[svlug] OMG! MS Goes Open Source

Rick Moen rick at svlug.org
Sun Nov 16 03:46:43 PST 2014

Marc wrote:

> That's a move of desperation, just like they started supporting android
> targets in their visual studio.

I tend to agree.  It's all about their having almost no presence in cloud
computing, I think.

> Until then, why trust a company that sues over patents?

They didn't use to do that, you know.  Until around the time of the dumb
Apple v. Microsoft suit, Microsoft neither tried to keep a patent warchest
nor went around attempting patent shakedowns.  In fact, if you look at the
Wikipedia page on Microsoft's litigation record, all of the patent suits 
were ones _against_ the firm.  (The list has omissions, though.)

It's in the past, oh, five years or so that they suddenly turned into a
patent troll, doing shakedowns with threatened litigation.  Like all 
classic patent trolls, the deal they've been offering is that they'll 
licence their patent portfolio but they won't tell you what patents of
theirs they believe applicable to your firm, so you can't accurately assess
the threat or engineer around the patents.

That game may have now been ruined, because China's Ministry of Commerce 
was able to require Microsoft to revewal its patent list during that
government's antitrust review of Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's handset
division, and published the list publicly this past summer.

That list has been revelatory, particularly because the 310 patents suddenly
brought to the light of the day seem to be basically bullshit (weak, easily
voided through legal either challenge, or reexamination by USPTO) patents.

So, Microsoft's ability to bleed an estimated $2b/year out of firms making
Android devices may soon come to an end.


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