In an interesting blog on patents, copying and litigation former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz discloses that Bill Gates and Steve Balmer tried to put the frighteners on Sun over OpenOffice.org to try and protect their office application monopoly. Their attack went like this:
“Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.” [...] “We’re happy to get you under license.”
Of course (as ever) they do not identify any patents, as that would let us fix any problems (if there are actually any), they would much rather weave their usual web of FUD on the matter than come clean. Jonathan’s response turned the issue on them on a different tact:
“We’ve looked at .NET, and you’re trampling all over a huge number of Java patents. So what will you pay us for every copy of Windows?”
That killed that angle of attack off..