Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Jul 2011 14:00 UTC
Microsoft Well, paint me red and call me a girl scout, I totally did not see this one coming at all. This is so utterly surprising it made my brain explode. Hold on to your panties, because this will rock your world. After pressuring several smaller Android vendors into submission (and yes, HTC is still relatively small compared to other players), Microsoft is now moving on to the big one: Redmond is demanding $15 for every Samsung Android device sold. Samsung's choices are simple: pay up, or face another epic lawsuit.
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Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

Trying to find logic in the legal system are we?
Now who is is illogical ;)

Yes, most of it is not concerned with real intellectual property protection. I think on a grander scale it is done to prevent the 'race to 0' of making everything a commodity.

On this point I am a little sympathetic.

Back in the ATT days, a lot of R&D was funded by the reality that the telecom companies had a monopoly on telecom service. It's easy to spend money on R&D with a guaranteed cash stream. This is the era where C++ was born.

Then came the idea that monopolies were bad and we needed to separate the R&D and equipment part from the service provision. Well that cut off the constant cash flow to the R&D, and over time these areas filled with competition and shareholders...

Combine this with globalization and it's even increased. Combine this again with open source and it's increased more. The result is how to keep any kind of cashflow to keep your company afloat. You use the final means you have... the legal system, Apple style supply chain hoarding... That's where we are now.

I'm not saying we should go back to monopoly, but I am sympathetic to the realities of running a business. This field moves so quickly and this become cheap and a commodity so fast, it's hard to keep any kind of stable business.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Yamin,

I think monopolies are extremely bad on all levels. Yet, I feel your post was excellent.

You mention that monopolies, with their hugely disproportionate cash flow advantage, may be able to do more for R&D than if the resources were distributed to many competing entities.

I guess this could be true, especially for things like cold fusion, or space programs, or certain medical cures, or other mega scale projects.

But I cannot think of a single software project where the resources demand nothing short of a full monopoly in order to build. Especially when we have ever more powerful computers in the home. There are fewer barriers to entry than ever before (ignoring software patents).

Many software giants tend to buy out much smaller companies for their low budget tech instead of deving it in house using their huge budgets. This seems to suggest that, at least for software, small companies can in fact beat the large ones at tech R&D, using far fewer resources.

Maybe you can provide a counter-example?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Yamin Member since:
2006-01-10

It depends what you goal is.
I'm not suggesting there is a lack of R&D or there is going to be a lack of R&D. Between universities, open source, and companies, I don't think we'll run short of R&D.

However, in terms of creating businesses that employ people and are stable... that's the point. And in grade scheme of politics and economics, that's a far more important point.

Watch this video from the globeandmail in Canada.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/manufactu...

This is not the best link, but its the most recent one I've read.

I've read and seen lots of talk like this in Canada. As our product base has declined, the talking heads in politics say we need to protect our ideas... and keep high value jobs here...

However, I will also just toss out the idea that hyper innovation leads to a shallow innovation. What I mean by shallow innovation is not bad innovation. Just shallow. Things people can do without much study.

We see that now and have heard some complain that our best minds are out creating facebook and webapps. Why do they do it? because its shallow innovation. It's easy to get into with a quick return. The old model of long term R&D at the company level is struggling because of this. Few people have the interest to invest years and years on their own education in some obscure field only. In older times, a lot of that R&D was comfortably funded by companies and universities.

Microsoft for example is known for this kind of program. How can they afford it? By the fact that they are stable strong software company.

ATT was like this back in the day too.

As these profit centers became detached from R&D and struggling to keep margins, this kind of R&D dwindles and you end up with pure university level and shallow start ups.

Reply Parent Score: 3