Epic Would probably come in over budget, years behind schedule and not in a working condition, if any of our previous joint ventures with europe are anything to go by. On the main topic though, I think some of the patents have something to do with how the OS interacts with the CPU, that in itself was probably designed by Microsoft and as such is their patent. Fair doo's to them they hold everyone by the bollocks on that. Bear in mind that Microsoft bought the original Dos and everything else since has been an evolution of that. Same as the processor, intels/AMD, Nvidia CPU's are all an evolution on the original intel 8086 processor, but since intel developed it the others had to obtain licences from them to use it. Patents are copyrights for technology, if you use some of that tech or base your design on that and evolve it then you have to pay an amount to the company that owns the patent, simple. I agree we need another OS company to rival Microsoft, but the more competition we have the more problems with compatibility we will encounter, this will lead to bigger OS's not leaner. So I think we're stuck with Microsoft's monopoly for the mainstream PC.