Whinedows

With a little money passing hands, the controversial litigation between software behemoth Microsoft and Lindows has ended to the satisfaction of both parties this week. Dave Wilson explains.

<b>If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to. Dorothy Parker (1893 – 1967).</b>

This week, the controversial litigation between software behemoth Microsoft and Michael Robertson’s Lindows has ended to the satisfaction of both parties.

Although neither company stated any specifics of the settlement, what actually happened was that Microsoft paid its software rival $20 million. At least according to the San Diego Union Tribune, it did. All this cash, despite the fact that Microsoft initiated the litigation in the first place on the grounds that the name Lindows is awfully similar to the name Windows.

In return for the cash, Lindows, the company, will change its name to Linspire and won’t be using the word Lindows on any internet site addresses in the future.

Some cynical industry observers might think that Lindows (Surely, Linspire? – Ed.) has been paid off to keep the whole nasty mess from actually going in front of a judge and jury. Because once there, of course, those twelve angry men and women might just find that the term Windows is a generic name. One that was around long before Microsoft actually stuck a trademark on it.

And then, of course, the field would be wide open for any Tom, Dick or Michael to use any sort of similar name for their products too, destroying the real ‘Windows’ brand monopoly in the process.

Now, of course, that won’t happen. But perhaps the mutual agreement between the two OS vendors itself sets a somewhat darker industry precedent. Does it not now set the stage for any company with less than honourable motives to threaten the Microsoft ‘brand’ simply to get a big wad load of dosh at the end of a year or so of legal wrangling?

Always looking for new ways to support my wife and children in the ways that they have become accustomed, I decided to hunt around for a name that I thought might bait Microsoft enough that they might send me $20 million too.

My first idea was Losedows. But the name had already been taken. At www.losedows.com, a site not officially endorsed by Lindows, open source developers working with Lindows (Surely, Linspire? – Ed.) can read some rather old news about their favourite OS.

No sense in whining about my lost millions. Whining? That’s it! Why not try Whinedows. So I did. But again, someone had beaten me to the punch. There’s not much on the whinedows.com site, but what there is, is quite amusing. Just a picture of an innocent penguin drinking from a juice box has been given an entirely new meaning by the site developer.

Lastly, running low on creative juices and with just hours to meet my deadline, I desperately tried the name ‘Windowwasher’. After all if you can’t beat them, clean them!

But alas, the windowwasher.com name has also been taken by another chap named Dave, this time a Los Angeles-based window cleaner, who since his humble beginnings in 1985 cleaning store front Lindows, (Surely, Windows? – Ed.) has grown his business to over 1000 clients, residential as well as commercial.

‘Ninety percent of this growth can be credited to word-of-mouth recommendations from other satisfied customers,’ says Window Cleaner Dave on his site.

Maybe I ought to offer to buy this site from Dave. After all, it seems as if there’s something on it that Microsoft might take issue with after all.

<b>Reader replies</b>

Sir:

Why don’t you try Wigdows, the OS for bald people. Please remember me when you receive $20 million, ’cause I have a wife and children too.

Valerio Meliga

Sir:

Strange, I’ve been seeing a van on the motorway for the last few years that belongs to a double glazing firm called ‘MS Windows’!

John Hampton