TLC has taught me that God wants me to crank out children until my wife has complications and dies in childbirth, because the 18 kids I already have aren't enough.

Re:FUD article (5, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509494)

>Just like how TLC is no longer a learning channel, but gets more viewers

How dare you, sir! I have learned lots from TLC and the History channel. Specifically:

1. The Paranormal powers of Hitler and the eventual return of his ghost.
2. How Jesus and Bigfoot are flying to Alpha Centauri to establish a new religion.
3. That Nazi gold is buried in the Andes and only an expert dowser and his sidekick spirtual medium can find it.
4. How prophecies from hundreds of years ago apply in my everyday life!
5. That Stalin's mustache was the seat of his paranormal power!
6. That Nessie was the dinosaur Noah rode after the flood!
7. That special codes in the Bible reveal winning lotto numbers!

Thats stuff they wont teach you in school.

Re:FUD article (5, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508714)

Slashdot took a serious nose dive when they left behind the tech and took up the banner of political activism. I knew that on the day they (as in KDawson) started posting non-tech political articles on the front page that all kinds of weirdos and trolls were going to come out of the woodwork. The genie is out of the bottle and nothing is going to stop the endless cheap shots and mud smearing between idealogical camps.

Re:FUD article (2, Insightful)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509440)

/. is desperate for page hits, nothing more. Taco and crew sold the site out long ago, and what was once (think pre-2000) a great resource for geekdom has devolved into a pathetic flamebait aggregator operated by lemmings. Sad, really.

Re:FUD article (4, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509678)

The whole tech world took a serious nose dive when politics began to cluelessly try to regulate how to programm, interconnect computers, transmit content and say what I can or can't do with a screwdiver and the electronics I purchased.

The fact that we techies have to learn more about legalities and politics these days than about the latest tech is a serious problem, and slashdot articles unfortunately reflects that but I really think that it is the whole field that is moving in this direction.

Re:FUD article (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508742)

kdawson has hacked all of the other editor's accounts and is posting his inflammatory bullshit at every opportunity.

I swear, he's the /. version of Panorama on the BBC, or Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 (now the Panorama presenter). That man is contradictory just to get a reaction.

The very definition of a troll.

Re:FUD article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508896)

People like you respond to them, showing how popular they are. Congrats on adding to more similar future articles.

Re:FUD article (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509612)

/. := Fox News

Its not just about entertainment, its all about entertainment and how to make money.

(I'm in a sarcastic mood today. /. tends to post a good balance of articles and I feel the editors are fair about their choices)

Re:FUD article (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509886)

An editor realized that there hasn't been a Linux story in a while, he decided to manufacture one. It's pretty easy, you just search for "Microsoft" and "patent", and then add "could this be an attempt to destroy Linux?".

Re:FUD article (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509170)

Title is sensationalist, has nothing to with the first article. And well, parent has rightly pointed out the FUD-ness of the 2nd article.

I know, I read the title as:

Is Microsoft About To Declare Patent War On Linux or WHAT!?

Re:FUD article (2, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509486)

So Microsoft is now using Apple as a proxy in a patent war with Linux. In other news, Hell has indeed frozen over!

Re:FUD article (4, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508248)

If Microsoft started a patent war against Linux, wouldn't Linux-oriented companies, like say IBM, join in on the fun as well? With big companies, the patent situation is more like a cold war with all the cross-licencing going on.

Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

Re:FUD article (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508376)

Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

Yeah exactly like with Mono. If Microsoft was really wanting to launch a patent assault over mono they would have done it years ago they wouldn't be waiting for some unspecified time in the future to do so. It's the same FUD as the supposed "java trap" that also never materialized and was never going to materialize.

Re:FUD article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508682)

The Java trap never happened because Java never became popular enough. Lets hope the same thing happens to Mono.

Re:FUD article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31509016)

No the Java trap never happened because Sun was never going to sue anyone even if it had been more popular. It was FUD pure and simple.

Re:FUD article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31509056)

Yeah, no one uses Java. Except Google, IBM, Cisco, Nokia, Oracle, Sybase, everyone who ships something based on Eclipse, and dozens of other vendors I don't want to think of or type here.

Re:FUD article (2, Interesting)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509038)

Yeah exactly like with Mono. If Microsoft was really wanting to launch a patent assault over mono they would have done it years ago they wouldn't be waiting for some unspecified time in the future to do so. It's the same FUD as the supposed "java trap" that also never materialized and was never going to materialize.

It's all about strategy. With MP3, the patent holders waited until the use became main stream, and then sued for patents and royalties. If they would have sued too early, they would not have the broad usage they wanted. In this case, if MS was to sue and create fears, it is more likely to scare people (users and developers) away. If you are trying to get market share, suing too early is a great way to fail. Basic strategy really. It's too bad that isn't taught in school. (I am not arguing that MS is going to sue in the future. I am just analyzing the strategy.)

Re:FUD article (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509480)

Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

Yeah exactly like with Mono. If Microsoft was really wanting to launch a patent assault over mono they would have done it years ago they wouldn't be waiting for some unspecified time in the future to do so. It's the same FUD as the supposed "java trap" that also never materialized and was never going to materialize.

You must be new here, what you describe would be a very bad business model. The good business model is to wait until your patented tech is used by everyone and THEN you sue everyone for infringement. When you tech is new and barely used by anyone, it would be too easy for everyone to just migrate away from it as soon as you started making any kind of threats, but when your tech is deeply entrenched in the industry, you can have everybody by the balls.

Re:FUD article (4, Insightful)

Jezza (39441) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508440)

IBM have already stated that they will use their IP to protect Linux, especially against Microsoft. If Microsoft really want to try this they'll do so knowing they'll need to defend Windows IP against IBM - I wouldn't fancy their chances.

Re:FUD article (4, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508642)

That's why these lawsuits aren't directly attacking Linux (yet). Apple went after HTC, even though most of the meat of their suit involves Android. They are doing this in the hope that going to court and winning will set the legal precedent they need to increase the chances of victory against the far more powerful forces at play. MS will likely do the same thing. I HIGHLY doubt they would go directly after Linux (the kernel), Red Hat, Ubuntu, or Android right off the bat. What's more likely to happen, is they will start going after the small players, and get to the point where they have done enough damage to take on the big ones...

All this does is show how broken the US patent system really is, and how entire markets could be taken out in a mass suicide strike unless something is done about it.

Re:FUD article (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508916)

They don't even have to go after the "big" ones. If they can keep the upstarts from using open source, they don't need to attack the "big player" if nobody uses anything but closed source, patent encumbered stuff. (ie: help anyone attacking open source so people second guess using open source for fear of being attacked by patent infringement...)

Re:FUD article (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509068)

Oh what a FUN society we live in where the corporations struggle for power, and the government does likewise. It makes living under the dictatorship of the Roman Empire look peaceful.

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed
corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a
trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
-Thomas Jefferson

Re:FUD article (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508862)

In such a scenario I wouldn't count on IBM being eager to become Linux's protector. No doubt IBM and MS have agreements that might make it difficult for one to sue the other, particularly over Windows.

Re:FUD article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31509482)

IBM will do what's best for IBM. They would (in this hypothetical situation) jost likely way up the pros and cons. lawsuits are not cheap, but linux is a big part of their business. community goodwill will be entered into the balance.

We can hope they would find in favour of defending linux, but it all depends on the impact any of this would have on them. Where it concerns smart phones I'm not sure they'd be all that interested.

Re:FUD article (4, Funny)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508532)

Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

The author's site needed a traffic boost now, not 5 years ago, not last year.

Re:FUD article (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508782)

"Besides, why now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?"

Yeah exactly, it starts making a lot more sense when you just put Apple's lawsuit in the context of their fallout with Google.

I'm sure Microsoft are taking notice though, because if Apple can enforce those patents, it can enforce those patents against everyone, including Microsoft, and not even necessarily just on phones, because most if not all the patents in Apple's claim actually seemed very generic, enough so to be applicable against desktop Windows too.

Re:FUD article (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509040)

because if Apple can enforce those patents, it can enforce those patents against everyone, including Microsoft

There's a lot more going on in the background. How many patents does Microsoft have that could shut down the iPhone/iPad/OS X/whatever Apple sells? I'm pretty sure there are people at MS who know precisely.

Re:FUD article (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509116)

The point is though, if Apple's patents could shut down Microsoft's core business- Windows and Office, then it's still going to put Apple in a position where they can force concessions out of Microsoft.

Re:FUD article (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509202)

Actually, as an afterthought I just realised that HTC is somewhat important to Microsoft too- HTC has been one of the biggest Windows Mobile success stories and one of only a small handful of manufacturers who have not dropped Windows mobile. HTC are largely responsible for Windows Mobile gaining the marketshare it did in the pre-iPhone era, so it's probably also worth noting that with Windows Mobile 7 coming out, Microsoft trying to work their way back into the cellphone market with HTC being one of their most experienced and only remaining cell phone partners, that Microsoft also may not be interested in seeing harm come to HTC.

Re:FUD article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31509546)

Why not 5 years ago? Why not last year?

Exactly. Latches.

Re:FUD article (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508318)

Then completely out of context he quotes Bill Gates words from 1976, 34 years ago

Yeah but, isn't it obvious that when Bill said that he was referring to Smart Phones? He is clearly against the current App Market setup.

Re:FUD article (1)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508458)

Then completely out of context he quotes Bill Gates words from 1976, 34 years ago, how programmers should be paid for their work instead of doing everything for free.

I have started to not take seriously any article or piece of "journalism" that presents Bill Gates as Microsoft's decision maker anymore. He is a non-executive chairman. Granted he still has the power if he chooses to use it, but I think he left for a reason - he has entrusted Microsoft to other executives that have proven to be...well, what he wants.

the thing about FUD.... (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508556)

'Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt''... those last two are the foundations of philosophy, which is the foundation of western civilization. i dont know why youd want to be against doubt... thats like being against argument and reason. example: if Sun had listened to more doubters, who asked questions like 'how can you make money by giving away open office for free' or 'how come your income is going down the toilet, what are you going to do about cheap intelinux boxes destroying your market?'... then maybe the Beardman of Alcatraz wouldn't have taken them over with his samurai sword.

Re:FUD article (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508654)

I think he just wants to see Linus say "Bring it sweaty, chair throwing fat man!"

That would make a rocking cool ringtone!

Re:FUD article (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508914)

not just that.

Please, please let them actually insinuate a patent war against linux. All they have to do is show the patents, which, you know, they never did before. At which point people will initiate prior art reviews faster than MS can request patents from the patent office.

This way, we can invalidate them, move on, and ignore windows as most people have done. I am amused when people think windows is a bigwig and enterprise basically has no interest in it, other than for their employee desktops, and mostly because people don't even know how to use anything else at this point.

Re:FUD article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31510012)

let them actually insinuate a patent war

Insinuate : to suggest by indirect allusion or hints. I think you meant instigate : to bring about or urge on

. eg "They are insinuating that they will instigate a patent war."

what Gutierrez said about Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31509302)

"What a complete piece of FUD article. Nowhere in the original post he say anything about Linux or using this to attack Linux or Open Source in general. In fact, this is a guy who has previously wrote this about Microsoft open sourcing:"

"In discussing all of this with Gutierrez, I brought up the company's continual FUD campaign, where it goes to the press to wave that pointy stick around, in announcing that Linux violates over 200 Microsoft patents. Gutierrez noted that he was among the Microsoft execs who had made those statements [techdirt.com], and he stood by them ..

This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement... There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed [cnn.com] ."

Re:FUD article (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509746)

Isn't this just a subtle puff piece for Windows Mobile? Microsoft has no stake in the entertainment phones market currently, i.e. Android vs. iPhone. Windows Mobile competes against business phones offered by RIM and Nokia.

Yes, business and entertainment phones are completely different markets because touch screens are good for games but bad for writing emails. See my previous comment :
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1583886&cid=31492008

Re:FUD article (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 3 years ago | (#31510048)

HTC makes mostly touch screen phones and they are Windows Mobile's best supporter. Windows Mobile 7 will also be more like iPhone and Android, and with full 3D XNA games [slashdot.org] and acceleration. Not exactly for business use, but for entertainment.

Prior Art (4, Interesting)

saider (177166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508190)

I guess open source developers need to get their ideas, no matter how primitive, into the various open source repositories so that there is ample prior art to defend with.

Re:Prior Art (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508582)

Then they'd have needed them there in 1994. Quite a few of the infringement claims stem from NeXTstep.

Don't publish in the US (1, Troll)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508206)

If the software patents are the issue, then simply don't publish in the US. Considering the state of the mobile market in the US, it's not like it's a breeding ground for new and innovative features

Re:Don't publish in the US (4, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508386)

Have you forgotten ACTA? That rancid pustule from a diseased whore's ass is supposed to ensure that everone, everywhere on earth complies with US patent and copyright law.

And, believe me, Microsoft has a voice in ACTA. ALL the rights holders in the world with more than a couple million dollars at stake has bought a chair in the discussions. You will note that voters, taxpayers, and citizens have no voice . . .

US 19th = China 21st (3, Insightful)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508814)

In the late 1800's, the US was a hotbed of innovation, in part because US companies were a little cavalier about Intellectual Property law, especially when it came to ripping off foreign IP. Sounds a lot like China and the far east today. Right now, the products I find on sites like brando.com are both cooler and cheaper than what I find on Amazon and Thinkgeek, unless they are the same ones. But there are a lot of items I can find from asian based sites that I can't find on western retail sites. The innovation center of gravity is shifting across the Pacific. Where Japan failed with force of arms, China is bringing about the Asian Co-prosperity sphere through commerce.

Re:Don't publish in the US (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508842)

That's sorta funny, considering all of the innovation is happening in the US right now. I guess if you pay no attention then it's possible to come to your conclusion. Kinda like the people who insist that Nokia is dominant in the smartphone space.

uhuh (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508256)

today's smartphones are all about the 'software stack,' not the 'radio stack,'

So what? That doesn't mean that software patents are any more important than hardware patents. Actually, quite the opposite, even ignoring the standard 'software patents suck' thing, all that fancy software is worthless if it doesn't have nice radio hardware to run on....

Re:uhuh (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509022)

today's smartphones are all about the 'software stack,' not the 'radio stack,'

The referenced article is not exactly valid. The author is spouting off historical common-knowledge to hopefully gain literary credibility, and must lack the technical expertise to be authoritative on the topic... more about that later.

The entire point of the article is to say that Microsoft approves of Apple for suing other companies (both Nokia and HTC now) over software patents.

The systems in question (mobile devices with loads of integrated wireless technology) are a sort of fusion of tightly-coupled hardware and software. Essentially, the software part is a device driver, whether it's communicating with an RF frontend or reading bytes from a capacitive touchscreen (which is why Apple has no grounds to be suing anybody right now). Also, Apple originally denied licensing their touchscreen software to Nokia in the first place, so they are essentially monopolizing it.

What this boils down to, is that some things are patentable while others are not. The capacitive touchscreen design - the physical form, the novel arrangement of metals and plastics and capacitive material - is patentable. The RF Frontend is (potentially) patentable, novel dedicated circuits for decoding baseband information are patentable. Reading bytes from an N-pin connector and interpreting those bytes is not patentable.

Now, to address the 'radio stacks are trivial comment': although the baseband portion (i decline to use the term radio here) does use a large part of software, that concept is already quite old.

Software-defined-radio was originally designed back when certain radio technologies were still young and they needed an easily reconfigurable transceiver. Transceiver technology has had quite a bit of time to mature since then, and now that we are approaching the theoretical limit of wireless channel capacity, companies are turning toward dedicated silicon. Dedicated circuits have the benefit of increased speed as well as the benefit of decreased power consumption (all that and more!), when compared to a general purpose dsp. When it's economically viable for a company to produce a dedicated circuit, then they usually will, and they should seek a patent for that device.

The aforementioned dedicated circuits ARE patentable, but the software used to control them is NOT.

6 subtle ways /. disguises bullshit as facts (5, Insightful)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508272)

Re:6 subtle ways /. disguises bullshit as facts (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508982)

I followed the link and did a precursory read. There are a few follow ups that might be of interest. The granddaddy of this stuff is Sophistry [wikipedia.org]. The ideas behind Sophistry have roots in the Ionian Enlightenment [wikipedia.org] which also lead to the Ancient Greek concept of the Dialectic [wikipedia.org] method. And so we get Socrates, Plato Aristotle, and, so on to Roman ideas of Rhetoric [wikipedia.org]. This stuff spills into all of Western Philosophy, Law and Politics. You can take this stuff anywhere from William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity [wikipedia.org] to Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent [wikipedia.org]. It's a thorny thicket everybody has to find their own way through, but if an issue is contentious, if it's open to public debate then it's open to argument and the tools of argument. Even in business any publicly held corporation is bound to protect it's interests and the interests of it's investors and so we get more rhetoric. If you want sterilized, unambiguous facts then you're demanding a world that ought to be and not one that's messy and alive. Every body has the right to put their best foot forward, if you don't like the foot you can step aside or step on it, but then you might end up with a boot in the ass.

Re:6 subtle ways /. disguises bullshit as facts (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509172)

An interesting thing about the right of free speech, is the fact that I am as free to say someone's speech is crap as he is to say said crap.

Begun... (3, Funny)

dtzitz (937838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508282)

... the patent war has

How is it a "war"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508592)

Calling it a "war" is totally incorrect. It's nothing more than a bunch of lawyers getting rich, while consumers and even the companies hiring the lawyers get fucked, regardless of who "wins" the legal challenges.

My uncle was in Vietnam. He got shot in the scrotum. That's war. Will Microsoft lose their proverbial scrotum in your "war" here? No, of course not. Will Google? No. Will Apple? No.

Re:How is it a "war"? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508974)

Your example pretty much exemplifies what's being portrayed here. Patent holders are trying to shoot off the balls of young upstarts that compete with them by encumbering software with patents and utilizing them to crush the opposition.

Re:How is it a "war"? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509078)

It's nothing more than a bunch of lawyers getting rich, while consumers and even the companies hiring the lawyers get fucked, regardless of who "wins" the legal challenges.

If the companies weren't getting anything out of these lawsuits they wouldn't be filing them. They aren't just going to flush money down to toilet to enrich their lawyers. It's a convenient statement that only lawyers benefit but it's mostly bullshit.

Obvious target is obvious (4, Insightful)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508308)

This isn't about Linux. It's about Google. Google could be using a closed-source kernel, and Apple would still be suing them, with Microsoft quietly cheering.

Sleeping giant (3, Insightful)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508478)

The second Apple or Microsoft started a patent war with Linux someone would in their camp would utter the same words Isoroku Yamamoto did right after attacking Pearl Harbor in World War II.

Isoroku Yamamoto: I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

Re:Sleeping giant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508618)

Is this from the same logic that has made wide proclaimations of Microsoft's soon-to-be downfall every other week?

Seriously, I've been listening to this same banter for years now and the fact is that nothing has really changed in either camp. If the people involved with open source wanted to have software be free of strings and legal mumbo jumbo they'd release it as public domain and let people work it out for themselves.

Linux is not a giant. Nothing that anyone does is going to change that any time soon.

ahem... (2, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508926)

Linux is not a giant. Nothing that anyone does is going to change that any time soon.

Depends on your definition. It runs on vastly more devices than Microsoft or Apple. The fact that most of them aren't PCs may have gone over your head isn't going to change that anytime soon.

Besides, it's rather apparent that the author was probably referring to either IBM or Google as the sleeping giant (or perhaps Nokia, who still remain predominant in cell phone markets outside of the rather provincial and self-absorbed United States), rather than the operating system both happen to have a significant investment in Linux, and are prepared to defend with their own mammoth portfolio of patents (both legitimate and software). SCO should be a lesson to anyone willing to be Microsoft's proxy, and I wouldn't be overly suprised if IBM and/or Google decided it was time to stop batting away Microsoft's proxies and go after the source of the rot itself.

Now that Apple has armed the nukes, all bets are off...at least until the supreme court deals software patents the death-blow they (and those who litigate with them) so richly deserve. Should be entertaining...and with even a sliver of commen sense, most satisfying in its outcome.

Software patents are evil and should be abolished (2, Interesting)

apexwm (1612713) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508480)

Software patents have been promoting this type of activity, and it's doing way more harm than good. It's undermining fair competition. It's time we get rid of software patents once and for all. I'm rooting for the Supreme Court to do just this. http://members.apex-internet.com/sa/windowslinux [apex-internet.com]

144-point headline: (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508546)

WILL MICROSOFT LAUNCH A PATENT PEARL HARBOR AGAINST LINUX?

Article text, in 10-point Times New Roman: "No, not really."

Wow, even the /. lameness filter thinks that's too much shouting.

Re:144-point headline: (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508852)

Wow, even the /. lameness filter thinks that's too much shouting.

the slashdot lameness filter thinks any capitalization more than what e e cummings would use is too much shouting you also posted within the last five minutes slow down cowboy

Don't go there Microsoft... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508588)

Take a good look at the hostility that Apple is getting for its store/SDK policies and now it's patent war with HTC. They have an entrenched product that is a 800lb gorilla in market share and arguably quality, compared to the embryonic lemur you call Windows Phone 7 (no apps, no phones shipping it yet). If you want to steal from Apple and the Android community, the only way is to be magnanimous toward developers of all stripes so that Windows Phone 7 can get traction with apps.

Re:Don't go there Microsoft... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508668)

Take a good look at the hostility that Apple is getting for its store/SDK policies and now it's patent war with HTC.

What hostility? I still see tons of people buying iPhones all the time at Best Buy and when I go into my local AT&T store. Apple's App store is still seeing tens of millions of downloads a day. Oh, you were talking about the hostility of a bunch of people on this site who aren't iPhone owners or users of the App Store instead of actual customers.

They are waiting 40 years until ... (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508596)

the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the DOJ is destroyed.

proxy war through SCO (1)

cheap.computer (1036494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508602)

Msft already tried to fight a proxy war with linux through SCO and lost. Msft lawyers are smart enough to know that they will hurt themselves if they sue linux businesses. They are obviously after Google, again msft has to resort to ugly tactics to push bad products down consumers throats.

So 2010 (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508628)

So, after all the waiting, will this be the year of Linux on the judge's desktop!?

Try 1998 (2, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508990)

So, after all the waiting, will this be the year of Linux on the judge's desktop!?

Don't know what you're waiting for. Those of us with even a modicum of technical savvy have been running Linux on our desktop for years, and remain quite happy doing so. There is in many people's experience nothing that runs on Microsoft for which there isn't an adequate, and often better, free alternative.

Just because you're behind the curve doesn't mean everyone is.

Sorry... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508640)

1...2...3...4, I declare a patent war! :)

Re:Sorry... (2)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509930)

1...2...3...4, I declare a patent war! :)

5...6...7...8, litigate, don't innovate!
9...A...B...C, free software is not for me!
D...E...F...0, open source has got to go!

They're waking up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508656)

Microsoft is known for its slowness. It won't move to a market until it's become a proven source of money. Then it moves in and copies the most successful patterns while using its weight to push the others aside.
It's such a typical pattern it's utterly boring.
Obviously Linux holds the supremacy in the mobile world, and also obviously Microsoft makes its move into the market. The result is also obvious.
Anyway, as an Apple supporter, the moment I will see Apple side with M$ in this area I will ditch them in the first trashcan I see.

Oh boy. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508802)

Is The Question Headline Obsolete?

Guess not. Still the best way to make your readers crap their pants and come back for a rinse.

info from http://en.swpat.org (1, Troll)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508858)

Here's what I have already on them:

swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

Aimed at Google (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508880)

This is less about Linux and more about going after Google's flank. They don't even have to actually go to court to stir up enough FUD to give developers and implementers second thoughts. Who wants to be tied to a product line that may spend years mired in court? While the MS lawyers may have a hard on for the idea, the corporate leaders should think long and hard about taking that approach. A lingering court case would not only takes some wind out of Google's sails, but stop MS in their tracks too. They would do better to concentrate on improving Azure.

More important than the radio? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508966)

What good is a smart phone without the ability to make phone calls? That's the problem with Apple - they took the radio for granted and Nokia said bzzt - try again.

The irony is MS can cheer Apple on and not fear anything because they cross licensed most of this stuff in the settlement to the look and feel lawsuit.

Its kind of a sad mess when you literally can't switch on your phone without paying up (because that method is patented too).

open innovation? pfff (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31509096)

MS guy says "Open innovation is only possible through the licensing of third party IP rights" - the last 400 years of scientific progress would tend to refute this

It's FUD but... (1)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509304)

I notice that Microsoft has been working more and more closely with Linux - having the SAMBA team come on their campus (for example) and then coming up with variations on NTFS in Windows 7 afterward. We will see more of this: Microsoft learning and studying its competition then putting into place strategies that will create a further divide between the closed and open source worlds (despite all the rhetoric out there to the contrary). This is fully in line with Sun Tsu's "The Art of War" - essentially: "Know thine enemy."

That said, the likelyhood of Microsoft going head-to-head in an IP war with Linux would be very damaging to Microsoft. The net result might be that the USPO would be brought into the fray and the USPO prior art decisions questioned. Microsoft stands to lose a lot more than it might gain if it engages in this level of conflict.

Lastly, with the recent revelation of high acceptance of iPhone usage at Microsoft, they might end up in fratricide!

Looks like that's how the world will go down: (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#31509500)

Patent wars and the global copyright delusion will definitely be the cause of the coming self-destruction of all industries, from crops to software. From babies to shoes.
Everyone will sue the hell out of each other, counter-sue, counter-counter sue, question their commercial preference, suggest to settle, note to go bankrupt, and utter nonsensical statements involving plankton. Until the government responds to the the random lawsuits and treats to ban the opposing sides, unless words of praise for fishfood are expressed.

In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31509766)

Was Heath Ledger financing a street war in the Phillipines??

http://www.theonion.com/content/magazine/was_heath_ledger_financing_a

Very US-centric and knuckle dragging. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31509984)

From TFA

mobile phones have been around since the 1970s,...

The first commersial mobile phone system was in full use in 1956 in Stockholm.

... and have been common devices since the 1990s, when so-called 2G mobile phones (small handheld phones with similar form factors to what we see today) came on the market.

You mean since early 80's when small hand held phones with similar form factors to what we see today became common in Scandinavia with the NMT system.

Why do Americans allways assume that nothing happens until it hits USA, usually decades after the rest of the world.

Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31510122)

So MS is saying certain types of patents should be held up when other types should not? They can't possibly have a cogent argument for that type of logic.
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