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fpear
October 20th, 2011, 04:23 PM
There appears to be a disturbing trend regarding the adoption of Linux among companies: Microsoft will seek legal action against companies using Linux. One recent example involves Casio Computer Co. (1)(2).

The reason? Patent infringement. Microsoft claims that Linux infringes on a number of their patents, and has sought legal action against companies offering Linux on the grounds of patent infringement.

This leaves two alternatives: Reach a settlement with Microsoft out of court, or endure a lengthy, expensive court case with Microsoft. In the case of Casio, Casio settled and paid Microsoft an undisclosed sum of money for the "permission" to use Linux.


This is disturbing for three reasons:

1) Microsoft's patent claims will rarely be tested. Settling out of court is often less expensive than a full-fledged lawsuit, so companies--especially smaller ones who lack the funds, legal staff, and time to defend themselves in court--will choose to take the less expensive route. If the case is not taken to court, then the patent claims are not put on trial.

2) It hinders the adoption of Linux. Linux may be superior to Windows in many areas, but if companies, schools, and everyday users are afraid to implement Linux for fear of a costly lawsuit with Microsoft, then they will be less likely to want to use Linux.

3) Ubuntu is a Linux distribution. Yes, this one is obvious, but companies who might adopt Ubuntu might view Ubuntu (or any other Linux distribution) as lawsuit bait.


Personally, the idea of claiming that Linux infringes on Microsoft's patents is dubious since Linux--and UNIX it was based upon--has been in use far longer than certain patents that were awarded to Microsoft, but in the ambiguous world of software patents, it depends upon who you ask. Reading about the confusion regarding concerns that Microsoft patented the sudo command in 2009 (3) is one example.

This appears to be nothing more than another underhanded attempt to stifle any competition to Windows, but in some countries whose patent laws are ambiguous and where almost anything can be patented, it appears that Microsoft is having a successful witch hunt.


As more companies buckle to Microsoft's tactics without conclusive, court-ruled verdicts regarding Microsoft's claims (and this varies by country and location), it will become implied that Linux is illegal.

Over time, rumors can become laws within the minds of people, and that thinking soon becomes the status quo that few will want to oppose.

But regardless of the validity of Microsoft's claims, the lawsuits, licensing deals, and the undisclosed settlement payments are real, and that can cause people to think twice before adopting Linux.


It appears to be a win-win situation for Microsoft. If Microsoft cannot acquire money through the sale of Windows because companies are using Linux, then Microsoft can acquire money through the use of Linux by threatening legal action on the grounds of patent infringement and by signing IP licensing deals that grant Microsoft's permission to use Linux.


After describing the background, here is the question:

If you own your company and use Linux or if you work for one that does, how does your company avoid a lawsuit from Microsoft? Does this affect you? Or, are you in a country with sane software patent laws that is free to use Linux without the fear of a potential lawsuit as described above or the need to sign licensing deals?



Sources:
(1)
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20108903-17/microsoft-casio-sign-licensing-deal-over-linux/

(2)
http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/6952.T/key-developments/article/2402622

(3)
http://www.darkreading.com/security/security-management/221800112/index.html

ubupirate
October 20th, 2011, 04:24 PM
Has Microsoft really forgotten about the Sherman Anti-Trust Act already?

collisionystm
October 20th, 2011, 04:27 PM
Well DELL obviously stands behind Linux.

I had a Dell Rep call me the other day just to introduce himself. He told me how Dell Servers will ship with linux compatible hardware and they apparently acquired a company that will become DELL's very own Linux OS that will be used on their ALL Dell Switches and Other similar hardware. Of course this will not happen for a few years...

Evil-Ernie
October 20th, 2011, 04:57 PM
Unfortunately a good proportion of the top tech companies are in a cycle of perpetual patent lawsuits with each other at the moment, there has always being suing and conter-suing but of recent times with new technologies like smartphones, tabs, ultrabooks etc etc everybody wants to control that big slice of the pie so are in bitter tit-for-tat battles.

The net result is stifling of innovation, something that should be used to protect it (the patent laws) is twisted to suit the corporate legal departments of big tech firms. The only people that this enviroment is good for of course is the law professionals.

dniMretsaM
October 20th, 2011, 05:27 PM
Just another reason that software patents should be done away with! This is ridiculous. For one thing, Microsoft refuses to disclose which patents Linux "infringes" upon. That alone makes me think they're bluffing and just trying to stifle competition. Another thing is that UNIX (which Linux is highly based off of) existed before Windows, so a lot of the said patents are probably invalid (as all software patents should be). I will take this opportunity to ask readers to sigh the petition to end software patents (https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petition-tool/petition/direct-patent-office-cease-issuing-software-patents/vvNslSTq) that has been posted on We the People (official government site). For more information on it, read this blog post (http://tech-freedom.blogspot.com/2011/10/return-sanity-to-software-industry.html) I wrote.

haqking
October 20th, 2011, 05:28 PM
Just another reason that software patents should be done away with! This is ridiculous. For one thing, Microsoft refuses to disclose which patents Linux "infringes" upon. That alone makes me think they're bluffing and just trying to stifle competition. Another thing is that UNIX and Linux existed before Windows, so a lot of the said patents are probably invalid (as all software patents should be). I will take this opportunity to ask readers to sigh the petition to end software patents (https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petition-tool/petition/direct-patent-office-cease-issuing-software-patents/vvNslSTq) that has been posted on We the People (official government site). For more information on it, read this blog post (http://tech-freedom.blogspot.com/2011/10/return-sanity-to-software-industry.html) I wrote.

just a small pedantic note, but Linux didnt exist before windows ;-)

johnnybgoode83
October 20th, 2011, 05:32 PM
Wow, I really don't understand the Patent laws because I can't see how M$ can do this.

It reminds me of small shop keepers and restaurant owners paying protection money to the Mob.

ubupirate
October 20th, 2011, 05:35 PM
This also reminds me of the Microsoft vs. Mike Rowe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_vs._MikeRoweSoft) case, only Microsoft vs. Smaller businesses.

Instead of giving in so quick, Casio should have fought this to the full extent of the law. Not only does this look like full-on extortion, but it clearly is a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

dniMretsaM
October 20th, 2011, 05:36 PM
just a small pedantic note, but Linux didnt exist before windows ;-)

Lol my bad. Fixing.

EDIT: Fixed.

grahammechanical
October 20th, 2011, 05:44 PM
This reminds me of an attempt by a software company called SCO that claimed the copyright of Unix. It seemed that they could make more money by suing other companies than by selling their software. They also were reluctant to provide the judges of examples of code that proved their claims.

Novel fought them and won. And still the fight goes on. See, what's at the bottom of this link. It seems that their own business is under threat.

http://www.sco.com/

The way to deal with this kind of thing is to go all the way to court and get a legal precedent established.

Any company fighting Microsoft on something like this in the European Union should make use previous decisions by the EU against Microsoft regarding monopoly practices.

Regards.

dniMretsaM
October 20th, 2011, 05:49 PM
previous decisions by the EU against Microsoft regarding monopoly practices.

And in the USA, and pretty much everywhere else. Microsoft is notorious for being monopolistic.

del_diablo
October 20th, 2011, 06:53 PM
This also reminds me of the Microsoft vs. Mike Rowe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_vs._MikeRoweSoft) case, only Microsoft vs. Smaller businesses.

Why does not things like that happen more often?

scitron
October 20th, 2011, 07:09 PM
The ugly issue as to whether Microsoft really does own patents in the Linux source code needs to be settled, and the sooner the better.

I don't think MS has detailed any specifics but I don't know, does anyone know?

Lack of information, misinformation, rumors and such will truly hurt Linux, that's why it is best if this was settled and investigated before the courts of law with actual facts.

KiwiNZ
October 20th, 2011, 07:38 PM
Thread title changed to reflect more accurately the event.

"Microsoft Corp. Casio Computer Co. Ltd. announced that they have entered into a broad, multiyear patent cross-licensing agreement that, among other things, will provide Casio's customers with patent coverage for their use of Linux in certain Casio devices. This licensing agreement is an extension of the long-standing relationship between the two companies; Casio utilizes a wide variety of Microsoft software for its products, including its industrial handheld terminals and business information systems. Although the details of the licensing agreement are confidential, the parties acknowledge that Microsoft is being compensated by Casio. "

Linuxratty
October 20th, 2011, 09:07 PM
There must be something to it because Red Hat signed on the doted line as well;

http://www.infopackets.com/news/business/microsoft/2009/20090217_microsoft_signs_interoperability_deal_wit h_open_source_developer_red_hat.htm

http://www.ubuntucy.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=777

I'd say Ubuntu is next.
Microsoft has enough money to buy an entire country. No one is going to fight Microsoft,and they know it...Ok,so Linspire did...Once.

ubupirate
October 20th, 2011, 09:12 PM
There must be something to it because Red Hat signed on the doted line as well;

http://www.infopackets.com/news/business/microsoft/2009/20090217_microsoft_signs_interoperability_deal_wit h_open_source_developer_red_hat.htm

http://www.ubuntucy.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=777

I'd say Ubuntu is next.
Microsoft has enough money to buy an entire country. No one is going to fight Microsoft,and they know it...Ok,so Linspire did...Once.

Doubt Microsoft will attempt such things in Europe again after they lost the European Union vs. Microsoft case on monopolization. And Canonical is Europe based, whereas Casio and Red Hat are headquartered in the United States.

Linuxratty
October 20th, 2011, 09:16 PM
Doubt Microsoft will attempt such things in Europe again after they lost the European Union vs. Microsoft case on monopolization. And Canonical is Europe based, whereas Casio and Red Hat are headquartered in the United States.

Ah,I forgot about that..Point well made.Yeah,

ubupirate
October 20th, 2011, 09:18 PM
Ah,I forgot about that..Point well made.Yeah,

And even still, Microsoft forcing companies into an agreement where they have to compensate Microsoft is extortion.

dniMretsaM
October 20th, 2011, 09:18 PM
Doubt Microsoft will attempt such things in Europe again after they lost the European Union vs. Microsoft case on monopolization. And Canonical is Europe based, whereas Casio and Red Hat are headquartered in the United States.

Software patents are invalid in Europe anyway (makes me want to move to Europe), so they wouldn't have any kind of a case to begin with. Another interesting point is that Linux was coded in Europe, so there would have been no patents restricting it (and I don't think patent law included software at that time, but I'm not sure. Can someone clarify?).

ubupirate
October 20th, 2011, 09:21 PM
Software patents are invalid in Europe anyway (makes me want to move to Europe), so they wouldn't have any kind of a case to begin with. Another interesting point is that Linux was coded in Europe, so there would have been no patents restricting it (and I don't think patent law included software at that time, but I'm not sure. Can someone clarify?).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Patent_Convention

dniMretsaM
October 20th, 2011, 09:34 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Patent_Convention

What to you want me to see in this link? Not trying to be rude, but I'm wondering what specifically you want me to read.

Guitar John
October 20th, 2011, 09:37 PM
It reminds me of small shop keepers and restaurant owners paying protection money to the Mob.

Exactly.

MonolithImmortal
October 20th, 2011, 09:47 PM
Step 1: Use Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop, thus avoiding the issue all together.
Step 2: ??????
Step 3: PROFIT!

Linuxratty
October 21st, 2011, 12:54 AM
And even still, Microsoft forcing companies into an agreement where they have to compensate Microsoft is extortion.

I agree. And I do not understand why they are allowed to do this. If one of us went and did the same thing we'd find ourselves in the big house.

dniMretsaM
October 21st, 2011, 02:02 AM
I agree. And I do not understand why they are allowed to do this. If one of us went and did the same thing we'd find ourselves in the big house.

Sigh... The wonders of the United States patent system. That's why more people need to sign the petition to help end this madness!

Atamisk
October 21st, 2011, 03:36 AM
Signed.

Every time i see the word Microsoft attached to something, it's something bad.

LinuxFan999
October 21st, 2011, 03:54 AM
Microsoft has been violating the Sherman antitrust act for years, but the Government had done pretty much nothing about it. This extortion that Microsoft is doing is illegal, and the companies that Microsoft targets should fight back, but most are not, and the ones that do end up loosing. I think the Department of Justice and the EU should each do another antitrust trial against Microsoft.

inobe
October 21st, 2011, 03:57 AM
microsoft is guilty of ..........

this incriminating evidence will soon be revealed, by microsoft themselves :D

ubupirate
October 21st, 2011, 03:57 AM
Microsoft has been violating the Sherman antitrust act for years, but the Government had done pretty much nothing about it. This extortion that Microsoft is doing is illegal, and the companies that Microsoft targets should fight back, but most are not, and the ones that do end up loosing. I think the Department of Justice and the EU should each do another antitrust trial against Microsoft.

Ironically as I just read this post, the United States of America vs. Microsoft Corporation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft) Antitrust case was being discussed as I was watching the Revolution OS video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjaC8Pq9-V0) someone posted there earlier.

Yea, we need another one of those cases here.

jwbrase
October 21st, 2011, 06:03 AM
There must be something to it because Red Hat signed on the doted line as well;

http://www.infopackets.com/news/business/microsoft/2009/20090217_microsoft_signs_interoperability_deal_wit h_open_source_developer_red_hat.htm

http://www.ubuntucy.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=777

I'd say Ubuntu is next.
Microsoft has enough money to buy an entire country. No one is going to fight Microsoft,and they know it...Ok,so Linspire did...Once.

That news is, first of all, two years old, and second of all, not a concern. This wasn't an agreement to prevent a lawsuit, it was an agreement to cooperate on technical issues.

It's when Microsoft strongarms people into paying it money by threatening to sue people over patents and won't be open about what patents it's suing over (as in this case with Casio) that things get nasty.

If Red Hat signs a "we'll pay you money not to sue us" agreement with Microsoft, I'll be more concerned.

jwbrase
October 21st, 2011, 06:10 AM
Has Microsoft really forgotten about the Sherman Anti-Trust Act already?

No, they just spend a lot of money on maintaining a legal staff good enough to make sure the courts forget about it.

Plus, for a company their size, it's fairly easy to bully a smaller company into paying you without even taking it to court. If nobody has the guts/money to face your lawsuit (or sue you for harassment or Anti-Trust violations themself) then the courts can't do much about it anyways (since somebody needs to actually come before them with a complaint before they can make a ruling).

Tinker Tantrum
October 21st, 2011, 06:18 AM
It's a shame that such a fine art as programming/free exchange for the betterment of the world is being led by greed. These people have forgotten the pure joy of creating.

MonolithImmortal
October 21st, 2011, 07:11 AM
Hypothetically this gets taken to court, and all the patent claims are laid out in the open, what do you do if it turns out that Microsoft has legitimate claims and Linux does violate their patents in a significant way? What then?

Evil-Ernie
October 21st, 2011, 11:56 AM
Lot of anti-Mircosoft banter here but they are not the only villians of the piece:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15400984

bryncoles
October 21st, 2011, 12:01 PM
Hypothetically this gets taken to court, and all the patent claims are laid out in the open, what do you do if it turns out that Microsoft has legitimate claims and Linux does violate their patents in a significant way? What then?

Good question. I have always assumed that RMS's army of monkeys will spring into action re-writing the GNU/Linux code so as to remove the offending material (and cripple the functionality / compatibility with MS).

Or, perhaps the patents will be shown not to be valid...?

fpear
October 21st, 2011, 03:44 PM
While Microsoft is not the only corporation to abuse the patent system in an attempt to shut down any competition, this is one instance that poses a direct threat to the freedom to use and distribute Linux.

Thanks to the wonderful efforts of companies like Canonical, Ubuntu Linux has developed to the point where it is friendlier to the everyday user than ever before, and other Linux distributions have improved as well.

Because of this, Microsoft has made it clear that Linux is a serious threat to Windows and has launched a holy war against it.

From reading about past strategies of other companies who have employed similar tactics, the IP licensing deals and claims of patent infringement reported now are only the first step in a three-part process to annihilate Linux (and any other Microsoft threat, such as Android) from Microsoft's territory.


Phase 1: Manufacturers.

By plugging up the hole at its source, Linux will be harder to obtain because fewer companies will offer Linux-based products (home routers/firewalls, computers with Linux installed, and so). By pressuring manufacturers with threats of patent infringement litigation, manufacturers must make a decision: Either pay Microsoft's licensing fees to use Linux or cease offering Linux altogether in order to avoid paying any fees. Either way, Microsoft benefits by eliminating a competing OS or by collecting money.

Manufacturers might be willing to settle out court and sign licensing deals now, but over time it is likely that they will drop Linux completely to avoid the hassle and save money. The Windows market is larger and more profitable than the Linux market, and at the end of the day, money is the bottom line.

Dell should be praised for continuing to offer Linux, but they are one of the largest and most well-known computer suppliers. How is a small, unknown startup business wishing to offer Linux supposed to survive?


Phase 2: Retailers.

With the manufacturers firmly under control, retailers who sell Linux-based products will be next in order to make it harder for end users to obtain Linux--if enough Linux products are available at all. This could be accomplished easily by withholding Windows from retailers who also sell Linux-based products on the grounds of non-competition clauses or whatnot.

Windows still represents a significant source of revenue for businesses selling it, so it seems unlikely that computer retailers will want to see a loss of profit in favour of supporting a smaller Linux market.


Phase 3: End Users.

The last phase will target the everyday, end users whether they be business employees, school students, hobbyists, people who are annoyed with Windows, or just your everyday Average Joe who is curious to learn what the Linux fuss is about.

To discourage end users from using Linux, tracking and enforcement are two loathed techniques in use today by other industries. While it might sound extreme now, if left unchecked, Microsoft will no doubt be tempted to use some form tracking to find out who is downloading and using Linux in order to prosecute in much the same way the recording industry tracks downloaders of illegal music files. After all, if Linux is deemed to be "illegal" on alleged grounds of patent infringement, then the downloading of Linux must become illegal too. And if downloading Linux becomes illegal, then there must be a way to catch and prosecute offenders.

Whether or not this reasoning survives in court matters little to the everyday user. Over time, the end user new to Linux will form this chain of thinking: "Ubuntu is Linux. Linux is Illegal. If it is illegal, then..." Once people begin thinking a certain way, then it becomes difficult to convince them otherwise.

Enforcement involves computer hardware/software that prevents the installation of non-approved software. This is nothing new either, but we see it showing up again in Windows 8 "Secure Boot" as a way to prevent unauthorised Windows and malware from being installed on new computer hardware that supports new Microsoft-proposed UEFI extensions. (1)(2)(3)

While Secure Boot is much too early to judge the outcome, the fact that this level of control is even in the works poses another threat to the spirit of free software, Linux, and open source developers: Less freedom for the end user.

While Secure Boot might have good intentions now, it could later be turned into a form of DRM. Of course, historically, any form of DRM has always found a way to be cracked or bypassed, so if the Secure Boot predictions do turn out to be true, then there will certainly be ways to install Linux. However, in countries that honour the DMCA and view Secure Boot as a DRM protection measure, those who circumvent the protection would be subject to prosecution simply for the act of circumventing Secure Boot.


Phases 2 and 3 are looking far into the future of what is possible, but they are not unlikely scenarios since corporate greed knows no bounds. Reading about the ridiculous antics of behemoth organisations such as the recoding and movie industries reveal what is happening now in the name of protecting intellectual property (4). If Microsoft eventually considers Linux to be their intellectual property, then what is to stop them from doing the same?

It would be beneficial if there were solutions the everyday user could do in addition to signing petitions and spreading the word, but in the end it boils down to a battle of Money vs. Principle: Those with the money lack principles, and those with principles lack money.

There are always people new to computers and Linux, so hopefully, at the very least, this thread will help make people aware of how patent laws (especially when pertaining to software patents) are being abused and how the concept of patents has strayed from its intended purpose of fostering growth and innovation into becoming a tool to eliminate competition. The entire Ubuntu and Linux community is founded upon the spirit of freedom and sharing, and this is a threat to that freedom.


Sources:
(1)
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/09/windows-8-secure-boot-prevent-linux-installation/

(2)
http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2011/09/windows-8-spells-trouble-for-l.php

(3)
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/microsoft-isnt-the-enemy-when-it-comes-to-blocking-linux-on-windows-8-pcs/15634

(4) (Probably not the most authoritative site, but this 2006 article is funny and gets the point across. Search engines will provide plenty of other accounts of this example.)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/05/riaa_sues_the_dead/

kurt18947
October 21st, 2011, 04:35 PM
I agree. And I do not understand why they are allowed to do this. If one of us went and did the same thing we'd find ourselves in the big house.

Not if you had Microsoft's legal (and maybe lobbying) resources.

Eddie Wilson
October 21st, 2011, 05:06 PM
I'm sorry but this FUD has been going on for years. What is MS waiting on? Well? If MS had even a small chance of destroying Linux they would have done so already. They will never be able to stop the free and open source movement. All they have are threats, and even if they did have something it really would be irrelevant to most of the people who use Linux. Don't worry about MS suing individuals, that has already been tried and proven not to work.

MonolithImmortal
October 21st, 2011, 08:21 PM
Good question. I have always assumed that RMS's army of monkeys will spring into action re-writing the GNU/Linux code so as to remove the offending material (and cripple the functionality / compatibility with MS)?

As far as I know, RMS and the FSF contribute very little to not at all to the Linux kernel, where any patent violations would occur. RMS is content to code for Emacs it seems.
And as far as RMS is concerned, Linux can die in a fire and he wouldn't care, he'd just insist on everyone use the Hurd kernel.


Anyway, I wish this would get taken to court because I really want to know what patents Microsoft is claiming are being violated. I honestly don't think they'd be taking this many people to task if there was no weight to the claim.

ubupirate
October 21st, 2011, 08:27 PM
Anyway, I wish this would get taken to court because I really want to know what patents Microsoft is claiming are being violated. I honestly don't think they'd be taking this many people to task if there was no weight to the claim.

1. Make false claims to Linux patents.
2. Extort small companies/businesses to either goto court or settle with compensation agreement payments to Microsoft.
3. ????
4. PROFIT FOR MICROSOFT !!!!

Linux kernel has been around for a LONG time, and Microsoft just now starting to "claim" patent infringement on it? Definitely something wrong there, especially considering Microsoft's yearly revenue has been sliding off in the past few years.

MonolithImmortal
October 21st, 2011, 08:31 PM
especially considering Microsoft's yearly revenue has been sliding off in the past few years.

Proof or it didn't happen.

I mean sure, they could be just trolling everyone, but I'd wager that there is some fire to all this smoke.

dniMretsaM
October 21st, 2011, 08:40 PM
Definitely something wrong there, especially considering Microsoft's yearly revenue has been sliding off in the past few years.

I'm pretty sure it's been going up (at least since Win7 was released). Although I do agree that something fishy is going on.

alexfish
October 21st, 2011, 09:10 PM
only comment I have surrounds this

This call to action seems to have created a rift here on ZDNet. In the ‘Open Source’ corner is Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/free-software-foundation-urges-oems-to-say-no-to-mandatory-windows-8-uefi-cage/9770), who calls UEFI a ‘cage’ and urges everyone to sign the FSF’s petition so that ‘your PC remains in your hands and not Microsoft’s’. In the ‘Windows’ corner is Ed Bott (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/why-do-linux-fanatics-want-to-make-windows-8-less-secure/4100), who wonders who ’Linux fanatics’ want to make ‘Windows 8 less secure’.

Often said , best invest in a chip (cpu), now looks as if the best option would be
for the linux community to look at this sort of avenue + design a motheboard , and of course "NOT WINDOWS COMPATABLE"

PS have some pre made mother board version Stickers Labeled "V1S*D off M*S",,

Might get barred again ,, but I dont care

alexfish

fpear
October 22nd, 2011, 03:11 PM
Too much focus on the negativity of foul business practices can lead to feelings of anger and helplessness at the company in question, so it might help to offer a solution.

As for myself, I have implemented a personal boycott of all Microsoft products and services. Over time, I have become disillusioned with Microsoft and their bully-tactic business practices and have decided that this is not a company I want to support.

Since the only language businesses truly understand and respond to is the language of money, the best way I, as an everyday computer user, can make it clear that I disapprove of Microsoft's business practices and legal-weasel tricks is to deprive Microsoft of my money. I have fired Microsoft from the business of my life and have done so for quite some time now.

This action also fits in with my grander scheme of eliminating the hassles of commercial, licensed software for my library. (The Ubuntu One store is an exception and many free software projects have developed to the point where they are worth supporting financially.)

Since switching to Ubuntu and open-source software, I have found that there is a much larger world of possibilities. I have not missed Windows and Windows-based software in the least, and computer usage is easier without Windows. The Windows annoyances are gone, and everything I could do on a Windows computer I can also do in Ubuntu and more.

For example, instead of using Microsoft Office, there is OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. Instead of Bing, there are other search engines available. I refuse to own an Xbox360, so there is no need to purchase Xbox360 games from which Microsoft undoubtedly receives a percentage of some sort. Microsoft computer hardware such as keyboards and mice have been sold off. I refuse to purchase a Zune or use Microsoft's music download service.

Ridding my world of Microsoft products has actually deepened my insight of the business world by alerting me to read labels and pay attention to who supports a certain product or service. It is not as easy as it appears because the hand of Microsoft has its thumb in many pies, but with time and vigilance, it can be accomplished. Maybe not 100%, but close.


True, the actions of one person might seem insignificant and Microsoft may never notice, but I can rest easy knowing that my money, formerly acquired through the purchase of Microsoft's products and services, is not being used to fuel Microsoft's legal team and their bully tactics.

While this practice may not be feasible for everyone, it works well for me. Yes, people have different experiences and might be in situations where Microsoft software is required, but my advice is to do what is possible when given the choice. My knowledge of Linux and the ability to think outside the box has increased as a result, so there are rewards for doing so.

If you absolutely need to use Windows or other Microsoft software, there are legal means of doing so, so avoid doing something that would give Microsoft ammunition to use against you. Businesses who lose customers become unhappy and might seek retaliation, so keep your life above reproach. For example, hacking Microsoft servers or downloading pirated Windows is not going to help.

Keep in mind that the practice of patent abuse is not limited to Microsoft. Companies are merely exploiting a flawed and corrupt patent system that is in desperate need of change, and its practice is widespread. To eliminate every business who engages in nasty legal tricks would mean isolating yourself from the rest of the world. Microsoft has earned a place on my blacklist as one of the most egregious offenders, so my personal boycott is warranted.

I have not missed Microsoft, and Microsoft has probably not missed my business. However, this is one less customer for Microsoft, which translates to one less sale for Windows, and I still possess my money. In addition, I spread the word regarding Microsoft's antics when people are surprised to hear that I no longer support or use Microsoft's products or services.

Whether or not others abandon Microsoft remains a personal decision depending upon their circumstances, but as for myself, it has turned out to be a beneficial choice.

Mazate
October 22nd, 2011, 10:11 PM
Wow, that's almost to the point of poetry. I might frame that last post.

inobe
October 22nd, 2011, 11:01 PM
the problem with microsoft, is that they want to be the only one, unfortunately this will change, no matter what efforts they use to prevent it.

like all battles, this one is lost, i wish that some can see past ignorance and let competitive markets alone:)