[linux-elitists] Latest Microsoft war-by-proxy: Immersion vs. Sony

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Mon Mar 28 20:43:58 PST 2005

Context here is that Microsoft are continuing to play the hand they've
used in the past:  Wang vs. Netscape, Caldera / SCO vs. IBM, and now,
Immersion vs. Sony.

The story today is that Sony have lost a $90m judgement against
Immersion, in a patent infringement suit over "force feedback response"
in Sony's latest Playstation, effectively blocking US sales.  My first
thought was "gee, this would really help Microsoft, and sounds a hell of
a lot like the SCO fight".

Then it turns out that Microsoft "lost" an earlier fight with
Immersion...resulting in a $26m payout.  Plus $9m in "debentures".

So:  Microsoft pays a litigious company $26m to take on its major
competitor in the a growth market Microsoft's been adament about
entering and dominating, despite years of slow progress?  *Where* have I
heard this one before?

SCO vs. IBM.  Wang vs. Netscape.  Now: Immersion vs. Sony.

Do I see a pattern emerging?

Are there other examples of this behavior (these are the three that come
to mind)?

What's the substance of Microsoft's settlement with Immersion?



    Microsoft settled out of court for a "$26 million payment for
    licensing rights and an equity investment, as well as a $9 million
    convertible debenture from Immersion with 48 months draw down
    rights." In the end, the additional money makes Microsoft now own
    10% of Immersion Corporation.

    [More of interest at that page]

    One such motion that I'm sure hasn't escaped Sony's legal team might
    involve the fact that Microsoft, a direct competitor of Sony in the
    video game market, owns 10% of Immersion. In essence, should Sony
    have to pay anything to Immersion in damages and/or licensing fees,
    Microsoft will make money off of their competition. An argument
    could also be made by Sony that Microsoft stands to benefit greatly
    if Immersion successfully gets an injunction against Sony that would
    force them to recall all PS2 consoles on store shelves with the Dual
    Shock 2 controller, as well as all extra Dual Shock 2 controllers
    for sale.

From El Rag, um, El Reg:


    [U]nder Monday's agreement Microsoft will now be able to use
    Immersion's technologies in its operating systems, handheld devices,
    computing platforms and other current products and services, and in
    those it develops in the future.

Interesting times.

Anyone got Koller-Kotelly's number?


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    The major problem facing [Orkut, Friendster, and ilk] is that they scarf
    up personal information far more efficiently than [the FBI's] Carnivore.
    - Andrew Orlowski        http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/35129.html
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