It seems a safe assumption that Microsoft is behind the Acacia suits on Novell and Red Hat. Baystar Investments, the firm that funneled money from Microsoft to SCO, also funds Acacia. But some people have argued, surely Microsoft wouldn't sue their friend and partner, Novell.
In fact the choice of targets seems to work very well, if you think like Microsoft for a second. Here is what I think we are going to see:
- Microsoft will, spontaneously, or on request of Novell, come to help the Linux distributor in its suit.
- After bitter negotiations that involve several games of golf, and more than one nice Kroesian meal, Acacia will settle.
- Microsoft will pay Acacia a handsome sum, providing Acacia with its war-chest for the Red Hat fight.
- Acacia's patent claims will now be strengthened, since one party has accepted them.
It's a neat structure. Pump money into Acacia so it can attack Red Hat, and at the same time prove to the world how strong the Microsoft patent shield really is against those naughty, naughty trolls.
If this works with Acacia, perhaps we can expect a scaled-up attack by Intellectual Ventures on Linux users like Google and IBM.
We are, in my opinion, watching the opening battle in what is going to become a global patent war of epic proportions.