Microsoft Cries Foul, 235 Times

Microsoft Cries Foul, 235 Times


After years of R&D, Q&A, and plenty of pre-release anticipation, Microsoft unveiled the Vista operating system, forever changing the way we use our computers. Users flocked to get their copy, and continue to gobble up the new OS in droves. And with good reason too. For the few still clinging to XP (do you people still exist?), playing with Vista is like living out your favorite sci-fi flick, only better. The new OS reads minds, cooks you breakfast, and will eventually make world peace a reality once the first Service Pack is rolled out.

For the sarcastically impaired, the above description is a farce. Get a good chuckle out of it? I can confidently say that Microsoft sure wouldn't see the humor, as they were probably hoping Vista would somewhat resemble the above, at least in terms of consumer demand. Sales aren't bad per se, even with the questionable accounting, but despite the lure of DirectX 10 gaming, we just haven't seen this mad rush to go out and purchase the new OS. It's no coincidence that we're also seeing an increased interest in Linux distros. In fact, MaxPC Editor-in-Chief Will Smith recently commented that he'd gotten more questions from readers about Linux in the last six months than any other topic covered in the magazine, undoubtedly helping to prompt a cover story on how You Can Switch to Linux!.

If you're Microsoft, the last thing you want to see accompanying a major new release is increased interest in the alternative. That's bad for business, and in the grand scheme of things, widespread adoption of Linux could have a devastating snowball effect. First the power users get on board, then developers start to take note, hardware compatibility gets significantly better, until finally we have that 'break through' distro that even Gramps can install, and it can play games too! It all would have sounded far fetched just two years ago, but if you've tinkered with Ubuntu recently, you already know we're not far off from having a viable alternative to XP/Vista/Fiji/Vienna/Whatever.


Could 2007 be the breakthrough year for Linux?

The writing's on the wall, and no amount of sales spin can cover it. But instead of telling us all the great improvements Vista's Service Pack will bring with it to win over would-be defectors (maybe because there's not much to tell?...), Microsoft instead intends to convince you with lawsuits, or at least the threat of lawsuits. In what I'm not sure whether to describe as a publicity stunt (do they really need it?), scare tactic, or ultimately a profitable business move, MS is crying foul over what it claims are 235 patent infringements present in Linux and open source software. Over 100 of these relate to the Linux kernel and GUI, another 45 for the Open Office productivity suite, and the rest pertain to email and other open source apps. And it's not just the distributors MS is targeting, but users as well.

Don't go deleting your Linux partition in your dual-boot rig; these are not the droids MS is looking for. Like the deal with Novell last year, where MS received royalties in exchange for agreeing not to sue each other or each other's customers, Microsoft will most likely look to strike similar bargains. Looking beyond royalties, Microsoft's muckraking efforts may also be an attempt to curtail growing interest in Linux as a viable alternative. What better way to tout an inferior or otherwise disappointing product (depending on who you ask) by pointing out that using the competition breaks the law? Power users know better, but we're not the ones that account for the bulk of sales, so if you're Microsoft, who cares, right? Wrong. We're also the ones that friends and family turn to for everything from tech support to buying advice, and if patent infringements are the best reason Microsoft can muster in favor of Vista, then I see a lot more Linux based machines in my relatives' future...even the ones I pawn off to Dell.

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guitronics

Too bad for M$. They had their chance,they made their $, and now it's slipping away.

The only thing Windows has over F.O.S.S. is gaming. That also will change.
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Bleating about your Monopoly's share slipping, just doesn't generate much sympathy.

I'd imagine these "F.U.D." pronouncements have more to do with calming shareholder's concerns, than actual F.O.S.S. advocates' considerations.

The Genie is out of the bottle,and the bottle is now broken.Is it time to pass the hat?

"(Psssst...It's the Philosophy (between collaboration and pure consumption)that's fundamentally different".

Microsoft's business model is obsolete.

Good luck to the "Computer Police" trying to enforce "Windows only" on the community! LOL
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Microsoft DOES, however make some incredible hardware...they should consider concentrating their resources on that, and other aspects of the business.
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Maximum PC is the only magazine IMO that tells this story in a transparent, truthful manner.

All of the other Mags don't want to upset their marketing and >especially< advertising executives.

Kudos to Max PC!!!

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Jims45wow

I would like to point out the Bill the Gates' Genius has always been his licensing agreements, not his pursuit of quality software. Of course they had to make leaps in their product quality at times, such as when forced to compete with Apple in the 80s. Even during these times, however, all of their attention was focused on licensing.

Between crushings of Mac, Netscape and many others, they have relatively enjoyed times of market increase via improved product. But this type of expansion through marketing an improved product has only been relative to their licensing maneuvers in the court rooms and strong-armed licensing tactics with software developers. It is through these tactics that developers allow M$ to incorporate key portions of their programs into the OS, in order to be granted a license which will allow their products to be marketed. In other words, M$ strong-arms license rights from developers so that developers can make their money.

With M$ it has always been about licensing. Apparently, it always will be. It's WAY past time to have other viable options. Let's make a path for developers to see that they don't have to sell their souls to M$. Go Linux!

As has been referenced in other's comments, I would ask Linux developers to come up with a slick hardware detection, driver updating tool, and widely available driver databases. Of course, hardware suppliers could (should) help with this effort. I think this would go a very long way to change the way things are done.

Thanks, Jim.

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oerllikon

i think microsoft is threatened. ive used ubuntu, and i like it alot. hows the gaming, by the way?

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crjackson

MS is retarded. The more they try to force people away from Linux, the more people will want Linux.

I recently tried Ubuntu 7.04 and loved it. I now have it on all my business machines (72) and my home machines (8). I do have dual boot XP configurations on most of my home machines but since they almost NEVER see XP booted, I'm just about to blow away my MS partitions and reclaim the space for Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is FREE but I would gladly purchase it over WINx if I had to.

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Number Six

Microsoft will have to stand in line to purchase a Federal Court Case Number. SCO has had an action pending for years on similar grounds (remember SCO v. IBM??)


Seems like MS has been working on settling out of Court, according to Groklaw, but is meeting resistance from RedHat.

-[Ch]amsalot

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jimc52

I say "poo poo" to Microsoft and Balmer. The problem with Balmer is that he is bald and that seems to get to him as Microsoft's iconoclastic and bombastic fuhrer du jour. I am a long time user of Linux (SuSE, Mandrake/Mandriva/RedHat/Fedora). I have had a dual boot Windows/Linux system for years now and I use both O/S's. Microsoft is ranting simply because Balmer feels a tiny pocketbook pinch in his bottom line. So what do they do, they get out the lawyers (who fought off the EU, the Federal Govt and several other Corporations over the years), and decided to bully and intimidate Linux and Linux users. I, for one, don't give a hoot what Balmer or Microsoft says or asserts. It's a lot of huffing and puffing over a non-issue. If Microsoft wants to intimidate, they had better be willing to face 10's of thousands of Linux users, who, as a collective group can sue Microsoft's pants off in a class action suit. Further, Liinux users can rouse the IRE of the EU by forcing Microsoft back into court over non-competitive tactics. Oh yes, there are a lot of legal ways to deal with Microsoft's anti-trust issues which are both chronic and real. I think its time, for Linux users to stand up and say, we've had enough of Windoz, either get back into your own arena Microsoft, or get bulldozed. Just because Microsoft funded the last Republican election, doesn't give Balmer the same rights to ignore the law that George Bush does.

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maximumpower

The Microsoft Empire just discovered the rebel base and i hope the rogue squadrin takes them out. Like others have said, there are alot of distros of linux that are awesome and getting better every day. There are some that can run on ancient computers and more importantly with ease. xp is simple to network most of the time, but i was amazed at how easy it was to get Linux it on the internet. Step 1. install Linux Step 2. get on the internet. period! Windows was new territory once and people had no idea what to expect. why not take the same leap into Linux? I hope and pray that Linux does get more support in the coming months for gaming especially because that is the sole reason i have not switched completely to linux. i am fortunate enough to have a spare machine to tinker with linux and learn more about it without fear of messing anything up on my primary machine. Can you put windows on a flash drive and boot the os, run your programs, surf the net and then pull it out of the usb and walk away? no but you can buy a super expensive os that reduces your performance and is impossible to put on older systems and lacks driver support? am i missing something? get some game support for the penguin and then kick the money hungry tyrant to the curb before it monopolizes everything. nuff said

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mbutterman

I am a happy user of Ubuntu. It's this kinda news that makes me wonder if MS is backing SCO under the table. Now of course I expected MS to cry foul. Personally, If you can strike fear into the curious about the sins of Linux, that maintains your cash cow. For the uninformed, this would read as if MS was filing the lawsuits the very next day. Why spend the money and time to take this to court when well designed publicity can do the same thing. Fear is the best motivator and the most effective one at that but even the most uninformed will eventually educate themselves so fear is a temporary motivation at best. Because Linux is so diverse with many distros, How would MS possibly accomplish such a legal feat of daring. Advice to MS: Design a good O/S and they will come to you. Make this O/S reliable and easy to maintain. Make it affordable and give it the ability to run with older computers. Make it secure enough where anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are a thing of the past. You might find after all your soul searching that you have just developed Linux.
All My Best
MButterman

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yagisencho

I can understand why Microsoft might like to call this sort of thing out. If you have a patent or copyright and fail to defend it, you lose it. I think the tactic being used here is defensive in nature.

As for Maximum PC / Maximum Linux, it seems that the magazine is leaning more and more toward Linux already. I'll be cancelling my subscription before long if a more market-reflective balance isn't struck soon. I don't run a Linux distro and don't have any plans to.

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JC's Demon Slayer

Next, M$ will claim that they patented UNIX, lol, and that's how they can say that Linux kernels have copyright infringements. PR stunt as always. It'd be like Adidas claiming they patented leather shoes before Converse made anything. All M$ ever does is cry, that's why they suck so bad, they cry about everything instead of making things that are worth using.

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etsugua

the only reason i still use Microsoft is games! When will the game developers dump DirectX for OpenGL?!?!? If its good enough for Id it should be good enough for everybody. And when will Macromedia wake up and make Flash run on natively on Linux? My kids can't go to Disney.com without Flash!

Too bad that Microsoft has to do this. While I still use XP, Vista isn't bad. But operating systems are becoming a commodity and there isn't much difference between them (many modern linux distros are amazingly capable). I think Microsoft needs to wake up and face the changing market rather then try to sue it into submission.

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linuxcrazy

"I've said it before and I'll say it again
Submitted by etsugua on Wed, 2007-05-23 09:22.

the only reason i still use Microsoft is games! When will the game developers dump DirectX for OpenGL?!?!? If its good enough for Id it should be good enough for everybody. And when will Macromedia wake up and make Flash run on natively on Linux? My kids can't go to Disney.com without Flash!

Too bad that Microsoft has to do this. While I still use XP, Vista isn't bad. But operating systems are becoming a commodity and there isn't much difference between them (many modern linux distros are amazingly capable). I think Microsoft needs to wake up and face the changing market rather then try to sue it into submission.
"

There's a very recent of Flash player for Linux.

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JAFAH5150

Bah! I'll bet Uncle Bill was just sitting in his throne room and gave the who-would-I-like-to-sue-today wheel a spin.
Just another PR stunt that will lead into a 'why alt-OS's are bad'.

IIRC, didn't Billy pull this just before SP1 for XP and strong armed Dell into dropping Linux for desktops?

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qa9b

Haha! You had me there for a second with the first para =)

It's incredible that after decades of good business from M$, their profits are going down the drain.

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linuxcrazy

Um, what exactly are the illegal elements in the linux kernel and OpenOffice? I haven't read anything that actually says what is illegal! For shame Microsoft, you can do better than this!

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kortik

I think Microsoft is realizing that they suck LOL
afraid of competition. Thats all their is to it
if they only released products that consumer like and listen to suggestions and dont rush thing.

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pcfxer

We just need a judge who uses an OS like FreeBSD. Oh, and btw, as per the OpenBSD website/MP3 song, Open Source or for not. That means: Get Open and free, stay free and you will live. Stay proprietary and you will die. It has happened to many and will continue to be as such.


I'm a BSD guy so I actually don't like linux with it's unguided updates and security issues EVERY day, but it is viable for just about anyone and "easier"/more automated/ than most other BSD OSes. Excluding DesktopBSD.
Microsoft is just silly, wannabe/non-functional three dimensional effects and the lack of a true road map for the OS. They still haven't learned why "we" don't care much for Vista. Now that I've started, I might also mention that MaximumPC tested Vista and liked it. Now, I know that they may have been out of the scope of the article but why didn't they call MS on the many compromises for the OS? Still using a journaled OS, using their own firewall when OpenBSD firewalls are known for simplicity and accuracy (it's free too and they'd probably just want minor royalties if MS called it Vista Firewall) and then there is the so-called easy to use interface. It's like MS stuck, gnome/KDE/OS X into one interface and then ported for use in a XP like interface. Stop trying to PLEASE everyone and start MAKING decisions!
We want to look forward, but want to look backward as well. Screw 'em, I'll buy a new PC for a new OS that's got good performance benefits. Ma' and Pa' will most likely buy a new one too, especially when they ask, "That's a cool environment/software/whatever they'd call it. What do I have to do to get that?"
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Darth Ninja

now if we could just get some games for Linux....

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MantaBase

They have said this before. IMO, they should sue or shut up about it. Its FUD.

I suspect however that thier legal standing isn't as strong as they claim. There are issues of "prior art" involved, IBM's patent warchest (which would come into play), the whole "look and feel" defense they used against apple - and won, and of course the possibility of setting a precident of invalid software patent claims when a judge realizes, "Um no....you cannot patent a back button".

Oh, and like SCO, they will have to open up some of thier code to prove certain things.

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rcr14

Under my 90 some issues of Maximum PC & Boots magazines are 3 or 4 issues of Maximum Linux. Do you think it is time for Future to bring it back?
Wink, Nudge Will Smith

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micahmatt

Microsoft must be upset at Linux not because of supposed copyright infringement, but because Linux is a program that has very high functionality. Maybe if Microsoft were to invent a product that actually works, they could keep up with Linux and not be compelled to call the law into the picture (pardon my bluntness).

Microsoft was on top for a while because they were one of a kind, but that never meant that they were the best. Now that they have a competitor, they see that they could quite possibly be wiped off the map in terms of what customers like and dislike. In this case, Microsoft has proven through Vista, that they are not as formidable as they originally portrayed themselves to be.

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webgrunt

This is a reply to micahmatt who wrote on Mon, 2007-05-21 15:52:

"Maybe if Microsoft were to invent a product that actually works, they could keep up with Linux and not be compelled to call the law into the picture..."

The thing is, Microsoft already had a product that works. Windows XP. Windows Server 2003 works well also. Why would anyone want to upgrade to Vista? Other than DirectX 10, it doesn't have anything I can see to make it better than XP. It's just a ton of bloatware (especially the aero GUI) that has features you could already get done better with third-party apps.

Linux may or may not be highly functional, I've played around with Ubuntu and it has a beautiful GUI, is very intuitive and seems to work fine but IMO is not at all ready for the mainstream. I needed help to find and install the drivers for my video card, and I tried to figure out how to install software on my own but was unable to. I'm used to doing things myself even if they're a little difficult, so I suspect the average home user who needs someone to hold their hand while they click "Next... Next... Finish" to install software in Windows will projectile vomit for hours when they see what's involved in Linux.

BUT, considering how far Linux has come in the last two years I fully expect there to be versions within another two years that are as easy if not easier than Windows itself.

In other words, I expect that Vista will be the last home/small business OS released by Microsoft.

And it's not a moment too soon.

Unfortunately, there's the possibility that MS will bankrupt the companies that produce the best and easiest Linux distros, or at least gain injunctions against them. I hope that doesn't happen...

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statewd

This is terrible of microsoft to do. It will be interesting how other technology related magazines will be writing this news up. Some magazines are pro-microsoft only while others actually use their own brains once in a while when something like this comes along.

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