RealTime IT News

Lindows Foiled in Latest Windows Round

Microsoft has won a round against Linux desktop vendor Lindows over charges that Lindows.com is trying to cash in on the popularity of the Windows name.

A Dutch judge has granted a preliminary injunction to Microsoft against Lindows that bars it from selling its products in the Netherlands under the Lindows moniker.

Lindows said it would abide by the terms of the ruling but also planned to appeal the decision.

"We are pleased that the courts ruling underscores the value of trademark and brand," Microsoft spokesperson Stacey Drake told internetnews.com. Microsoft has won preliminary injunctions against Lindows in Finland and Sweden and is pursuing one in France as well, she said.

As in past legal scuffles with Microsoft, Lindows remained defiant even in the face of defeat.

"They were unsuccessful in the U.S. with this tactic, so now they're resorting to picking countries where they will find a sympathetic court," said Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of Lindows.com. In a statement, Robertson vowed to continue the "battle to bring the benefit of choice to the Netherlands."

But Microsoft's Drake countered that, contrary to Lindows statements, the case is not about Microsoft trying to foreclose on competition or target Linux based software or distributors.

"This is only about the name," Drake said. "We're merely asking Lindows to change its name, which is obviously meant to copy our Windows brand."

The case between Linux Desktop vendor vs. Microsoft began two months after Lindows was launched in late 2001 by MP3.com founder Michael Robertson. The case continues to wind its way through the courts. A federal judge recently decided to postpone the trial to March 1, when a jury in Seattle is expected to determine whether Lindows.com is infringing on Microsoft's trademark.

On a different front, however, Microsoft was successful stopping another Lindows initiative at the beginning of this year. A San Francisco court ordered Lindows to stop using its "MsfreePC.com" scheme that sought to enable Californians to qualify and apply for rebates as part of the state's class action settlement with Microsoft

In another move by Lindows the firm today announced that it will begin to make some of its software available for free on several of the popular Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. The initial product that will be made available via P2P is "LindowsLive," a CD boot and runable version of the Lindows open source operating system. Lindows had been selling the product, but now intends to give it away for free.