Ballmer claims Red Hat violates Microsoft IP

Comments at London event echoes similar previous Linux threats

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says Red Hat Linux uses intellectual property owned by Microsoft and that Red Hat's customers should pay Microsoft for it.

Ballmer made the claim, an echo of earlier remarks aimed at the open source community, during a presentation at a Microsoft event last year in London.

"People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation eventually to compensate us," Ballmer stated, according to

Red Hat is also a founder of the Open Invention Network, which provides "a patent safe harbor for the Linux environment," Red Hat states.

Ballmer's remarks are "unfortunate," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. If Microsoft really believes Linux violates its patents, it should sue, but that by doing so, it'd be suing its own customers because many use both Microsoft and Linux in their IT systems.

"They have yet to actually make a specific allegation that an identified patent is infringed in a specific product. Until they do it, they'll just create more ill will in the development community and among their own customers, since by their own admission, most of them have both Microsoft and Linux running in their data centers," Zemlin says.

He urged Microsoft to help to reform the software patent system if it supports interoperability with open source. Microsoft entered into an agreement with open source Linux vendor Novell in November 2006 to improve interoperability with Windows and Novell SUSE Linux and protect Novell customers from intellectual property liability claims.

A Gartner research report says Microsoft's strategy is not to file suit but use the infringement claims as leverage to win other agreements like the one with Novell.

"We think the company will attempt to pressure technology providers to come to the table and negotiate an equitable licensing or royalty arrangement in instances where Microsoft can prove its claims of infringement," Gartner stated in response to a May 14 Fortune magazine article in which Microsoft claimed open source software violated 235 of its patents.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert Mullins

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?