In response to pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (Das Bundeskartellamt), Microsoft and its CPTN Holding Partners — Apple, EMC, and Oracle — have revised their agreements so that the Novell patents will be under both GPLv2 and Open Innovation Network protection.
So what does it all mean? Andrew “Andy” Updegrove, founding partner of Gesmer Updegrove, a top technology law firm, said, “This is a rather breath-taking announcement from a number of perspectives. Among others, the granularity of the restrictions imposed demonstrates a level of understanding of open source software in general, and Linux in particular, that has not been demonstrated by regulators in the past. It also demonstrates a very different attitude on the part of both the U.S. and German regulators, on the one hand, and Microsoft, on the other, from what we saw the last time that Microsoft was under the microscope. In the past, Microsoft was more disposed to fight than negotiate, and the U.S. and the European Commission were far apart in their attitudes. This announcement conclusively places open-source software on the U.S. regulatory map.”
I think this is a really interesting development. Interesting in the sense that it’s not antagonistic to consumers and developers, and that it’s not what I predicted, or even guessed might happen.