Folks who visit here comment that I should not be concerned with the morality of businesses like M$ because business is all about making money. Look where that view is going: M$ has promoted and achieved passage of a law in Washington state that allows M$ to sue any business selling non-software products in Washington state if the producer has used any of M$’s software without a licence.
It’s hard to get one’s mind around the enormity of this. WA has essentially appointed M$ as another level of government able to tax almost any business in WA…. This is not just about money. It is about fairness and equality under the law. The law explicitly excludes FLOSS businesses from doing what M$ will be allowed to do. M$ will no longer have to sell its software anywhere. It can allow it to be used illegally around the world and tax everyone in WA for that illegal use. M$ is trying to get similar laws passed in other states.
WA may be a pawn of M$ but other states are not, I suspect. I would bet that M$ tries to get the US federal government to pass a similar law.
It is beyond comprehension that any legislator would accept that copyright and patents are insufficient to protect software so M$ should be able to tax the fruits of the world instead of earning a living like every other business.
Think I am raving? Read Groklaw.
Read that article and tell me M$ is not evil. What is your definition of evil if that behaviour is not evil? If I were in charge I would ban the use of M$’s products and M$ doing any business in my jurisdiction. The world does not need M$ harming people and businesses everywhere just so M$ can keep making more money.
UPDATE The best comment I have read on this suggests the main idea is to tax every business that wishes to sell in the USA: buy licences from M$ so that you can prove you are OK to export to USA. That fits. That’s a variation on the old theme of every OEM needing to pay for a licence whether it was used or not. This even would pressure businesses that used FLOSS to buy licences from M$. see comment