Beat the Drum

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-11-21 Print this article Print

Before entering into a patent agreement, Microsoft said it also did due diligence on the other companys patent portfolio as well as on its own. "We look at it first by just characterizing the portfolio under rough technical buckets like, say, rights management. We then also do claim analyses and drill down on third-party patents in the products," he said.
But, at some level, companies make a decision to either live each day in a room with a bunch of patent attorneys and parse every line of code that developers wrote, or "we can all just get out of one anothers way and go solve customer problems," he said.
However, in an attempt to play down the perception that Microsoft is a voracious patent litigator, Kaefer noted that the company had just asserted one patent lawsuit in its history. "There is a certain reality to our behavior that people need to view in the context of this relationship with Novell," he said. "We continue to beat the drum that sharing patents is the way to do it, but you have to find creative ways to share them when there are different models with different goals. The nature of the structure of the agreement we have struck with Novell is different precisely because of the need to respect things like the General Public License and the community development model," he said. From Novells perspective, John Dragoon, its senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said it is also important to note that the patent indemnification between the two companies is only extended to their mutual customers, and does not prevent Novell from suing Microsoft over patent infringement or vice versa. Industry reaction has been mixed to the Microsoft-Novell agreement. Click here to read more. Asked how Novell plans to deal with, and put right, the fallout from the deal in the Linux and open-source community, Dragoon said the open-source community "was, is and remains important to Novell. I do take exception on behalf of the companys employees who have spend their lives making contributions to the community that we have somehow sold out," he told eWEEK in an interview. Novell in fact saw the deal as advancing the cause of Linux and open source and putting this platform on the same footing as Microsofts [Windows] and giving it a fair chance from a technical and business perspective to compete and interoperate. "Most clients have been asking us to do that," he said. Next Page: "Brutal" feedback.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel