HP feared MS open source patent offensive

A memo sent two years ago by Gary Campbell expressed concerns that Microsoft would use its patents to shut down open source. Gary didn't waste any time in warning open source projects like Samba, Wine, KDE, Gnome, Apache, Sendmail, and Linux. Can Hewlett Packard be in two places at once? As of right now Hewlett Packard is one of Microsoft's closest partners, but at the same time Hewlett Packard is support open source.

A senior executive at Hewlett Packard two years ago expressed fears that Microsoft would use its patent portfolio to close down the company's open source efforts. The concerns were expressed in a June 2002 memo by Gary Campbell, and HP confirmed their authenticity to Newsforge's Joe Barr.

"Basically Microsoft is going to use the legal system to shut down open source software, and for all of its cleverness, the GPL makes it fairly easy unless a white knight steps in," wrote Campbell. He warned that Samba, Wine, KDE, Gnome, Apache, Sendmail, and the Linux kernel itself are not covered by HP's cross-licensing agreements. Recipients of the memo included software chiefs then and now - Peter Blackmore and Nora Denzil, respectively - and HP's CTO, Shane 'Prince of Darkness' Robinson. Campbell worried that HP's cross-licensing agreement did not protect the company from patent litigation on IP filed after June 2001.

News source: The Register

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