As previously reported, Microsoft claimed to own 235 patents used within Linux. It was up in the air as to whether or not Microsoft would pursue legal action against the open source operating system or its users. A senior Microsoft spokesperson in the intellectual property department had the following to say in an interview with Information Week “We’re not litigating. If we wanted to we would have done so years ago.”
Would have done so years ago? Then why didn’t Microsoft do so? I don’t know and I’m not going to try and figure it out. Microsoft would like to arrange a deal with all Linux distros like it has with Novell.
If you haven’t heard Microsoft and Novell have a deal that allows them to share intellectual property and disallows each from suing the other’s customers.
Such a deal may not be possible as the Free Software Foundation is revising the terms for open source copyrights and would thwart such a deal from happening. It hasn’t happened yet but we will all know come July 3 when the new version of the General Public License (GPL) is unveiled.
Despite not being happy with the revisions, Microsoft will not try to procure royalty payments from Linux users, corporate or home alike. Well, that’s something even though Microsoft still feels that Linux is in violation.
It claims to have made such threats against Linux only to highlight the issue and it does indeed collect royalty money from some corporate Linux users but what dollar amount or companies was not discussed.
It really comes down to this, Microsoft believes that Linux is in violation of its patents but no action is going to take place against the users or the operating system itself. I don’t know if that’s because Microsoft feels they couldn’t win, it would tarnish the already somewhat damaged image of the company or that it’s just not worth the trouble. I do not know which.