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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert Mullins

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?