Ballmer: Linux Uses Our Intellectual Property, Compensate Us

On the heels of the recent Microsoft / Novell patent and business collaboration announcement, many in the open source community have speculated that Microsoft, feeling the pressure from ever advancing Linux technologies and increasing adoption by system vendors, is looking for an easy in to the Linux and open source community. During a session yesterday morning at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) summit in Seattle, an audience member asked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, if the Redmond company was selling out by collaborating with a Linux vendor.

Ballmer said Microsoft was motivated to sign a deal with SUSE Linux distributor Novell earlier this month because Linux "uses our intellectual property" and Microsoft wanted to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation." "We've had an issue, a problem that we've had to confront, which is because of the way the GPL (General Public License) works, and because open-source Linux does not come from a company -- Linux comes from the community -- the fact that that product uses our patented intellectual property is a problem for our shareholders. We spend $7 billion a year on R&D, our shareholders expect us to protect or license or get economic benefit from our patented innovations. So how do we somehow get the appropriate economic return for our patented innovation, and how do we do interoperability. The truth is, because of the complex licensing around the GPL, we actually didn't want to do one without the other.

The entire text as well as an MP3 of the conversation can be found on Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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Why are they just now coming to realise this? You can't tell me MS doesn't know about patent/intellectual infringements?!!

lol... I love it when everyone starts arguing over something no-one even knows hardly anything about. They havent released any details of whats been taken and already everyone has sided with one company.

Microsoft has been thinking about .NET and exchange on linux for a long time. Couldn't find the stuff to post some good references. But i sware i saw it in PC Mag around the .NET 1.0 alpha / exchange 2000 coming of age. Im sure they droped the .NET idea once MONO started to do the work for them.

M$ is only going to get worse, now that monkey boy Ballmer is running the whole show.

MS is ****ed because they got snubbed by Red Hat, I can only hope that Red Hat & Oracle can form a partnership.

Quote - clonk said @ #23.1
Um, you do realize that Steve Ballmer has been the CEO of Microsoft for almost seven years?

He was CEO in name only. Chairman Gates still ran the show, and everyone knows this. Ballmer's dog-eat-dog "It's all about the stockholders" attitude is going to run MS into the ground.

Ballmer is a disaster and has seriously damaged the credibility of Microsoft; in an age where image is so important it seems ludicrous to have a lunatic like him setting the tone for the company.

I not a big user of Linux, but I do have it installed on a laptop I have.

The only thing that looks like a Microsoft product is the theme in KDE called Redmond. IF they would actually try to argue one day that the theme is their property and tried to get some money out of it, that would be complete BS and a big joke.

IMHO if they ever came out and said what the infringement is, it would be something to do with the GUI

ZOMG they have their minimize, maximize and close buttons all lined up in the corner 111!!!!111!!!111 OH NOES and they call it Redmond. "y0ur butt0ns ar3 b3l0ng t0 us" ZOMG now they're attacking us OH NOES

I just ignore anything coming out of Ballmers mouth. The guys a complete, psychotic freak that has no clue at all and just rambles about anything. I'm actually surprised he hasn't tried sueing all the companies that make actual windows for our homes.

Quote - NightmarE D said @ #21
I'm actually surprised he hasn't tried sueing all the companies that make actual windows for our homes.
.

LMAO dont give him any ideas

Quote - badazzEVO8 said @ #21.1
.

LMAO dont give him any ideas

MS already did try to patent the word Windows and claim exclusivity.

Quote - NightmarE D said @ #21
IMHO if they ever came out and said what the infringement is, it would be something to do with the GUI

Disagree entirely - almost certian to be IP concerning filesystems (FAT etc...) and IP concerning other such components. Unlikely in extreme to involve straight GUI design.

I do think that some things in linux kinda behave the same way in windows. But I'd hardly call it a patent violation... some patents are just bulls***, to begin with!

probably, this is FUD. But why MS paid 440m$, and Novell paid 40m$ to each other? That's a lot of money....

Quote - cpu said @ #15
probably, this is FUD. But why MS paid 440m$, and Novell paid 40m$ to each other? That's a lot of money....

Well 440m-40m= 400m $

Wouldn't it be much simpler to say: MS paid Novell 400m $ ?

Edited for units : 400 != 400m

It's all just plain ole fashioned BS. Between Linux and Apple they are seeing a lot of market share. I have always wondered-------------just how much does one need to have, companies, money, does a man and/or a company needs. No one would ever truly admit it. Look just what MS has done over the years, R and D, they have taken and lived off of the tech of others and now want even more.

omg ballmer now if u cant tell us what patented innovations are u talking about then it would be more interesting.

Microsoft innovates a lot like many other countries does..and whatever microsoft innovates...it reaches the users...and shouldnt it be paid if there innovations are used by others without there knowledge!...

Waiting for a time when i can play halo 3 via XBOX 360 with other person playing halo 3 in WINE via Redhat :redface

Hopefully that was sarcasm :)

The only innovation Microsoft has done in the entire computer industry is BOB and Clippit! Both useless.

Useless?? WHat are you talking about?
"It looks like you are writing a comment. Would you like some help?"

"You are trying to turn me off. Would you like me to go away now?"

I sort of like Clippy when he wasn't yapping at me. But for me, I gotta have Rocky, my workplace companion.

Dogs are cool. Paperclips, not so much.

I held off on allowing myself to think this, but it seems the big fight is ON.

Okay, MS/Novell ruffled a lot of feathers and one could infer (many did!) that maybe they were about to launch patent-war against Linux, but nobody involved explicitly made any claim of violations -- in fact they seemed to do their darndest to evade coming out and saying it, making me inclined to think: "it's just noise and FUD, MS own that game so why not?"

But now it has been said in public by Ballmer. He knows he can be called on it now, unless somehow he was too dense to think his remark wouldn't make the news (I doubt it), and knows plenty of people will be queuing up to do so -- so surely he at least must believe the claim -- and be prepared to back it up.

I think I can confidently predict this is gonna get 'eventful' very soon, whether in the press or in the courts. The Novell deal was a ripple, this is chucking a breezeblock into the pool.

This is FUD designed to hurt all of the OTHER linux vendors other that Novell. Because they aren't protected by this deal and MS is saying "come on board with paying us or we'll keep threatening to sue you ad nauseum."

Buncha BS

Especially since the WHOLE concept for Windows was stolen from Apple


So what "IntellectualProperty" was supposedly stolen?

eh?

I reckon both OS's "innovation" and "Intellectual Property" came from third parties.

To hell with it I'm not getting dragged into a fanboy flame war.

Quote - max_ireland said @ #6.1
To hell with it I'm not getting dragged into a fanboy flame war.
Mind if I do, then?
Quote - z0phi3l said @ #6
Especially since the WHOLE concept for Windows was stolen from Apple
Who took it from Xerox.

Apple is not the originator of all that is good and original, you know.

Quote - max_ireland said @ #6.1
eh?

I reckon both OS's "innovation" and "Intellectual Property" came from third parties.

To hell with it I'm not getting dragged into a fanboy flame war.


No no no I dislike MS as much as the next tech savy person BUT MS should not get away saying they innovated crap


Yes I'm a Linux fan but I generally try to be neutral about this kind of thing

Quote - markjensen said @ #6.2
Mind if I do, then?
Who took it from Xerox.

Apple is not the originator of all that is good and original, you know.


You're correct, but then again I never said Apple innovated anything did I?

Quote - z0phi3l said @ #6.4
You're correct, but then again I never said Apple innovated anything did I?
No. You didn't. You used a contrast between the two that was ambiguous and lead to an inference that one was doing "wrong", hence the other was "right".

"Especially since the WHOLE concept for Windows was stolen from Apple"

Oops, got the facts wrong again.

The WHOLE world knows -and a ruling from a judge proves- that Microsoft didn't steal anything from Apple. To this day, it has not stopped Steve or Apple fans from the accusations and bitter attitude though.

Apple cannot take credit for creating the concept of GUI and even if it could, Windows is unique enough that its not infringing on any sort of copyright.

I guess you could argue the same thing for Linux - that it's unique enough from Windows that its not infringing on any patents. And until Microsof tells us what, exactly, these infringements are, all we can do is guess.

Quote - C_Guy said @ #6.6
..., all we can do is guess.

No, all we can do is don't care... they are making marketing, that's all. Not everything said through marketing is true you know ? I bet nothing at all is true in any publicity anyway.

Quote - tx83 said @ #6.7
No, all we can do is don't care... they are making marketing, that's all. Not everything said through marketing is true you know ? I bet nothing at all is true in any publicity anyway.
When you cross the lines of promoting your product on merits, and resort to claims of patent infringement, and threats of litigation, it is no longer "marketing". I suppose thugs that visit your home or business and say "Nice building you have here. It would be a shame if it burned down. Lucky I offer protection for this sort of thing" are just "salesmen marketing their products and services" in your opinion?

Quote - excalpius said @ #6.8
z0phi3l.

Both MS and Apple stole the mouse, windowing interface, etc. from Xerox. MS didn't have to steal anything from Apple.

When will you people get it through your thick skulls that Apple didn't steal anything from Xerox, they licensed it from them because Xerox was too stupid to understand that what they had was the way of the future. The same way that Microsoft got DOS from Seattle Computer Products.

Quote - markjensen said @ #6.9
When you cross the lines of promoting your product on merits, and resort to claims of patent infringement, and threats of litigation, it is no longer "marketing". I suppose thugs that visit your home or business and say "Nice building you have here. It would be a shame if it burned down. Lucky I offer protection for this sort of thing" are just "salesmen marketing their products and services" in your opinion?

Well, your example looks a lot like publicity I have seen on TV during mid-term election.

The entire argument is flawed to begin with. My gateway runs Linux 2.6.17. It has no GUI. It has CUPS, NFS, iptables and Apache. It does not even contain VFAT file system support (could this be their claim of infringement?). If someone can claim ANY of that even resembles a Microsoft product that came before it, I'd love to hear it.
Plus, X has been around since 1984. That predates Windows by 1 year (and postdates Lisa by 1 year). GNOME and KDE can make some sort of claims of infringement, but it's not like Novell/SuSE has any influence over them.
If they want to go after KDE or GNOME, then they should go after them. Right now, I'm sure you could find a dozen lawyers who would agree that's slander. If one of the largest companies in the US started making similar idle claims of Microsoft infringing on their patents, we all know how Microsoft would react. Elitism...

to ieatlint
Ok we cannot say Linux infringes anything now.
But we also cannot say that Linux is desktop-ready or user-friendly or supports UI.

It's either-or.

Quote - RealFduch said @ #6.13
to ieatlint
Ok we cannot say Linux infringes anything now.
But we also cannot say that Linux is desktop-ready or user-friendly or supports UI.

It's either-or.

I can say that
  • Linux is ready for my desktop.
  • Linux is user-friendly enough for my wife, and my kids (currently aged 5 - 12) to use without "training".
  • It supports a User Interface.
Now, what was your point?

Quote - markjensen said @ #6.14

[*] Linux is ready for my desktop.
[*] Linux is user-friendly enough for my wife, and my kids (currently aged 5 - 12) to use without "training".
[*] It supports a User Interface.
[/list]Now, what was your point?

Probably that, surprisingly enough, you're not everybody and, in fact, you're a *really* small minority.

And that you probably need to get yourself and your family outdoors more often...

Quote - Emphatic said @ #6.15
Probably that, surprisingly enough, you're not everybody and, in fact, you're a *really* small minority.

And that you probably need to get yourself and your family outdoors more often...

I never claimed I was everybody. I was replying to the blanket statement that "But we also cannot say that Linux is desktop-ready or user-friendly or supports UI.". Come on, "supports UI"???

Finally, what the hell are you doing making a personal attack on my family? What the **** do you know about me? Nothing. The fact that you resort to an ad-hominem attack against my character shows a lack of ability to discuss reasonably. I happen to be very active wtih my kids, in football and cub scouts and "outdoor" things like camping in the mountains. So take your bull**** "concerns" and intrusive personal aspersions elsewhere.

Quote - Emphatic said @ #6.15
And that you probably need to get yourself and your family outdoors more often...

No. It just means that his family is much more capable (and most likely more intelligent) than you are.

BTW, markjensen, there's no need to show any proof to people like him. Don't be so overprotective. But now, at least we know now that Emphatic is a complete moron.

Who's extorting who here?

If your company spent billions on R&D and this community group just took your ideas and implemented them in their own software wouldn't feel the same way? Why should you have to spend all the R&D money while someone else takes your ideas?

I'm not saying that's the case here, I'm saying if it IS the case, wouldn't you at least see where they are coming from?

Quote - C_Guy said @ #5.4
Who's extorting who here?

If your company spent billions on R&D and this community group just took your ideas and implemented them in their own software wouldn't feel the same way? Why should you have to spend all the R&D money while someone else takes your ideas?

I'm not saying that's the case here, I'm saying if it IS the case, wouldn't you at least see where they are coming from?

Ok. Let's play out this line of reasoning... Took what ideas? Microsoft isn't saying.

However they are specifically saying that Linux does infringe. Correct?

They are stating that they want compensation without justification.

What do you call that?

Sorry I should have clarified my post.

I said 'IF' it was the case...meaning IF Microsoft can detail (and then prove) that there's actually infringement here. If they are making claims and pointing fingers with no proof and, worse, no details, then Linux users should just ignore them.

If Microsoft went to court with no proof and no evidence of infringement the judge would laugh at them. I'm hoping there is substantial evidence to back up their claim. If not, then it's amusing to watch because in America, you believe in "innocent until proven guilty" so Microsoft can accuse all they want but with no proof and no claim they have no case.

Quote - C_Guy said @ #5.4
Who's extorting who here?

If your company spent billions on R&D and this community group just took your ideas and implemented them in their own software wouldn't feel the same way? Why should you have to spend all the R&D money while someone else takes your ideas?

I'm not saying that's the case here, I'm saying if it IS the case, wouldn't you at least see where they are coming from?

MS has been "implementing" others ideas since they started.

If they can prove it, say so.. otherwise it's just FUD.

What "innovations" is Ballmer talking about?

quote of the day:

...because there's so many customers who say, 'Hey look, we don't want problems. We don't want any intellectual property problem or anything else. There's just a variety of workloads where we, today, feel like we want to run Linux. Please help us Microsoft and please work with the distributors to solve this problem, don't come try to license this individually.'

It is probably patents that cover software look and feel. This all could have been avoided if in Gnome and KDE the "X" for closing the window was in the middle of the title bar, and the title bar was at the bottom of the window instead of the top.

Seriously, I bet it is crap like that that Microsoft is considering their intellectual property.

Maybe it's that Microsoft doesn't want anyone else to put the DELETE option right next to the RENAME option in the right click menu. That has got to be the WORST GUI decision EVER!!!

Quote - excalpius said @ #4.2
Maybe it's that Microsoft doesn't want anyone else to put the DELETE option right next to the RENAME option in the right click menu. That has got to be the WORST GUI decision EVER!!!

That is pretty bad. No "move" confirmation is what infuriates me the most. We are currently battling this problem on our file servers at work. With a bunch of users accessing the same folder structure and needing full rights to it, the user error increases. Accidentally moving a folder into another is a very bad problem and so easy to do. Especially if you are on a laptop with a touch pad mouse.

I'm with Microsoft 100% but only if they are going to get specific about what the violations are. How can the Linux community remove these supposed infringments if Microsoft won't detail what they are?

An how and the hell can microsoft sell out to novell just because of this thing? When Novell and Microsoft been working together for so many years now it's not funny..

Novel's Netware Networking Infrastructure and Microsoft's Windows Domain Networking Infrastructure have been in direct competition all the way back to the NT days.

Quote - markjensen said @ #2.1
When they have been working together for so many years?

Like their working together in 2004? http://news.com.com/Novell+sues+Microsoft+..._3-5450285.html
or in 2001? http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_..._16/ai_79171590
maybe back in 1999? http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=20136

What on earth do you mean? They are not, nor have ever been buddies. They are adversaries; make no bones about it. :laugh:

That doesnt rule out working together. Intel and AMD are a great example. They license technologies from one another but are happy to also sue the other when given the chance. Business is a funny relationship thats for sure.

Quote - markjensen said @ #1.1

What on earth do you mean? They are not, nor have ever been buddies. They are adversaries; make no bones about it. :laugh:

Maybe it's because they are businesses, not perfect, but not school children either...

"We've had an issue, a problem that we've had to confront, which is because of the way the GPL (General Public License) works, and because open-source Linux does not come from a company -- Linux comes from the community -- the fact that that product uses our patented intellectual property is a problem for our shareholders. We spend $7 billion a year on R&D, our shareholders expect us to protect or license or get economic benefit from our patented innovations."
Or, if Microsoft believes patents are violated, they could legally request/demand that these specific violations be removed.

Unless spreading more B.S. is what he really wants to do...

Mmmm... Yes. Because your observations here are non-existent up to now, with the exception of a lone sarcastic remark with no content.

Thank you for posting. (See? Two can be dismissive! )

I'm in total agreement, Mark. If there are patent violations, point 'em out so they can be removed or rewritten. This is MS FUD if ever I've seen it, and I don't even use Linux. MS is suspect. Show us the code, Ballmer, or stfu.

Yeah, when it looks like FUD and smells like FUD, I'm pretty sure it is FUD.

It's the old SCO crap all over again, just out of Microsoft's butt this time. The least they can do is tell which of the properties they're talking about. SCO eventually tried to. Then we got a good laugh.

They never should have put Ballmer in charge, he's a moron.

But yeah, in the case of Linux, it never has to come to court, if they are using your IP, tell them to stop using it, it will be changed to not use the IP, all this "we are going to take people to court" is just to scare potential Linux users (by users i mean corporations).

When ballmer said 'interoperability two things came to mind, which arent exactly linux-centric but highly -supported- by the linux crowd. Namely, SAMBA and MYSQL. MYSQL is the harder of the two to really theorise about, the name and the methodology is similar, but is that where the similarity ends?

Hmmm, look I don't know if MS has patents or not, but the blanket defence that it's ok unless your caught doing it seems an odd one - of course it is the reasoning behind why companies do have to go over IP violations even in what seems harmless cases (like companies shutting down mod projects using IP). But still saying; hey we *may* have nicked your stuff or copied it or accidentally used it somehow... why don't you look through a few million lines of code and counless assets and let us know and we'll redo that (without compensation) seems a bit crazy.

C'est la vie I guess.

Well, it's easier for MS to go through the code and say "Yeah, we own this", than for the Linux guys to go looking through and asking MS for each and every bit of code if MS owns it (since MS haven't said that Linux is apparently violating)