InformationWeek is reporting a deal between French automaker Renault & Microsoft :

“Under the arrangement, Microsoft will provide Renault with 1,000 “certificates” for Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise server product. The deal also includes a controversial “IP assurance” provision under which Microsoft pledges not to sue customers who use Linux distributed by its partner Novell.”

I’ve asked this before, but why should a customer care about IP assurance? IP indemnification is a vendor issue, just like ensuring environmental rules or workplace safety regulations are being adhered to. It’s a disgrace that vendors have made indemnification a customer concern.

“Last year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer implied that users of Linux distributions from vendors other than those with which it has patent deals — the list also includes Xandros and Linspire — could be hearing from the company. “We’ve spent a lot of money licensing patents,” Ballmer said.”

For all the positive moves that Microsoft has made towards OSS, silly statements like this must drive Sam Ramji & team to pull out their hair.

You know, I’d actually love to see Microsoft sue a customer because of IP issues. Exactly how much would they sue for to offset the millions of dollars worth of negative publicity and brand destruction?