Interesting but Wrong Take on Linux-MS Deals

Joe Wilcox of Microsoft Watch has an interesting take on recent deals Microsoft has struck with companies like Novell, Linspire, Xandros, Fuji/Xerox, JBoss, and Samsung.

…Microsoft’s child-like “that’s mine” attitude about intellectual property and patent violation claims against open source doesn’t explain the company’s resistance to Red Hat. The question to ask: Whose intellectual property rights are Microsoft seeking to protect? Microsoft’s insistence on combined interoperability and patent deals makes more sense if the company’s concern is that its software infringes on open-source intellectual property.

I have a little problem with this theory: any infringements wouldn’t be tied to these particular companies — they would be tied to myriad and sundry little projects that make up the open source world. Novell is has its own IP, but they, Linspire, and Xandros don’t hold IP for Linux, Apache, or Mozilla. Those (Linux, Apache, Mozilla) are three entirely separate projects with three very distinct licenses. Microsoft, to my knowledge isn’t trying to strike deals with those projects. I agree with Wilcox, though, that Microsoft should be able to unlink IP and interoperability issues in talks with Linux vendors like Canonical (Ubuntu) and Red Hat.


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