Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Mar 2011 22:52 UTC, submitted by ephracis
Legal Since competing on merit is looked down upon in the computer and software world, companies in this business usually go for the blindfolded chick with the scale and sword. Up until recently, Microsoft didn't go for the whole patent litigation thing, but now that they've tasted some, they want more. They just sued Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, and Inventec for patent infringement because they use Android.
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They know no shame
by Lobotomik on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 09:50 UTC
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They have shamelessly copied user interfaces invented by others (windows, menus, icons, and on and on), business models started by competitors (cloud computing, ad serving, online apps, media players, media stores, app stores, you name it). They have copied the applications they sell! The word processor, the spreadsheet, the personal database, the presentations program, the web browser, the web server, all of them, copied from their competitors.

And let’s not forget the mass of subjacent technology that they are also profiting of, for free: concepts like processes, threads, shared memory, memory protection, user management, virtual machines, compilers and interpreters, programming languages...

Their whole fortune is based on copying and polishing. But they have the nerve to patent simple concepts, and then use them as a roadblock to hijack the highway they should share.

They say they have to protect the billions they have invested, but these patents they are asserting have not costed billions: they are the sort of things that a good programmer can think up while having a coffee or taking a whiz. And many of these billions they talk about they threw away in making a piece of crap like Windows Mobile that nobody wanted (and which shamelessly copied features from all the competition). Now they want to protect the money they wasted by preventing others from becoming successful where they shamefully failed; and then, to do this, they use weapons which completely lack merit.

Copying and improving things that have been copied and improved is OK: it is evolution; it is standing on the shoulders of giants. What turns you into a scavenger is then trying to lock your competitors out of the very same things you profited from. There might be merit in protecting something which was completely your invention, but the proportion of invention over imitation in IT is extremely low (which is not bad – you must build on a growing base of enormous complexity which no individual can redo from scratch).

It is a shame that these vultures are allowed to proceed this way. It is more than time enough to blow the whole USA patent system out of the water. Shamefully it will not happen, because the unsurprising unending affair of Big Corporate and the US government. How sad that across the world we are all affected.

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