Summary: Melco’s submissive surrender to Microsoft extortion has immediate negative effect on business
WHEN Melco met Microsoft they decided to have a little racket going by letting Linux vendors suffer while they get their secret protection deal signed. Melco Holdings was one among several, but unlike TomTom for example, it did not dispute Microsoft’s claims and revealed nothing about patents — if any — that Microsoft claimed privilege for. This is what makes Melco selfish and truly damaging to the Free software which it is exploiting. As Information Week puts it in an article about Melco, Microsoft has nothing… nothing that it is willing to show. It only barks and then extorts, even if it is toothless.
The Linux community has argued that their OS does not violate any patents, and has challenged Microsoft to publicly specify exactly which patents it believes are at issue. To date, Microsoft has declined to do so.
Jay Lyman, mostly an advocate of GNU/Linux, spins the whole thing as a partly positive development, but it is wishful thinking.
Supporters of Linux and open source should be able to take the compliment, the validation and the opportunity without alarms going off every time an organization that touches Linux or open source is involved in IP licensing or litigation. After all, tell me, what enterprise organization doesn’t touch open source software in some way today? This is further validation that Linux and open source have arrived and are here to stay.
Microsoft has not specifically disclosed which patents it is licensing to Melco – which is a cause for concern in my opinion.
As opposed to the TomTom incident where Microsoft exposed which patents it had issues with, in this new deal with Buffalo we don’t know. As such it could be any one or a number of patents that Microsoft has claimed that open source infringes on.
Eruaran remarks: “Send Ballmer and his execs [should go] to jail. That’s what you’re supposed to do with extortionists.”
‘Max Stirner’ writes: “I am truly disgusted. I didn’t buy a buffalo router with Linux to pay [...] MS!”
“Sad to say, I won’t be buying any more Buffalo products.”
–SB‘SB’ writes: “I have a router that is Buffalo and also some of their USB wifi and all of it works excellent with Linux. Sad to say, I won’t be buying any more Buffalo products. Any company that caves into MS extortion is setting a bad example for the FOSS community. And no, I don’t hate MS or hate Windows. They’re decent products and they have their place. But MS’s behaviour in trying to strong arm everyone to maintain their products dominance with frivolous threats of patent infringement is annoying and stifles innovation. If they really had a case they would have sued every linux vendor and distro a long time ago.”
By signing a patent deal with Microsoft, Melco has already lost business. Who is next to do so and end up out of business (sold behind closed doors) like Linspire or virtually on life support like Novell? █