OIN: Microsoft lawsuit won't slow Linux's lead in mobile market

OIN: Microsoft lawsuit won't slow Linux's lead in mobile market

Summary: Microsoft's lawsuit against TomTom is aimed at Linux but it won't deter the open source operating system's success in the mobile device market, said Open Invention Network's CEO.Open Invention Network CEO Keith Bergelt doesn't buy Microsoft's contention that the lawsuit, filed last week, is not targeting Linux.


Microsoft's lawsuit against TomTom is aimed at Linux but it won't deter the open source operating system's success in the mobile device market, said Open Invention Network's CEO.

Open Invention Network CEO Keith Bergelt doesn't buy Microsoft's contention that the lawsuit, filed last week, is not targeting Linux.

"It's hard to understand how it could not be aimed at Linux ... normal lawsuits related to applications would not spread themselves to look at the operating system," he said about three of the eight patent claims Microsoft has leveled against GPS company TomTom of Amsterdam. "It's a provocative act but it's business as usual with the Linux industry and the inexorable march toward victory with Android and other Linux-based mobile platforms in the next three years for all portable handsets and in the next 7 years for the Linux desktop."

Red Hat, Novell and IBM are key members of Open Invention Network, which is allied with the Linux Foundation, which has also pledged to fight if the case turns on the Linux kernel. Bergelt said TomTom contacted the organization after Microsoft's case was filed.

Yet Bergelt -- a former U.N. diplomat and CEO of two hedge funds -- pointed out that such lawsuits no longer pack a strong FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) punch because past lawsuits have largely failed and customers no longer fear using Linux.

"The reaction [or lack of reaction to the lawsuit] is evidence of the maturing of the Linux community in being able to deal with situations like these," said Bergelt. "People are not reacting the way they did with [the] SCO suit. There's an intense level of support in the community and not the handwringing, nervousness and irrational behavior [of the past]. There is a maturity to this community that should send a message back to Microsoft about [the Linux industry's] ability to withstand a challenge."

He also maintains that the lawsuit wipes away any credibility Microsoft has gained in its efforts to cooperate with the open source community. Microsoft is a Platinum Sponsor of the OSBC 2009 conference scheduled for later this month and has worked with Novell, Red Hat, the Apache Foundation and many other open source projects over the past 18 months.

"The lawsuit is evidence of the inauthenticity of Microsoft's open source effort," he said, noting that the company's legal team and open source team should be coordinated in order to be good citizens in the open source world. ""We've heard over the past 12 to 18 months about Microsoft wanting to work with open source and Linux and this flies in the face of that."

"They brought in people like [Microsoft's Senior Director of Platform Strategy]Sam Ramji but they're frog men pressing on the propeller of a cruise ship. They won't make headway unless [Microsoft] changes its behavioral norms."

Topics: Mobility, Legal, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • I think Keith Bergelt's talking out of his butt.

    Sounds like an opportunist trying to discredit the bridges built (albeit not alot of them, but still there) by Microsoft and some open source companies

    My guess is that he fears theses aliences for personal reasons.

    Just a feeling, based on his statements.
    • Yes, given that MS really does like open source and truely wants it to

      succeed no matter how much it costs Microsoft in revenue.
      • That's because Microsoft is too busy sticking it's fingers everywhere.

        They can't keep this up. Why doesn't Microsoft just give up their tactic to take over all areas and concentrate on their primary busienss.

        Current Microsoft stock levels means an investor has not made a cent from MS stock unless they purchased that stock at any time wayyy back before February 1998.

        On the other hand if you invested in Apple at any time before January 2007 you have made money on Apple stock. That's because Apple is focused whereas Microsoft is 'all over the place'.
        No More Microsoft Software Ever!
        • Ever hear of dividends?

          [i]Current Microsoft stock levels means an investor has not made a cent from MS stock unless they purchased that stock at any time wayyy back before February 1998.[/i]
          • Yes- something Microsoft didn't do until 2003!

            And their dividend yield sucks!

            Sign of a Dead Growth Stock - Microsoft :

            But of course you skip the entire point: Why won't MS concentrate on their primary business?

            And your point was???

            p.s. All profit (or rather, lack thereof) figures took splits and dividends into account! So there!
            No More Microsoft Software Ever!
      • I hope this was "tongue in cheek" ? :-)

        Microsoft hates and will continue to hate Linux and open source because it threatens to totally destroy its business model based on extortion of the greatest possible prices for the worst engineered software. Why else do you think the EULA is in place ?

        The FAT patents which are at the heart of the TomTom suit have already been thrown out in some parts of the European court system and there is so much prior art available that (as has already been stated by a number of web articles) using the FAT patents is one of the more shaky situations in this suit and it will almost certainly fail when it is brought to court in the USA.

        But the really unethical and filthy part of this whole cynical and destructive exercise is that we now know that the TomTom suit is only one of a series of "licencing agreements" forced by Microsoft onto much smaller Linux using companies. And Bravo for TomTom for not buckling under to Microsoft and bringing the whole filthy process out into the spotlights.

        What you are forgetting is that Linux is licenced under the GPL and version 2 prohibits the patent licencing deals that are being flogged by Redmond. GPLv3 goes even further and removes the loophole that was exploited by Novell and Microsoft.. Microsoft has put these earlier licencing compacts under non-disclosure agreements so that they are only just being discovered. What Microsoft did was force the situation where the Linux firm was put into a no-win result: if it accepted Redmond's terms, it infringed on the GPL and could no longer use Linux in its business and therefore would be destroyed; but if it didn't sign the agreement, Redmond would sue and destroy the firm anyway. All over FAT patents and an antiquated directory structure that should have been sunk with the ark anyhow.

        The net result of all of this is that the evidence shows that Microsoft is out to destroy Linux in any way it can or at least force Linux firms to put prices on their products that make them non-competitive with Microsoft products.. Microsoft remains unethical and amoral......the leopard does not change its socks, ever. And for Microsoft, greed is always good.
  • Come on guys, I really feel sorry for Microsoft. They try to be nice, and

    people spit in their face. I mean really, MS is a big company, and they deserve to have lots of profits, even if we can do things cheaper with open source. It does not matter how flimsy the patents are, big companies need to make money. If Microsoft can outspend companies like Tom-Tom on lawyers, that is just TOO BAD for Tom-Tom. Tom-Tom should know better.
    • I really fell sorry for Bergelt

      That he is reduced to the name calling and FUD associated with the fallen.

      He must fell his waining relavency in the world of Open Source
      • Actually, it was quite anoying. How can this guy not have any respect for

        big companies that need to make money and keep shareholder happy. How dare he insinuate that MS patents are on shaky ground. He just might ruin the American way of life.
        • Mike Cox

          Donnie, are you trying to give Mike Cox some competition?
  • It's easier to catch a liar than a cripple

    m$ and their lies are too easy to catch.
    InAction Man
    • *Yawn*

      More of the usuall, I see ;)
      • Well, to start with, he needs to understand that big companies need to make

        money. Let us not call them lies, just marketing tricks. Microsoft makes a lot of money and they do not deserve to have people making fun of their predicament.
      • Do you work for m$?

        InAction Man
        • Of course

          Of course he does and there are a few other people who have been infesting these talkback forums for at least as long as I've been reading these blogs.

          Microsoft seem to have their seeds planted in all layers of society and media, constantly working on having the company portrayed in the best possible light despite all the malicious practices going on behind the scenes.
          • Well, thankfully we have you guys...

            Without your oh-so-fair and oh-so-balanced and unbiased comments, where would this site be? (Imagine the loud sound of an "AHEM!")
  • Read the CEO's lips

    I think the last line sumes it up best: read the boss' lips.

    Has Ballmer said ANYTHING different these past 24months except the constant attacks on Linux, IP FUD and the extortion deal which gave us a 'legal' version of Linux because Novell agreed to pay the extortion scheme and all the other 'illegal' ones who are using software which has stolen Microsoft IP on 235 occassions?
    So why should we believe things have changed?
    Because they put in a few coins in some open source conference?
    Because some low level pencil pusher said so?
    Who do you listen to usually? The President or the cook in the White House?
    Just because some employee at Apple tells you theyre gonna release OS10 and open source Itunes, doesnt mean squat until you hear if from Jobs.

    All i know is the head of Microsoft said that I, a Red Hat user, owe his company money because Red Hat steals Microsoft IP (he also mentions which company has payed the extortion fee and is now running 'legal' Linux.)


    Until I hear anything different than what weve heard for the past 2 years, NOTHING has changed.

    The popular folklore about "A band of merry open sourcers reside in the labyrinths below Redmond, stealthily incorporating FLOSS into the culture at Microsoft, changing mentalities..." sounds like some D&D players are getting flashbacks.

    Nothing has changed until the boss says so and if anybody has had a chance to read those internal MS memos that were part of a recent court cases, theyll remember that Microsoft is not above playing dirty and they are afraid of Linux.