Is Acacia link with Microsoft just smoke?

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&MAcacia 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

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  • I confess, I DID IT!

    Yes you heard it here first. I DID IT... You folks know I have been saying for a long time that it would be an individule or a patent holding company that would file suit against the Linux distros over patents. OBVIOUSLY that makes me guilty of having caused it. I mean heck, if your going to blame Ballmer because he said it then sure you should blame me as I have it a lot more frequently (and louder) than he ever did.

    Come on people, give me the props I deserve for having got this ball in motion. You need not like the devil, but you must give him his due...
    • And here was me thinking

      That the typical approach to confessions of this sort was that you found a handy overzealous assistant or intern that would happily "take one for the team." Does that mean you are the aforementioned Microsoft flunky?
      • Nope,

        "Does that mean you are the aforementioned Microsoft flunky?"

        Nope, you have it backwards, Microsoft is my flunky. Truth is I bribed to courts to make software patentable so I could control the entire world. Muwahahahaha, All your Liunx are belong to me...
  • Dana

    Try not take No_Ax seriously.
    This kind of stuff is his specialty--generally disruptive.
    D T Schmitz
    • Say what?

      Dana seems hell bent on blaming someone, I say he should blame me as I have been saying this for at least a year. Stop giving Ballmer all my credit!!!
      • That's right. Go read at Groklaw

        [url=]take a break and have a snack or something.[/url] ;)
        D T Schmitz
        • Message has been deleted.

        • Sorry, Groklaw is the home of

          the tin foil hat brigade. According to them Microsoft is Satan himself reincarnate. Pffttt...
    • Message has been deleted.

  • Sometmes a cigar is just a walking quacking like a duck

    When Novell wanted to sue Microsoft over DrDOS, they sold DrDOS to Caldera
    (now SCO) had them front the suit and SCO give the net proceeds to Novell when
    they got the payout. (There was a follow-up suit, SCO thought they should get
    reimbursed for legal expenses, Novell said that's not what the deal said. SCO lost
    that suit, but not before letting the cat out of the bag.)

    SCO is telling the bankruptcy court that it has an offer on whatever it owns in Unix
    and the liability in the law suits. Some of the commentators to the Groklaw story
    say the group making the offer is tied to Acacia. Well, I don't vouch for the
    accuracy of talkback comments, but we'll see how this one settles out.

    As everyone said Microsoft would be sucking deeply of the goof gas if it started a
    patent war (and run the risk that anti-trust trumps patents) and I think they
    understand the possible consequences, if a legal cloud over Linux would be
    helpful to the sales teams, then I guess they'd need a proxy. Funny thing is, the
    proxies, should they exist, can go after those folks who signed no-patent-suit (for
    five years) deals with Microsoft.

    A lot of ifs, I know.
    • Lord love a duck

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Freud is credited with that.

      Microsoft is an enormous company with many institutional arms, and I am certain they can both walk and chew gum at the same time (burning another cliche). This means they can both cooperate with open source in some ways, back down in a European anti-trust case, and go after the underpinnings of open source -- all at the same time.
      • Dana, your bias is over the top.

        Look, lets be honest. Open Source has also thrown a LOT of rocks at Microsoft and done EVERYTHING they possible could to, how did you put it, "go after the underpinnings".

        There is no substancial proof, or even thing beyond coincidence to suggest MS has anything to do with this suit. At least no more than I did by saying repeatedly that this suit was coming as sure as tomorrow's sun rising. My (or Ballmer) staing the obvious does not make anyone "guilty" of conspiring against anyone.

        Here is a down to earth suggestion. If open source doesn't want to be involved in these sorts of legal suits, get the IP belonging to others out of it. The place to start would be the hundreds of *probable* patent violations the FSF (their legal advisor) found and begion cleaning it up.

        I am sorry, but when they say, "Yes, we found hundreds of probable IP (patent) infringements and in the same breath says we aren't telling any of our own people what they are and plan to do nothiung to clean it up, well, all your arguments pretty much evaporate in the minds of thinking people and I would bet in the minds of the judge and jury when the time comes.

        Can you imagine what is going to be the juries responce when the FSF is called as a hostile witness and asked if they have ANY knowledge of probable infringements and they have to say yes and that they didn't do anyting about it? Like it or not, a jury will see that as an admission and likey to see it as open source simply refusing to believe they too must obey the laws of the land. That would be devastating in the coming trial (or trials as I see this as only the beginning).
        • There's a basic policy difference at stake here

          Casually saying "go along with the law" obscures the policy differences over that law.

          The Congress has never passed on the idea of software patents, period. It's a series of legal decisions, none of which made it to the Supreme Court, which have encouraged companies to file these patents, not just on how things are done but on their doing, which do so much to restrict innovation in this country.

          These patents are perfect examples of that. So I think the open source community is right to speak out, and as a blogger specializing in open source my natural sympathies are going to be with that primary audience.
        • The world is a lucky place indeed

          That you have no authority in it.

          Else everyone could just kiss their donkeys
          Ole Man