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Bill - I don't want your $1,158

---Original Message---
Subject: Bill - I don't want your $1,158


As you were probably informed over the weekend, your legal team lost the latest court battle against Lindows, Inc. in the windows trademark case. This time we were in a Dutch courtroom, where the Judge ruled against Microsoft on all counts. Here's a link to the English translation of the ruling. The ruling states that we can continue to use Lindows as we are now using it, but most telling was the Judge's monetary finding. In a case that Microsoft initiated and asked the Judge to fine us 100,000 euros per day, the Judge ruled the opposite direction and told Microsoft to pay us $1,158.

But truth be told, I don't want Microsoft's money, I just want a chance to compete and grow my company. If you can think back to when you started Microsoft, sure there were big companies like IBM, but they didn't use the ruthless tactics that Microsoft now employs. How could you have built your company in that kind of environment?

No, I don't want your money, I just want to compete without Microsoft terrorizing us and everyone in the PC business who works with us. It's tough building a business when hardware partners are told they will lose access to Microsoft tier 1 support if they help us. Resellers get squeamish when they get lawsuit threats from Microsoft. Retailers are hesitant when there is veiled innuendo that they may not be eligible for the MDF "market development funds" that you provide to them, which are key to their profitability. And of course, Lindows is bothered by your legal strategy to bury us with lawsuits.

I understand that Lindows is the most obvious target of Microsoft's actions, since we challenge Microsoft's power base - the desktop. I think we'd have a lot more than 350 OEMs if so many weren't intimidated by Microsoft. We'd probably have more stores carrying our computers with our one-click easy operating system if they didn't fear retaliation just for talking with us.

Of course, I'm keenly aware of how Microsoft has vanquished so many competitors in the past. To the portion of that success which can be attributed to healthy competition, you have my respect. But some portion has been built on dirty tactics, and I'm asking you to rethink using that strategy with desktop Linux and my company, Lindows.

Occasionally we hear from Microsoft employees who follow Lindows, and their reaction surprises me. (Hundreds of Microsoft employees receive the weekly Michael's Minute.) The first thing they usually do is apologize for the corporate behavior of lawsuits, bogus reports, and other underhanded tactics. They know the corporate mantra is "we like competition," but behind the scenes try to kill it. But they TRULY do want competition. They believe they can compete. They know that having Netscape around made them build Internet Explorer, but since Netscape was wiped out, Internet Explorer has stagnated. Bill - I encourage you to poll your employees and ask them yourself. I'm confident that they'll say they want to compete head-to-head with Linux in an wholesome manner.

Do you believe that Microsoft can compete with Linux? Do you believe in your employees? Do you believe in your products? I encourage you to consider abandoning the litigation and terror strategy. No more backing of lawsuits for trademark, patent or copyright issues against Linux. No more threatening of companies that add Linux to their product line-up. Just straight up competition against Linux. Your employees will thank you, and it will usher in an era of healthy competition in the PC business.

-- Michael

P.S. To all Michael's Minute subscribers: To re-energize desktop Linux in Benelux, Lindows is making its latest version of Linspire available for free via BitTorrent for a limited time using the coupon code linspire4benelux. For complete instructions on receiving this special offer, please visit

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