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On Retaliations, Extortions, and Protection Rackets

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents at 12:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we witnessed another example where Microsoft makes no specific claims on Linux, but nonetheless, it requests its share of ‘protection money’ for what it calls “Linux-based products”. This time, Samsung is the company to be named and shamed. The deal with Novell might differ in terms of scale. Nevertheless, it’s an equally-appalling deal. Neither Novell nor Samsung actually own Linux, so ‘admission of guilt’ is completely and utterly out of place. Samsung is not even based in the United States where software patents have validity.

We would like to present a few examples which we have not mentioned before. They show that such acts of bullying, retaliation, and extortion are merely part of a long-lasting pattern. Last week, Intel introduced a Linux-based ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC). The following day, the New York Time seemed to have hinted at a sudden change of heart.

That software effort does not have the support of Mr. Otellini, who is concerned about incurring Microsoft’s wrath, the executive said. The two companies have a long history of tension over who controls the hardware and software direction of the “Wintel standard.” Intel has said it is supporting both operating systems.

It appears as though plans have changed as a result of this. It’s reminiscent of what happened with Lenovo when it would introduce Linux-preloaded laptops last year. While this may not seem so serious, let us look at another old E-mail from Microsoft, brought to you by the Comes vs. Iowa case which, according to some breaking news, led to settlement with Microsoft software coupons (the same ol’ ‘funny money’ settlement).

[Microsoft:] so as long as they continue such attacks on us, i cannot give them win95 beta, they are NOT just another oem.

So there you go. Even in the past, Microsoft used its corporate power to scare or ‘punish’ other companies. What about Dell, who have just introduced PCs with Ubuntu GNU/Linux preloaded? (last night they also restored Windows XP options, at Vista’s expense)

These are old articles which show that time after time Microsoft played the ‘bully card’ in order to get its way. It would be unsurprising if Samsung came under pressure by Microsoft. There is little or no reason to suspect that Samsung approached Microsoft and sought coverage for its use of Linux.

We may never know what is happening behind the scenes, but last year, before Novell entered collaboration with Microsoft, Ron Hovsepian who is now CEO said the following:

“Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux”, according to Novell Inc president and COO, Ron Hovsepian.

The link to this article is now broken, but I have my local copy of this statement.

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Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Mike said,

    April 20, 2007 at 10:13 am


    It’s here:


  2. Jim Zim said,

    April 20, 2007 at 12:20 pm


    For the love of god, please get rid of the animated favicon!

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