Conspiracy theory: A tricky standards game for Microsoft? (Rik van Riel)
Microsoft's patent agreements with Linux distributors may have less to do with patents than with Office "standards," suggests Rik van Riel.
Rik has some interesting speculation as to what Microsoft's patent/interoperability agreements might be designed for:
The game goes like this: On the one hand, suggest that Linux might infringe on some of [Microsoft's] patents. On the other hand, pay a few Linux distributions [SUSE, Linspire, Xandros] to integrate a technology (OOXML) that people think actually infringes on Microsoft's patents. That makes it easier to convince other people to pay up. Vendors that do not sign agreements will not be compatible with Microsoft documents - which is the one thing that actually impacts end users.
I had never thought of Microsoft's patent FUD as being related to Office, but there may be something to Rik's musings....