Microsoft's Outlook

Friday, June 13 2003 @ 07:01 AM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

Well, if this isn't a bit chilling: A MS guy says that the SCO lawsuit is just the beginning. In discussing how MS plans on competing against Linux, he lists several arguments they plan on putting forward to customers, and then he says this:

"And there's a significant intellectual property and patent issue if you broadly adopt open-source software. The lawsuit of SCO against IBM, and now against the Linux community, is the first visible and public manifestation of intellectual property and patent rights."

He also says this about proprietary software:

"And finally, we've got to ensure that the model of commercial software is one that is prevalent. Because if people don't pay for intellectual property, our model doesn't work."

Plain talk, I'd say. This begs the question: What is the next salvo, if this is just the first? And the next question: how do you know that more is in the wings? And are you sure you aren't behind this? They said they weren't, and MS would never... um... lie, or anything, right?

Puzzling over which is better, free or proprietary? Wonder what business life will be like if Linux is crushed? Take a gander at this article in today's Washington Post, "Rivals Say Microsoft Flouts Deal", to find out how things are going in enforcing the DOJ's antitrust settlement.

"Portions of the agreement require Microsoft to reveal more of its computer code to other software developers to ensure that their programs will work properly with Windows. One unusual provision, however, allows Microsoft to license some of the code -- known as communication protocols -- to outside companies on 'reasonable' and 'non-discriminatory' terms. "

Here's MS' definition of "reasonable" and "non-discriminatory": you can't see MS code unless you pay a fee ($100,000). This is just to find out if you want to license it. If you don't, MS keeps the change ($50,000 . . . because you got to see their precious IP, silly.) Also, you have to sign an NDA so strict that they say it could hamper your employees who look at it from being able to work for you afterward. (Say, that sounds familiar.) And you have to agree that if you do license, you agree to be audited by a third-party auditor that MS gets to pick but you get to pay for, to assure MS that you are using their code appropriately only.

No wonder businesses are switching to Linux.