Microsoft is not the real patent threat Linux and open source developers should be worried about, said Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. In fact, the software giant will itself be fighting against the software patents system within a few years, Shuttleworth predicted.
Shuttleworth was responding to a recent Fortune magazine interview in which senior Microsoft figures sent shockwaves through the software industry by declaring that Linux and other open source software violates 235 Microsoft patents.
But while Microsoft is using familiar tactics to put the fear into Linux users, Shuttleworth argued open source and Microsoft are ultimately on the same side of the software patent issue.
“I’m pretty certain that, within a few years, Microsoft themselves will be strong advocates against software patents,” Shuttleworth wrote. “Microsoft is irrevocably committed to shipping new software every year, and software patents represent landmines in their roadmap which they are going to step on, like it or not, with increasing regularity.”
Microsoft makes the “perfect target” for software patent lawsuits, and the company will pay more for such suits every year until they finally threaten its business, Shuttleworth said.