W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-plugins@w3.org > September 2003

Re: If MS pulls plug-in support, who do I sue

From: Jake Robb <jakerobb@mac.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2003 12:32:39 -0400
To: W3C Public Web Plugins List <public-web-plugins@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BB876D67.E9E5%jakerobb@mac.com>

I was discussing the patent with a friend of mine last night (one of the
smartest people I've ever met).

I mentioned the catch-22 MS is in: if they argue that software patents need
revision, and win, several of their own patents will likely be voided, and
they'll be prevented from patenting several things they might otherwise
patent in the future.  My friend argued that this isn't a problem.

Sure it is, I said.  MS uses their patent portfolio to support their market
dominance.

My friend then pointed out something crucial: the existence of Windows
*guarantees* Microsoft's market dominance in the forseeable future, and the
strongest thing they have on their side is their reputation for financial
success.  Anyone with a good business mind would bet that MS will continue
to be profitable for a long time coming.

The point is, MS doesn't need their patent portfolio to maintain their
dominant market position.  Companies like Apple, IBM, Be, and Sun have shown
time and time again that it takes much more than a competitive (or even
superior) computing product to topple MS.  Let's imagine that all MS patents
are voided, and they never get another.  What does that mean?  Anyone with
the requisite skill may create software products that work *as well as* MS
products.  I fail to see how such a product could expect to do any better
than the superior products that already exist.

-Jake



Richard S. Hendershot wrote:

> 
> 
> I think we are hearing very little from Microsoft for very obvious reasons.
> It seems clear that their defense rolled-over.  It is, in my opinion, in
> Microsoft's best interest actually to have precedent establishing the case
> for the multitude of patents that they expect to file.  There's more than
> one way to control the desktop, and one of them is to disallow any
> competition.
> 
> I'm surprised that the patent, filed in 1994, was not issued until 1998 -
> well after java 1.0 and applets were a fact, as was ActiveX.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-web-plugins-request@w3.org
> [mailto:public-web-plugins-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Russell Cowdrey
> Sent: Monday, September 08, 2003 5:02 PM
> To: 'public-web-plugins@w3.org'
> Subject: If MS pulls plug-in support, who do I sue
> 
> [snip]
> 
> I think we are hearing very little from Microsoft because I'm sure they are
> trying to weigh the cost of the lawsuits to come over the cost of the patent
> infringement.  Their best course of action is to come forward and put their
> full weight behind an appeal and to overturn this stupid patent.  I really
> think the ramifications are huge.
> 
> [snip]
> 
Received on Friday, 12 September 2003 12:32:43 UTC

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