European Resellers Caught in Lindows vs. Windows Crossfire

Microsoft is putting European resellers in the middle of its trademark battles with Lindows, and in Sweden, Microsoft is winning.

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Lindows isnt Windows. Apparently plain old folks dont know this, however, at least according to the City Court of Stockholm, Sweden. The court issued an injunction at Microsoft Corp.s request on Dec. 10, barring San Diego-based Inc. from marketing its LindowsOS operating system in Sweden.

In its declaration, the City Court "prohibits, for the time until the case has finally settled or anything else has been decided, to use Lindows, and LindowsOS, as marks for products or services regarding operative systems."

The injunction is the latest salvo in an increasingly nasty war in which Microsoft appears determined to quash the Lindows name permanently. "What were asking Lindows to do is to change its name," says Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler. "It is that put these [European] resellers in a compromising position by their deliberate infringement on our trademark." Chief Executive Officer Michael Robertson isnt one bit happy. "It is another example of Microsoft attempting to eradicate all competition through any means," Robertson told a group of European resellers. "While they say they invite competition, behind the scenes they seem willing to take any actions—including blatant extortion—to squash competition."

In November, resellers in the Netherlands got tangled up in their own Lindows skirmish. They cried foul after receiving telephone calls from Microsoft allegedly threatening them with possible legal action if they continued to sell the maverick, Linux-based operating system.

On Nov. 25, Dutch reseller Hans de Vries, owner of DV Computer Systems, informed Robertson that Microsoft was about to drag his company into litigation against the Lindows name in the Netherlands. "What I understand from that phone call is that they want that I stop selling Lindows OS computers," de Vries wrote in an e-mail message.

"I dont like this but when they are taking this to court and involve me then I must stop selling Lindows OS because I dont have the money for lawyers," de Vries continued.

An angry Robertson branded the threats as "blatant extortion" and responded by jetting to Amsterdam, kicking off a weeklong trip designed to support international resellers of LindowsOS who have, according to a statement, "endured harassment from Microsoft."

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