Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th May 2011 16:15 UTC, submitted by john
Legal This is certainly worth a meagre +1 in my book: patent troll Lodsys has actually taken the time to answer some of the concerns on the web regarding its legal threats to several small-time iOS developers. There's some interesting stuff in there.
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Analogy is absurd
by lordepox on Mon 16th May 2011 16:32 UTC
lordepox
Member since:
2010-04-14

Their hotel analogy is absurd, and it implies that Apple owns the land (iOS) but the developer owns everything else, which is false. Apple is very clear that they maintain ownership of the iOS framework, base code, App Store, and the developer only gets to use these things, not own them. So, their claim is actually fraudulent as they plainly state that Apple licenses their technology. As a developer, I feel the legal system in the US has completely shot on all innovation, creativity, and kills the very thing democracy is supposed to be. It's no wonder that we are loosing in the technology "arms race", as our retarded politicians, most who are old enough to have owned a brand new Model T, are killing innovation by the little guy. Pattents on ideas are absurd. Patent on a physical piece of hardware yes, on ideas, no. In the land of free speech, shouldn't code be considered free speech as well, as it's written in plain "natural languages"? I invite patent trolls to sue me, you'll die a slow an painful death.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Analogy is absurd - vote
by jabbotts on Mon 16th May 2011 18:30 UTC in reply to "Analogy is absurd"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Vote better politicians into office.

Maybe look for politicians from an education background instead of lawyers and CEOs. Vote for people who campaign based on there strengths rather than based on how much dirt they can sling at the competition. If the political parties don't have a viable candidate, vote no confidence rather than the lesser of the evils; make the political parties pick new candidates and start again. Consider not voting based on who has the biggest lobby group baught campaign fund and prettiest stage show.

Once the vote is counted, don't forget it for another four years; keep on your local representative's ass. Take an ongoing interest in how the country is governed and keep voting polticians back out of office until they listen to there citizens and live up to promises.

(aimed generally, not at lordepox specifically)

Admittedly, I'm a third party and don't have a say in who is voted in nor may I have all the information so take this opinion for what it's worth. I'm just tired of seeing your poorly implemented laws leak across the border when blatantly forced such as the draconian and broken copyright and patent laws the US is currently trying to have other sovereign nations implement through what clearly apears to be extortion (implement these laws or we won't trade with you anymore.. and such).

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Analogy is absurd - vote
by umccullough on Mon 16th May 2011 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Analogy is absurd - vote"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Vote better politicians into office.


You assume that there are better politicians *running* for office.

In the U.S. it takes an exorbitant amount of money to run for a high-profile political position where you can affect these sorts of laws. It turns out, most of that money is made through corporate lobbying. As you can imagine, that is precisely the problem.

It's sort of gotten to the point where the people making and enforcing the laws are self-serving, and they don't want to fix the system. People voting for them are sheep that believe everything they hear on TV.

I believe this will eventually start shifting the other way, as communication mediums and grass roots efforts start winning the minds of these sheep, but it's a slow process.

Lawrence Lessig's "Fix Congress First" and "Rootstrikers" campaigns are very compelling and powerful statements - but things like that take time to get up to speed.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Analogy is absurd - vote
by JAlexoid on Tue 17th May 2011 04:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Analogy is absurd - vote"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

It's sort of gotten to the point where the people making and enforcing the laws are self-serving, and they don't want to fix the system. People voting for them are sheep that believe everything they hear on TV.


The massive indoctrination machine that is the American education system bears it's fruit generation after generation. If people think that Soviet people were heavily indoctrinated(Anyone after 1960 weren't BTW), I remind that there is US that has an even stronger indoctrination programme going for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Analogy is absurd - vote
by jabbotts on Tue 17th May 2011 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Analogy is absurd - vote"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I'm not sure if you have the mechanism but in other democratic systems when there is no candidate of value provided, the voters can actually tell the polical parties to get stuffed and start over with a candidate of quality.

Sadly, the fear sell usually wins out with "but if I don't vote, who they vote for will get into office". It could be a greed sell with "none of us will vote until they provide the candidate we want instead of giving us the option of choosing the least undesirable".

And sadly, a well educated public is not in the government's best interest. We're still dealing with education systems ment to churn out carpet factory workers, beat creativity out of our children and otherwise avoid an educated citizenry that things for themselves. (hurray wage slaves and Fox News!)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Analogy is absurd
by Almafeta on Mon 16th May 2011 23:32 UTC in reply to "Analogy is absurd"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

It's no wonder that we are loosing in the technology "arms race", as our retarded politicians, most who are old enough to have owned a brand new Model T, are killing innovation by the little guy.


Small guy invents process. Small guy patents it. Small guy, who cannot afford the price to market it to many companies and would not be able to compete at all, sells to a company who can.

I think the reason that we are falling behinc is the fourth step, "Small guy receives threats on his life for trying to make a living on his work."

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Analogy is absurd
by ephracis on Tue 17th May 2011 02:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Analogy is absurd"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

You really are upside down, huh?

Reply Score: 2

Still fsckd up
by molnarcs on Mon 16th May 2011 16:34 UTC
molnarcs
Member since:
2005-09-10

Well, they do have good answers to most questions pertaining to how they engage with alleged infringers. They don't, however, have a good answer to the question "aren't those patents f--king obvious?" although they have the longest answer to that. It was a real pain reading through it, I advise against reading it unless you want your head explode. Here is the short summary, paraqraph by paragraph:

They start off with a lecture of what IP is (1)
Dan Abelow is a great inventor. (2)
Off topic analogies (oil industry ffs!) (3)
History lesson (4)
More irrelevant examples (Apple's R&D costs) (5)
Buzzwords galore ("in a multi-function world blah blah (6)
Agriculture, mining, radio (more nonsense) (7)

They are still scumbags for wanting to charge for something as obvious as an in-application upgrade BUTTON. They start their blog with whining about the threats and bile they received - well, they deserve every single bit of it.

Edited 2011-05-16 16:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Still fsckd up
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 16th May 2011 16:48 UTC in reply to "Still fsckd up"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

well, they deserve every single bit of it.


Including the death threats?

Wtf.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by f0dder on Mon 16th May 2011 17:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
f0dder Member since:
2009-08-05

Including the death threats, yes.

I'm generally not a big fan of such things, but threatening to sue (and thus causing financial ruin) to small-time developers isn't really that far off a death threat IMHO.

Heck, if somebody put their money where their mouth is, perhaps that would work as a ever-so-small deterrent against other patent trolls.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by Gone fishing on Mon 16th May 2011 18:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

" well, they deserve every single bit of it.


Including the death threats?

Wtf.
"

Thats a shame - seriously my heart bleeds for them

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by JLF65 on Mon 16th May 2011 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

At some point, it will become more cost effective to hire mercenaries than lawyers to handle patent trolls. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by JAlexoid on Tue 17th May 2011 04:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

At some point, it will become more cost effective to hire mercenaries than lawyers to handle patent trolls. ;)


At some point? It already has! An estimated patent invalidation effort costs about $5mil in legal fees.
Now you tell me if a $100'000 contract on the head of Lodsys is cheaper than that?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by molnarcs on Mon 16th May 2011 22:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

" well, they deserve every single bit of it.


Including the death threats?

Wtf.
"
You can't be serious Thom... I shall introduce you to <drumroll> The Internet. Ever read comments on youtube videos btw? Or you really think that these are serious threats? IF they exist at all - we have nothing but a blogpost full of drama, bleeding of hypocrisy. BTW, the story just hit The Guardian - and yes, it's not only me but programmers as well who point out that it's a bit hypocritical of them to paint themselves as the victims. And talking about death threats is a very effective way of doing that... can't believe you fall for it.

Edited 2011-05-16 22:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by lordepox on Tue 17th May 2011 08:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
lordepox Member since:
2010-04-14

Thomas, unfortunately death threats are an American default reaction to anything deemed assinine.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 16:59 UTC in reply to "Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

They are still scumbags for wanting to charge for something as obvious as an in-application upgrade BUTTON.


You do realize, there is a lot of technology behind that button right? Surely you are not so naive to to think that if you add a button to your application and label it "Upgrade" that you automatically get upgrade functionality provided by magic unicorns and rainbows? Obviously, someone had to create the technology that allows the upgrading to happen. And that's what the patent is about... They did not patent an upgrade button.

Edited 2011-05-16 17:01 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by Calipso on Mon 16th May 2011 17:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
Calipso Member since:
2007-03-13

The technology behind the button is written by the individual programmer. Unless of course somehow every implementation of an Upgrade button is using the actual code that these guys wrote. Highly doubt it though.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by malxau on Mon 16th May 2011 19:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

Unless of course somehow every implementation of an Upgrade button is using the actual code that these guys wrote. Highly doubt it though.


This is a patent lawsuit. Who implemented the idea is not relevant, the patent covers the idea itself. If upheld, Lodsys have a monopoly on use of the idea covered by the patent.

(Not saying that's a good thing.)

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by Calipso on Tue 17th May 2011 01:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
Calipso Member since:
2007-03-13

yes I know. I was trying to make the point to the previous post, that the programmers of the applications actually programmed the technology that makes the Upgrade button work and that this patent is about the idea itself and not the technology.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by looncraz on Mon 16th May 2011 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24


U.S. Patent 5999908

Customer-based product design module.


This patent deals with a product which phones-home due to certain events. The patent covers stored user alerts, stored user data, recognition of triggers, then sending that data back to a server so someone can look at it to help the client.

Any application which can phone home information about the user, user statistics, or error reports will violate this patent.

It was filed Sep 19, 1997.

I believe prior art exists in the server market by I.B.M..


U.S. Patent # 7222078

Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Unites of A Commodity Across a Network.


This patent is generically worded it is hard to make sense of it. Basically, it is an in-application survey.

Patent filed 12/10/2003. I have prior art in this category with the yellowTAB Zeta Updater and the registration application [neither publicly used]. Feb-Apr, 2002.

The patent naturally makes it sound more advanced than it is. But it is nothing more than a survey process spread out into action points with flow diagrams.

The other patents are just as stupid and obvious.

The wording and the actual patent filing are all to which Abelow may law claim.

I may take it upon myself to challenge these patents, but I'm pretty broke & lazy, so that'll probably never transpire.

--The loon

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by JAlexoid on Tue 17th May 2011 04:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

You know that there is a whole battalion of lawyers that transformed that IBM patent into the lawyerspeak that makes sure that it passes the USPTO.
The initial patent document is very clear and understandable, but the final document after N number of lawyers going over it becomes what gets submitted and granted.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by looncraz on Tue 17th May 2011 17:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Those weren't IBM patents, those are two of the four patents related to the article, seriously.

--The loon

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Still fsckd up
by JAlexoid on Wed 18th May 2011 14:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Still fsckd up"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Those weren't IBM patents, those are two of the four patents related to the article, seriously.

--The loon

Every other corporation has that battalion too...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Mon 16th May 2011 18:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

pantheraleo,

"You do realize, there is a lot of technology behind that button right? ... Obviously, someone had to create the technology that allows the upgrading to happen. And that's what the patent is about... They did not patent an upgrade button."

The steps required to upgrade a piece of software are much more trivial than you make them out to be.

Launch upgrade process.
Download newest version.
Verify integrity.
Uninstall old version.
Copy/extract new binaries.
Register/configure new settings.
Viola, done.

Sure, individual apps have differing installation steps, but it's ludicrous to claim that developers could not figure out the steps to upgrading their own software without the help of Lodsys patents - even back in 1999.

Their contribution is 100% useless. As with all patent trolls, their goal is to tax software developers, not protect their own products.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 19:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

The steps required to upgrade a piece of software are much more trivial than you make them out to be.


You are assuming a very primitive upgrade process that simply replaces the entire application with a new version. That of course, requires downloading the entire application again even for minor bug fixes. What if the application is large? What if there are custom modules installed? Your primitive upgrade process would blow away all of the custom modules. What if compatibility with existing modules needs to be determined? Your process ignores that as well, and might leave the application broken after the upgrade because some existing modules are not compatible. I'm assuming an upgrade process that is modular, that needs to determine what parts of the application need to be upgraded, can resolve any compatibility issues, and can download only the updates needed rather than replacing the entire application.

I'm not saying I agree with the patent. I don't. But the steps you describe are a very primitive upgrade process that amounts to nothing more than deleting the old version and installing the new version type operation. That's now how most software is updated these days.

Edited 2011-05-16 19:24 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by snorkel2 on Mon 16th May 2011 19:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
snorkel2 Member since:
2007-03-06

It depends on the application, I know for a fact a lot of desktop type applications that have a single exe are upgraded by simply downloading a new exe. If you develop in a language that creates single no dependency exes and does not use DLLs, it's very easy to upgrade that way. You can also update a app like this by using a difference engine and only download the difference and then patch the exe or other files that way.

It's not rocket science by any means.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 19:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

It's not rocket science by any means.


Nor is it as easy as you think it is unless the application is very simple. If you have a single exe and can just replace the whole thing, then sure. But typically only rather simple applications have one exe. Most applications rely on third party libs, etc. And simple binary patching only works for simple cases. It doesn't work for modular applications where there could be compatibility conflicts and such.

Edited 2011-05-16 19:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Still fsckd up
by JLF65 on Mon 16th May 2011 21:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Still fsckd up"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Nor is it as easy as you think it is unless the application is very simple.


Sorry, but yes, it IS that easy even if the program is a LOT more complex. We're programmers - we know exactly what every last bit of the program and associated libraries are doing... we wrote the damn thing, after all! We have no problem telling which libs/dlls/exes would need updating and which wouldn't. If you don't you shouldn't be coding. Just because a baker can't make a simple car repair, don't claim NO ONE can! Updating is one of the simplest parts of programming... any programmer worth their salt can handle it just fine.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 22:31 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Sorry, but yes, it IS that easy even if the program is a LOT more complex. We're programmers - we know exactly what every last bit of the program and associated libraries are doing... we wrote the damn thing, after all! We have no problem telling which libs/dlls/exes would need updating and which wouldn't. If you don't you shouldn't be coding.



Again, if you believe it is that easy, you've obviously never worked on a large complex modular system. When you have a system like that, you cannot determine in advance what needs to be upgraded, or even what can be upgraded on the customer's system. Because you don't know know what modules they have installed, whether they have installed third party modules, whether they have written their own modules, etc. The upgrade system needs to make these decisions at run time.

If you believe it's that simple, than you simply have not worked on an application with millions of lines of code, hundreds of modules, and that supports a plugin system that allows third parties to write additional functionality for the application through an exposed API. Trust me, when you are dealing with an application like that, upgrades are NOT simple unless you have a very well designed and thought out module system that can deal with version incompatibilities, dependencies, etc. Our modular architecture is so advanced, that we can even upgrade parts of the application without requiring the application to be shutdown and restarted. That kind of stuff is not trivial to do. It simply isn't.

Again, I'm not saying the patent has any merit at all. Only that upgrade systems are not as trivial as many seem to think they are. At least not when you are dealing with complex applications.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 22:34 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Updating is one of the simplest parts of programming... any programmer worth their salt can handle it just fine.


Btw, if updating is that simple, even for complex applications with multiple modules. Then maybe you'd like to explain to me why Upgrading from Ubuntu 10.10 to 11.04 trashed my system and made it unbootable? After all, if it's as simple as you claim it is, that kind of thing should never happen right? Because the people who wrote the software can determine in advance every possible upgrade scenario on every possible system that is running the software.

Again, you obviously have never worked on a large modular application if you believe handling applications upgrades is that simple.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Still fsckd up
by f0dder on Mon 16th May 2011 23:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Still fsckd up"
f0dder Member since:
2009-08-05

Are you writing notepad replacements in assembly language, or actually doing development work? ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Still fsckd up
by ephracis on Tue 17th May 2011 02:10 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Still fsckd up"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

Wait, wait, wait.

I have a fairly complex application which uses in-app ugprades and I came up with the idea myself. It's not that hard.

An upgrade is just a replacement of files and migration of settings. Nothing else.

Btw, doesn't Firefox violate this patent since they have an upgrade button? Or Ubuntu?

Damn, it's great to live in a country where we don't have patents on merely ideas. I can develop any application I want and not be afraid of getting sued. How do you Americans cope?

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 02:28 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

An upgrade is just a replacement of files and migration of settings. Nothing else.


Again, that's only true if you have 100% full control over the modules installed. If your application allows third party modules, etc., than it is not that simple. Because now you have to take module compatibility into account. And that makes things much more complex.

Btw, doesn't Firefox violate this patent since they have an upgrade button? Or Ubuntu?


Didn't say the patent was valid. But the patent is really not quite that generic. It doesn't cover "the ability to upgrade an application". But people like you who are against all software patents have a habit of over-simplifying things like that. You try make patents more generic than they actually are.

Damn, it's great to live in a country where we don't have patents on merely ideas.


If I lived in your country, I would not spend any money on R&D. To do so would be foolish. Because I would know that any great idea I came up with could be instantly "stolen" by my competitors who could basically prey on my idea without spending the money on R&D to develop the idea themselves. Then they could undercut my prices because they wouldn't have to cover their R&D costs since they let me do all the work. The result is a system where no one wants to spend any money on R&D and would rather just sit there and wait until a competitor develops a great idea and then leach off that competitors idea. But since everyone has that same idea of "Wait until someone else develops it and then leach their idea", innovation grinds to a halt. Because no one wants to be the first to develop the idea.

I can develop any application I want and not be afraid of getting sued.


You do that then. And if I lived in your country, as soon as you develop a great application, I'll clone it, and undercut your prices and force you out of business. Because I didn't have to spend any money on R&D. All I had to do was copy your work and then sell in cheaper then you can because my costs were lower than yours.

Edited 2011-05-17 02:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Still fsckd up
by allanregistos on Tue 17th May 2011 01:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Still fsckd up"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

It depends on the application, I know for a fact a lot of desktop type applications that have a single exe are upgraded by simply downloading a new exe. If you develop in a language that creates single no dependency exes and does not use DLLs, it's very easy to upgrade that way. You can also update a app like this by using a difference engine and only download the difference and then patch the exe or other files that way.

It's not rocket science by any means.

You talking about simple software implementation where upgrade is not a rocket science.

My current understanding about the patent is: patent=idea(how it works), and the code being used here is irrelevant.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Mon 16th May 2011 19:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

pantheraleo,

"You are assuming a very primitive upgrade process..."

Of course different apps have different needs, some much more complex than others. But the point is the developer already knows how their application needs to be installed.

The world's upgrade processes worked fine before Lodsys patents ever came into the spotlight.

As with many software patents, the contribution made by Lodsys to their software is nil. Lodsys are just trying to abuse the patent system to collect royalties on the work of others. Given the screwed up state of the USPTO, they just might win.

Edited 2011-05-16 20:04 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 20:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Again, I'm not saying Lodsys's patent is valid. And there are plenty of modular upgrade frameworks out there, many of which use different means to achieve the same end. All I am saying is that upgrading software is often not as trivial as some are trying to make it out to be.

But the point is the developer already knows how their application needs to be installed.


That's not always true. I work on highly modular applications. I don't know what additional modules the customer has added to the original software we sold them. They may have even written their own custom modules and added them through our modular extension system. Our upgrade system has to account for all of that. It's very complex. More like upgrading an operating system than upgrading a single piece of software.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Mon 16th May 2011 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

pantheraleo,

"All I am saying is that upgrading software is often not as trivial as some are trying to make it out to be."

Honestly now, if the software is engineered well, user added modules/settings should continue to work without any special considerations.

Maybe this is foreign to you, but since I use a separate partition for /home, my custom settings DO survive a complete reinstall simply on the basis that my customization files are still in my home dir.

For example: I can upgrade ssh without worrying about loosing my ssh keys, or my email client settings, etc.

Sure, there are cases where things are more complex. But I still assert that if a developer doesn't understand how to upgrade his own app, then that developer is incompetent, period.

Edit: Also, if the user customized the software to a sufficient extent to make upgrades incompatible, then frankly it becomes the user's responsibility to resolve the incompatibility. If this becomes a routine problem, then maybe the user should consider switching to a package where this is less of a problem.

Edited 2011-05-16 20:35 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 20:46 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Maybe this is foreign to you, but since I use a separate partition for /home, my custom settings DO survive a complete reinstall simply on the basis that my customization files are still in my home dir.

For example: I can upgrade ssh without worrying about loosing my ssh keys, or my email client settings, etc.


Settings != custom application modules. And it sounds the like the concept of modular software is foreign to you and that you are not familiar with module systems such as OSGi.

But I still assert that if a developer doesn't understand how to upgrade his own app, then that devoloper is incompetent, period.


Then you obviously haven't worked on any large and complex modular software systems. Customers only pay for the functionality that they need. That means different customers will ahve different modules installed. And they might have added their own modules from third parties, or modules they wrote themselves. The developer cannot determine what needs to be done because the developer does not know how many additional modules the customer has installed, whether they have created custom modules, etc. That's why module systems exist. Because they can figure it out and runtime when the upgrade process is invoked. At runtime they can determine what modules exist, which ones need to be updated, which ones cannot be updated because of compatibility issues, any dependent modules that need to be upgraded to be compatible with the module in question, etc. On a large complex system, there is no way for the developer to know this ahead of time because it will be different for each system being upgraded.

If we were to handle upgrades the way you are suggesting, we'd have to write a custom upgrade package for each customer we have. That's obviously very time consuming, complicated, and not feasible.

Also, if the user customized the software to a sufficient extent to make upgrades incompatible, then frankly it becomes the user's responsibility to resolve the incompatibility.


Again, that's part of why we have a modular upgrade system that makes these decisions at runtime. if the user has created custom modules that are not compatible with a new version of one of the core modules, then we don't upgrade that core module. Ultimately, it is the user's responsibility to resolve the incompatibility if they want, or need the new core functionality. But it's our responsibility to not just blindly assume we can upgrade something that might break custom modules the user has added on. We'd have some pretty pissed off users if we did that.

Edited 2011-05-16 20:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by BluenoseJake on Mon 16th May 2011 20:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

You really call all those steps trivial? A 7 step process? Really?

I don't agree with this patent at all, but at the same time, it is not a trivial process, that process would be hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code, just the first one "Launch upgrade process" could entail almost anything.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by WereCatf on Mon 16th May 2011 21:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

You really call all those steps trivial? A 7 step process? Really?

I don't agree with this patent at all, but at the same time, it is not a trivial process, that process would be hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code, just the first one "Launch upgrade process" could entail almost anything.


I don't quite understand how it could be that difficult. Usually it's just a simple boolean toggle in application code that gets toggled, and requires literally 3 lines of code.

The other two methods commonly in use are: download the full package, initiate OS-specific installer for the package in a separate process, and exit the trial/lite version, and just download/install the full-version files over the trial/lite ones, add any missing files and have the application go into full-version mode if the correct files are present. None of which methods actually require much code, even the last-mentioned method requires only a few hundred lines, there isn't any complex logic or such in use.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by JLF65 on Mon 16th May 2011 21:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

You really call all those steps trivial? A 7 step process? Really?


Yes, really. It's trivial... to programmers. It's not exactly "Hello World" trivial, but it's certainly trivial compared to tasks like object physics and collision detection, or enemy AI path selection.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

trivial compared to tasks like object physics and collision detection, or enemy AI path selection.


Collision detection is complicated? Since when. And path finding is complicated? It's not like you need to be a mathematical genius to understand the A* path finding algorithm. It's relatively trivial.... Certainly more trivial that ensuring that upgrading a complex application with a lot of modules, including some modules you have no control over because they were created by a third party, does not hose your customer's system.

Not all upgrade needs are created equal.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Still fsckd up
by JAlexoid on Tue 17th May 2011 05:03 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Still fsckd up"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19


Collision detection is complicated? Since when. And path finding is complicated? It's not like you need to be a mathematical genius to understand the A* path finding algorithm. It's relatively trivial.... Certainly more trivial that ensuring that upgrading a complex application with a lot of modules, including some modules you have no control over because they were created by a third party, does not hose your customer's system.

Not all upgrade needs are created equal.


If you're not in the field, it's not. Simple because path finding is a field specific algorithm.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Still fsckd up
by BluenoseJake on Tue 17th May 2011 00:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Still fsckd up"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

It's only trivial to the app developers, not to the developers who wrote the software stack, from the custom web framework to support the update process, as well the underlying framework in the Devices OS itself, it's trivial for the app developers becuase those frameworks expose APIs for the developer to use, be it Java, Objective C, or .net.

If you are a programmer today, you know this, you aren't going to be writing low level code to make do this, but somebody sure did.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by daedalus on Tue 17th May 2011 08:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Yeah, it could include thousands of lines of code, but from the sounds of it, that's irrelevant. It's the process that's patented, not the code. And a simple app, having only a few dozen lines of code to download a replacement exe, could still be seen to infringe on such a patent... It's crazy! And it's code that any decent programmer could come up with independently in an afternoon's work.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by snorkel2 on Mon 16th May 2011 19:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
snorkel2 Member since:
2007-03-06

Actually, there is not that much to the code behind a button like that and it can be implemented in a multitude of ways, some very simple and some a bit more complex. It can be as simple as returning a code that unlocks part of the program. It doesn't have to download or install anything, though it could do that as well. There are tons and tons of desktop shareware application developers who also have a upgrade button.

The thing is when this guy came up with this idea it was not even possible to do so as the internet was in it's infancy. I highly doubt he had anything that worked, he just patented a idea with the hopes that someday the technology would allow the creation of such a idea.

It just goes to show how messed up software patents are.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by eantoranz on Mon 16th May 2011 20:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
eantoranz Member since:
2005-12-18

That is precisely the problem. You don't have to really "invent" the technology to perform the update. You just have to "think" of it and put it on paper and send it to the USPTO and pray that the person who gets it for revision be a bit clueless on the obviousness of the idea and thinks it's "original", which is quite different. And that's sick... because then the people who don't actually do something productive (like sitting down to actually program how to make the upgrade button work) but sits down to _think of something_ (and just that) will be the ones who will make a profit. See the difference? One person _thinks_ of the idea while the other one _does/makes_ things out of it... and which one gets to collect from the idea? Sick, sick, sick.

Edited 2011-05-16 20:17 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 20:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

One person _thinks_ of the idea while the other one _does/makes_ things out of it... and which one gets to collect from the idea? Sick, sick, sick.


Isn't that how business works in general though? Some guy has a good idea, but lacks the ability to actually create it. He starts his own company, hires people who do have the ability to create the idea, and he makes most of the money.

It's rarely the people who do most of the work that get most of the money. Unless you happen to be the guy that comes up with the idea, and implements it yourself. And unless you are self-employed, or own your own business, that's usually not happening.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Mon 16th May 2011 21:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

eantoranz,

"That is precisely the problem. You don't have to really "invent" the technology to perform the update. You just have to "think" of it and put it on paper"

Yes, although it is only part of the problem with patents.

Sometimes the invention is trivial, but the invention solves a problem which didn't really exist in the past.

To give an illustration (feel free to mock it, but try not to miss the point):

One day flying cars may become common, which introduces a number of new problems, one of which could be that mugs in cup holders will spill all over the place in turbulence or steep angles.

I could get a patent for all cup holder designs which holds mugs inplace and keeps them upright. Any manufacturer wanting cup holders would need to pay royalties on the idea.

Or, perhaps I could invent the idea of more robust door locks while moving and in the air (as an extension of child-locks today) to prevent people from falling out of cars at altitude.

Or, I can invent an under-car camera system for landing. This would likely get very dirty during highway travel, so I'd also invent a wiper for it.

These inventions are not obvious today because no one has needed to solve these problems today. When we hit the point in time when the problems become real, then these solutions will also be dead obvious to everybody with the problem.

Is there benefit in granting patents for obvious solutions to non-obvious problems?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by tmrepository on Tue 17th May 2011 05:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
tmrepository Member since:
2011-05-17

That's why it's called INTELLECTUAL property! The idea is the most important part of any invention; without it, it's just an old idea with a clock on it.

It's wonderfully shortsighted when people say "I could have thought of that", but the fact is, they didn't.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Tue 17th May 2011 06:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

tmrepository,

"The idea is the most important part of any invention; without it, it's just an old idea with a clock on it... It's wonderfully shortsighted when people say 'I could have thought of that', but the fact is, they didn't."

The problem with your view is that you assume that the person did not in fact independently invent it for themselves.

The likelihood of this happening increases significantly as the number of software developers increases. Think of how the emergent statistics for the "birthday attack" plays out for software algorithms as well.

With millions of developers solving similar problems, there are bound to be many duplicate solutions arrived at totally independently (most of these occurrences are completely undocumented). It is shortsighted to adopt a patent system in a field where collisions are so likely and, when enforced, deprives many developers of the right to use their own ideas.

Edited 2011-05-17 06:42 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Still fsckd up
by tmrepository on Tue 17th May 2011 06:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Still fsckd up"
tmrepository Member since:
2011-05-17

You have to be able to prove you thought of it first, that's what patents are for. If you thought of it originally and didn't patent then that's your fault. It's like trying to charge someone in court without proof. It's not perfect, but it's at least there's some system in place.

I'm not in favour of patent trolling, but I AM in favour of allowing people to protect their original ideas, whether they create an implementation or not. There are several theoretical physicists and mathematicians who would resent your claim that an idea isn't worth protecting.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Still fsckd up
by Alfman on Tue 17th May 2011 07:20 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Still fsckd up"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

"You have to be able to prove you thought of it first, that's what patents are for."

I know how patents work, what we're talking about is the justification for them...


"I'm not in favour of patent trolling, but I AM in favour of allowing people to protect their original ideas, whether they create an implementation or not."

People like you seem to miss the reasoning behind patents in the first place, which was to promote the spread of knowledge. The monopoly was merely an incentive, never a goal. Today there are many fields in which patents fail to achieve their goals, or at least they do it much worse than the alternatives available to us today. Therefor it is a fair question to ask why anyone should be entitled to them.


"I'm not in favour of patent trolling, but I AM in favour of allowing people to protect their original ideas"

You're still ignoring the fact that people invent things independently. Patents deprive these inventors from the right to exploit their own ideas.

Besides, we don't have an oracle to tell us who invented something first, it's inherently unknowable. The original inventor may be completely disinterested in patents and may not have proof.

"There are several theoretical physicists and mathematicians who would resent your claim that an idea isn't worth protecting."

I'm not sure if you understand the difference between discovery and invention. In any case I never made that claim. If I make a claim, it is that monopolies on software algorithms don't achieve the socially beneficial goals which patents initially set out to accomplish. This is not surprising considering that patents were established long before computers.

The monopoly of an idea needs to be weighed against the costs to society.

Edited 2011-05-17 07:40 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Still fsckd up
by _txf_ on Tue 17th May 2011 09:37 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Still fsckd up"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

I'm not in favour of patent trolling, but I AM in favour of allowing people to protect their original ideas, whether they create an implementation or not. There are several theoretical physicists and mathematicians who would resent your claim that an idea isn't worth protecting.


AFAIK the scientific community generally holds the belief that copyrights and patents stifle and complicate the sharing of ideas necessary for research.

AFAIK you can't patent mathematics (you can however copyright you documentation and papers).

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Still fsckd up
by WereCatf on Tue 17th May 2011 10:26 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Still fsckd up"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

There are several theoretical physicists and mathematicians who would resent your claim that an idea isn't worth protecting.


I actually think they resent the idea of patenting ideas and prefer to freely share information.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by tmrepository on Tue 17th May 2011 05:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
tmrepository Member since:
2011-05-17

There's a reason they call it INTELLECTUAL property. The idea is the most valuable part of an invention. As many have already stated, implementation can be done many ways, but that doesn't change the underlying idea.

Plenty of people say "I could have thought of that", but the truth is, they didn't. Somebody else did.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Still fsckd up
by molnarcs on Mon 16th May 2011 22:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Still fsckd up"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

"They are still scumbags for wanting to charge for something as obvious as an in-application upgrade BUTTON.


You do realize, there is a lot of technology behind that button right? Surely you are not so naive to to think that if you add a button to your application and label it "Upgrade" that you automatically get upgrade functionality provided by magic unicorns and rainbows? Obviously, someone had to create the technology that allows the upgrading to happen. And that's what the patent is about... They did not patent an upgrade button.
"

You mean code? Yes, a few lines, which are, of course, protected by copyright laws. The issue here is software patents, which are generally a bad idea, but this one is obnoxious being so obvious as it is. Or do you seriously believe that without the hard work of Dan Abelow we wouldn't have in-app software update buttons? You can't possibly say that with a straight face... It is more likely that 99.99% of programmers who actually created the technology in individual products (think hundreds of thousands if not millions of apps) never heard the name and had no idea the patent even existed. That's the problem.

Edited 2011-05-16 22:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Still fsckd up
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 23:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Still fsckd up"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

The issue here is software patents, which are generally a bad idea, but this one is obnoxious being so obvious as it is. Or do you seriously believe that without the hard work of Dan Abelow we wouldn't have in-app software update buttons?


You obviously haven't been reading my comments completely because I have mentioned multiple times that I don't think he has a legitimate patent claim. I only said that upgrade systems are often far more complex than "a button with a few lines of code" behind it.

Software patents in general are not a bad idea. Generic software patents are.

For example, if I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on R&D to develop a super-efficient database algorithm that is blazingly faster than anything that currently exists at retrieving results, I should be able to patent that specific algorithm. But I should not be able to patent "Database retrieval algorithms that go faster". Nor should I be able to patent a generalized idea such as "If you make the algorithm simpler from a machine instruction standpoint, it will go faster" (which is usually true). In the first case, you are perfectly free to come up with your own fast database algorithm. It might even be faster than mine. But you just can't use my specific algorithm without paying me royalties, which will help cover my R&D expense.

The problem with not allowing any software patents, is that it will remove the incentive to spend money on R&D. If I spend hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars to come up with a super-efficient algorithm, and then all of the other companies can just rip off that algorithm, I can't compete. They will be able to undercut me in price because they didn't have the R&D expenses. They just let me do all the work, spend all the money, and then took the results of my work and used it in their own product. It's only fair that they pay me to help cover my R&D expenses.

Edited 2011-05-16 23:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by JAlexoid on Tue 17th May 2011 05:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

For example, if I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on R&D to develop a super-efficient database algorithm that is blazingly faster than anything that currently exists at retrieving results, I should be able to patent that specific algorithm.

But you don't need to patent it. Copyright covers that algorithm perfectly well. Because without patenting you don't need to disclose the actual algorithm and reverse engineering it has the same restrictions as implementing a patented algorithm. Seriously, didn't your CS education come with a healthy dose of IP law? Mine came with 2 years of IP law.

Seriously about the DB algorithms. Why hasn't Oracle copied all of IBM DB2 algorithms? Most of the parts that are highly efficient are actually not patented.

The problem with not allowing any software patents, is that it will remove the incentive to spend money on R&D.


That is a not true. That is just used to scare some people in believing. There are a lot of countries that sink a lot of $$$ into R&D, that don't have software patents. The only part that that is true, is the part you don't believe software patents should exist - generic patents.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Still fsckd up
by molnarcs on Tue 17th May 2011 05:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Still fsckd up"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10


Software patents in general are not a bad idea. Generic software patents are.

And who will decide what is generic and what is not?

For example, if I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on R&D to develop a super-efficient database algorithm that is blazingly faster than anything that currently exists at retrieving results, I should be able to patent that specific algorithm. But I should not be able to patent "Database retrieval algorithms that go faster".


You contradict yourself right there, for software patents, by definition, will always be too generic. You also seem to have problems distinguishing copyright and patent protections. For your specific implementation of a faster database algorithm is already protected by copyright laws. When you decide to patent it as well, you have no choice but to describe in generic terms what you do specifically in your code. From then on, you effectively can prevent alternative implementations of a faster algorithm, ie different code that does essentially the same thing. This stifles innovation, not encourages it, which means that this is also incorrect:


The problem with not allowing any software patents, is that it will remove the incentive to spend money on R&D. If I spend hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars to come up with a super-efficient algorithm, and then all of the other companies can just rip off that algorithm, I can't compete.


There is not a shred of evidence to support this, however, we have tons of evidence supporting the opposite (including the very patent troll we are discussing here). Software patents are a US only thing. By your logic, the rest of the world should have never invested in software R&D, which is obviously not the case. In fact, all the major innovations in software happened way before patent litigation became a favourite passtime of companies that 1) either don't innovate at all (ie have no products) 2) or companies that are afraid of a little competition. The most important innovations in software happened in spite of software patents, not because of it (example: the basic infrastructure of the internet - the protocols, DNS, mail servers, etc.)

They just let me do all the work, spend all the money, and then took the results of my work and used it in their own product. It's only fair that they pay me to help cover my R&D expenses.


Again, you confuse copyright with patents - I'm against the latter, not the former. Linux, for example, is probably covered by hundreds if not thousands of patents. The situation is so bad, that Linus encourages programmers not to look at patents at all. By now, you can't basically do anything more complex than "hello world" without bumping into software patents. So we ended up in a situation where people who follow the normal evolutionary path of development (linux is a good example, because you can see the whole damn thing evolving in front of your eyes)will inevitably violate patents, without ever looking at your "hard work" - simply because, as I said, software patents will always be, by definition, generic.

And lastly, the product cycle in software development is how long? A year, maybe two. You can't sell software older than that. Eliminate software patents completely (or simply don't implement them) - and you will end up exactly where you are right now as far as technology goes. Why? Because being first to market is far more important in software than in any other field. Being better or just staying ahead of the competition has its own rewards and provides incentive enough to invest in R&D. The only way software patents could foster innovation is if they were severely limited, like 6 months or a year at most (but again, as I said at the beginning of my reply, there isn't a single shred of evidence that supports this theory).

Edited 2011-05-17 05:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Still fsckd up
by karunko on Tue 17th May 2011 08:50 UTC in reply to "Still fsckd up"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

They are still scumbags for wanting to charge for something as obvious as an in-application upgrade BUTTON.


The way I see it, the real scumbags are the people granting patents that should be reject with a big WTF note and, possibly, a fine for wasting everybody's time.


RT.

Reply Score: 1

Compete on merit
by rhavyn on Mon 16th May 2011 17:33 UTC
rhavyn
Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple is using very similar nonsensical software patents against Android vendors because it can't actually compete on merit


Apple is the second largest smartphone vendor by units shipped. The iPhone division of Apple brings in more revenue than all of Nokia. Apple is making 55% of the profit in the entire cell phone industry. Last time I checked, Apple hasn't needed one lawsuit settled or judged in it's favor to reach that status. To claim that Apple can't compete on merit is absurd, not only are they competing they are destroying their competitors on merit. The only competition they are "losing" is quarter over quarter market share to Android. But even that assertion is questionable when at least one of the "winners" in that segment, Motorola is actually losing money. I'm sure any real business would rather "lose" with 55% of the profits then "win" with a loss.

Thom, comments like this is why people cruise into the comment section and scream about your bias. Either you really are biased or are perfectly willing to through away your credibility to make factually incorrect, non-sensical statements.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Compete on merit
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 16th May 2011 17:40 UTC in reply to "Compete on merit"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You do know competing is about more than just money, right?

Second, if it isn't about stifling the competition through the patent system - then why aren't they suing Palm/HP?

Look, the ONLY reason Apple is attacking Android is because they deem it a threat to their business. Anybody outside of the RDF can see that.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Compete on merit
by rhavyn on Mon 16th May 2011 20:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Compete on merit"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

You do know competing is about more than just money, right?

Second, if it isn't about stifling the competition through the patent system - then why aren't they suing Palm/HP?

Look, the ONLY reason Apple is attacking Android is because they deem it a threat to their business. Anybody outside of the RDF can see that.


Actually, for a business, it's all about the money. Do you think Motorola cares that Android is gaining market share when they're losing money? You don't make money, you go out of business, it's that easy. The higher your profit margins, the more you can do. Apple has enough cash on hand to simply buy Motorola and shut them down if they wanted to.

Second, unless and until the laws are changed, asserting your patents isn't stifling the competition. Regarding HP/Palm, no one really knows. They may have a cross licensing arrangement with HP/Palm. They aren't obligated to sue everyone, nor are they obligated to divulge all their deals.

Finally, you can bandy around "RDF" this and "cult" that if you want, but your comment was Apple is not competing on merit. My response was Apple is destroying their competitors with, up till this point, no assistance from a courtroom. Asserting otherwise is ridiculous, factually incorrect and, again, the reason people say you are biased.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Compete on merit
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 21:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Compete on merit"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Apple has enough cash on hand to simply buy Motorola and shut them down if they wanted to.


A: It would probably cost about $23 billion to buy all shares of Motorola stock at a price where investors would even be willing to support the buy-out. Apple doesn't have that kind of cash on hand. They would have to borrow.

B: It's questionable whether the DOJ would even approve the deal, or would block it on anti-competitive grounds.

Also, it's not all about making money. You can make a lot of money, but not be competitive. If you are making a lot of money, but losing market-share, that's not a sustainable way to run a business.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Compete on merit
by mkone on Mon 16th May 2011 23:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Compete on merit"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

"Apple has enough cash on hand to simply buy Motorola and shut them down if they wanted to.


A: It would probably cost about $23 billion to buy all shares of Motorola stock at a price where investors would even be willing to support the buy-out. Apple doesn't have that kind of cash on hand. They would have to borrow.

B: It's questionable whether the DOJ would even approve the deal, or would block it on anti-competitive grounds.

Also, it's not all about making money. You can make a lot of money, but not be competitive. If you are making a lot of money, but losing market-share, that's not a sustainable way to run a business.
"

Actually, they do. http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:AAPL&fstype=ii.

The highlights (if you can't be bothered to click):
- $29bn in cash and equivalents;
- $6bn in account receivables (money others owe them and they will receive soon - like money from people they have sold iPhones to;
- $37bn in long term investments (think longer term bonds and the like).

Yup, they could pretty much buy Motorola twice over, and have cash to spare.

Oh, and no debt.

Actually, there is no problem with a declining market share (assuming it settles at some point) in a growing market. 10% of 200m units a quarter is better than 50% of 10m. Apple has always been in the premium market, with iPod being sort of an exception (it is still a premium product, more expensive than the competition, but dominant regardless). Apple will do well if they can sustain their current volume and margins. It's more debatable if anyone else can command those sort of margins, because so far, they have been unable to.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Compete on merit
by rhavyn on Mon 16th May 2011 23:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Compete on merit"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

A little footnote: http://www.asymco.com/2011/01/19/20-billionyr-apples-cash-growth-ac...

Apple added $20 billion to their cash pile last year alone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Compete on merit
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 00:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Compete on merit"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

- $29bn in cash and equivalents;


Actually, it's $15bn in cash and equivalents. The $29 billion includes short term investments. They would have to sell all of their short term investments to make an attractive offer on Motorola, which it would likely be foolish to do.

- $6bn in account receivables (money others owe them and they will receive soon - like money from people they have sold iPhones to;


Accounts receivable cannot be considered cash on hand because much of that money will go to operating expenses. The 6bn in accounts receivable is not raw net profit.

Oh, and no debt.


They have no long term debt, but they do have $33.4 billion in liabilities. That's money that they owe to other companies. So they would have to go into some pretty serious debt to buy Motorola. And given there's no obvious benefit to them buying Motorola, that debt would send their stock value plummeting. Which would leave Apple themselves vulnerable to a hostile buyout. Apple can't kill Android by buying Motorola. They'd have to buy Google to do that. And they definitely cannot afford to buy Google. And even if they could, they still couldn't kill Android because it is an open source project. Some other company would take of the Android flag.

Actually, there is no problem with a declining market share (assuming it settles at some point) in a growing market.


Monthly fluctuations in market-share are not a problem, But if losing market-share is a long term trend, even if you are selling more more units and making more money, it is a problem. Because if you have a long term trend of decreasing market-share, it makes your platform less desirable for third party developers to target. And without third party developer support, your platform dies. Third party developers control the destiny of any given operating system. Losing market-share can create a downward spiral where you lose market-share, developers stop supporting your platform, that increases the rate of market-share loss because popular apps are not longer available for your platform, which causes more developers to abandon it, etc.

Obviously. none of this is a problem for Apple right now. Apple's third party developer community is healthy enough for the time being, especially when it comes to iOS. The Mac developer community may be irrelevant anyway, since it seems like Apple is gradually trying to push everything more towards iOS. It wouldn't surprise me at all if eventually OS X disappears and all of Apple's products run iOS.

Edited 2011-05-17 00:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Compete on merit
by mkone on Tue 17th May 2011 19:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Compete on merit"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

Way to miss the point there.

The point is Apple can easily afford to buy Motorola for cash if it had to.

Let's put it this way:

Current Assets: 94,904.00

Current Liabilities: 24,327.00

i.e. they have at least 60bn more in current assets than current liabilities.

No, they wouldn't have to go into debt to buy Motorola if they wanted to.

Edited 2011-05-17 19:58 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Compete on merit
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Compete on merit"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Way to miss the point there.


Current assets != cash on hand to spend buying things. It indicates the total amount of assets that can reasonably be expected to be converted to cash within one year. it != actual cash on hand. Learn a thing or two about business accounting would you?

Edited 2011-05-17 20:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Compete on merit
by JAlexoid on Tue 17th May 2011 05:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Compete on merit"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Yes they are making huge profits. And they are milking this baby till the end.
Why?
Because they are afraid that the Windows thing comes back knocking. And having 55% of their income from one single source, makes them vulnerable. Microsoft is much less vulnerable, because they have a moat.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Compete on merit
by Hiev on Mon 16th May 2011 22:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Compete on merit"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

You do know competing is about more than just money, right?

Yes, like user satisfaction, and I bet the iPhone kicks Android based phone easily.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Compete on merit
by mrstep on Tue 17th May 2011 16:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Compete on merit"
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

And device design, build quality, and ecosystem, which Apple also wins on. ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Compete on merit
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Compete on merit"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

And device design, build quality, and ecosystem, which Apple also wins on. ;)


Assuming you think there's nothing wrong with a design that drops calls because of antenna signal blocking unless you use a bumper case you mean, right? Apple really needs to hire a competent RF engineer it seems like, since every Apple product I have ever owned has had RF reception problems. My HP laptop gets four bars on the wifi signal in some hotel rooms where my MacBook Pro gets only two, and sometimes drops the signal completely. Many people had similar complaints about the wifi in the iPad (I don't own an iPad, so can't comment).

And as far as ecosystem, the Android ecosystem has surpassed the iOS ecosystem. That's the power of an open standard vs. closed single vendor lockin.

Edited 2011-05-17 17:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Compete on merit
by poundsmack on Mon 16th May 2011 17:43 UTC in reply to "Compete on merit"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

"Last time I checked, Apple hasn't needed one lawsuit settled or judged in it's favor to reach that status."

You might want to check just how many law suites are currently going against Apple that are current and ongoing. I won't list them here, but I'm sure it's only a few google searches away. I think some are Nokia, HTC, google, others...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Compete on merit
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 18:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Compete on merit"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

You might want to check just how many law suites are currently going against Apple


I'm pretty sure it's a full time job at Apple just to keep up on who Apple is currently suing and who is currently suing Apple.

Edited 2011-05-16 18:44 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Compete on merit
by rhavyn on Mon 16th May 2011 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Compete on merit"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

"Last time I checked, Apple hasn't needed one lawsuit settled or judged in it's favor to reach that status."

You might want to check just how many law suites are currently going against Apple that are current and ongoing. I won't list them here, but I'm sure it's only a few google searches away. I think some are Nokia, HTC, google, others...


The number of lawsuits outstanding is irrelevant, the question is how many were settled or judged in Apple's favor. If the answer, so far, is zero, then they have done nothing but compete on merit.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Compete on merit
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Compete on merit"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

The number of lawsuits outstanding is irrelevant, the question is how many were settled or judged in Apple's favor. If the answer, so far, is zero, then they have done nothing but compete on merit.


* Apple successfully sued Digital Research over GEM, claiming that the concept of a desktop violated their patents. Digital Research was force to remove the drive and trash icons from their desktop.

* Apple sued Microsoft claiming that the concept of overlapping windows violated their patents. The lawsuit was settled out of court with Microsoft agreeing to purchase 10% of Apple's stock.

* Apple successfully sued e-machines for producing a colored computer that looked a bit like the original iMac. e-machines had to stop producing the computer.

So no, Apple has not competed on merit. They've competed by patenting common metaphors like desktops, folders, and icons.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Compete on merit
by rhavyn on Mon 16th May 2011 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Compete on merit"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

"The number of lawsuits outstanding is irrelevant, the question is how many were settled or judged in Apple's favor. If the answer, so far, is zero, then they have done nothing but compete on merit.


* Apple successfully sued Digital Research over GEM, claiming that the concept of a desktop violated their patents. Digital Research was force to remove the drive and trash icons from their desktop.

* Apple sued Microsoft claiming that the concept of overlapping windows violated their patents. The lawsuit was settled out of court with Microsoft agreeing to purchase 10% of Apple's stock.

* Apple successfully sued e-machines for producing a colored computer that looked a bit like the original iMac. e-machines had to stop producing the computer.

So no, Apple has not competed on merit. They've competed by patenting common metaphors like desktops, folders, and icons.
"

The article, and thus my comment which you are replying to said " software patents against Android vendors." Which of those patents has anything to do with the iPhone or Android vendors?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Compete on merit
by mrstep on Tue 17th May 2011 16:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Compete on merit"
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

Remember when Microsoft stole the Stac stuff? Apple can't compete against Android, see.

Now be quiet and just nod. And you better not comment about competing in the tablet space against Android, because Microsoft says those don't count.

Next you're going to argue that it's possible to think that this lawsuit is bogus and that it's possible to believe that the whole patent system is broken. You can't do that and like your Mac/iPhone/etc.! You just can't!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Compete on merit - samsung?
by jabbotts on Mon 16th May 2011 18:36 UTC in reply to "Compete on merit"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Isn't Apple currently dragging Samsung, there primary chip manufacturer, into court over software patents or some UI nonsense? Do you meant that "competing purely through prdouct quality and innovation"?

Reply Score: 3

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Isn't Apple currently dragging Samsung, there primary chip manufacturer, into court over software patents or some UI nonsense?


Yes, they are currently suing Samsung because Samsung's new Android phone UI looks too much like the iPhone apparently. It's another lawsuit they will likely lose. Just like they lost their lawsuit against e-machines when e-machines produced a colored translucent computer, which Apple sued because it somewhat resembled the original iMac with the colored cases. Apple lost of course, and the judge told them that you can't patent a fashion trend, and that's basically what the demand for colored computers was.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Compete on merit - samsung?
by Piot on Mon 16th May 2011 19:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Compete on merit - samsung?"
Piot Member since:
2009-09-17

........It's another lawsuit they will likely lose. Just like they lost their lawsuit against e-machines when e-machines produced a colored translucent computer, which Apple sued because it somewhat resembled the original iMac with the colored cases.


You could be forgiven for just making a simple mistake....


Apple lost of course, and the judge told them that you can't patent a fashion trend, and that's basically what the demand for colored computers was.


.... but then you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid....

Reply Score: 1

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Ok. So I was wrong. I thought I remembered Apple losing that lawsuit. Turns out they won that one.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06



Apple lost of course, and the judge told them that you can't patent a fashion trend, and that's basically what the demand for colored computers was.


.... but then you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid....


Um.. but the translucent coloured plastic casing was a fashion trend. It didn't actualy make electronics work better somehow and we're not seeing clear plastic remotes, computers, childrens toys and such since the trend fell out of style.

Other than being incorrect about the trial outcome.. what was "stupid" about the comment? Come on now, you made the claim of "stupid".. support your claim.

Reply Score: 2

mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

I think he meant coming up with a "quote" from a judge to top it all off.

It's like saying "Remember when Stac lost their suit against Microsoft? The judge told them that since they weren't physically compressing the disk, it wasn't a valid patent." Google is your friend. (Unless you're talking Android... ;) )

Reply Score: 1

karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

[q]Just like they lost their lawsuit against e-machines when e-machines produced a colored translucent computer, which Apple sued because it somewhat resembled the original iMac with the colored cases. Apple lost of course, and the judge told them that you can't patent a fashion trend, and that's basically what the demand for colored computers was.


Not to defend Apple (and I'd rather stay on topic) but you are wrong: Apple won (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc._litigation#Apple_v._eMachin...).


RT.

Reply Score: 1

One comment on the death threats...
by bhtooefr on Mon 16th May 2011 18:52 UTC
bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

...technically, death threats were actually meant to be the final check and balance against a failure of government - part of the reason why the Second Amendment of the US Constitution exists.

However, that's final. Last resort. If the government fails, which it hasn't yet. (And, it's also usually illegal to use that check and balance, meaning that if you do it, you have to either prepare to be imprisoned or die, or prepare to completely take over the government. So, don't threaten to use it lightly.)

Edited 2011-05-16 18:53 UTC

Reply Score: 0

sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander
by gus3 on Mon 16th May 2011 19:22 UTC
gus3
Member since:
2010-09-02

"Remember, folks - it's just 1s and 0s."

Tell that to Lodsys. After all, they're the ones threatening people over those 1s and 0s.

Reply Score: 2

Not arbitrary, you just missed the point.
by AdamW on Mon 16th May 2011 19:24 UTC
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

"The patent troll definition usually includes the requirement of not actually selling any products that use the patents in question, but I've always found this an arbitrary requirement. "

It's not arbitrary, you just missed the point.

The reason the distinction is important - even vital - is pretty simple. What happens when two practicing entities - companies which are making similar products and which both have relevant patents - get into a patent battle? Heat, light, under-informed posts on tech blogs, and then a cross-licensing agreement: each agrees to license the other's patents and the problem goes away.

Notably for F/OSS, this is the principle on which OIN and similar 'patent banks' operate. OIN is effectively a war chest of patents for F/OSS projects which are threatened by practicing entities: if Microsoft or Apple or someone threatens an OIN member, then there's likely to be some patent in the OIN bank that Microsoft or Apple or a similar company infringes, and so the company being threatened can fight back, and probably come to a settlement in line with F/OSS principles.

The problem is this system doesn't work at all with non-practicing entities - companies which don't actually produce any software or hardware or anything, they just litigate patents. You can't come to a cross-licensing agreement with these companies because they don't create anything, so they can't be infringing anyone's patents.

That's why the distinction between practicing and non-practicing is so important to the patent troll definition.

Reply Score: 4

.5%? That's nuts!
by eantoranz on Mon 16th May 2011 20:03 UTC
eantoranz
Member since:
2005-12-18

So, 0.5% of income for an upgrade button? How many more patents will you be able to cover? That'd mean 200 patents and you are done... from there, you will start start losing money (not to mention that the calculation started from income and not profit in the first place).

Reply Score: 3

RE: .5%? That's nuts!
by pantheraleo on Mon 16th May 2011 20:11 UTC in reply to ".5%? That's nuts!"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

It's cheap enough that I don't see anyone taking the issue to court. As mentioned, if you sell one million dollars worth of software, you pay patent royalties of less than $6,000. If I've sold one million dollars worth of software, coming up with less than $6,000 is basically just a question of which chair I want to dig for that loose change in.

The cost of litigating it would be far higher, even if you are almost sure you will win.

Reply Score: 2

Lodsys
by hackus on Mon 16th May 2011 21:55 UTC
hackus
Member since:
2006-06-28

The premise that you can just mind control everyone to pay you cash because you thought of it first is going to produce exactly what you see in the USA:

1) Tons of Patents that insure no progress ever happens.

2) Foreign countries which actually take ideas and make products and sell them.

3) Number one in desperation tries to sue #2 as it goes broke from its corruption.

Possibly #1 might decide to park an aircraft carrier off the coast of #2 if #2 doesn't start writing #1 all sorts of checks for basically no work, no research and no innovation.

-Hack

Reply Score: 1

Comment by t3RRa
by t3RRa on Mon 16th May 2011 23:00 UTC
t3RRa
Member since:
2005-11-22

Another article with unbiased opinions and off-topic contents ... or a private blog post. Most of people know that that software patent is another very ridiculous sh*t no matter what/how they say. period. And stop bashing people, Thom. I like Apple products but I do not like about software patents whether its from Apple nor MS nor Google nor anyone out in the wild. I without doubt think many others who like Apple products would have same thoughts. So don't make up when you do not know/understand. That's a pile of sh*t. Especially when you are an editor on the large news site.

Reply Score: 2

Read the patent
by rdean400 on Tue 17th May 2011 01:00 UTC
rdean400
Member since:
2006-10-18

I browsed over that patent and couldn't finish it. It is clear from the first 40 or so claims that the patent is so broadly worded that they're claiming a patent on e-commerce, not just upgrade buttons.

Reply Score: 1

Uhh..
by Shannara on Tue 17th May 2011 01:13 UTC
Shannara
Member since:
2005-07-06

Since I am not a tree hugger; I know enough to know that death threats do get things done when nothing else works.

Welcome to life.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Uhh..
by f0dder on Tue 17th May 2011 01:34 UTC in reply to "Uhh.."
f0dder Member since:
2009-08-05

As long as it's directed at the right target - which means Lodsys, not Dan Abelow ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Uhh..
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 02:09 UTC in reply to "Uhh.."
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Since I am not a tree hugger; I know enough to know that death threats do get things done when nothing else works.


If you think that software patents warrant death threats against the person holding the patent, I honestly hope you get some psychiatric help. Because you seriously really do need it.

Most people have a concept of something called "reasonable force" And killing someone over a software patent is definitely NOT reasonable force.

Edited 2011-05-17 02:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Uhh..
by molnarcs on Tue 17th May 2011 05:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhh.."
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

"Since I am not a tree hugger; I know enough to know that death threats do get things done when nothing else works.


If you think that software patents warrant death threats against the person holding the patent, I honestly hope you get some psychiatric help. Because you seriously really do need it.

Most people have a concept of something called "reasonable force" And killing someone over a software patent is definitely NOT reasonable force.
"

If you take those death threats seriously (if they exist at all), you should log off the Internet. Right now. You are in danger.

Reply Score: 2