Microsoft continues to prey upon the overly cautious with patent deals

Microsoft has yet to close one of its patent deals with the weak-kneed of the earth.

Apparently Microsoft has a thing for conservative Japan. Just when I thought Microsoft had closed patent cross-licensing deals with every Japanese firm ever to have considered corporate existence, Microsoft surprises me with a deal with Onkyo .

So far Microsoft's list includes the needy (the various second-rate Linux distributions and Novell, which is a first-class Linux distribution with second-class aspirations of how to build on its technical merit) and the overly cautious (Japanese and Korean electronics companies for whom it's easier to just pay rather than try to figure out whether Microsoft's machinations are worthy). Microsoft might consider this a Very Good Start, but to me it looks like a Very Poor End to Microsoft's attempts to afflict the world with its dubious patent-rattling.

Just give up on this quest, Microsoft. There are far better ways to make money. You've demonstrated that you understand these other means. You've also demonstrated that you can win without having to FUD the planet into submission.

Well, many of you Microsofties have learned. Your fearless leader, Steve Ballmer, has not. At Accel Capital's recent CEO day for its portfolio company, Steve Ballmer again threatened the open-source world from his bully pulpit. Thundering down from his false Sinai, Ballmer berated open source for "stealing his IP." As ever, no proof. No constructive dialogue. Just wild ejaculations of innuendo and hypocrisy.

Microsoft has better things to do than to blanket the world with these needless, heedless patent agreements. It could try competition. It's failing miserably in new markets while trying to force the world to stick with its old markets. That's understandable, but it won't help Microsoft to remain relevant in an open-source, Googlified world.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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