Re: About Microsoft Patent

Subject: Re: About Microsoft Patent
From: Tyler Baker <tyler@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 05 Feb 1999 14:37:07 -0500
Paul Prescod wrote:

> Tyler Baker wrote:
> >
> > So the issue is, if you are a small ISV and you are thinking about releasing an
> > XSL Processor with "styling", you have to think twice about going up against an
> > entity with an unlimited legal budget to cream you with.  As everyone already
> > knows, any past judgements against MS, whether it be Stac or anyone else were
> > pyrhic victories.  In the end many of these companies died off after many years of
> > time and many millions of dollars playing legal twister with Microsoft.
> Why would Microsoft take on a small ISV. What is there for Microsoft to
> gain? I mean by definition small companies do not compete with Microsoft.
> By the time they appear on Microsoft's radar they are big companies.

By squishing all of the small ISV's that have any aspiration to become bigger, MS
guarantees no one else will ever be a company of competing size later on.  This is not
so true in the enterprise market as companies like IBM, Oracle, and SUN have been well
established for decades.  But in the consumer market (the majority of the web), MS is
always on the hunt to acquire, destroy, or disrupt any business that could ever be
considered potential competition in the future.  Mr. Rockefeller did the same sort of
things during the age of glory for Standard Oil, of course you have probably heard these
arguments rehashed many times over, but some ISV's and small developers out there just
don't understand that when you are dealing with billions of dollars of profits, the
nature of man is to become downright evil.  The mafia and drug cartels actually kill
people for a lot less money, so how could you possibly expect a company as profitable as
Microsoft to ever be ethical with that kind of power.

> Furthermore if they tried it, I suspect that the small ISV could go to
> Netscape, Sun et. al. and ask for help defending themselves. Those
> companies cannot allow a patent-affirming precedent to be set because some
> little company couldn't defend itself.

These companies in the past have never carried the legal burden for small ISV's
challenging Microsoft in the courts, and I seriously doubt they will in the future.  And
then of course the NOISE crowd as like to label (Netscape, Oracle, IBM, and SUN) seems
narrowly focused on the enterprise market and has for the most part given up on making
money in the consumer software market.

> At these big companies there are lawyers who walk around trolling for
> patents. Their attitued is "lets try it and see." If they get lucky then
> they just might instill some fear into small companies and they have
> something extra to "cross-license" with big companies. But the tool of
> fear only works if you let it.

Unfortunately, in this hyper-competitive industry, if you are a small ISV and it is hard
enough to acquire skilled workers to grow your business, fighting MS in the courts has
time and time again always been a giant failure since you are faced with the prospect of
spending finite resources on lawyers or engineers.  MS's goal in litigation is not to
win, but to wear you down to nothing since they have virtually unlimited resources.

Also in the US you can take anyone to court for just about anything if you lie and
distort the facts of the case enough to keep some bogus case alive in the legal
process.  Plus perjury for the most part is not taken seriously by the American public
and the US judicial system (my comment here has nothing to do with the current
impeachment trial BTW), so lawyers are encouraged to abuse the US judicial system in any
way they can to get the best outcome for their client.


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