Microsoft Bluff

Microsoft Bluff

5 February 2008

By Ben Evans

The Washington Post has an interesting article: about Microsoft’s defence of their patents.

Microsoft have recently made public their plans to aggressively defend their patents (and in fact IP in general). They claim that Linux infringes a number of its patents.

But the creator of Linux Kernel, Linus Torvalds believes that this is nothing more than “a marketing thing”. He continued saying that: “They have been sued for patents by other people, but I don’t think they’ve — not that I’ve gone through any huge amount of law cases — but I don’t think they’ve generally used patents as a weapon,” Torvalds said. “But they’re perfectly happy to use anything at all as fear, uncertainty and doubt in the marketplace, and patents is just one thing where they say, ‘Hey, isn’t this convenient? We can use this as a PR force.'”

In his bold statement Torvald went even further stating that another reason he doesn’t think Microsoft will push on with their patent claims is that: “when you’re a convicted monopolist in the marketplace you really should not be suing your competitors over patents”

It remains to be seen how Microsoft will react to this statement, but this writer suggests that it may not be too favourable.

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