"My take is Microsoft will put litigation off as long as it can," Enderle says, "but is on a path where I don't think it can avoid litigation forever if it wants to actually protect its patents."
Listing the likely first targets for such litigation, Enderle includes IBM as the largest un-licensed supplier of Linux, the Linux Foundation as a proxy for Linux itself, and Red Hat as the most powerful Linux distribution brand. However, Enderle thinks IBM has too much legal firepower and cross-licensing ammo to provide the overwhelming victory Microsoft would seek in its first legal assault on open source. On the other hand, the relatively meager resources the Linux Foundation is likely to bring to court would leave Microsoft looking like a bully and provide a rallying point for its foes. That leaves Red Hat with a bull's-eye on its back, being neither a legal pushover nor an opponent with resources nearly equal to those of Microsoft.
Enderle's full analysis of Microsoft's recent actions, as well as his advice to Linux-using enterprises who want to avoid getting caught in the crossfire, can be found at his blog: