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Microsoft fueling Intellectual Ventures, OpenOffice, and other conspiracy theories

Microsoft is at the center of two new conspiracy theories.

I read OStatic's review of a stripped-down, speedy version of OpenOffice on Tuesday - Go-oo - with considerable interest.

Go-oo is a fork of OpenOffice version 2.4, for Windows and Linux. It doesn't include some of the features found in OpenOffice 3.0 but it is much faster, and includes some compatibility features that can be handy to have around even if you primarily use the OpenOffice suite...[T]here are several ways to run both, which makes a lot of sense.

I was just about to download and try it out, as it sounds like a useful fork to OpenOffice, when I happened across comments like this below the post:

Maybe I'm off-base, but it looks to me like MS-infected OOo. It's coming from Novell (which I refuse to use), and is paid for by MS-license fees.

From this and other commentators, I gather that Go-oo is being positioned by some as a devious plot from Microsoft to undermine OpenOffice.org. (Cue wicked laughter.) It's not the first time that Novell and Microsoft have been cast as the villains in the OpenOffice debate, but it just seems a bit silly to me.

Of more concern was the TechFlash's news that Bill Gates, Craig Mundie, and other top current and past Microsoft officials make a regular pilgrimage to the patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, to feed it ideas which it turns into patents. Regardless of what one thinks about patents, shouldn't Microsoft be feeding itself with patents, not another company? In other words, shouldn't it be the patent troll?

The commentary on Slashdot is sharp and at times highly insightful. Could Microsoft be feeding Intellectual Ventures ideas that it, in turn, can bludgeon Microsoft's competitors with? It's a stretch, but perhaps not as much of one as would first appear. Intellectual Ventures can pick fights - perhaps with open source? - that are politically nettlesome for Microsoft.

I don't believe that Microsoft is the source of all evil in the software world. Even if it were, it could find more efficient ways to wreak havoc than through OpenOffice (which has its own issues) and Intellectual Ventures.