Microsoft vs. Linux: FUD or a Warning Shot?

News Analysis: How serious are Microsoft's patent threats? Analysts, lawyers and executives give their views. (Linux-Watch)

Is Microsofts reviving of its patent threats against open source and Linux really something serious to worry about? Or is it a case of deja vu all over again and will Steve Ballmers patent saber rattling come to nothing? Lets see what analysts and "experts" think.

Red Hats IP (intellectual property) team, smelling smoke and fearing fire, stated, "Red Hat has led and continues to lead the open-source industry in promoting innovation and making free and open-source software easier to consume.

"This includes providing our clients [with] the most comprehensive open-source intellectual property protections through our Open Source Assurance program. Our confidence in our technology and protections for customers remains strong and has not wavered."

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about Microsofts recent statements regarding patent conflicts with open source.

With that reassuring note for nervous customers out of the way, representatives of the leading Linux company also said, "The reality is that the community development approach of free and open-source code represents a healthy development paradigm, which, when viewed from the perspective of pending lawsuits related to intellectual property, is at least as safe as proprietary software.

"We are also aware of no patent lawsuit against Linux. Ever. Anywhere."

One Wall Street insider, however, said he thinks the threat alone may be enough to damage the Raleigh, N.C., company. He said, "In the immediate term, this [Dell-Microsoft-Novell deal] has to further affect Red Hat unit pricing [as long as Dell can get more certificates at a comparable margin] and extend sales cycles, as customers have to do due diligence. Staying on the sales cycles front, [Microsofts] move today extends those further."

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