If I held Microsoft stock (which I don’t) I would be furious.
Here is Steve Balmer focusing on Linux, making the tired claim that there is so-called Intellectual Property in Linux that violates patents held by Microsoft. Meanwhile Microsoft gets hit with a hefty patent violation of its own; 1.5 billion (yes, that is a “B”) for the use of the mp3 patent without payment of royalties. It appears that patent obligations are for others, not for Microsoft to worry about.
But wait, you say, the current international patent system is a mess and this ruling is indicative of that, this is actually an unfair decision against Microsoft which will impact any number of companies, like Apple, who use mp3 based technology. Furthermore, you say, patent verdicts are often reversed upon appeal so we ought not to snicker gleefully in our beer just yet. And I would say you are right, but still I would expect Mr. Balmer to be honest; if there is a patent infringement of Microsoft code, he should point it out. If I were a shareholder, that is the least I would expect. After all, isn’t that his job? To protect shareholder value? So why is he not doing that? Why is he not pointing to the code that violates intellectual property? And why does Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s VP of intellectual property and licensing, say, “We believe there is overlap between our IP portfolio and several open source components.”
Overlap? You mean the clean-room engineering of Samba? Could you please be specific Mr. Gutierrez and Mr. Balmer? Meanwhile, time to review your own patent portfolio and “IP” practices to see if there might be a better way to provide value for your shareholders, like innovating. A quick look at your stock price the last few years should be enough to warn you both that shareholders cannot possibly be happy.