TomTom suit suggests Microsoft’s still Microsoft

 

                               

The more that Microsoft’s patent lawsuit against (and subsequent settlement with) TomTom simmers in my consciousness, the more I want to boil.

I gave Microsoft the benefit of the doubt early on: I know a few of the Microsoft personnel involved in the case, and I think that they’re wonderful people of integrity and intelligence.

They’re also fiercely competitive, and it’s becoming apparent to me that the TomTom lawsuit was designed to bludgeon one of Microsoft’s biggest competitors, Linux; it was not any serious attempt to protect its intellectual property.

The Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin captures my sentiments well:

In the last several days, Microsoft has shown that despite claims of acquiring a newly found respect for open principles and technology, developers should be cautious in believing promises made by this “new” Microsoft.

When it counts, it appears that Microsoft still actively seeks to undermine those technologies or standards that are truly open, especially when those technologies pose a significant threat to (its) business.

Microsoft can rightly complain that it’s a prisoner of the same patent system that it wields as a cudgel. But I don’t believe in using the legal system to give someone–anyone–the edge in a product-driven marketplace. If Microsoft has to compete with lawyers against Linux instead of with product line managers, it should simply pay out a massive dividend and close up shop.

Microsoft is a better company than this. Unfortunately, its recurring rash of legal cunning against open source is getting stale. I want to believe that Microsoft can change. As Zemlin suggests, however, perhaps this leopardreally can’t change its spots.

Microsoft is asking the world to judge it by its actions. That’s what we’re doing, and Microsoft loses that case.

2 Responses

  1. This wasn’t so much an attack on TomTom, but rather linux itself. Software vendors in the future will need to be careful how they mix their packages.

  2. “Microsoft is asking the world to judge it by its actions. That’s what we’re doing, and Microsoft loses that case.” – this is so true. Microsoft is still a well regarded company and as much as I am a Mac guy, I honor the place where their use of Alex+Bogusky meets with my love for tv commercials.

    “Software vendors in the future will need to be careful how they mix their packages.” — they should have been careful in the past.

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