CyberTech Rambler

May 16, 2007

Why the sable-rattling, given that MS is not changing its policy of not suing?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:30 pm

I think the now infamous Fortune story about Open Source software infringing MS Patents achieved its purpose of spreading FUD. The instance the article is published,  MS PR department knows that it is mission accomplished. It is true that the Fortune magazine is very balanced piece of work.  Unfortunately, MS managed to cast a shadow of doubt in the mind of those people that matters, the CEOs  and CFOs who have the power the cut the cheque. CTO worth their salt will be not be persuaded, but they, like you and me, do not count.

My sources of news story is biased towards open source. However, the deluge of articles in the IT Press refuting MS claims is unexpectedly large. Not only the normally pro-Open source news site does the expected rebuff, but a lot of site I considered to be neutral find it worthwhile to follow up on the story. Surely this will account for something? Unfortunately no. The operative word here is IT Press. The reason is the different circulation or the different  audience the IT Press and Fortune attracts. It is the audience that Fortune attracts that is the target of the FUD. And I am afraid, most of Fortune’s readers do not follow the IT Press.

So, this is a FUD campaign worn on tactics. This tactic will nor work with developers any more so it must be aimed at higher management. Its like those 419 spams, as soon as one country start to get wise about it, the spammers target another more innocent country.

One of the MS person who gave the interview that leads to the “Fortune” article clarify in InformationWeek that MS had not changed its policy of not suing. The purpose is just to highlight “an important truth affecting the computer industry”, namely Linux infringes on Microsoft Patents. If he wants to play fair he should mentioned Windows is likely to had done the same. Linux Torvalds certainly did not miss this. This is part of the calculated FUD campaign. They expect a serious reaction from developers and therefore know they need to smooth the feathers of the developers with such statements. Most developers will simply accept the argument and go away, not realizing the damage is done elsewhere, some place more important than their feelings. Its like the PR technique of issuing a denial when the topic is hot and against you, but retracted the denial when everything cool down, knowing that nobody can actually call you a liar and that the retraction attract a smaller audience than the denial.

It is claimed that Microsoft shows the patents to corporate Linux users and distributors. Showing them to corporate users probably have the same effect of showing a company’s yearly financial statement to me, i.e., the reader cannot make any meaningful evaluation. We can expect distributors to be more able to evaluate Microsoft’s patents claim. Having seen them, why haven’t any one of them signed on the dotted line? The only person who had publicly acknowledged that it signed says it does not believe Microsoft’s claim. I for one will not discount the possibility that some possible claim areas were work around in Linux after people saw the patents (no doubt under NDA)


1 Comment »

  1. […] while ago I blogged that the current sessions of FUD is targeted at CEOs and CFOs who are clueless about IP issues. I concluded that FUD on developers no longer work, but there are mileage with CEOs and CFOs who […]

    Pingback by Hidden message behind Microsoft anti-Linux Patent Agreement « CyberTech Rambler — June 5, 2007 @ 7:42 am | Reply

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