Is Acacia link with Microsoft just smoke?

Summary:In terms of proving a link between Microsoft and Acacia this is smoke, just as the move of two Microsoft executives to Acacia unit IP Innovation is smoke.

California wildfire image from space, via Texas A&M
Acacia Technologies, the patent firm which has publicly denied any link with Microsoft, took capital in 2003 from BayStar Capital, which for a time acted as a capital conduit from Microsoft to SCO Research, according to Groklaw.

This could all be just coincidence, or smoke, as the saying goes. The venture capital world is a fairly small one. So is the world of patent trolls. And when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted Linux would soon be inundated with patent claims, that might also have been coincidence, just smoke.

Business Week reported in 2004 that it was Microsoft which suggested BayStar invest in SCO. BayStar denied this at the time, but managing partner Lawrence Goldfarb later told a court Microsoft executives urged the deal. There was some fire behind that smoke.

What about this smoke? It could just be smoke, coincidence, nothing to be suspicious of. Move along, folks.

A 2006 presentation by BayStar to its portfolio companies lists a May 20, 2003 investment in Acacia, through the purchase of warrants for 50% of Combimatrix, which makes micro arrays used in biomedical research, at $2.75 per share. Combimatrix split from Acacia, then its majority owner, in August and now trades at $6.35/share.

In terms of proving a link between Microsoft and Acacia this is smoke, just as the move of two Microsoft executives to Acacia unit IP Innovation is smoke.

Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold's founding of his own patent firm last year? Smoke, coincidence.

And if you take a satellite picture of southern California today that's all you'll see -- smoke.  But there's fire below the California smoke.

Is all this smoke just coincidence? It may well be. But the smoke gets thicker by the day.

Topics: Open Source, Banking, Microsoft

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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