Lindows name-calls Microsoft

On the attack

Lindows.com, the subject of a Microsoft lawsuit which aims to stop the company from using the terms "LindowsOS" and "Lindows.com", has gone on the attack.

The San Diego, CA-based software start-up has filed a motion to dismiss Microsoft's claim that the company is infringing its Windows trademark - set in train in the software giant's home turf of Washington - arguing that it has no presence in this state and transacts no business there. Accordingly, the state has no personal jurisdiction over the company, Lindows.com claims. Its motion is due to be heard on Feb 1.

Lindows.com is developing a Linux distro which can run Windows programs easily, and it expects to launch a version costing $99 in Spring 2002. But until this launches, the most interesting thing about Lindows.com is this Microsoft lawsuit. The second most interesting thing about the company is that its CEO, Michael Robertson is the founder of MP3.com, and personally rich. We may infer that the company and/or its backers have the desire and the means to fight their corner.

Robertson is certainly in gung-ho mood. Here are his comments on the Microsoft case, reproduced in full.

"We're looking forward to showing the Court the widespread use of the term 'windows' or variations thereof by literally hundreds of companies which are not endorsed or sponsored by Microsoft. The fact that Microsoft has chosen not to sue these companies demonstrates their true motivation in this case is to crush competition from a promising new technology which threatens their illegally obtained monopoly.

"As part of the legal process, Microsoft Corporation demanded that Lindows.com turn over its entire database of names, email addresses and physical addresses for parties interested in the yet-to-be-sold operating system which will run both popular Microsoft Windows software and Linux software.

"We're not happy that a company known for illegal business practices took the unnecessary step of gaining access to our database. In spite of their assurances it will not be used for any purpose outside this case, we've alerted our users of Microsoft's actions and believe this is another way Microsoft is attempting to intimidate a potential competitor."

We disagree with Mr. Robertson. Microsoft established its trademark rights for Windows at great expense, and it is a legitimate tactic for The Beast to protect its favourite offspring in this manner. And after all, it is not threatening Lindows the company, but simply seeking it to change its copycat name. We think Lindows will lose. Email us if we're proved wrong. But not before. ®

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