What were Microsoft Corp.'s (NASDAQ:MSFT) reasons for the recent agreement with Linux distributor, Novell, Inc. (NASDAQ:NOVL)? Could it be that Microsoft was just trying to find a "back door" to backhandedly ward off a threat from the company's server software competitor? As it is, many in the open-source community thought this may be true when the agreement was originally announced. Last week, with the comments from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, that thinking has been all but confirmed.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated last Thursday that he believes the Linux operating system infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property. The comments brought a torrential rainstorm of epic proportions from the web as bloggers and mainstream websites, among others, started dissecting what Ballmer's words meant. Within a few hours of Ballmer speaking, a plethora of answers from anti-Softie-ites swarmed the net.
In fact, Ballmer stated that Microsoft's motivation to sign a deal with SUSE Linux distributor Novell earlier this month was due to Novell's use of "our intellectual property." Microsoft also wanted to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation." This will not be the end of the Microsoft-Novell discussion at all.
Ballmer's words have lit a fire under Linux proponents in a surprising -- but not that unexpected -- tactic. My question is -- where are the specifics regarding Linux infringement on Microsoft's IP?
[Disclosure: I own MSFT shares as of 11-20-06]