Ubuntu Founder Does Not See Microsoft as a Patent Treat

OK, full disclosure, I think Microsoft is evil. OK, now that we have that out of the way, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu Linux, is willing to cut them some slack.

Microsoft is not the real threat

Much has been written about Microsoft’s allegation of patent infringements in Linux (by which I’m sure they mean GNU/Linux.) I don’t think Microsoft is the real threat, and in fact, I think Microsoft and the Linux community will actually end up fighting on the same side of this issue… And I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents. Why? Because Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity. They can’t sit on the sidelines of the software game – they actually have to ship new products. And every time they do that, they risk stepping on a patent landmine. They are a perfect target – they have deep pockets, and they have no option but to negotiate a settlement, or go to court, when confronted with a patent suit. Microsoft already spends a huge amount of money on patent settlements (far, far more than they could hope to realize through patent licensing of their own portfolio). That number will creep upwards until it’s abundantly clear to them that they would be better off if software patents were history. In short, Microsoft will lose a patent trench war if they start one, and I’m sure that cooler heads in Redmond know that.”

We’ll see. I think Microsoft is pretty much just spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) right now… will they continue to listen to the “Dark Side?” I say… probably!

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