Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:02 UTC, submitted by viator
Legal If you can't compete, litigate. This train of thought has been quite prevalent among major technology companies as of late, most notably by Apple and Microsoft, who both cannot compete with Android on merit, so they have to resort to patent lawsuits and FUD. Both Asustek and Acer have revealed that Microsoft plans to impose royalty fees upon the two Taiwanese hardware makers to prevent them from shipping Android and/or Chrome OS devices.
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RE: Anti-competitive?
by Neolander on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:21 UTC in reply to "Anti-competitive?"
Member since:

How does protecting these patents make Microsoft anti-competitive?

These patents date back from the stone age of computing, they should be public domain by now.

Using them is anti-competitive because younger companies cannot compete in the patent area with dinosaurs holding lots of patents on (now) obvious and very widespread things like FAT32.

In an area moving as fast as software, patents should have a much shorter lifetime, of say 5 years. That we can still infringe patents on things dating back from the Windows 95 era here in 2010 is just plain odd, and hurts innovation more than anything else. Paying for patents issued in the Vista era, otoh, I'd be okay with that, if the fees are reasonable and if the patent system allows small innovators to patent things too.

Edited 2010-10-28 20:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by grimshaid on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:18 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
grimshaid Member since:

I think you might have made one of the most important points in the discussion in noting the duration of patents vs the ever-evolving software market. Previous patents upon invention were based upon a time frame dictated by a much slower process of development. Inventions being protected for 25 years was a lot more reasonable when the devices had little need to change over that duration, and there were fewer alternatives available or even necessary. In the software market, by comparison, things change almost at the blink of an eye and the same duration on patents lends itself more to allowing monopolies than protecting the market.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Anti-competitive?
by Neolander on Fri 29th Oct 2010 17:39 in reply to "RE[2]: Anti-competitive?"
Neolander Member since:

Well, several things sound broken in the software patent system, but the patent duration problem is the easiest to solve because it can be fixed with a simple change of law : reducing software patent lifetime.

The other major issue with software patents is when people are patenting the obvious (e.g. swipe to unlock), but solving this problem juridically would be much more difficult since "obvious" is hard to translate in legalese.

Edited 2010-10-29 17:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by nt_jerkface on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:31 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
nt_jerkface Member since:

Device companies play a big role in keeping FAT32 around. Windows can read EXT2/3 devices with a driver but device companies don't include support even though it is in their long term interest.

MS ironically ran into the same problem with WMA. It was the in best interest of device companies to migrate away from MP3 but they were too focused on short term profits.

Anyways FAT32 expires in 2014 so it is not as if they can charge forever.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Anti-competitive?
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:39 in reply to "RE[2]: Anti-competitive?"
lemur2 Member since:

Anyways FAT32 expires in 2014 so it is not as if they can charge forever.

Keep the focus, please.

Microsoft's current FAT patents are not for FAT32, they are for writing long filesnames on FAT32.

Linux doesn't violate these patents.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by kristoph on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:17 in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
kristoph Member since:

Microsoft's action are not 'anti-competative' by any legal definition. The laws of the USA are on their side.

You may not like it but it's sort of Orwellian to redefine terms in support of your argument, don't you think?

Reply Parent Score: 1