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Microsoft settles L-----s dispute

Linux upstart pockets $20m

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Microsoft has made peace with Michael Robertson's Linspire Linux company, paying $20m to settle all outstanding trademark issues surrounding the Lin---s distribution. Linspire promises never to use the Lin---ws word ever again in its branding. Linspire also appears to have eked out another compromise from Redmond, with a four-year, royalty-free license to certain Windows media components. The deal smooths the way for a stateside IPO for Linspire.

Linspire had won several court victories over the Lin---s distribution, which Microsoft claimed devalued its global Windows™ trademark. Microsoft objected to Robertson's suggested alternative name Lindash because "when confronted with 'Lin---s', [customers] will be reminded of 'Lindows'".

For mp3.com founder Robertson, chutzpah has paid off handsomely.

"All I know is that I'm being sued for unfair business practices by Microsoft. Hello pot? It's kettle on line two," he said when Microsoft first opened fire two and half years ago.

The long-running saga has catapulted Lin---s into prominence over rivals such as Xandros and Lycoris, and given Microsoft lawyers some cause to worry whether Windows™ isn't really simply a generic term for a window--g system. More than one judge certainly thought so. ®

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