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I cannot tell for sure whether this is a bluff or not, but if it is not, I suspect that the alleged infringement is a very gray area, legally speaking. That is, if Microsoft had a clear case, I am sure they would have sued.
Maybe it's a media trick. It's been said, anyway, that their post-Vista release of Windows (if it ever comes out) will be very different from what people have been used to; i.e. getting the Start-button idea off board (which I consider a big change when talking about Windows). Maybe they're just selling an idea that Linux would have copied it's ideas from MS and that MS does a great job doing something fresh and new, whereas Linux just stays where it is. Sounds stupid but hey, that's the name of the game
EDIT: of course I don't think like that, but it's just something that has caught my eye. In my opinion Windows (and MS generally) owes a lot for a lot of other people, more than vice versa. It is true that others have loaned ideas from them, but on the contrary too.
If M$ ever succesfully sues anyone over patents, their success will be down to the incompetence of the legal team working for the defendant(s). Almost every product they've ever come out with is just a rehash of what someone else came up with first, there is "prior art" out the freakin wazoo. FUD FUD FUD! - that's all they have. I would love to see them try to sue anyone, except that I have little-to-no faith in the American legal system's ability to actually serve the interests of "the people", or justice even. The fact that they can just spread the FUD around so blantantly is scurrilously outrageous. Too bad "Free Software" can't sue for libel or something.
If they've got so many suit-worthy patents, where are the damn lawsuits??