May Contain Blueberries

the sometimes journal of Jeremy Beker

Two events have occurred recently that have me a bit worried:

Microsoft and Sun End Long Acrimony In Surprise Accord

Microsoft Settles InterTrust Patent Suit

Reasons why in the next section.

Both of these legal actions have been pending in the courts for many years; I believe the Sun case dates to before the US antitrust litigation. These cases were some of the few that looked like they might be able to rein in Microsoft after the antitrust litigation ended in the US without much effect at all. (One can hope the EU litigation will have more teeth.) Now they are both done and gone with all the parties happily clutching sums of money that probably dented Microsoft’s bank accounts very little.<p>

My worry that these two settlements happening within two weeks of each other indicate a shift in Microsoft's style. Or more accurately a return to the behavior that got them into trouble in the first place. It seems to me likely that Microsoft is attempting to clear their plate of active litigation rather suddenly. And the cynic in me wonders if the timing is such that the country and the Justice Department will be embroiled in the election cycle around the time people start calling foul again. This would allow them another period of time to stifle competition, "embrace and extend," and generally cause more trouble before they get slapped on the wrist again. So, what other reasons could there be behind these settlements? Was it chance they happened within two weeks of each other?