'

Fears of Microsoft are over-blown

Americans are not going to knuckle-under to a Microsoft monopoly on software development. More particularly, the rest of the world won't. And Microsoft doesn't do politics particularly well.

Here's the latest from Pamela Jones of Groklaw, who also posts the full text of the Microsoft-Novell Microsoft-Sun "patent" agreement:

What do I think Microsoft is doing with these deals? I suspect they are making deals with every entity that has patents, clearing the deck so it can attack Red Hat and the entire Open Source method of development. Whatever is left standing will be firmly inside Microsoft's embrace, and you know as well as I do what that historically means.

There are two reasons why I think this will fail:

  1. Just as with the Internet, any U.S. law is a local ordinance. This goes double for legal decisions that might be rendered in Microsoft's favor.
  2. This is a political struggle. Americans are not going to knuckle-under to a Microsoft monopoly on software development. More particularly, the rest of the world won't. And Microsoft doesn't do politics particularly well.

We're already seeing separate treatment for Microsoft in regards to antitrust between Europe and the U.S. A successful attack on the open source model here would only export the model to other countries, where the legal system would be friendlier.

In other words, this is a fight Microsoft can't win. It's also a fight the U.S. can't afford to let it win.

UPDATE: Thanks to alert reader Tim Patterson for the correction in the first paragraph.