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Related Topics: Intellectual Property in Silicon Valley

IP: Article

Ballmer Calls Red Hat a Patent Infringer

I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has gotten a lot of people's knickers in a twist by saying that Red Hat users owes Microsoft patent payments.

He dropped the nugget during a Q&A last week in England captured on tape and put on the Internet.

He was talking about how open source products "have an obligation to participate in the same way in the intellectual property regime" as commercial companies with their hefty R&D budgets and patent licenses. Then - after praising Novell for its open source-scandalizing patent indemnification deal with Microsoft - he uttered the words: "People [who] use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to eventually compensate us."

It was the first time Red Hat, the "no-patent-deal-ever" market leader, was publicly singled out like that as a patent infringer, but it's consistent with Microsoft's position that Linux and some of the other open source widgetry infringe 235 of its patents.

Ballmer then went on to say: "There are plenty of other people who may also have intellectual property. And every time an Eolas comes to Microsoft and says 'Pay us,' I suspect they also would like to eventually go to the open source world. So getting what I'll call an intellectual property interoperability framework between the two worlds I think is important."

Ballmer also said, "I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows."

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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Most Recent Comments
Chris 10/12/07 03:04:30 PM EDT

Does anyone even know what the 235 infringements are? It's been a while since I looked at this stuff, but I had read that MS never said what the problems were. If that's the case it just sounds like posturing to me, for what is the million dollar question.

All open source innovation happen on top of Windows meaning what? That Open source all goes to the Windows platform? To what end? That just sounds like a strange statement to me. Of course MS wants as much market share as it can get but Ballmer's not dumb by any stretch of the imagination, surely he knows there will always be different OS for different applications, environments, etc.

Microsoft News Desk 10/12/07 12:32:46 PM EDT

Ballmer then went on to say: 'There are plenty of other people who may also have intellectual property. And every time an Eolas comes to Microsoft and says 'Pay us,' I suspect they also would like to eventually go to the open source world. So getting what I'll call an intellectual property interoperability framework between the two worlds I think is important.' Ballmer also said, 'I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.'