The reason? Many aQuantive units, including AvenueA Razorfish and Atlas, make extensive use of open source software, including mySQL, Linux, and Apache.
If you use open source, are you an open source company? I don't think so. Most scaled enterprises now use open source somewhere and they should not be off-limit acquisition targets to proprietary vendors as a result.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Microsoft moves to get aQuantive up and running on its stuff and what impact (if any) this has on aQuantive's market. My guess is give it a year, and not much.
It would also be interesting to learn how much this transition costs Microsoft, although I don't expect they will tell us.
The real news is that open source technologies are now ubiquitous. It will cost Microsoft millions of dollars to move aQuantive off open source. And it would cost an unconsionable amount of money to move American enterprises off it.
Given that software patents are not accepted in Europe (or most of the rest of the world) it means enforcing Microsoft's patents would impose an enormous burden on the American economy, and on America's global competitiveness.
It's a price I doubt this nation is willing to bear.