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12.21.10

2010 the Year When Microsoft Became a Systematic Patent Bully

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 4:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nelson Muntz

Summary: The past year may be remembered as the year when Microsoft’s patent aggression and number of lawsuits filed nearly exceeded the number of new products

A summary of Microsoft failures is something which we hope to post around the new year because there’s a lot to catch up with and very little to say about new Microsoft products; there are almost none. Instead of bringing value to market Microsoft is bringing patent lawsuits, targeting the likes of Motorola and Salesforce (Motorola counter-sued and the ITC has just given it the “OK”).

To Microsoft, 2010 was not just another year of layoffs. It was a year of exodus and litigation, claims CNET (although not in these words). Techrights no longer focuses so much on Microsoft because looking at the long term, Microsoft is a small player. As for Novell, it’s history. So instead we focus on the major issues, one of which is software patents. It’s not just companies like Amazon and Apple which are promoting software patents; the pseudo ‘industry’ of patent lawyers is also a major part of this problem and some of the culprits publish new books about it. There are attempts to tax people in new and creative ways, essentially looting software developers for the enrichment of people who went to law school. This is not beneficial to society, it’s wasteful and stressful.

“Smart Phone Rivalry Plays Out In Patent Suits” says this new headline from NPR and AP Technology NewsBrief says:

Competition among smart phone makers is heating up at retail, in advertising and, increasingly, in the courtroom as handset and software makers wield patent lawsuits to protect their turf and slow down their rivals.

What’s good about this chaos in the mobile market is that it helps convince more people that the patent system is broken and change is urgently needed. People’s mobile phones are simply not as good as they could be, due to patents of course. There is some pro-”IPR” propaganda from China [1, 2], but it is missing the point that China thrives right now despite — not because — of “IPR”. Here is one anonymous writer who says:

Disclosure: although many reporters and analysts disdain patents and whine that patents, particularly software patents, stifle innovation, I believe intellectual property remains the bedrock of Silicon Valley.

Venture capitalists are sometimes opposing software patents too. Whose gut feeling is it that says software patents are good for innovation, despite lack of evidence? The author is unnamed in this case and Tang Yuankai from the other articles has offered no disclosure. Either way, upon closer inspection it often turns out that those who promote software patents in the press are in fact patent lawyers who profit from these unwanted algorithm ‘taxes’.

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