Forgive me, but I had to chuckle when I first saw this ZDNet piece. It seems Microsoft is switching tactics again because Red Hat doesn't want to play. Either that or CEO Steve Ballmer is bored and decided to toss around more threats.
But the threats appear to be a little different this time around. Blogger Mary Jo Foley says Ballmer is specifically calling out Red Hat. Quoting a story on vnunet.com, she says:
"People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us," Ballmer said last week at a company event in London discussing online services in the UK.
Why single out the leading Linux distributor -- besides the fact that Matthew Szulik's company has adamantly refused to sign patent protection agreements with Microsoft thus far? Foley suggests the following:
Ballmer hinted that Eolas -- the company that sued Microsoft for browser patent violations and won a settlement with the Redmondians -- might be the kind of company to go after Linux and open-source vendors for patent violations. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I can't help but wonder if one of the terms in the Eolas-Microsoft settlement might specify that Eolas lodge a patent lawsuit against Red Hat or other open-source vendor.
Maybe, but we've heard repeatedly that Microsoft's claims are not legally motivated. I think Ballmer's boredom is to blame.