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Microsoft

The Microsoft/SCO Connection 285

rocketjam writes "CNET is running a long question-and-answer format article which takes an in-depth look at the relationship between Microsoft and SCO and the financial support SCO has received both directly and indirectly from Microsoft in their ongoing litigation alleging that Linux violates the intellectual property rights they claim to hold on UNIX. The article details the money Microsoft has paid to SCO to "license" UNIX as well as the role they played in BayStar's $50 million investment in SCO in late 2003. Microsoft paid SCO $16.6 million for a UNIX license. The only other company that has come close to paying SCO that much money for a license is Sun, who paid $9.3 million to license UNIX for their Solaris operating system."
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The Microsoft/SCO Connection

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  • A surprise? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fembots ( 753724 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:37PM (#10822736) Homepage
    It's nice to know there is a connection, but nothing out of the blue. Corporates are known to use lawsuit to 'retard' competitors, and there are enough memos from MS that suggested they don't really like Linux. How about FUDs and some creative TCO analysis? Those are equally damaging.

    Wasn't it not long ago that we see Google 'embraces' Firefox [slashdot.org] by having www.google.com/firefox? And what came with this? People started suggesting [slashdot.org] that Google would of course support anything that kills IE since MS is now attacking Google's search market.

    It's almost as exciting as a lobbyist who 'invested' $xxx million in a presidential campaign so that certain laws can be passed.
  • by Kjuib ( 584451 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:38PM (#10822742) Homepage Journal
    I paid $26.4 Million for my Unix License... Now I feel like I got ripped off. Do you think I can ask for a refund?
  • Antitrust (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arbin ( 570266 ) * on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:38PM (#10822746) Journal
    You'll note in the article he states that this isn't quite an anti-trust violation, but rather an act of a competitor suing a competitor. That's not the case, it's more like a competitor trying to get the little company to step up to the behemoth. Looking at how this is setup, I'm confused... How is this NOT an anti-trust violation? They're attempting to 'destroy' the competition in unethical manners.
    • Re:Antitrust (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:42PM (#10822791)
      > That's not the case, it's more like a competitor trying to get the little company to step up to the behemoth. Looking at how this is setup, I'm confused... How is this NOT an anti-trust violation?

      MSFT and SUNW have plausible deniability in that they can claim the payments were for SCOX licenses.

      As deniability goes, it's not very plausible, but as far as the law is concerned, it doesn't have to be. As long as the words on the paper are there, you don't even have to keep a straight face while reading them.

    • Re:Antitrust (Score:3, Insightful)

      Ethics have nothing to do with antitrust. If SCO's license posed no threat to MS, and Microsoft had reason to know it, then there might be a case. If MS had reason to believe that SCOX might have some valid foundation for suing, no matter how tenuous, or even had some reason to fear that SCO might be able to create a suit aginst MS and pursue it for a long period of time, then the company would have been perfectly within its rights to pay protection to SCOX -- and to refer it to other investment companies
    • Re:Antitrust (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 4of12 ( 97621 )

      How is this NOT an anti-trust violation? They're attempting to 'destroy' the competition in unethical manners.

      Microsoft's actions may be unsavory, but I don't think they're illegal.

      Why not an anti-trust action? Probably the question would be whether MS is unfairly using its dominant market position to quash a competitor. It's trying to quash a competitor through sleazy tactics, but those tactics in this instance do not include abuse of its dominant market position.

      Arguably, all of its actions, investme

  • by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:39PM (#10822755) Homepage Journal
    I see an automatic pistol holding a lit cigarette. . .
  • words of wisdom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downward dog ( 634625 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:39PM (#10822761) Homepage
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    He who can destroy a thing, can control a thing.

    He who controls the spice... Oh, wait.
    • Re:words of wisdom (Score:5, Insightful)

      by puppetluva ( 46903 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:57PM (#10822939)
      The enemy of my enemy is my friend

      This is a horrible fallacy. . .just look at US foreign policy failures over the last 50 years to understand in depth why these are NOT words of wisdom.

      He who can destroy a thing, can control a thing.

      This is also not often true... unless you define control as "determining how limited or non-functional something becomes". A few examples:
      1) Computer Software
      2) Love
      3) the environment

      |)
      |
      • Re:words of wisdom (Score:4, Interesting)

        by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:38PM (#10823298) Journal
        The enemy of my enemy is my friend

        This is a horrible fallacy. . .just look at US foreign policy failures over the last 50 years to understand in depth why these are NOT words of wisdom.


        Not a fallacy - it just depends on the scale (time scale, in this instance). The enemy of my enemy is my friend, at least as long as our mutual enemy is more of a threat than we are. As long as the SU was percieved by the Afghans, etc. as more of a threat than the US, they were our friends.


        He who can destroy a thing, can control a thing.

        This is also not often true... unless you define control as "determining how limited or non-functional something becomes". A few examples:
        1) Computer Software
        2) Love
        3) the environment



        Computer software: definitely true. The key is having the power to destroy, though. If I can threaten Microsoft with the complete and utter desruction of Windows, then I have control of it - either they do what I want, or they no longer have it. The trouble is that it is basically impossible to actually get that kind of control - there is no real way to completely destroy software. But the truism still holds.

        Love: This is not a "thing", so it really isn't an exception; also, one party alone cannot destroy love, as it is shared between two or more people - both of them have to stop loving for it to be destroyed, so no one has complete control over it

        Environment: If one and only one group had the power to destroy the environment, then that group would have power over it - they would decide exactly what controls there were, etc. The trouble is, multiple groups hold this power over the environment - there are innumerable groups that can damage or destroy the environment, so no one group has control over it.

        Completely off topic, but hey.

      • 2) Love

        Love can be controlled, manipulated and extinguished more easily than most would care to believe...ever read 1984?
      • Y'know, your response to the first point would work equally well as a response to the second...
    • Re:words of wisdom (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Samrobb ( 12731 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:48PM (#10823397) Homepage Journal
      The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

      Bah! As the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates [schlockmercenary.com] points out, "The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy - nothing more and nothing less."

  • Please.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:40PM (#10822769)
    ...everyone knows that Microsoft is the savior of all mankind and couldn't possibly have extorted money, doctored evidence, threatened OEM's, coded bugs into Windows to lock out third party software, and other mean and nasty crap.

    Without Microsoft, what would we do? Perhaps progress technology forward instead of backward?

    After all of this, who could possibly believe that they would funnel money to SCO in order to destroy Linux?
  • not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by carrett ( 671802 ) <<gmclean> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:41PM (#10822777) Homepage Journal
    of course this is to be expected. i mean, microsoft, though they may not admit it, knows that linux is a big block in the way of their domination of the software market (how many sane people use microsoft on any kind of serious server?). it's not that M$ is evil either, they're just another capitalist corporation. just because they've been hugely sucessful doesn't make them evil. but they are ruthless and that's probably how they got to the top.
    • Re:not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Secrity ( 742221 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:56PM (#10822921)
      I agree that a corporation can be sucessful and not be evil. How can you say that MS is ruthless (without mercy or pity) and also say that it is not evil (that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune)?
      • I wouldn't define evil that way, though I understand that the word is used that way. I would define "evil" as "the extreme of morally wrong".

        Of course, extreme ruthlessness is evil in that sense also...
    • Re:not surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <`charleshixsn' `at' `earthlink.net'> on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:01PM (#10823547)
      I deny the presumption that MS is not evil. It's true that many monopolists have been worse, but this does not exonerate them.

      They have repeatedly used force, fraud, and intimidation to put competing businesses out of business. Often these techniques were used to allow them to buy the business for pennies on the dollar. Occasionally they would end up in court. Sometimes despite the immense advantage that having more money gives in that arena they would lose. But what they were legally determined to be guilty of is a small fraction of what they have, in fact, been guilty of.

      That "this is to be expected" may be true, but it's no excuse. The sole reason that it's to be expected is the sneaky, unlawful, and underhanded method of doing business that Microsoft has engaged in for decades. That they are rarely convicted of their real crimes say more about the way the laws are written and enforced than about any legality of their actions. The laws that they break are designed to be difficult to prove the transgression of. And only an district attorney or attorney general could bring charges for many of their actions, not the wronged party.
    • Re:not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrCode ( 95839 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:59PM (#10824213)
      Compare MS to ATT, when the latter had a monopoly on the phone system. ATT may have been just as ruthless, but the phone system always worked. And if anything broke, they would fix it for free.

      Ruthlessness is more easily forgiven than incompetence.
  • Not Supprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by squoozer ( 730327 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:42PM (#10822797)

    It's a shame M$ feels they have to attack Linux in this way. They may actually win some support from the tech crowd if they fought the battle based on the quality of their products. I think we are more likely to see the second coming first though :o) (please don't mod me down for mentioning religion)

    I can't help feeling that M$ is a company that can't decide whether they want to cater to the server market or the home market when it comes to Windows.

    • Re:Not Supprised (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ajayvb ( 657479 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:59PM (#10822951) Homepage
      I can't help feeling that M$ is a company that can't decide whether they want to cater to the server market or the home market when it comes to Windows.
      Honestly, they are interested in world domination (no, I'm serious about this).
      I know a guy who interned with them, and eventually accepted a full-time position as a program manager with them. Apparently, the most distinguishing (frightening to some) thing about Microsoft's vision is how big it is. They aren't interested in just getting into a market, but owning it or monopolizing it. They have the resources to take losses for years on end till they eliminate the small fry and own the market.
    • "They may actually win some support from the tech crowd if they fought the battle based on the quality of their products."

      I dont know where you think you are, but around here quality isn't as important as not being from Microsoft.

    • Billy-boy has more money than makes sense any more. Give him a few more billion and his life won't change. Now he wants other things:

      Power: domination, beyond what is required for a healthy business, is what Bill wants. He does not care for profits. He no longer cares about making a good business and cool software (I think perhaps many years ago he did). Now it is all about power and dominance and seeing the Microsoft wedge of the pie get bigger.

      Being thought of as a nice guy: All the feel-good that comes f

  • by lildogie ( 54998 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:46PM (#10822813)
    It will be interesting if (when?) Novell and Microsoft succeed in demonstrating that SCO has no clear title to "Unix." Depositions in the trial, by people who negotiated the contract between AT&T and SCO, seem to indicate that the Unix copyrights didn't change ownership. SCO just got right to copy, modify, and sell.

    Perhaps this was not beyond Sun, and perhaps Sun was just trying to weaken Linux in the marketplace. After all, Linux competes with Solaris. The 9.3 million could have been intended to support the company that was trying to throttle Linux.

    Still, if (when?) it comes out that SCO did not have a Unix copyright to license, then there will be some 'splainin for Sun to do, having paid SCO for a license to something SCO doesn't own.
    • by Pros_n_Cons ( 535669 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:58PM (#10822942)
      isn't there already some "splainin" to do seeing as they are open sourcing Solaris which supposedly they had to pay to use? I know I'm missing something but so far this translates to:
      "We don't have to pay SCO, we just want to"
      to me.
    • While many Unicies licensed the code from AT&T, I think post SunOS Solaris launched after Novell had negotiated their agreement with SCO. In the SunOS days it was BSD based, but Solaris is System V.

      Novell disputes that SCO is the sole owner of UNIX, not that SCO cannot license UNIX. Novell says that they sold the right to SCO to license UNIX, so even Novell would agree that Sun did the right thing. Sun was legally obligated to license System V from somebody, so paying SCO was appropriate. I believe
    • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:07PM (#10823016)


      Depositions in the trial, by people who negotiated the contract between AT&T and SCO, seem to indicate that the Unix copyrights didn't change ownership. SCO just got right to copy, modify, and sell.


      One interesting point from Novell was that SCO's role was to further expand on existing Unix business. They were to seek out additional licensees, license, and then pay a considerable amount of that license back to AT&T (now Novell). The cute bit was the "ahem - where's our cut of these license fees that you claim to be collecting?"

      What didn't seem to get a lot of attention was the fact that this agreement did not involve existing business. In fact, existing clients were still AT&T's realm. Sun was one of those "old business" licensees. This further adds to the question of just what Sun was licensing and why.
  • What if (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FiReaNGeL ( 312636 ) <.fireang3l. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:46PM (#10822824) Homepage
    I hope you all at least consider that MSFT paid 16.6 million for the SCO Unix license, just to avoid lawsuits from them, with no "evil plans" againstLinux whatsoever. Of course, when they saw the whole affair unwrap last year, it surely made them smile (for a little while at least). But maybe (MAYBE) it wasn't intentional... SCO did it all by itself (Hey look! Big companies give up big money easily! Lets continue!). Sun gave them 9 millions and nobody is accusing them...
    • Re:What if (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:48PM (#10822838)

      I hope you all at least consider that MSFT paid 16.6 million for the SCO Unix license, just to avoid lawsuits from them, with no "evil plans" againstLinux whatsoever.

      Yeah, we considered it. Then we laughed so hard we thought our pants would never dry.

      • by number6x ( 626555 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:36PM (#10823278)

        MS: So, Caldera, you say you want to sue us for using your "Unix(tm) IP" in our Windows(r) Services for Unix(r)(tm) Product?

        Caldera: Yeah, and we're suing other big bullies too.

        MS: What if we give you $6.66 Million dollars for an "intellectual property license", Will that make the law suit go away?

        Caldera: Oh yeah! Now you're talking my language.

        MS: You say you want to sue other big guys too? If we give you $10 Million more, could you make it IBM and drag Linux in with them?

        Caldera: Sure thing boss, where do I sign?

        MS: Don't call me that. Sign here, initial here, here and here.
        Yes, in blood please.

    • Sun gave them 9 millions and nobody is accusing them

      Sure they have. Hell, _I_ have openly and often. The big difference is the fact that Sun isn't a 800 pound gorilla like Microsoft (more of a 45 pound chimp nowadays). Sun is doing the same thing Microsoft is doing: subsidizing FUD against Linux while protecting themselves from lawsuits.

      If the payments protected them from lawsuits (both Sun and MSFT) but did NOT hurt Linux, do you really think they would have handed over the cash so eagerly?

      Now, this
  • by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:48PM (#10822831) Homepage Journal
    By redefining the UNIX rights, Microsoft hopes to quell the growth of UNIX family operating systems, of course.

    Why Microsoft doesn't just embrace the UNIX family and not fight it beats the hell out of me.

    Take a Linux distribution (or BSD, or Darwin, or whatever), place a Windows GUI on it, port their apps so that anyone can buy Office (profit!), inherit stronger security from the UNIX model, and add classic Windows support with their Virtual PC/Virtual Server technology they bought from Connectix.

    Perhaps they feel that are in too deep to change.

    "Hear that, Mr. Gates? It is the sound of inevitability..."
  • by _Pinky_ ( 75643 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:48PM (#10822834)
    I wish there was some more references to the fragile legality many of SCO's claims are riding on.

    Getting C-Net exposure is great, and the article paints an obvious picture of the Microsoft contirbution to the SCO effort...

    But I just wamted the article to mention that all of SCOs claims are false, or at least unfounded...
  • ... are there that could potentially be threatened by SCOs litigious ways? It makes sense for any company (MSFT, SUNW etc) to evaluate their risk and cut a check accordingly.

    If there were other OS vendors that went through the same evaluation I'm sure we would see more payments to SCO along identical lines.

    This is a non-story.
    • by PWT-Development ( 831269 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:57PM (#10823492) Homepage

      At least one vendor (IBM) looked around at what SCO was claiming, said "you have to be kidding" and realized that if they let SCO get away with their little extortion scheme(let's call it what it is -- i am going to sue you so that you buy my company isnt exactly a business plan) then there will be a lineup of equally baseless lawsuits.

      While it is certainly true that IBM has the financial resources to cut a cheque to make SCO go away it will only encourage other bottom-feeders to line up at the trough(sorry for the mixed metaphor) and that would make for a constant distraction.

      Even a company the size of IBM can be impaired by a barrage of deposition requests, email hunts, paperwork diving expeditions, etc.

      Don't think that IBM defended the lawsuit because of some political stance in favour of Open Source. They defended the lawsuit for pure practical purposes. They saw that the long term costs of the lawsuit went far beyond the $100,000,000 (for sake of argument) that it would have taken to make SCO go away

  • Novell? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:49PM (#10822843)
    I wonder how much of that licensing money ever made it to Novell? See as how SCO only go the rights to license UNIX and was supposed to be a caretaker of the licensing. I'm thinking....uh...none. :) That's a lot of money to bank with giving that Novell now has documentation showing that they own the UNIX copyrights after all.
    • Re:Novell? (Score:3, Informative)

      by kayen_telva ( 676872 )
      can you submit a link to the papers proving Novell owns Unix copyrights ? I had not heard that and cant find anything to back it up.
  • No Conspiracies Here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code ( 692510 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:50PM (#10822854)
    It's pretty obvious that Microsoft doesn't like Linux. Linux is giving away what Microsoft sells. Microsoft sees an opportunity to help an enemy of an enemy ... and acts on it.

    I don't see any sneaky or suspicious stuff going on here. I think Microsofts actions are underhanded and not above-the-board. But I don't think there are any smoke and mirrors/conspiracies to be uncovered.
    • by Kismet ( 13199 ) <pmccombs@aUMLAUTcm.org minus punct> on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:31PM (#10823246) Homepage
      Ok, I remember when the first rumors were floated that MS was behind the BayStar deal. Someone leaked a memo and it got into ESR's hands.

      Do you remember what the FOSS people were saying then? This is huge, they said. If this is substantiated, then MS is in major trouble, they said. People were skeptical because it was such a big deal. It was hard to believe. It was a bigger deal than MS v. Netscape - remember, the one that nearly saw MS broken up by the government?

      Was it ever substantiated? You bet. But no one seems concerned anymore.

      What? The convicted monopolist puts "licensing" money into SCO's hands for a product that it will never need. Shady, but legal. Now, the same convicted monopolist has been shown to have quietly and indirectly supported SCO's bogus anti-Linux litigation using funds from an organization that has major ties to MS.

      How is that not a conspiracy? How is it, when "Microsoft sees an opportunity to help an enemy of an enemy ... and acts on it;" how is that not a conspiracy? Isn't that the textbook definition of conspiracy? Just because everyone knows about it doesn't mean it isn't a conspiracy.

      What I understand is that a convicted monopolist is still doing "business as usual," and nobody has called to re-convene the court. Why?

      It's not illegal to have a monopoly. It is illegal to maintain the monopoly by conspiracy. Microsoft has done this.
      • It's not illegal to have a monopoly. It is illegal to maintain the monopoly by conspiracy. Microsoft has done this

        Mod the fellow up! Am I missing something here?

        If SCO was litigating a commercial MS competitor (say Corel) would this not be something that could initiate another anti-trust case or review of their compliance to the current remedies set forth?
        • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @07:23PM (#10825464)
          We have police and jails in order to get criminals off the street and to discourage further crime. The idea is to convince your potential criminal that they are likely get caught and suffer great harm if they carry their intentions out and rob that 7/11.

          In the case of Corporate crim and especially in the case MS it does not work this way. MS gets caught, found guilty but then is rewarded for their crimes by keeping the profits of their crime.

          As long as the law isn't willing to punish the guilty then we should expect to see more crimes by the corporate class.

  • What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HexaByte ( 817350 )
    You mean a company that's losing business to Linux (MS) might be helping another company (SCO)that's also losing users to Linux?

    Sort of like "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?

    Who'd a thunk it!

  • But doesn't (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:53PM (#10822898) Homepage
    Doesn't Sun's UNIX licensing agreement predate SCO's switch to a screw-with-Linux-and-live-off-the-tips business model? I mean, unlike MSFT, it would seem Sun has the excuse they're actually selling a SysV derivative.
    • Re:But doesn't (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HiThere ( 15173 ) *
      No.

      More completely, they had announced the suit, and the lawyers. The exact date of the Sun buy-in was, if I remember properly, last December, which would have been about 6 months. Now that would be when I heard of it, but I believe that this was because they HAD to reveal it in the SEC report, which was made on a quarterly basis.
  • Microsoft's money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by loconet ( 415875 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @02:54PM (#10822905) Homepage
    SUN paid 9 mil for Solaris and Microsoft paid almost double that and yet MS doesn't even have a real UNIX OS product. I agree, that "licensing" money was really spent in something else.
    • Sun paid $9 Mil, and guaranteed that their execs could concentrate on SUNW, not SCO's lawywers. Even if they didn't get generous redistribution terms, they came out ahead. After all, they paid $100M to Kodak for the same reason.
  • Sun SCO connection (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jonasmit ( 560153 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:00PM (#10822959)
    if Sun paid 9.3 million why is there no discussion of their relationship with SCO? maybe I just missed it...
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:02PM (#10822981) Homepage Journal
    SCO chief Darl McBride has been up front about the importance of Microsoft's funding, direct or otherwise.

    Up front!

    Except that he lied about the amounts.

    Except that Microsoft lied about their involvement with Baystar.

    Except that SCO has yet to produce a single line of infringing code.

    Nothing about the fiaSCO has been up front.

    Fact and Fiction, eh? Looks like CNet got the facts! M$ facts.

    • SCO did report that MS had bought a UNIX license (and withheld the name of the other company, which turned out to be Sun, which bought one). They claimed it as a success of their licensing program. So, while SCO has lied about practically everything else, this actually went their way (since MS actually wanted to fund them).

      This whole thing has been based on a couple of grains of truth which, while they don't mean what SCO wants them to mean, can't be completely disregarded. If there weren't any truth to an
  • QoTD???? (Score:3, Funny)

    by darthnoodles ( 831210 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:03PM (#10822992)
    Funny quote of the day (from the article): ""They're[Microsoft] very careful and concerned about not doing anything that's violating their DOJ agreements," Sontag said."
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:05PM (#10823006) Homepage
    > ...in their ongoing litigation alleging that
    > Linux violates the intellectual property rights
    > they claim to hold on UNIX.

    While The SCO Group has repeatedly made such allegations in the press they have never done so in any litigation. Their statements to the contrary are lies.
  • by JaJ_D ( 652372 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:12PM (#10823055)
    ....
    But why are the majority of people[1] not suprised by this? when will we be suprised at something MS does[2]? The more I see of MS the more Antitrust looks like a training guide.

    Jaj
    [1] "People" as in "the posters on /. rather than 'real' people" :-]
    [2]Other than opensource windows.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:14PM (#10823080) Homepage Journal
    Without naming names, Goldfarb explained that BayStar received a call from a "senior" Microsoft employee, but not Chairman Bill Gates or Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. "When they started telling me what it was, I wasn't shocked (that) this was something they'd like to see prevail."


    It seems Microsoft did more than just act as a reference. It's not stated what was actually said, but for it to be "shocking" in an environment where competition is normally aggressive to hostile, we can assume that it was something highly out of the ordinary and probably very unethical.


    Although Microsoft seems to have been careful to not be "too" active in this lawsuit, it seems evident that they are far from innocent bystanders. If the SEC could find some guts, they really aught to be investigating this matter. If the objective is to intimidate potential Linux customers, or drain pro-Linux corporations of cash, provided the lawsuit really is without merit, and SCO & Microsoft knew this then I feel sure that there are provisions under racketeeing laws (esp. with regards to "protection rackets") that cover this situation.


    This, I think, is the point that the law enforcement agencies and SEC need to remember. (This is why John Mohammed could be found guilty for murders commited by Lee Malvo. The so-called "trigger-man" hypothesis. It doesn't matter if you feel this is right or wrong, what matters is that this is the viewpoint the law in the US currently takes.)


    If SCO is shown to be guilty of trying to extort money through the willful pursuit of lawsuits they knew to be without merit, then the Federal authorities have the legal right (and legal obligation) to take SCO out of business. You can't go around saying that racketeering is bad - unless it's by someone in Silicon Valley and/or a contributor to Government political funds.


    If, as I think increasingly likely, Microsoft is shown to have (from the background) put SCO in a position where SCO was going to shoot, then the "triger-man" hypothesis applies, which means Microsoft would also be guilty, even if their role was totally passive. It would be no different, in the eyes of the law, than the DC shootings, insofar as distribution of responsibility was concerned.


    If there's even the slightest suspicion of such a scenario, the FBI and the SEC should be all over this case, to determine who knew what, when, and how culpable that makes them.


    Of course, that's not happening. The SEC can't even be pressured into enforcing the whistleblower protection laws, in relatively minor cases.


    The ability of the SEC to stand back and ignore numerous laws, across the board, in spite of pressure from law enforcement, does not bode well. It does not bode well for industry, where upper management are now essentially being told they are at liberty to ignore any rules or laws they feel like. Good working practices produce good work, in good quantities. Poor working practices make things profitable in the short-term but kill the business in the long-run.


    It does not bode well for law enforcement, where we can expect those pushing for enforcement to be replaced by "pro-business" opportunists.


    It definitely does not bode well for Linux and *BSD. The outcome of this trial is almost irrelevent, as all Microsoft has to do is "lean" on someone else to start a new one. From Microsoft's standpoint, it makes more in a day from interest earned than it spends on propping up such lawsuits, and even if the lawsuit fails, it pretty much kills off whoever they used (and therefore a competitor). Microsoft might even pick up a little IP on the way. Linux and *BSD have to be "lucky" in every lawsuit thrown at them. Microsoft only has to be lucky once.

    • Not that I disagree in general, but:

      I wasn't shocked

      This doesn't really dismiss what you said---the opposite, really: it says even this guy found it blindingly obvious what MS was after.

      I'm not sure why anyone is suprised though. This is MS. They have a history of fighting dirty and using their wallet to get their way. However, people need to see that it's not the government or the courts that are going to stop the problem, or they probably already would have. It's a competitor who also plays

  • by HiredMan ( 5546 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:27PM (#10823201) Journal
    When I first suggested [slashdot.org] that M$ was behind/involved in the SCO lawsuits in April based on the one of the later "Halloween" documents people seemed to suggest I was reaching and/or my medictaion dosage was wrong.

    You gotta say one thing for M$ - they are predictable. And they're not subtle either but I guess they don't feel they need to be.

    =tkk
  • SCO+MS+?? (Score:2, Funny)

    by tubbtubb ( 781286 ) *

    Can we throw Karl Rove in there somewhere to give this story the true Slashdot experience?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sure, MS supported SCO because they hate Linux.

    But the OTHER thing they are doing is entrenching the "Intellectual Property" mindset. They have a long history (long before they were huge - remember the Altair BASIC hobbyist letter Gates wrote in the 70's?) of pursuing this kind of thing. Why? Because they come up with 1 idea and make horrendous piles of money, whether they do any work or not. Sort of like their OS - it all seems to be the same crap, just a different look and feel. They move a few butt
  • by silux ( 28215 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @03:52PM (#10823440) Homepage
    Not to knock slashdot, but most people who browse slashdot already have some negative feelings towards microsoft and don't necessarily feel that they practice the most responsible business practices. Its nice to see a more "mainstream" (read John Q. Public can't use a computer might read) is carring a story like this.
  • by silicon not in the v ( 669585 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:07PM (#10823599) Journal
    It looks like they left a couple of words out of this quote in the article:

    "They're very careful and concerned about not [getting caught] doing anything that's violating their DOJ agreements," Sontag said. While not commenting specifically, Microsoft didn't deny Sontag's account.

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