You had to know it was coming.
PC Advisor reports that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told an audience at the recent Pass (Professional Association for Sequel Server) Conference that the company crafted its much-discussed deal with Novell to get an economic return for the Microsoft code he says is used in Linux.
"Only customers that use SuSE [Linux] have paid properly for intellectual property from Microsoft," he says. In other words, other Linux users owe Redmond for the right to use that code, and the company will get its money somewhere. He noted that the Novell deal was not an exclusive one and that Microsoft was willing to negotiate similar deals with other Linux distributors.
In the words of Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, "Well, isn't that special?"
What Ballmer hasn't done so far, Groklaw.net's Pamela Jones told PC Advisor, is point out exactly which Microsoft patent(s) Linux infringes. She challenges him to do so, which will give the developers the chance to work around the problem code or "prove the patent invalid."
Novell maintains the deal was not the result of threatened infringement litigation.
Someone's not telling the truth.