Microsoft takes on the free world

Great headline (above) in Fortune magazine, where an article suggests that Microsoft is threatening a sort of patent Armageddon.The story says:Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS [free/open source software] users to pay royalties. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.Fortune compares the situation to MAD, the threat of “mutually assured destruction” during the cold war. As soon as one side uses nukes, everyone loses.The warhead-rattling is probably Microsoft creating FUD (an IBM invention for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to discourage risk-averse large companies from using Linux, or at least using a Microsoft-approved version from Novell. It doesn’t really matter unless Microsoft lists the patents and launches some lawsuits.

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