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  • Here's Tony Stanco's response, also from the fsb list. (Tony is a lawyer who used to work at the SEC. He has something of a clue in these matters):
    This cries out to be investigated by the FTC/DoJ and EC. They should open up shop inside Microsoft like they did with IBM and look over every transaction. The onus should be on Microsoft to show them that there is no ulterior motive behind any of their transactions. It is far too easy for them to use their money to do sham transactions with willing companies to do indirectly what they are prohibited from doing directly.

    The FTC/DoJ should immediately investigate the terms of the arrangement with SCO and see if the licensing fees bear any reasonable relationship to how much UNIX product Microsoft ships. If the fees are as significant as they would need to be for Microsoft to bankroll the fight against IBM, it is a prima facie case that the transaction is a sham and it should be treated as though Microsoft itself is conducting the case, with the antitrust implications that has.

    I would be surprised if the Microsoft lawyers would leave such an audit trail behind, since I have seen them be much more nuanced than that. It is more likely that they are giving SCO moral support for the case with a small fee reasonably tied to their UNIX products to show that intellectual property rights are important, so as to help establish their [false] claim that Open Source ignores IPRs. This will be the basis for a major FUD campaign to governments and big business. But I've seen Microsoft getting more and more desperate and that can cause dumb gambles.

    Nonetheless the transaction deserves scrutiny by the regulators to see on which side of the line this transaction falls.

    Tony Stanco
    Founding Director
    The Center of Open Source & Government