In a move that should surprise nobody, Microsoft has played the patent card in its ongoing battle against open source software. As though this will make Vista an attractive alternative. Leaving aside the audacity of the move if any company has depended on copying others, it is Microsoft) the strategy depends not so much on actually having original intellectual property as it does on the threat of a huge software giant suing the competition. What Microsoft wants to d is create both risk and cost to the use of free software. As a business strategy the tactic may well work even though some heavyweights (such as IBM) are behind free software. But what Microsoft - and its customers - should understand is that the company is very deliberately acting against the public interest in order to improve its market position. Which means that its success will only be as far as its legal reach. Which - in the long run - will not be nearly enough. Just ask the RIAA.
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