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back to article Polygamist Microsoft picks Amazon as latest Linux wife

Amazon has agreed to a cross-licence patent deal with Microsoft over the online retail giant's use of technology in its Kindle e-reader product and Linux-based servers. The financial tie-up, terms of which have been kept secret, is the latest in a series of agreements Microsoft has struck with vendors that use Linux in their …

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Anonymous Coward

microsoft sucks

gentlemen, start your flame throwers.

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Grenade

Translation

“Microsoft’s patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the software industry,"

We have a vast nuclear arsenal.

"and this agreement demonstrates our mutual respect for intellectual property"

Pay us or we launch.

"as well as our ability to reach pragmatic solutions to IP issues regardless of whether proprietary or open source software is involved,”

Pay us or we launch.

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Gates Horns

RE: Translation

Good, apart from one thing. You forgot to explain what "Pay us or we launch" actually means.

My guess is something like:

"pay us or we'll try to launch, BSOD and registry errors non-withstanding. There may be a delay between initialising the system and missiles being correctly handled by armageddon.exe. Missiles will be aimed at (but not limited to) the target area. Any inconvenient damage and/or fall-out is at your own risk. Your radioactive remains will be in a proprietary format so that no-one except Microsoft can identify them. Do you accept this EULA? Yes/No"

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Coffee/keyboard

See Icon

You bastard.

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A whole dollar?

If Amazon felt compelled to pay out a hefty fee, they would publicise it to make their smaller competitors nervous. If Microsoft had received a hefty fee, they would have publicised it in the vain hope that they could convince others to settle nuisance litigation. As the amount is undisclosed, it must be utterly trivial. Tom Tom's deal is equally secret.

Microsoft have mentioned 235 Linux related patents years ago. They still have not had the nerve to give a list of patent numbers. We can be sure that every single one is obvious to anyone but a patent examiner. If any that survived RE Bilski then prior art will be known to dozens of the hundreds of thousands of free software developers.

If you pay a troll some real money today, you will have a herd of trolls on your doorstep tomorrow.

http://torrentfreak.com/static/The-Speculative-Invoicing-Handbook.pdf

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My guess is...

That Amazon and TomTom had made some custom mods to an internal version of Linux which breached something patented by Microsoft. Otherwise Microsoft would seem more than legally lax in not suing RedHat et al even up to IBM for patent breaches.

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Thumb Down

Claiming is easy...

...I can do it to: MS violates all of my patents.

See? Nasty MS patent violators. *waggles finger* Where are my millions?

Of course there are three things to not about the above claim

1) I make no statement as to *what* patents;

2) I provide no proof; and

3) I don't actually hold any patents anyway.

Is it perhaps time for the FSF (or some other body) to challenge MS over these claims? File a suit of malicious falsehood or whatever? I'm pretty ignorant of USA law, so maybe that is not possible.

Either way, MS should either put up or shut up when it comes to these claims. If they have solid proof, then there should be no problem with making that proof public and allowing scrutiny. It's not as if this would show anything "secret" after all, they are claiming it has already been copied and is already in use.

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Big Brother

... but proving is hard.

Couldn't agree more with what you're saying - it's about time Redmond 'fessed up' to exactly what these violated patents are. AFAIK you're supposed to give others a reasonable chance to cease violating your patents - note, it's "please stop doing what you're doing _or_ pay us". At the moment the MS line seems to be "pay us" only.

Being brutal about it, I can't see much difference between the current party line and those of the "insurance salesmen" that say "pay us or maybe your house/shop'll burn down". You know the salesmen I mean - the ones with the natty suits with filled shoulder holsters...

As to the current deal with Amazon, I side with Jim Zemlin - it's no big deal, and probably an attempt by MS to get others to stump up payola cash, and Amazon to scare punters away from Amazon's competitors. Certainly it's a dodgy deal, otherwise why is it being done behind closed doors? I definitely regard Amazon with less favour than I did before.

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Jobs Horns

Put up or shut up

Microsoft know that if they show the patents that Linux software is (allegedly) infringing that the said patents will be worked around (look at what happened with the VFAT patent after the TomTom case). Either that, or the patents will be investigated for prior art (by the excellent Grok/law team and others) or will similarly be tested in court for obviousness. Any way, this is bad for Microsoft.

Microsoft also don't want long drawn-out legal battles -- they would rather let others like SCO and the patent trolls do this for them. They prefer to make quick settlements behind closed doors. This allows them to say "look, Linux is infringing on our IP -- just see TomTom, Amazon and others -- so you'd better pay us for using Linux, or else.".

Notice also how Microsoft are choosing their battles and picking the easy targets who are more likely to cave when threatened with law suites and choose quick out of court settlements. I suspect that "Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers" is because of their cloud offering, but you don't see Microsoft suing Google because they use Linux servers.

The whole thing reeks of racketeering and Mafia-like practices. The patent system and the US sue-first culture is steeped in corruption and illegal (or borderline illegal) practices. One of the problems is that it is these entities that have enough money and power to influence legislation -- which is one of the reasons that makes me uneasy about ACTA.

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WTF?

Oh I remember...

Must be that patent on sudo.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Oh I remember...

It can't be the patent on sudo. It's more likely to be related to solitaire or notepad.

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Grenade

GPL3 and patent arms decomissioning

Once Amazon sells electronics with GPLv3 licensed software inside they become obliged to pass on any patent indemnity they may have covering this software to whoever buys these electronics goods with software from them. If Amazon don't extend this indemnity they are distributing this software unlicensed and would be in simple breach of copyright. This would put them in the exact same position they would be in if they sold DVD copies of Holywood movies made on their own in-house copiers. Does Amazon even know which of the products in their catalogue has GPLv3 licensed software inside ?

Hand grenade for reasons which should by now be obvious.

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Oh Well

If you can't get companies to pay for licenses for your overpriced shitty server OSes then I guess you can just blackmail them. Sorry, that should be persuade them to take part in a cross-licensing deal which involves them transferring hard currency.

Seriously, Amazon should just grow a set and tell them to piss off.

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Alien

MS trolling corporate waters for moneyfish....

Well if MS can't produce *desirable software then at least they can stay afloat as a patent troll. LOL.

* I find OS's and any software(Vista) that harvest user data by companies that also refuse to fully disclose _all_ of what data is harvested yet sell that data to other companies highly undesirable.

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Largest???

“Microsoft’s patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the software industry,"

Err, I think IBM might have something to say about that claim.

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