Microsoft's Ballmer: Linux Users Must Pay Up

by Preston Gralla

Not too long ago, Microsoft signed a deal with Novell, which showed that Redmond's siege mentality when it comes to Linux is finally over. But now Steve Ballmer has essentially told Linux users that they're infringing on Microsoft intellectual property. What's going on inside Microsoft when it comes to Open Source?


Piers Harding
2006-11-21 22:44:13
Hi Preston - I would hope that you are right, but prejudice runs deep, and it wouldn't surprise me if Microsofts game is more about Guerilla warfare, than "seeing the light". By this, I mean, a legitimate tactic would be to send confusing signals by appearing to be engaging the OpenSource community (hence various OS initiatives), but also sowing seeds of doubt by making statements like "Linux users infringe MS IP" - BUT (crucially) - giving Linux Users a way to "come clean" by using SUSE - a product that MS will endeavour to control, thus creating a possibility of driving a wedge against all other distros out there. The options here are considerable - what about funding the creation of windows integration addons that can only be (legally) used with SUSE, that create a functionality gap to drive the market in that direction?
This - to me - is classic FUD, and should be dealt with accordingly.
Piers Harding.
Taran Rampersad
2006-11-22 09:47:38
I think he just got in the zone and went too far. Ballmer's known for his antics... and it does say what he may think. The question is, is this the way that all of Microsoft thinks?
Simon Hibbs
2006-11-23 01:44:34
Imagine a world in which TCP/IP, DNS, HTTP, SMTP, and a host of the innovations in open source operating systems had been patented from the start. What would Microsoft's liability be then? Where would the industry be then?

All Balmer's talk about Microsoft's innovation and other people's liabilities are just the most visible and irritating symptoms of a virulent and potentially industry-debilitating disease. Thank god I live in Europe, and hope we keep up our inoculation shots against software patents.

Daniel Rosenstark
2006-11-23 05:57:10
What I'd like to know is what intellectual property Ballmer thinks Linux distributions infringe upon. Also, if there is an infringement, why do they have no legal recourse except to purchase a piece of the pie? One can imagine, however, that there are infringements but due to some technicality Microsoft has no way to milk any money out of the Linux distributions. In that case, Ballmer is just... what, bitter?

As to just what Microsoft thinks about Open Source, the answer is: not much. They want to "interoperate" and that's about it. For an example of a huge company that really "got" Open Source, consider IBM. They turned all of their XML libraries over to Apache at some point, and they continued to contribute. If you read about the Open Source lab at MS, it seems like they just want to see the enemy up-close in a friendly situation. They really haven't "gotten" anything at all, as far as I know.

Daniel Rosenstark
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Carla Schroder
2006-11-24 19:49:03
Mr. Ballmer is the CEO of the company. So anything he says carries more weight and meaning than merely venting. "From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."

2007-10-12 22:29:54
We Linux User don't own monkey-boy a freaking banana! IP infringement? Show us the prove then you petty-ass bald monkey. Oh Ballmer, you do have a computer right? Ever heard of google and wikipaedia? Try learning the history of Unix, linux, then make your shitty petty-ass comment. Unpopular product? Dude where the hell did you get your freaking MBA? South Hampton Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T). No appreciation for linux? you must be really dumb no to see the big picture of future open source computing. Still convinced that MS products are the creame de la creame? How about "corbeille"? , that fit MS windows perfectly.
And to conclude my ranting, quoting the famous Eric Cartman of SouthPark......eehm....." Suck our big linux balls, Mr Ballmer. Seriously!"