Thursday, November 18, 2004

Use Linux and you will be sued, Ballmer tells governments

So, the gloves come off. Asian countries thinking of saving costs by switching to Linux will get sued for infringement of "more than 228" software patents says Ballmer, and having joined the WTO will have no choice but to enforce the very patents under which they get sued.

At the risk of mixing my clothing metaphors, this is also the sound of the other boot dropping, after MS recently extended its IP indemnity. If the software patent regime is powerful enough to override the policy choices of sovereign governments, how can it not be powerful enough to muscle independent vendors and in-house development - indeed anyone without a massive patent portfolio and war-budget - out of business?

As The Register points out, more ammunition for those arguing the case against them, which I hope to be doing on December 14th, provided my acceptance has been accepted, so to speak.

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