Classic Microsoft FUD

FUD - Fear Uncertainty and Doubt - was a term initially coined to describe the practices of IBM, but has over recent years been applied almost exclusively to the way that Microsoft attempts to undermine its competitors, and in particular the Linux operating system.

Rather than making verifiable claims that can be challenged, Microsoft executives make vague statements that imply things without exactly spelling them out.  We had a classic example of this today, when Steve Ballmer said:
In a sense you could say anybody who has got Linux in their data center today sort of has an undisclosed balance sheet liability, because it's not just Microsoft patents. Because of the way open-source works, there's nobody who's been able to do patent coverage or patent indemnification behind that.

Now Steve Ballmer is clearly impying that Linux infringes Microsoft patents.  So why hasn't Microsoft ever said which patents exactly are being infringed?  Perhaps because Linux doesn't actual infringe any Microsoft patents?  Or because so many Microsoft patents are clearly unenforceable, given the prior art that the patent offices seemed not to notice in issuing the patents?

Read the full article here, and get a potted history of anti-Linux FUD here.

For more background on what a nice company Microsoft is, check out the Wikipedia entry on Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

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