Ballmer on Patents: Swinging a Saber or a Salami?
Mark Rais for the Reallylinux.com OPINION/EDITORIAL section
a new article on LinuxToday titled "Ballmer rattles intellectual property saber at Linux",
Vaughan-Nichols makes several important points that deserve both
recognition and attention. The original article is also found on
J. Vaughan-Nichols points out that "Microsoft, if it actually had
anything to show, would likely be relying on patents rather than
copyrights, against Linux."
then clarifies that litigation against a company such as RedHat now
has to be taken in the content of the Oracle Linux scenario. Would
MS also choose to start litigation against Oracle?
must also be tempered with the fact that IBM is unlikely to attend
the games at the modern Circus Maximus without also putting in a
If MS plans to sue for intellectual property related
issues, IBM is unlikely to choose an obsequious posture. Today's leaders
at big blue don't cower to opposition. Moreover, even when tides turn, they demonstrate some unique strategy of their own. Perhaps that's a component of
why the company continues after over 118 years
. Let's also keep in mind that IBM
is the heavyweight contender when it comes to patents.
for some who believe even IBM can turn face and begin chest thumping
and aggressively asserting its "rights" against the OSS world,
there is a unique pledge to free many patents.
yes as Steven well noted, IBM is entirely likely to play a substantive role
if there is ever a real legal wrangling over patents.
poignantly, the article surfaces a reality that Ballmer may not
understand: corporate saber rattling can only ensure the intensity of
see that others in big (IBM, Oracle, etc) and small (average Linux
enterprise users) ways will march on with intensity whether or not MS
slaps litigation into the picture. In fact, such a move may be a
catalyst for faster integration of Linux in situations where people
have been dragging their feet and are forced to make a decision.
In his article, Stephen effectively
conveys how the sheer audacity and ignorance of MS business strategy
combine to create a reality not seen before except when Ballmer
threatened Asian National Leaders with the "litigation" concern.
The day when corporate law can be
used as a tool to dominate users and implementers is over.
Instead, today as national
governments embrace Linux, perhaps the picture we now see is of a man swinging not a
saber but a salami,
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