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Microsoft takes on the free world (Gates wants royalties on Linux)
Fortune Magazine ^ | May 13, 2007 | Roger Parloff

Posted on 05/13/2007 4:05:27 PM PDT by Zakeet

Free software is great, and corporate America loves it. It's often high-quality stuff that can be downloaded free off the Internet and then copied at will. It's versatile - it can be customized to perform almost any large-scale computing task - and it's blessedly crash-resistant.

A broad community of developers, from individuals to large companies like IBM, is constantly working to improve it and introduce new features. No wonder the business world has embraced it so enthusiastically: More than half the companies in the Fortune 500 are thought to be using the free operating system Linux in their data centers.

But now there's a shadow hanging over Linux and other free software, and it's being cast by Microsoft. The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft's patents. And as a mature company facing unfavorable market trends and fearsome competitors like Google (Charts, Fortune 500), Microsoft is pulling no punches: It wants royalties. If the company gets its way, free software won't be free anymore.

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: chairthrowing; intellectualproperty; linux; microsoft; monkeyboy; opensource; patents; software; tech
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"All your software are belong to us." - Steve Ballmer

Read how in this rather long article.

1 posted on 05/13/2007 4:05:30 PM PDT by Zakeet
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To: Zakeet

Frankly anybody can write an operating system. Since a patent is on actual code and your code will be different without doubt, home free. Is it possible to disable 95% of this Windows stuff so the computer boots up in less than a cigarette and cup of coffee?


2 posted on 05/13/2007 4:08:53 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Treaty)
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To: Zakeet

Nothing, nothing beat the greed of big business and elected officals, local, state and the greedest of all the ones in the sewer called Washington.


3 posted on 05/13/2007 4:09:07 PM PDT by chiefqc
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To: Zakeet

Wait; you can copyright the “Blue Screen of Death” or having your financial information stolen?

Who knew?


4 posted on 05/13/2007 4:11:39 PM PDT by noblejones (Ben Stein for President, 2008.)
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To: RightWhale

Get more random access memory (RAM). If running Vista, a notorious memory hog, make that at least 4 GB of RAM. Or install Linux and pay the bribes that Microsoft demands of you.


5 posted on 05/13/2007 4:12:02 PM PDT by dufekin (Name the leader of our enemy: Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, terrorist dictator)
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To: Zakeet

Ballmer can “bite me”


6 posted on 05/13/2007 4:12:10 PM PDT by xcamel (Press to Test, Release to Detonate)
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To: Swordmaker; HAL9000; Malsua; Ernest_at_the_Beach

computer ping


7 posted on 05/13/2007 4:12:42 PM PDT by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote.)
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Ballmer might reconsider what he wishes for...

"So if Microsoft ever sued Linux distributor Red Hat for patent infringement, for instance, OIN might sue Microsoft in retaliation, trying to enjoin distribution of Windows.
FOSS has some deep pockets behind it also.
8 posted on 05/13/2007 4:16:04 PM PDT by D-fendr
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To: Zakeet
Microsoft: The Borg Of The Software World

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

9 posted on 05/13/2007 4:16:12 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Zakeet
At the same time, Smith was having Microsoft's lawyers figure out how many of its patents were being infringed by free and open-source software. Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.

Boy that sounds familiar.

10 posted on 05/13/2007 4:16:28 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: Zakeet

This is what happens when the patent system is harnessed to stifle innovation and variety, instead of its intended purpose of rewarding creativity and individual effort.

Patent law is in dire need of reform to cope with the “virtual” products if the information age.


11 posted on 05/13/2007 4:16:51 PM PDT by LexBaird (98% satisfaction guaranteed. There's just no pleasing some people.)
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To: Zakeet
To promote freeze and degrade the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times Forever to Authors and Inventors Bureaucratic Corporations and Lawyers the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

The Constitution 2007

12 posted on 05/13/2007 4:17:38 PM PDT by bvw
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To: dufekin
Get more random access memory (RAM). If running Vista, a notorious memory hog, make that at least 4 GB of RAM. Or install Linux and pay the bribes that Microsoft demands of you.

I'm no hardware geek, but I'm under the impression even Vista cannot access more than 2.5 gigs of RAM. Getting 4 is a waste of money.
13 posted on 05/13/2007 4:17:42 PM PDT by plsvn
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To: RightWhale
Patents are not on “actual code”. Copyrights cover actual code.

This article states that Microsoft is claiming patent infringement. Given the broad brush that corporations used to develop their patent portfolios beginning in the early 1990’s, I would suspect that MS can probably identify a large number of patent infringements. The fact that they are challenging “open source” just makes their job easier.

14 posted on 05/13/2007 4:19:16 PM PDT by the_Watchman
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To: plsvn

So Vista can’t use the memory it insists on hogging? Why? No wonder it’s under-performing.


15 posted on 05/13/2007 4:20:22 PM PDT by dufekin (Name the leader of our enemy: Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, terrorist dictator)
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To: Zakeet

Just one more reason for me to jettison XP in favor of another Linux distribution, heh heh heh...

...wonder if I’ll actually pull the trigger, tho’...


16 posted on 05/13/2007 4:20:37 PM PDT by KStorm (Ballmer can, well, you know.)
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To: chiefqc
Nothing, nothing beat the greed of big business and elected officals, local, state and the greedest of all the ones in the sewer called Washington.

Otzi, the 5000 year old mummified man of the Alps was found to have an arrow lodged in his back. Human nature has not changed one iota in 5000 years.

17 posted on 05/13/2007 4:22:36 PM PDT by VRW Conspirator ("All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife" - Daniel Boone)
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To: xcamel
Ballmer can “bite me.”

You’ll want a rabies shot.

18 posted on 05/13/2007 4:23:16 PM PDT by dighton
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To: RightWhale
Since a patent is on actual code and your code will be different without doubt, home free.

Huh? Maybe you are thinking of copyright?

A software patent is not on actual code. For example, the Unisys patent on the LZW compression algorthim (which has expired) described the algorithm and provided code in Fortran. But if you rewrote it in C, you would still have had to license it from Unisys because it was the algorthim that was patented, not the bits.

19 posted on 05/13/2007 4:23:39 PM PDT by Mannaggia l'America
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To: Zakeet

Methinks the microsoft lady doth protest too much. If what they got is so good they need to bring it, not sing it. Else it’s “This time we’re REALLY going to get mad - so mad we just might sue you”. They got nothing, IMHO.


20 posted on 05/13/2007 4:23:39 PM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: Zakeet
I was just thinking about Windows vs. Linux on my way to a Dell warranty call last week - if Microsoft wanted to keep another dog from whizzing on it's fire hydrant, they should have done something about it ten years ago. Millions of users run Linux now - everywhere. This money grab - and make no mistake, that's what it is - is the very reason why Linux exists. Windows is unstable, bug-prone, and obscenely expensive. Linux isn't. Microsoft knows it, anyone who's used Linux knows it, and now Microsoft is feeling Linux's teeth biting it in the seat of the pants.

I love it.


21 posted on 05/13/2007 4:24:10 PM PDT by Viking2002 (Fred Thompson in '08, baby!)
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To: plsvn

64 bit versions of Vista can access massive quantities of memory. The 32 bit version can address 4GB of memory.

3GB is the practical limit for 32 bit Vista since 1GB is reserved for video memory, bios, etc.

It is just like the 640kB limitation under DOS. DOS could address 1MB of memory, but had to reserve 360KB for video and bios.


22 posted on 05/13/2007 4:24:19 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: Zakeet

I didn’t realize Microsoft owned Unix. Who knew?


23 posted on 05/13/2007 4:25:40 PM PDT by RichInOC (TORVALDS: HOW ARE YOU TREY AND STEVE!! ALL MY KERNEL ARE BELONG TO ME. HA HA HA HA....)
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To: VRW Conspirator
Otzi, the 5000 year old mummified man of the Alps was found to have an arrow lodged in his back. Human nature has not changed one iota in 5000 years.

Is this another "hunting with Cheney" joke?

24 posted on 05/13/2007 4:27:12 PM PDT by the_Watchman
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To: Zakeet

It seems to me M$ would have to reveal its source code if it wants to prove that Linux has stolen it.


25 posted on 05/13/2007 4:27:45 PM PDT by cloud8
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To: RightWhale
Not so. Look up the old case, Lotus v. Paperback Software, 1991. The court (incredibly!) ruled that, although Adam Osborne's spreadsheet code was indeed unique, Paperback's software had the same ''look and feel'' as 1-2-3, and thus was in violation of copyright for some reason or other (this latter was NEVER coherently explained, btw). ''Look and feel'', eh?

The net result implied, of course, was that a company can get protected status for ... a series of keystrokes! The originality of the code apparently constitutes no defense.

26 posted on 05/13/2007 4:28:28 PM PDT by SAJ (debunking myths about markets and prices on FR since 2001)
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To: Zakeet

Then imprison Bill Gates for violating every state law regarding rendering professional service without a license. Microsoft is the major reason software isn’t signed off upon by registered engineers. When Microsoft went around the law by promoting patent law over professional registration, he molded the industry so that his firm attempts to reclassify public service as a competitive service destroying thousands of professional jobs while creating a monopoly.

MS stole windows from X and UNIX, previously developed by Xeorx Parc but to mention a few.

IMHO, MS set the computer science industry back decades and stifled intellectual achienvement for millions of Americans, while riding the wave of PC software throughout corporate America to create his monopoly/oligopoly.

Considering the amount of lead start MS has held in OS SW, he only has himself to blame for incompetence in leading the market further. Now he has to further leach off of public domain SW created by thousands of unpaid programmers serving the public.


27 posted on 05/13/2007 4:30:03 PM PDT by Cvengr (The violence of evil is met with the violence of righteousness, justice, love and grace.)
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To: dighton

If the box says “Windows XP or better”, install linux.


28 posted on 05/13/2007 4:31:33 PM PDT by xcamel (Press to Test, Release to Detonate)
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To: cloud8
It seems to me M$ would have to reveal its source code if it wants to prove that Linux has stolen it.

According to the article, MS is claiming PATENT INFRINGEMENT. This can be demonstrated by an examination of the patent and the Linux source code in question. Any pertinent MS source code would not have to be divulged.

29 posted on 05/13/2007 4:31:41 PM PDT by the_Watchman
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To: Zakeet

And Ballmer said “I am the Lizard King, I can do anything”

I hope Linux whips their backsides, they need to innovate, not litigate.


30 posted on 05/13/2007 4:32:49 PM PDT by padre35 (we are surrounded that simplifies things-Chesty Puller)
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To: the_Watchman
From the article:

For a variety of technical reasons, many dispassionate observers suspect that software patents are especially vulnerable to court challenge.

Microsoft asserting this line of reasoning is a Good Thing. IMHO, software patents are a joke and by the time this all washes out, there will be far, far fewer of the absudrdities that are patented today.

But, still waiting for the definitive end of the IBM/SCO lawsuit.

31 posted on 05/13/2007 4:34:35 PM PDT by glorgau
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To: Zakeet
Microsoft is now just a legal firm and government lobbying group that happens to sell software and technical support on the side to supplement their corporate income.
32 posted on 05/13/2007 4:35:25 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: plsvn
Vista cannot access more than 2.5 gigs of RAM. Getting 4 is a waste of money.

The amount varies with hardware. There is no "hard" number of how much is wasted due to peripheral addresses.

I would also assume Linux is under the same restrictions as Windows and other 32bit operating systems.

33 posted on 05/13/2007 4:36:10 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (ANWR would be supplying us today if the Democrats had voted for it in 1997)
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To: Viking2002
I love it.

Agreed. It surely will be a very interesting saga to watch as time goes by.

34 posted on 05/13/2007 4:36:13 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Don't question faith. Don't answer lies.)
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To: SAJ
Not so. Look up the old case, Lotus v. Paperback Software, 1991. The court (incredibly!) ruled that, although Adam Osborne's spreadsheet code was indeed unique, Paperback's software had the same ''look and feel'' as 1-2-3, and thus was in violation of copyright for some reason or other (this latter was NEVER coherently explained, btw). ''Look and feel'', eh?

That case was more comprehensible. Paperback Software (and Mosaic's "Twin") had the exact same menu structure and command set. It would be like Toyota suing Ford for making an exact replica of the front grille and dashboard. I'm not saying Lotus was right (in court, they actually used Excel as an example of how to make a spreadsheet without violating the look and feel.) Borland would also get sued over its Sprint word processor, which could mimic half-a-dozen other word processors (wordstar, multimate,word, wordperfect, etc.) by changing preferences.

I am thinking that the look nad feel cases might have as much to do with copyrights and trademarks rather than patents (Apple had GEM PAY for a trash can icon, one reason why Steve Jobs' NeXT and Microsoft used the black hole and recycle bin.
35 posted on 05/13/2007 4:37:10 PM PDT by sittnick (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: Zakeet
Microsoft, the largest software company in the world, desperate to protect it's shrinking market share, mostly because they haven't really innovated since Windows 2000, decides to take the sleazeball way out and impugn it's competitors.

This paragraph from the article sums up MSFT's problem in a nutshell:

Now that Microsoft had identified the infringements, it could try to seek royalties. But from whom? FOSS [free and open-source software] isn't made by a company but by a loose-knit community of hundreds of individuals and companies. One possibility was to approach the big commercial Linux distributors like Red Hat and Novell that give away the software but sell subscription support services. However, distributors were prohibited from paying patent royalties by something whose very existence may surprise many readers: FOSS's own licensing terms.
Microsoft has long been known to use FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to intimidate its customers. Now Microsoft may be experiencing a little FUD itself. From the article (edited slightly):
... just last month the Supreme Court stated in a unanimous opinion that patents have been issued too readily for the past two decades, and lots are probably invalid. For a variety of technical reasons, many dispassionate observers suspect that software patents are especially vulnerable to court challenge.
IMHO, lots of smoke and mirrors. A nonstarter.
36 posted on 05/13/2007 4:39:38 PM PDT by upchuck (Who will support Fred Thompson? Anyone who enjoys a dose of common sense not wrapped in doublespeak.)
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To: glorgau

Most of the arguments bandied around against software patents could just as easily be used against all forms of patents. The left has continuously argued against patents for the same reason that they won’t acknowledge the contribution capital; i.e., tools, make to economic prosperity.

That being said, I should divulge that I have been awarded 15 hardware/software patents over the last 15 years.

There seems to be a shake-up coming over software patents due to a legitimate complaint about them. Many have been issued for mechanisms which should have been considered “obvious”.

In fact, one of my 15 patents had just been issued when I got around to reading it. It had been prepared by our corporate patent attorney based on my disclosure. I found that the patent did not describe my invention correctly and instead described what I would consider to be an “obvious” mechanism for which a patent should not have been issued!


37 posted on 05/13/2007 4:48:25 PM PDT by the_Watchman
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To: sittnick
Lotus v Paperback was indeed a copyright argument.

The ''patenting'' of software, or portions of it, almost invariably boils down to the patenting of an algorithm or algorithms, which is nonsensical pure and simple.

Imagine someone patenting, say, the method of taking square roots by hand. Impossible to conceive. Yet, software-based algorithms are patented every day, some of which are not even fully-defined logically.

Take dithering, for example. Most dithering algorithms utilise some randomness in setting the color of a 'fractional' pixel. This is an 'algorithm'?? Puh-lease!

38 posted on 05/13/2007 4:48:54 PM PDT by SAJ (debunking myths about markets and prices on FR since 2001)
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To: plsvn

Actually, it’s 2GB. There is a boot option to allow you to use 3, but it won’t work. But Dell will sell you 4 GB. Ask me how I know :)


39 posted on 05/13/2007 4:49:23 PM PDT by Ragnar54
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To: vbmoneyspender
Boy that sounds familiar

I guess they're not getting the return on their SCO investment that they'd hoped for...

40 posted on 05/13/2007 4:58:16 PM PDT by NCjim (The more I use Windows, the more I love UNIX)
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To: Zakeet

It’s about time this happened! I have been watching this going on for years wondering when the shoe was going to drop. Good for Microsoft! The rest of you sound like a bunch of Walmart whiners.


41 posted on 05/13/2007 4:58:35 PM PDT by DenverCossack
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To: Ragnar54
Actually, it’s 2GB. There is a boot option to allow you to use 3, but it won’t work. But Dell will sell you 4 GB. Ask me how I know :)

My source for the 2.5 gig upper limit is one of Kim Komando's recent news letters. She suggested that if you've bought a machine with 4 gigs of RAM, you might consider selling some!
42 posted on 05/13/2007 5:00:14 PM PDT by plsvn
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To: RightWhale; the_Watchman; Mannaggia l'America
Sometimes software patents are not even algorithms. They can be methods, as well as concepts. IBM has a patent on "ecommerce over the web", and there was a dispute between IBM and Amazon on this. Somebody else patented hyperlinking, which makes the entire Internet since the days of the Gopher protocol a giant patent violation.

I'm all for patenting new, real software inventions. But unfortunately, most software patents are B.S. They are not "inventions" per se.

Some software patents are bogused because they patent something which has already been invented by someone else. This is patent poaching. But the patent approval process collapsed under both ignorance of the software industry and the sheer number of patent applications.

Now everyone who has anything to do with creating software is patenting everything it can, so as to protect itself from patent poachers.

43 posted on 05/13/2007 5:01:01 PM PDT by magellan
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To: Zakeet

Didn’t Gates take his “software” from IBM???? Or am I misremembering something.


44 posted on 05/13/2007 5:01:38 PM PDT by goodnesswins (We need to cure Academentia)
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To: Zakeet
The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft's patents.

You mean like the patent for this?

A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer

If this is the first time you've seen this Stop error screen, restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

Check for viruses on your computer. Remove any newly-installed hard drives or hard drive controllers. Check your hard drive to make sure it is properly configured and terminated. Run CHKDSK /F to check for hard drive corruption, and then restart your computer.

Technical information:

*** STOP: 0x0000007B (0xF8FF9524,0xC0000034,0x00000000,0x00000000)

45 posted on 05/13/2007 5:04:45 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (G*d bless and heal Virginia Tech!)
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To: Zakeet
(Gates wants royalties on Linux)

Didn't Gates leave Microsoft recently?

46 posted on 05/13/2007 5:05:40 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (G*d bless and heal Virginia Tech!)
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To: the_Watchman
Otzi, the 5000 year old mummified man of the Alps was found to have an arrow lodged in his back. Human nature has not changed one iota in 5000 years.
Is this another "hunting with Cheney" joke?

It is now.

47 posted on 05/13/2007 5:10:11 PM PDT by Vroomfondel
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To: Ragnar54

“Ask me how I know :)”

Your name is Sanji and you work in a India call center for a large, Texas based computer hardware seller?


48 posted on 05/13/2007 5:10:50 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Never bring a knife to a gun fight, or a Democrat to do serious work...)
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To: Zakeet
This is Microsoft in an act of desperation. Microsoft's gradually become irrelevant as its core customer is now a shrinking base of home users who (are forced to) buy Windows only with new PC's.

Patent on software ..my rear end. Next we will have someone come forward and demand a patent on quickSort and bubbleSort.

49 posted on 05/13/2007 5:11:12 PM PDT by HarmlessLovableFuzzball
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To: Zakeet
What was it Scott McNealy used to say?

"It's mankind against Microsoft."

Maybe he was right.

The problem here is 90% of Linux customers are also Microsoft customers. And in business customers, its more like 100% of the Linux customers are also Microsoft customers. And the number one rule of business is, you don't abuse your customers.

50 posted on 05/13/2007 5:12:48 PM PDT by magellan
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