Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith placed the number of patent violations by Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) at 235 in an interview with Fortune magazine  this week. Considering these suposed violoations cover everything from the kernel through to office applications I am somewhat surprised that the theoretical total is not more considering the huge number of patents Microsoft has recently aquired. Tim Bray of Sun's response in his blog was short but to the point, 'litigate or shut up' .
Unfortunately the chances of Microsoft actually litigating are slim to none considering the damage it would do to their image and the potential problems it would cause from counter-suits from the likes of IBM. Instead the threat of legal action looks like it will continue to remain just that in the vain belief that by simply placing a cloud over Free software's head it will deter existing Microsoft customers from jumping ship. Whether or not such a strategy will be successful only time will tell, but forcing potential customers to buy your product through fear of what would happen if they did not does not seem like the kind of image one would want to portray.