It looks like Microsoft is at it again, on its attacks against open source and GNU/Linux. This time, Microsoft is using the leverage of software patents. It's apparent that Microsoft really hates open source and Linux. Why? Probably because it's a direct competitor, and is stealing away market share in various areas. Microsoft has a long history of avoiding competition by either buying out the competition, or finding ways to undermine it. This time they are attacking companies that directly use open source and Linux software.
Starting in 2007, various software patent cases popped up with Microsoft against companies that use Linux in day to day activities. Accusations were made by Microsoft, stating that the offending companies violated some of Microsoft's software patents. Cases involving TomTom, Amazon, and I-O Data are a few of these. There definitely seems to be a pattern here. Linux has no doubt put a dent in Microsoft's market share, and Microsoft must be feeling some pressure. This is a good thing. But snooping around looking for companies to target that are using Linux is very shady. In my opinion Microsoft should be stepping back and writing quality software, that encourages customers to use their software, instead of trying to attack and hurt companies that use competitor's software. Again, it seems that Microsoft will do anything to benefit itself at the cost of others. They could compete the old fashioned way, but instead they choose to use clever tactics to try and undermine competition indirectly. How can this be helping the already hurting economy? This says a lot about them as a company, and their business ethics.
If you use Microsoft software, you are essentially contributing to the cause. Not only is Microsoft software buggy and insecure in many ways, but it's expensive and promotes vendor lock-in. For all of these reasons and more, personally I've been pushed away from Microsoft and chosen to use open and free software like Linux and other open source products. These products give peace of mind, and are now up to par with enterprise grade proprietary products, with no cost and licensing whatsoever. It's a breath of fresh air not having to deal with the restrictions and headaches of proprietary software.
In the years to come, I predict that Microsoft will continue to step up these assaults on open source and Linux. It will be interesting to see what other ways they choose to try and pry in. There's no doubt their tactics will harm open source and Linux, my hope is that ways around Microsoft's software patents will be found. Like the case of the FAT filesystem, Linux can be modified to be void of the software patents. That would allow Linux to avoid this propaganda, and move forward with great progress.