WiinInfo Daily UPDATE, May 25, 2004

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In the News

- Appeals Court Rejects Microsoft Plea; Lindows Case Heads to Trial
- Microsoft to Launch Windows for Super Computers

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Appeals Court Rejects Microsoft Plea; Lindows Case Heads to Trial

Microsoft's trademark lawsuit against Lindows.com will continue to trial, possibly later this year, after a federal appeals court denied Microsoft's appeal request. Microsoft had questioned an earlier court decision that found the company's Windows trademark to be potentially invalid because the word windows is a common term. Microsoft had argued that the term isn't generic in the computer industry, despite its general use--dating back almost 30 years--to describe onscreen objects in various graphical systems. And because Microsoft owns a trademark on the term, the company sued Lindows.com for naming its Linux distribution Lindows, a name that Microsoft said might confuse consumers.
In February, US District Judge John Coughenour decided that the eventual jury in the Lindows trial would have to decide whether the term windows was a generic term before November 1985, when Microsoft sold its first version of Windows. He let Microsoft appeal that decision, however. But now the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle has elected not to hear the appeal, and the case will head back to trial. Judge Coughenour said this week that he might be able to schedule the trial for the second half of this year.
"This outright denial of Microsoft's appeal confirms that the trial will focus on how consumers and the software industry used the term 'windows' in the 1980s, before Microsoft dominated the landscape," Lindows.com CEO Michael Robertson said. Microsoft says it will "vigorously defend" itself in court.
Facing legal action in various other countries in which Microsoft's Windows trademark has received less scrutiny, Lindows.com has been forced to change the name of its Linux distribution to Linspire. But Microsoft has continued its legal assault, anyway, noting that Lindows.com hasn't changed its company name. Thus, Microsoft says, Lindows.com is still violating Microsoft's Windows trademark.

Microsoft to Launch Windows for Super Computers

According to a few news reports, Microsoft will create a new Windows version designed for high-performance computing (HPC), an area that rival Linux has largely dominated. A new HPC team at Microsoft headed by Director Kyril Faenov will design the new Windows version, reportedly called Windows Server HPC Edition, which could be accompanied by an HPC version of Microsoft SQL Server.
In a recent interview with Microsoft Senior Vice President Bob Muglia, I asked about areas in which the company is performing poorly against the competition, and he mentioned only one important market. "One workload I think we've historically done poorest in is high-performance computing," Muglia told me. "But that's an area where we're making some ongoing investments."
If it happens, Windows Server HPC Edition will be the most recent in a suddenly long line of Windows versions tailored to specific markets. Starting with the release of Windows XP in late 2001, Microsoft began designing Windows versions for Media Center PCs and Tablet PCs. With Windows Server 2003, the company created a Web server edition that targeted low-cost Linux boxes and server appliances. And Windows Small Business Server 2003 has been a runaway success. During my interview with Muglia, he noted that Microsoft will consider releasing other market-specific versions of Windows in the future.

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