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E-Smith.com: e-smith to Microsoft: Au contraire, Mr. Allchin

Feb 16, 2001, 20:38 (17 Talkback[s])

Open Source is as American as the Boston Tea Party

BOSTON, February 16, 2001 - In a gesture of friendship and reconciliation, e-smith, inc. wishes to reassure Microsoft Corp. that it has no plans to violate the Redmond giant's intellectual property rights.

"There's really no need for Bill Gates and his people to fear the loss of their intellectual property," e-smith CEO Joseph Morrison said. "The truth is, we don't want their code. Why would we, when we already have something that's much better for our customers?"

In an interview this week, James Allchin, Microsoft's Windows operating-system chief, Jim Allchin, suggested that freely distributed software code such as Linux is un-American and poses a grave threat to intellectual property rights.

"Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer," Allchin said. "I can't imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business."

Allchin added that the open-source business model could stifle initiative in the computer industry. "I'm an American, I believe in the American Way," he said. "I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don't think we've done enough education of policy makers to understand the threat."

Responded Morrison: "Far from being a threat to the American Way, open source is all about volunteerism and enlightened self-interest, two things that have been part of the American spirit at least since the Boston Tea Party."

Morrison, whose company produces the world's leading open source server solution for small-business, said he can understand why Microsoft is afraid to compete with companies such as e-smith. e-smith's flagship software product, the Linux-based e-smith server and gateway, is not only faster to install and easier to use than Microsoft's Small Business Server, it is also far more reliable and cost-effective.

Still, Morrison said Microsoft is mistaken if it believes that open source software threatens intellectual property rights. Companies such as e-smith that contribute their code to the open source community do so voluntarily because it makes good business sense and because they share the open source movement's passion for innovation. Meanwhile, older, more traditional companies such as Microsoft that prefer to keep their code to themselves are free to do so, with no threat whatsoever to their intellectual property.

"e-smith creates innovative, reliable server solutions for small businesses," Morrison said. "Our customers want the latest and most advanced networking technology, which is why we base our solutions on Linux. If Microsoft chooses to stick with older, legacy technologies, we certainly will not complain."

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