Rambler vs. Nginx (yes, again)

Yes, I know it’s a little late.

I have been preparing this article for a long time, but only now I got around to posting it.

It’s just that the case is interesting and unusual, and it’s a pity not to talk about it, and most importantly, not to try to reveal the background of this muddy case.

What is so tricky there? – you ask.

Now I’ll tell you.

But first, let me remind you of the sensational story that stirred up the entire IT community. So, the end of 209. Loud corporate conflict. On the one hand, Igor Sysoev, the former Rambler system administrator, who created the Nginx company, which was bought by American investors for $670 million. On the other hand, Alexander Mamut, who decided to prove with the help of a criminal case that the rights to Nginx actually belong to Rambler. Nginx is one of the most successful IT companies of recent years created by Russian programmers. In 2002, former Rambler sysadmin Igor Sysoev created an open source web server, and in 2011 he founded Nginx. Now it is the most popular web server in the world – about 33% of all sites run on it. Among the company’s clients are Yandex, Mail.Ru Group, Netflix, Dropbox and others. In 2019, the American F5 Networks bought Nginx for $670 million. Rambler and, apparently, its co-owner Alexander Mamut, are trying to prove with the help of a criminal case that the rights to Sysoev’s development belong to Rambler. Searches were carried out in the Nginx office, the founders of the company were detained, they spent the whole day under interrogation by the police. They were released only late in the evening, after their phones were taken away. In general – “mask-show”, a common thing with us. Rambler claims damage of 51 million rubles. Sysoev worked at Rambler already 17 years ago, as a sysadmin. That is, he created Nginx on his own initiative, not to the detriment of his work, and the creation of Nginx was in no way his duty to work. Everyone around understands that Rambler’s run-in, or rather, his far-fetched claims to Sysoev, are not worth a damn. Subtle moment: Rambler remembered Nginx only after the company was sold to the American F5 Networks. The sale of the company itself is not a copyright infringement, besides, it is completely absurd to say that the program that is now is exactly the same program that was in Rambler in 2004. While everyone is outraged by this reeking situation and the obvious impossibility for Rambler to prove a violation by Sysoev and his Nginx – anything, I want to show the REAL, in my opinion, the background of the case. But first, a digression. When a Strategist buys a Company (M&A – Merging and Acquisition), then the usual practice is to close 20% of the transaction amount on the Legal Escrow account for a period of 1 year. This is done so that if any Legal problems suddenly surface in connection with the purchase during the year, the buyer would have money for litigation. Now imagine the following picture: you (yes, yes, you personally) muddied a successful project, developed it, raised a successful company, found a major buyer, and he is eager to buy a project from you, say, for 500 lyam. The deal went through. 20% (those 100 lyams) were closed for 1 year on the account of Legal Escrow. The year has almost passed, there are a couple of weeks left, that is, very soon you will get as much as 100 M dollars of money! You are already discussing which island to buy for yourself, and what color Lamborghini to match the color of the island. Diamond smoke billows in the air. And suddenly …. you receive a letter of happiness from a respected law firm, with a notice that their clint … let it be comrade. Hui Mao declares that it was he who gave you a wonderful idea for your wonderful product, it was thanks to his idea that you became so fabulously rich, and therefore you should modestly unfasten him only 10 lyam rubles !! WTF??!! What is Mao? Where did he come from?? And you remember that, yes, a certain guest worker actually worked for you, comrade. Mao. 5 years ago. Worked for two weeks. He laid tiles in the toilets. What’s the nafik? What idea could he come up with? To whom?? Full sur! But …. after 3 weeks, the Escrow term expires, and litigation can drag on for years (despite the fact that the lawsuit is sucked out of a finger). Being a pragmatic person, you make the only reasonable decision – to agree with this pid … with this Mao, and give him 10M rubles so as not to lose 100M bucks! So, in my opinion, this is precisely the situation with this asshole. For some reason, I’m sure that Rambler’s corporate layers are by no means morons. And they are well aware that it is absolutely unrealistic to prove that Sysoev and his Nginx violated something in Rambler. But at stake are 100 million dollars in an escrow account – against Rambler’s claims for 50 million rubles. And so there is a great chance that Comrade. Sysoev and his Nginx will exclaim in their hearts “may you choke on these 50M rubles!” Well, why – vile, ugly, but “money does not smell,” as Vespasian said to his son when he reproached him with a tax on public toilets. So why not try to run over – suddenly break off into a house with a pine forest … Nothing personal, bro, just business. And the point is precisely in this, and not in some kind of mythical copyright infringement, which everyone is indignantly discussing

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