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Microsoft

Microsoft Improves Its Licensing Terms 309

prostoalex writes "Microsoft offers to pick up the legal tab, in case anyone gets pulled to court for using its products. News dot com dot com has a rather informative outline of new policies: Microsoft will cover unlimited expenses on injury and infringement claims, the company quadrupled the warranty on its products to a 12-month length, and the companies audited for licensing compliance will now get a 30-day warning instead of 15-day one."
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Microsoft Improves Its Licensing Terms

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  • by microbob ( 29155 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:32AM (#6511083)
    Where is coverage for security issues?

    M.B.
    • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:52AM (#6511308) Journal
      Now, assume SCO tells us:
      Hey, we claim that Windoze contains SCOde, so you gotta pay us $1,500 per license to avoid litigation...

      Now, reading this:

      In older contracts, Microsoft agreed to pay all legal fees for volume license customers who got sued because of Microsoft, but only up to the value of the software they bought.

      But, my Corporate license was offered at a price of $120 per seat. So there's still a loss of $1,300 per seat, even if MS foots the bill!! Very clever, typical MS.

      -
      • But, my Corporate license was offered at a price of $120 per seat. So there's still a loss of $1,300 per seat, even if MS foots the bill!! Very clever, typical MS.

        I'm sure if you asked for the old licence terms, they'd be happy to give them to you.

        It's definately not perfect, but it's better than what it was.

      • You can still find traces of *nix lying around in Windows. To find one bit of it try this.
        Start "cmd" (that's the old DOS-windows)
        type: nslookup
        type: help

        Near the bottom of that page You can see something saying "view FILE - sort an 'ls' output file and view it with pg".

        While it can be argued that the 'ls' that they refer to is nslookup's ls, (as shown in the help-file) there is no such tool for "pg", hence it must be Unix "pg" as nslookup was borrowed from *BSD.

        Now, does this mean that Windows contain U
      • There's more to it than that.
        The M$ lawyers haven't been able to win a law suit lately. First SQL server, now this whole copy protection thing on XBOX that came up a couple weeks ago.

        Microsoft is in deep trouble for flagrant patent violations (regardless as to what you think of patent laws in the US). And with companies threatening to sue their user base, there was really nothing else they could have done. Oh, and it gives them something to fling at Linux. hah hah.

      • Nothing special there. Most software products, if they have a warranty, are only covered up to the cost of the software. So, if you installed IE, got opened up to all kinds of viruses, and sued MS, they would give you a cheque with the grand sum of $0. To their credit, Red Hat (or any other distro) would be obliged to do the same for any customers that had a free (as in beer) copy of their OS, as well. If you had a paid version of either OS, the cheques would be slightly larger.

        What is new is that MS i
      • by donutello ( 88309 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @12:33PM (#6512359) Homepage
        Geez, is reading really becoming that hard? From the article:

        In older contracts, Microsoft agreed to pay all legal fees for volume license customers who got sued because of Microsoft, but only up to the value of the software they bought.

        Under the new provision, which took effect March 1, Microsoft removed the liability cap in intellectual property suits and altered other parts of the agreements that potentially expand its liability.
        (Emphasis mine)

        Now that wasn't that hard was it?
    • by linuxtelephony ( 141049 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @11:16AM (#6511555) Homepage
      This is a good way for M$ to get more (like they need it) free publicity and spread FUD at the same time.

      In a normal business agreement there is often a clause that indemnifies the parties from lawsuits as a result of the other party's whatever. Only in software licenses where the user generally gets mugged on paper (you have no rights, they all belong to sw company) does this often get neglected. I've seen some licenses where the user agrees to hold the sw maker harmless and pay for ALL sw maker's legal costs in a lawsuit (example, you use product X from company M in a medical device, something goes wrong, patient dies, patient family sues you and company M due to supposed defect in device, you get pay M's legal bills in that case [M does not mean M$, just a letter for an example]).

      M$ is just putting some of that standard language back. Most of all, it makes FUD arguments sound more legitimate. "Sure you save money up front on those open source programs, but what happens when SCO or the real authors of what's in that open source program comes knocking on your door demanding payment for your use of what was stolen from them? We are there for you. Our goal is to make you succeed. You don't have to worry about that problem with us, and in the unlikely event someone alleges impropriety and you end up in court with our product, you won't have to spend money on lawyers. We are here to protect you. Just sign right here."

      Now here's one for you. It seems I recall that people have pointed out a few GPL code violations, running "strings" on a few M$ Windows DLL and EXEs revealed some amazing things. Now we know they used BSD code, but if they did use GPL or other code that they were not free to "incorporate" into their products, now that M$ is taking this step, maybe it is time to start seeking to proove the thefts and target M$ customers like SCO is targetting Linux customers.
      • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:42PM (#6513011)
        running "strings" on a few M$ Windows DLL and EXEs revealed some amazing things.

        No, it doesn't. It reveals that MS has used some BSD code, like pretty much any other modern OS out there. This isn't even particularly interesting, much less amazing.

        Nobody has ever shown evidence that MS has ever violated the GPL. I rather doubt any will be found, simply because Microsoft is so scared of the GPL that they would rather reimplement a piece of code than take a chance of being caught. It amazes me how many people assume that Microsoft are evil GPL violaters, when it would make absolutely no sense for them to do so.
  • by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:34AM (#6511095) Homepage
    Interesting that they waited until after the days of Windows 9x to do this. ;)
  • by deego ( 587575 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:35AM (#6511104)
    > "Microsoft has a new sales pitch for Linux users: > Buy our software and stay out of court."

    Thank you microsoft. SCO and you have made me realize all the mess i was in, by using stolen products. I am dumping debian leenocks right NOW and swithcing to windows.
  • by Pastis ( 145655 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:35AM (#6511105)
    With the SCO suit, there's been a shift of attention : non open source companies assume legal risks for you, while open source software do not, thus explaining the difference in costs between the 2 types of offering.

    See also heated thread regarding Hibernate on www.theserverside.com.

  • It's about damn time Microsoft did something with their licensing agreements. Now all we need is for them to make their software less expensive. Of course, that'll happen when hell freezes over.
  • From the article:
    In older contracts, Microsoft agreed to pay all legal fees for volume license customers who got sued because of Microsoft, but only up to the value of the software they bought.

    What if I'd pirated the damn thing??

    -
    • If you pirated your copy, I doubt that MS will be paying YOUR legal bills. Just a thought...
      • But I was brought to Court for using Microsoft Products!!

        If I'd been pirating Linux, who would've brought me to court?? It's GPL and free already, right?

        -
    • Re:Oh Dear! ... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by coene ( 554338 )
      Well, the bigger question is this:

      If I buy Microsoft XP Pro for ~ $300, does that mean they will only cover $300 in legal costs? So, I get to sit down at the lawyers office, ask for my free bottle of water, and get about 3 sentences out of my mouth before the real clock starts...
  • Wow! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmetzler ( 12546 ) * <bmetzler.live@com> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:36AM (#6511117) Homepage Journal
    What can I say? I'm overwhelmed. Microsoft must be taking this SCO business seriously. They already have a SCO license.

    Notice that Microsoft limits their liability to actual lawsuits. Not bugs, or security holes, or any type of damages that you may assess running their software. In that case, you are still stuck.

    And I doubt even SCO is dumb enough to try to sue anyone because they are running MS software. That's to big of a opponent for them. :)

    -Brent
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by og_sh0x ( 520297 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:40AM (#6511157) Homepage
      I think Microsoft purchased a SCO license purely to feed the fire. A large company like Microsoft purchasing a SCO license will make their claims seem more valid in the public eye. It's more of a PR move than anything else.
    • One good thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HanClinto ( 621615 ) <hanclinto AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:45AM (#6511230)
      The Lindon, Utah-based company sued IBM over alleged misuse of its Linux code and sent letters to 1,500 Linux users warning of potential copyright infringement issues and other legal problems.

      With its new contract, Microsoft is effectively promising customers it will insulate them from those kind of messy legal problems.

      We all knew that Microsoft considered Linux a threat, but this is the first positive "captilalistic competitiveness" move I've seen on Microsoft's part. It seems that Linux is pushing Microsoft to improve its standards in order to compete more. That's one positive thing through this whole mess, Microsoft is actually forced to compete for our business now.

      --Clint

    • This quarter revenue: IBM - 21.8 billion, MSFT - 8.0
      Year '03 projection: IBM - 88.6, MSFT - 34.5

      Still, it would be insane to try to take on both at the same time.

  • What's the catch? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:36AM (#6511122) Homepage
    unlimited expenses on injury and infringement claims

    How will anyone be able to prove infringement if it's close source?

  • by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:38AM (#6511134) Homepage Journal
    ...LAWYERS... "The new provision will also give the company another weapon to take on Linux." They are basically offering to shoulder legal burdens from challengers, unlike those insurgent bands of Linux developers. But we all know that Microsoft "legally" steals its code like its TCP/IP stack, and not "illegally" like SCO alleges. In any case though, if it and IBM's role were reversed, SCO would have been bought months ago.
  • by icemax ( 565022 )
    Is that the smell of my Karma burning? Possibly because I'm about to say that this is great news from Redmond? Any movement in the right direction should be rewarded folks :)
    • I haven't read the article yet (I know), but it sounds like MS is just offering a standard third-party indemnity. If that is the case, I would hardly reward them for doing what (a) is no actual skin off their back, and (b) is industry standard.
      • 'The company also expanded its product warranties for licensing customers from 90 days to a year and expanded the minimum notice given to customers regarding software audits from 15 days to 30 days.'

        All I'm saying is we critisize microsoft on their draconian licensing, and when they change it for the better, they get criticized as well.
  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <giles.jonesNO@SPAMzen.co.uk> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:41AM (#6511172)
    Who says competition doesn't work? :)

    Microsoft buyout Linux like it could with smaller rivals.
  • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) * on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:42AM (#6511190) Homepage Journal
    This is a pretty smart, although probably not overly significant, maneuver on MS's part. It won't cost them very much at all, but gives them an advantage in dealing with those parties who usually aren't central to the software purchasing process, but can get in the way (legal staff, procurement specialists, etc.).

    I highly doubt this will impact their competitive stance against other systems, but what it could do is reduce the duration of the sales cycle, and thus help their overall performance as a company.
    • Yup, I think this is the first time I can think of legal *advantages* to using the most closed closed-source software.

      To me it doesn't seem like SCO has much of a case, but SCO suing random linux-using companies would really look bad for linux, whether or not SCO wins.

    • I highly doubt this will impact their competitive stance against other systems, but what it could do is reduce the duration of the sales cycle, and thus help their overall performance as a company.

      Huh... you sound as if all Corporate Buying Decisions were just waiting for this Great New License?? This won't reduce the sales cycle, it will simply reduce sales. Till date, none even suspected that buying MS products could result in litigation, now MS has gone and ADVERTISED IT ON SLASHDOT.

      Crazy!

      -
    • by MickLinux ( 579158 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:19PM (#6512758) Journal
      I have to say, whether this will cost Microsoft anything really depends on whether this change is retroactive.

      Because when Word98 for Mac was new, they included customer support as part of the sales package, but when I was getting mass document corruption, they specifically denied anything was happening, and said that what I said was happening wasn't. Later, it turned out they knew all along that this corruption was happening, but didn't fix the problems till after Word2000, if at all.

      If they had told me what was going on, I could have found a workaround. If they had accepted copies of the files for post-mortem examination, maybe we would have also found this out.

      This cost us and our business over $17000 in direct costs for their intentional denial of contractually required support, and over $11000 in further lost contracts.

      If this is retroactive, I will happily step up to the plate and request $38000. That, for one $100 piece of software+support that was negligently and inentionally not fulfilled.

      You probably can guess: As far as I am concerned, until they do pay off on that, Microsoft is still a liability.
  • "... and the companies audited for licensing compliance will now get a 30-day warning instead of 15-day one."

    In addition, they'll now only use 10,000V tasers while questioning the CTO about discrepancies, instead of the 50,000V ones

  • Read the fine print folsk its more FUD..

    they only pay costs that mount to full price of the software you bought..in other words you are stil screwed..
  • Clever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:46AM (#6511238) Homepage Journal
    Wow!

    One of the arguments regarding the SCO case has been that Linux users are at risk, but that's not any different than users of any other OS. To say that Linux is some kind of special exception, is just dishonest.

    Or rather, it was dishonest. But now MS is setting itself apart. Microsoft has found a way to use their most important asset (not technology, not their employees, not their products -- just their big fat wad of cash) to differentiate themselves from all the others.

    Also, this does something else. This is the first time I have ever heard of something in Microsoft EULAs that is actually for the user. Instead of take, take, take, the agreement would actually be something-for-something. To date, only a tiny fraction of their users actually bother to license their software. Most just buy it. But this could change that.

    The big question becomes: is this all bullshit? Are software users really liable for the behavior of third parties? When you put it that way, it seems ridiculous. But software has function -- it does stuff. If your computer does something in violation of some patent, it's your agent that is doing it, at your direction, on your behalf. Is it relevant that someone else gave the instructions on how to do it? I can look up a patent in a database and quote it to you, but if you then follow those directions that I gave you, you're the one who is violating the patent, not me.

    If this type of thinking were legitimized, it would be disasterous for the software industry. This is the first step toward making software something that can only be sold by megacorps, or bonded programmers, or something. Gates himself probably never would have been able to even get started, in an environment like that.

    • Are software users really liable for the behavior of third parties?

      Now, assume SCO alleges that HP put SCOde into Windows, and you, a Windows user has to pay $1,500 per UnixWare license to cover your arse. Now, what MS is saying is this:
      Microsoft agreed to pay all legal fees for volume license customers who got sued because of Microsoft, but only up to the value of the software they bought.

      In other words, even if MS pays you $200 per seat which is the cost of a Corporate license roughly, you're still
      • Did you bother actually reading the article, or just skimming to make it look like you did?

        The article clearly states that was the old way, under the new licenses/contracts Microsoft covers all your legal costs regardless of what you paid them in the first place.

      • From the article:

        n older contracts, Microsoft agreed to pay all legal fees for volume license customers who got sued because of Microsoft, but only up to the value of the software they bought.

        Under the new provision, which took effect March 1, Microsoft removed the liability cap in intellectual property suits and altered other parts of the agreements that potentially expand its liability.


        Microsoft has ALWAYS had this in their EULA, the only difference is that now the liability cap is no longer just up
    • Re:Clever (Score:3, Insightful)

      by noda132 ( 531521 )

      Or rather, it was dishonest.

      And this isn't? The article goes on to say, "Kremen could recall only one case where a plaintiff brought a copyright infringement action against Microsoft's customers rather than the multi-billion dollar company. (In that case, IBM and Microsoft actually picked up the defense anyway and obtained a verdict in favor of their customers)."

      In other words, this move of theirs costs them nothing. Not a penny. In my opinion, it's as coincidental as Microsoft's paying an undisclosed s

    • Re:Clever (Score:3, Insightful)

      by G-funk ( 22712 )
      But, if you build a vacuum cleaner that works like a dyson, and I buy it and clean my carpets with it, it's _your_ fault, not mine. It's not up to the consumer to worry about patents, or nobody would be able to use anything at all without fear of being sued for it.
  • from the article:

    Kremen could recall only one case where a plaintiff brought a copyright infringement action against Microsoft's customers rather than the multi-billion dollar company. (In that case, IBM and Microsoft actually picked up the defense anyway and obtained a verdict in favor of their customers).

    Neither Kremen nor Mark Bolender, senior attorney at Microsoft, could recall any cases where customer sued a Microsoft customer for software security breaches or personal injury relating to a Microsoft

  • by Pionar ( 620916 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:47AM (#6511256)
    So Microsoft will protect VOLUME licensees. That helps Joe Blow how?

    They upped their warranty to 12 months? Why is it only 12 months? Why shouldn't I be able to trust that the software will run correctly on the intended setup five years down the road? It's not like my car, where it degrades over time.

    Even the analyst News.com.com interviewed had questions on whether this event is monumental.

    Plus, MS is just using this to spread FUD over Linux. "If you get sued for our products, we'll protect you. Linux can't do that."
    • So Microsoft will protect VOLUME licensees. That helps Joe Blow how?

      Oh please. Joe Blow, who bought one copy of Windows for his PC, was never in danger of prosecution in the first place. It's not worth the time and effort to prosecute individual end users -- a single count of violation, each requiring a separate court case (sorry, class action suits do not work in reverse) in different jurisdictions? Yeah, right. Your lawyer fees will far eclipse any money you could hope to recoup.

      They upped their warr

    • It's not like my car, where it degrades over time.


      Hahah. Ever heard of Service Packs? ;)
  • Competition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dalcius ( 587481 ) <chrism3413+slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:48AM (#6511263)
    It's scary what a little competition can do to a monolithic company, isn't it?

    Linux and OSS. Like it or hate it, it's making Microsoft do more of its job. They can't buy it, they can't squash it, they're having trouble taking legal action against it and their FUD efforts aren't doing much good and are backfiring in their faces.
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:50AM (#6511295)
    A pretty nice jab in the side of IBM, if you ask me. Now, CIO's are going to be asking the question: If Microsoft will cover me legally for using their stuff, why wont you IBM folks do the same? There is NO good answer to that question; IBM will have to capitulate.

    Looks like SCO has got momentum now, and will Microsoft steering from the back seat, Linux might be in a wee bit of trouble in the hunt for marketshare.

    It's only going to get more interesting as the battle continues.

    • A recent posting on the Groklaw blog [weblogs.com] (see "SCO Can't Go After Statutory Damages or Atty's Fees" heading in the 7/22/03 section) states the US Copyright Office claims that SCO cannot go after statutory damages or attorney fees for any copyright infringement based on the most recent filing. They can only go after actual damages, which are very hard to prove in court.

      What are SCO's actual damages from someone using Linux who would never have bought any SCO product in the first place? I mean, if I downloaded
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @10:51AM (#6511301)
    Previously posted on /.
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/53/29419. html
  • There is no way MS would do anything at all in a non grasping manner.

    There has to be a hook.

  • This sure as heck makes SCO seem like some little buttboy oMicrosoft. SCO twists linux arm and MS pops up and assure that bad things like SCO dont happen to MS users.

    Strange indeed huh?
  • This agreement says nothing new at all. Why the fuck doesn't anyone here realize that? Since you still can't sue over security holes, why else would you be sued for using MS products? The only reason that I can see is that they'll protect you if someone sues you for not using Linux, for example, the US Government. Many people have talked of suing governments for not using Open Source s/w because it's free as in speech, and everything the government has should be free (beer & speech). This is definately
  • CEO Steve Ballmer has warned that the company will start to lose customers through inattention and arrogance.

    Um, this is supposed to happen in the future if Microsoft doesn't get its act together? Shoot, bubba, it's already happening. Once again, MS is being reactive & not proactive.

    Microsoft gained its market dominance through marketing, unethical business practices, shrewd evangelical work in the education area, bundling applications with the OS, buying out the competition & (oh yes) pure dumb

  • Why did this happen?

    Because all the GNU software Microsoft is in direct competition with.

    Thank you GNU! You're #2!
  • MS lost a lawsuit recently (last few months) involving SQL Server 7. Seems that they lisenced some of the technology for DTS but not for resale, so the company that actually created the technology sued MS.... legally, that would have put anyone using SQL Server 7 at risk of having to pay lisencing to the smaller company (whose name I forget) I was waiting for thm to petition to have the ruling extended to SQL Server2k as it likely shares some code in this area with SQL Server 7. It is quite likely a reactio
  • Colour me impressed. Until they agree that they can be sued for damages caused by using their software, it's all just marketing hype. I'd like to see the auto companies put some of those MS-style EULA bits in their stuff, "not responsible for damages, injuries, or death caused by our crappy manufacturing or design." Riiiight.
  • I can't think of a more heavy-handed marketing tactic than MS's licenses audit. I worked as an intern one summer, just before MS launched Office XP. They decided that it was a good idea to audit my company. They sent us a letter and ask us for the licenses. Being a bank, we had branches all over the place. Simply finding the licenses was time consuming, thus costly to the company. The interns usually had to drive out to the branches and examine each computer for Office and then hunt for the licenses a
  • I'm surprised noboday has pointed out the possibility of a conspiracy theory here. On the surface, the timing appears as if Microsoft is taking advantage of an opportunity to look like they have a better license, making them look like the wiser choice again linux to large organizations...

    But what if the timing went something more like this:

    ---
    6 months ago, in a large penthouse office someplace in Seattle...

    Gates: "Hey... I have a great idea on how to combat linux!"

    Lackey: "That's a great idea sir!"

    Gat
  • Dear Mr Pira... er vict... er whatever..
    We would like inform you that you have been chosen to be bent over a table and raped repeatedly in, not 15, no sireee... but 30 days!

    We realize this may be an inopportune time for you (cause we plan things that way), but Honey.. we needs the sugar!

    Please be waiting with pants around ankles. Thank you.

    Your sincerely,
    B. Gates.
  • Until software companies are held to the same level of accountability as product manufacturers, warranty doesn't matter. I supose volume licensees don't read EULAs either.

    Warranty on a car covers things that break inside the car during the period caused by manufacturer defect. Warranty on software is subject to "Microsoft is not liable for any damages."
  • MS will now say "Use Linux at the risk of patent infringement suits or let us take care of it for you." This strategy could be expensive in the long run though:

    I feel certain that some large company will patent some [...] crucial technique. If we assume this company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want. (Bill Gates, 1991) [std.com]

    Of course, we could just abolish software patents and make the question moot...
  • by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @11:40AM (#6511824)
    Dang! And I was just about to file my lawsuits against the hundreds of companies whose servers are still infected by Code Red & Nimda, and attack mine on an hourly basis.

    Guess now that they have infinite legal resources, I should become a lawyer instead.
  • by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @11:41AM (#6511829)
    "Under the new provision, which took effect March 1" So this isn't the result of any of the SCO flap of the last few days, as it would appear. JAV
  • They must have seen my post. [slashdot.org]
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @12:05PM (#6512078) Homepage

    All software vendors should be responsible for IP claims on the software that they sell. Yes, that includes commercial Linux distros. Yes, that includes hobbyists selling shareware products. If you take money for it, you're saying that you have the rights to sell it. If you don't, then you're a thief and a liar.

    Disclosure of interest: I work for a company that's pathological about keeping third party code out of our products. We sell to embedded device manufacturers and we simply cannot afford to get this wrong, because they will sue us until we glow, then hang us in the dark if we do.

    There is absolutely no reason that vendors selling to Joe Public should be held to lower standards, other than that Joe lets them get away with it. While I still think that SCO is deranged, at least they're making it clear that you'd better be damn sure that you've got the rights - all of the rights - to whatever you're selling.

    • Does this mean that chips and specs that are proprietary to a code base and then are made available to Linux coders are a violation of IP also? Don't forget the whole MS business foundation is based on what Compact did with tech code virgins, helped by Microsoft and IBM dirty people. If this is so then any pc can be considered to be illegally produced, and in reality IBM could sue the shit out of all of us. Is the concept of SMP patented. NO, is the idea of a digital word processor patented, I certainly hop
  • by gregm ( 61553 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @12:34PM (#6512361)
    "Under the new provision, which took effect March 1"

    March 1? WTF... I'm really starting to think than Microsoft has masterminded this whole SCO attack. If it was implemented March 1 when was the idea thought of?

    Let's see... Microsoft changes their license on March 1, Sco sues IBM a few days later. May 14 SCO sends out 1500 letters, a few days later Microsoft buys a license. Sco threatens to sue about a billion lowly users for copyright infringement, a few weeks later Cnet writes an article outlining the new Microsoft license.

    Microsoft is too big to make these kinds of reactive decisions so quickly. They had to at least have inside knowledge of what SCO was up to in order to be so well prepared or be damned lucky.

    No normal company would have the audacity to make the bizarre kinds of claims SCO is making. Microsoft who pretty much owns the US court system and can buy the verdict of their choice, has the power to at least have a chance of making a suit like this actually work.

    Even if everything SCO has said is right... it's absurd to think they can sue little old me for buying a few copies of Slack and SuSE. Now if I distributed copies of those, then it might be possible. And what about the GPL?

    If SCO is just taking a final potshot to raise some money so they can inflate their stock prices, those in charge will almost certainly get popped for insider trading if they dump that inflated stock. SCO isn't an Enron, they're a piss-ant little company. If they wanted to get bought out then they would have limited the scope of their lawsuit to IBM not the whole friggin Linux community. Almost no Linux users would ever do business with SCO or anyone who bought out SCO. If SCO were to win most of us would switch back to FreeBSD, in order to not do business with SCO.

    The only logical conclusion is some company who has a competing product (to Linux) is behind this attack.
  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @12:39PM (#6512402) Homepage
    That Bill Gates really is Santa Claus. At what point will their incredible generosity meet its limit?
  • So.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by ocie ( 6659 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @12:51PM (#6512505) Homepage
    If I get hauled into court for unauthorized copying of MS software, they will pay my legal bills? "Right hand, this is Left hand, hello? HELLO???"
  • As the article aludes, the probability of some random yahoo suing me for using Microsoft products is almost zero. The real legal risk to me is that Microsoft will sue me for some real or imagined slight of their rather onerous EULA's, "shared source" licenses, et al.

    Another way of putting it: The fact that the neighborhood drunk driver is indemnifying me against lightning strikes doesn't mean much,.

  • by deego ( 587575 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:13PM (#6512708)
    As a followup, Linus has agreed to pay all legal fees for volume license customers who got sued because of Linux (when you freely download it), but only up to the value of the software paid.
  • by fanatic ( 86657 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:19PM (#6512756)
    I don't see where it says that you're covered if you use an MS porudcut and you lose the suit. The article did say: "Punitive damages, which can exceed the verdict for damages, were not addressed." And it also said:
    Issue: Third-party injury

    Old: Costs covered to value of software purchased.
    New: No liability cap, if Microsoft was grossly negligent or acted intentionally.
    So there are still loopholes here, for a company that has shown willingess to use and stretch every loophole to the breaking point.
  • Great Business Idea! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ratfynk ( 456467 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:34PM (#6512926) Journal
    Install and teach open source, to the thousands of small companies that get the 30 day warnings from MS to pay up or face litigation for piracy. AND ADVERTISE THE FACT

    A blurd

    Are you in a bind with the cost of your business software. Do you want a permanet end to endless upgrades and nagging license restriction. We can effetively train your staff to use simple office software, install and maintain your Intranet remotely. Our firm will guarantee your privacy, and effectively make your business software needs a thing of the past! Such is the power of open source software serviced by ..........

  • by Alan ( 347 ) <arcterex AT ufies DOT org> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:27PM (#6513399) Homepage
    Can people who are getting letters from the RIAA about fileswapping use their windows licenses to let MS handle the cost of the lawsuit? I mean, without the MS software they couldn't be running Kazaa right?
  • SCO Fall out (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @03:30PM (#6513977) Homepage Journal
    "see, we can stand behind our software, its safe to do business with us"

    This bad PR that the SCO case is giving OSS will take years to shake off..

    But cant blame MS for capitalizing on our grief, no one ever said business is fair.

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