"The title of the book refers to the gutsy move of the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who burned his ships on arrival in a Mexiccn campaign to prevent his troops from retreating. Phelps likens Microsoft's radical IP strategy changes to Cortés burning his ships, leaving no path of retreat. Instead of holding their discoveries close to the vest, Microsoft intends to open up their intellectual property portfolio in order to maximize its value to the company. Microsoft 's new strategy involves using its intellectual property to maximum advantage, even if that means sharing it with other companies. Microsoft's deals with Novell and Red Hat showed that they are even willing to work with Linux vendors if they see a business benefit. Although the book emphasizes the positive strategy of Microsoft opening up its patent portfolio, many of the same measures (such as patent cross-licensing) have a defensive advantage as well. […] The final section in the book is titled "Just say no to the 'Free Content' farce," a parting shot at Google's business model. Burning the Ships provides insight into Microsoft's recent IP moves from an insider's perspective, but the company's newfound desire to share doesn't seem like all good news for the tech industry. The question isn't whether there should be IP rights, but whether current law strikes the right balance. I have concerns that it doesn't. It's great that Microsoft has found a way to monetize the discoveries they make, though, and I'll continue that thought next time."