Readers blast Ballmer for saying Linux users owe Microsoft

He said the OS infringed on Microsoft's intellectual property

It didn't take long for readers to respond to the article "Ballmer: Linux users owe Microsoft", in which Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer said the open-source operating system infringes on his company's intellectual property. Microsoft declined to comment further on Ballmer's comments or the reaction to them.

Below are some of the readers' comments, which have been edited for grammar. Readers' initials have been used in place of full names where we didn't receive permission to use full names.

Also, check out our Sound Off blog on Microsoft's Linux strategy.

You can join the discussion by responding to the Sound Off blog or writing an e-mail to


I think it is hilarious Ballmer claims that Linux users owe MS for "taking advantage of Microsoft innovation." What innovation? This company never has been an innovator, just a user of others' ideas. I will be interested to see if MS ever details what part of the Linux kernel is infringing. I think this is another scare tactic with no teeth.

-- Mark Perricone

Stealing profits

Watch Microsoft. Now that Oracle has offered to indemnify all Red Hat Linux users on any patent infringement issues, Microsoft may be using this as a way to steal Oracle profits. ...

-- Chris Driscoll

Started stealing with CPM

This is an unbelievable statement from a company that has made a career out of stealing other companies' ideas -- starting with CPM.

-- Jim Hess

Now thinking of converting users to Red Hat

As a longtime user, supporter and seller of Microsoft products, Ballmer's statement is so arrogant that it makes me want to convert all my users to Red Hat.

-- J.B.

Intimidation tactics

The whole point of a patent is that disclosure protects you, so why isn't Ballmer disclosing what IP is being used? Microsoft is simply using intimidation to further strengthen its anticompetitive and aggressive marketing strategies.

-- N.O.

The Internet is next

Nice article. What's next? MS declares the Internet a patent infringement?

-- J.L.

DOS ripped off Unix

What is he talking about?

Windows was based on MS-DOS. MS-DOS was a rip-off from Unix.

-- L.B.

Pompous, arrogant ...

What a pompous, arrogant jerk. Is he going to claim that Microsoft invented breathing also? Did he learn nothing from SCO?

-- Juan Martinez

Ownership by blackmail

I guess Ballmer figures if he can't eliminate Linux, he can "blackmail" his way into owning a piece (or pieces) of it.

Seems I recall a problem with Linux/Unix sometime back, and Microsoft had duplicated the code so closely that they had the same problem in Windows. I guess this "intellectual property" idea only flows one way in Microsoft's world. God knows they haven't benefited in any way from anyone else's work.

-- R.B.

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