Apparently, Microsoft is now offering the opportunity for companies to license from them most of the underlying protocols behind the Internet. Little things like TCP/IP and DNS, for example.
But wait…aren’t all of those protocols open, globally agreed upon standards? Sure…but Microsoft has some really good lawyers, and rather than risk facing litigation, maybe its just easier to sign the licensing agreement. It doesn’t cost any money…Microsoft is granting the license for free. All you need to do is sign their contract.
Of course, by signing the contract, you grant Microsoft the right to arbitrarily decide to charge for any part of the licensed materials at a later date. Or even revoke the contract and then sue you for unlicensed use. Of open, publically defined protocols. All because you signed the contract…granting Microsoft the right to charge you or sue you for something they don’t own.
Microsoft claims this is all a big misunderstanding, and they’ll straighten things out in a few days. I hope so. Because before I just thought Microsoft was a brutally competitive juggernaut, but not fundamentally evil. Now I’m not so sure…