Microsoft Threatens Lawsuits Over Linux

Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Steve Ballmer on Thursday warned Asian governments that they could face intellectual rights-infringement lawsuits for using rival open-source operating platforms such as Linux.

Ballmer, speaking in Singapore at Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum, said that Linux violated more than 228 patents. He did not provide any detail on the alleged violations, which the Linux community disputes. Singapore's Ministry of Defense last month switched 20,000 personal computers to run on open-source software instead of the Microsoft operating platform.

Ballmer commented that "Someday, for all countries that are entering the WTO (World Trade Organization), somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property."

The Chinese government, in particular, sees its reliance on Microsoft as a potential threat. Conspiracy buffs believe certain patches in the Windows code might give U.S. authorities the power to access Chinese networks and disable them, possibly during a war over Taiwan.

News source: Reuters

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