From The Inquirer: Microsoft's shy and retiring boss Steve 'there's a kind of hush' Ballmer might be gearing up to take Linux distributors to the cleaners. According to Linux World, Ballmer is whispering to all who can hear that Linux infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property.
Speaking at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) conference in Seattle, Ballmer said that Vole signed a deal with SuSE Linux distributor Novell because the outfit was using Microsoft's intellectual property.
He said that the deal was a way for Vole to get an 'appropriate economic return' for its shareholders from Microsoft's innovation.
The statement is the first from Ballmer which places the Novosoft deal in context and indicates what Microsoft might do to try and shaft Linux.
Now it appears that the key part of the deal was that Vole was not going to sue SuSE Linux users over possible patent violations.
Ballmer said that the deal meant that Novell paid Vole money for the right to tell customers that anybody who uses SuSE Linux that it is appropriately covered from legal action by Microsoft. He said this meant that everyone who used Linux was an "undisclosed balance-sheet liability" and we know how Steve deals with them.
In other words it is only a matter of time before Vole starts chasing Linux users who are not using Suse.
Ballmer said that other Linux outfits were welcome to join in the Novosoft deal. This would have the advantage that they would not be sued into a coma by Volish briefs, but mean that they would have to work out a way to pay Vole.
Source: The Inquirer