June 22, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

Microsoft beefs up protections for PC makers

Microsoft is again expanding the amount of legal protection it offers partners, adding coverage for trade secret claims as well as partial indemnification for smaller computer makers.

Under new changes expected to be announced Thursday, Microsoft will expand its protection for computer makers and others that distribute Microsoft's products to cover claims that their use of Microsoft products violates trade secret laws. The company already offers them indemnity against copyright, trademark, patent and trade secret claims.

The move is part of the company's strategy to combat the Linux operating system. Microsoft is also adding protection for smaller computer makers, known as system builders. However, unlike the unlimited protections offered to larger computer makers, their protection will be capped at roughly the value of the business they do with Microsoft during a two-year time frame.

The software maker already protects nearly all customers of its products, and in July 2003, the company lifted a monetary cap on the amount Microsoft would pay for such claims.

"We've sort of continued to ratchet up our coverage," said David Kaefer, head of Microsoft's intellectual property licensing effort.

Kaefer said that the main purpose of the latest changes is to prevent patent holders from trying to indirectly attack Microsoft on intellectual property claims.

"You should come to Microsoft," Kaefer said. "You shouldn't come to our customers or our partners."

However, he said that the company does see its legal protections as a selling point against competitors, particularly open-source rivals. Microsoft has used indemnification as one of the latest planks in its anti-Linux "Get the Facts" campaign.

Kaefer said that Microsoft has on occasion seen claims against computer makers that sell systems running its software. For example, Lucent at one point sued computer makers Gateway and Dell over claims related to Microsoft products. However, he could not point to any examples of publicly disclosed legal action against smaller "system builders."

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This all sounds good....
... but it doesn't actually do anything. The 'protection' MS offers
isn't needed - such suits just don't occur against the PC builders.

"The software maker already protects nearly all customers of its
products, and in July 2003, the company lifted a monetary cap on
the amount Microsoft would pay for such claims."

--- so what more could be done, except get free PR from foolish
news reporters??????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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Just Another Microsoft ...RED HERRING...
They [Microsoft] are merely claiming to protect people from BOOGIE-MEN that do NOT exist in the first place.

These latest non-existent "IP" THREATS which, by the way, Microsoft had the largest hand in creating in the first place, ...were clearly invented solely to try to scare consumers away from Microsofts chief-rival, "Linux".

But of course, based upon the actual market-numbers, and Microsofts continuing actions, this ongoing SMEAR-CAMPAIGN against its competition is clearly just NOT working for Microsoft.

But, I suspect that we CAN expect more such wheezing, and ever-louder thrashing, as Microsoft continues its apparently, ever quickening, downward-spiral into a much deserved business-oblivion.

One can only hope...
Posted by Had_to_be_said (384 comments )
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Beefing up and correcting problems are different
Microsoft needs to learn that they must FIX the inherent flaws in their problems and not just Beef them Up.

The general populace at large is getting tired of work-arounds, beef-ups, half-patches and are desiring for correct fixes, patches and more and more so... in a more timely fashion.

Beef up's just don't cut it any more!!!

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
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