We've gotten a lot of comment here regarding Paula's fine interview with Microsoft spokesman Mark Martin.
Martin is technically right in all he says. Microsoft is not a party to Acacia's suit, filed on behalf of its IP Innovation unit. It is not involved in the litigation. There is no smoking gun. Just smoke.
- Two former Microsoft executives joined the plaintiffs over the last few months. One is a coincidence. Two is a trend.
- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted such a suit a week before it happened. Steve is not up to be the next 007 (much as I'd love to see it). You can get into his head simply by challenging him.
- As Paula noted, SCO filed its suit shortly after Microsoft funneled $50 million to it, through BayStar Capital. Microsoft wasn't a party to the SCO suit, either.
What Microsoft still has not learned, after all these years, is that credibility is not something you claim, it's something you earn. Actions speak louder than words, no matter how large the ad budget behind them.
There are many industries that have yet to figure this out. The oil industry now runs ads talking about how green it is. Phone companies run ads about how wonderful a unitary network is, as though the Internet never existed.
Then there are the political ads. People don't believe them. Candidates keep running them.
As commenter Mike Cox, tongue firmly planted in cheek, noted:
My rep and I met for dinner last night and in between the main course and cognac, showed me a Visio diagram of the plan. There were so many arrows and process lines that it left me in SHOCK AND AWE. However, one thing was perfectly clear: Linux is finished. By the time the cognac arrived, we were delirious with the knowledge that soon Windows would be the only OS choice!
There is more to what is going on here than a patent dispute. We're seeing the difference between the 20th century, top-down attitude toward truth and the 21st century, bottom-up attitude toward truth.
As this was written your rating on Paula's story is a -1. This is not a reflection on her work. (Some of my stuff is hated more than Hillary Clinton at a Giuliani rally.) It's a reflection of opinion concerning Microsoft's credibility. After remarks are parsed, there's no there there.
If Microsoft wants to win the war with open source, it needs to give us more people who don't talk like politicians, and more actions which speak to the needs of the open source market.
Anything else is just smoke. (And not the good kind, either.)