- by Joe Barr -
Microsoft has been found -- again -- to have infringed upon the
intellectual property rights of others. This seems to be a recurring
theme with Microsoft, who often tries to pose as a champion of
intellectual property rights.
In the 1990s, Microsoft lost a similar suit to Stac Electronics for incorporating
its compression algorithms into DOS. In 2001, Microsoft lost a lawsuit brought by SoftImage 3D for illegally including SoftImage 3D's code in Microsoft products.
The latest setback to Microsoft's image comes in a Chicago federal
court. According to Reuters report yesterday, the judge has awarded $520.6 million dollars to the University of California and Eolas, a private firm in Illinois, for Microsoft's infringement of their proprietary browser technology.
Microsoft likes to try to portray itself as pure and
noble defender of intellectual property rights while at the same time
casting aspersions on the ethics and morality of the free/open source
movements, but the facts often tell a completely different story.
Joe Barr has been writing about technology for 10 years, and about
Linux for five. His work has appeared in IBM Personal Systems Journal,
LinuxGazette, LinuxWorld, Newsforge, phrack, SecurityFocus, and
VARLinux.org. He is the founder of The Dweebspeak Primer, the official
newsletter of the Linux Liberation Army.