Microsoft's reputation as a company that steals other people's ideas puts it in the worst possible position in a litigious environment.
The debate over software patents is coming to a head as the European Union goes the way of the United States and knuckles under the pressure brought by large patent-holding interests led by Microsoft. The open-source folks are moaning about this as—on the surface—it looks like the software patent decision in favor of large corporations is ruining any hopes that small fry will succeed in the business. In fact, the opposite may be true, and Microsoft will eventually learn that software patents are going to ruin the company
John C. Dvorak - PC Magazine