Playing Microsoft Patent Poker

Opinion: Microsoft doesn't have the guts to directly attack Linux and open source with patent lawsuits, so it's resorting to using puppet companies again.

Its become an annual event. Steve Ballmer shoots his yap about how Linux and open source violate Microsoft patents. The open-source community says, "OK, show us your cards, your patents," and Ballmer shuts up for six months or so.

This time around, though, Microsofts FUD campaign is playing out in a different way. First, Ballmer, Microsofts chief poobah says those nasty, old Linux and open-source developers are still violating Microsofts precious IP (intellectual property). What property?

Come on, by my count, this is the fourth time Ballmers made the exact same claims, and not once has Microsoft produced even a solid accusation, much less any proof. And, for the fourth time, the open-source community has asked Ballmer to show his cards, and once more, rather than show his hand, for all intents and purposes, he folds.

This time though, while Ballmer slinks away to try to con … convince people that Microsoft Unified Communications somehow offers people more than what Ciscos VOIP (voice over IP) been offering customers for years, a patent attack finally launches at Linux. Specifically, IP Innovation, a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies Group, has filed a patent infringement claim against Linux distributors Novell and Red Hat.

So was it just timing, or was it something more? Lets take a look at the players.

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