OK, I have to acknowledge that just possibly there are more than four words to be said on the eve of the war that Microsoft is (apparently) about to launch against the whole technology industry.

Greg Papadopoulos considers the question Are Software Patents Useful? at some length, ending up at what feels like a sensible end-point. What really grabbed my eye, though, was our General Counsel Mike Dillon’s Cautiously Optimistic, which starts out with specifics about who’s suing us, the kind of territory that most lawyers won’t go near in public. Mike’s piece is about legal tactics and business realities, and I like it a lot.

And I must admit that I’ve also emitted voluminous prose on the subject: see Patent Theory and Patents and Linux, both from 2004 but still relevant.

Oh, and by the way: Microsoft should litigate or shut up.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Michael Neale (May 14 2007, at 20:47)

I have to slightly object with your wording.

It should be : "Litigate, or shut the **** up."


From: Tony Fisk (May 14 2007, at 23:13)

I must be further out of touch than I thought. The first I heard of 'Mt. Redmond' showing signs of seismic activity was your 'four word letter'. It wasn't until I read Groklaw going on about the bogeyman this morning that the penny dropped.

I gather that this patent stuff could be as big as.. well.. as big as Vista!

To paraphrase the old saying: "He who slings FUD, loses round"


From: Dalibor Topic (May 14 2007, at 23:18)

I don't think that one needs to wait on Microsoft to do one thing or another. By today's act, they've put themselves out of civilized society and declared themselves as the largest litigation threat to the purses of many of their customers. That's a sure a death warrant for a company of any size, as Darl McBride knows.

There is only one problem, though. Microsoft is huge, it has a lot of cash. In order to facilitate a quick downsizing of Microsoft to no longer being a threat (i.e. the size of SCO today), it will be necessary to turn downsizing Microsoft into a global business for local IT companies and legal experts in their jurisdictions, attracted by the chance of getting their fair share of that cash Microsoft is sitting upon.

The last thing Microsoft wants is actually going to court. Well, let them be forced go to courts globally to defend themselves against counterattacks like libel, anti-trust and copyright infringement suits, injunctions, etc. in hundreds of global jurisdictions for billions of dollars. More than a couple of those will get through each year, until Microsoft's cash purse is empty, and each victory will be welcomed by governments around the world, never mind the participating law firms.

Putting Microsoft out of business has been turned into a viable global business by Ballmer today. Thank you, Steve, for ruining Microsoft. I give them 5 years to go, once the downsizing community gets established.


From: John Cowan (May 14 2007, at 23:36)

How about a compromise, keeping both the four-word and the four-letter nature: "Either sue or STFU." It even rhymes.


From: Ross (May 15 2007, at 01:24)

All of those attempts to make it look like it was a new, fluffy nice Microsoft wasted in an instant - it must be time for Ballmer to leave.

And I can't help wondering whether Sun will join in to defend against the accusations that OpenOffice infringes on 45 of Microsoft's patents? Does Microsoft really think it can take on (either verbally or legally) all of those big companies that use OSS?


From: Anonymous Coward (May 15 2007, at 01:54)

I realised patents were bullshit when I pulled an idea out of my ass, put in the application and the only reason it didn't get filed was because we already had a patent on the idea...


From: Jay Carlson (May 16 2007, at 22:20)

Are those four words "404 File Not Found"?

I actually saw a car at the Burlington Mall five years ago with the license plate "404 FNF".

On reflection, the MA plate was green, meaning it way predated toyota.com. And vanity plates can't start with a number in MA. A shame.


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