May 13 2007

Microsoft – The New Destructor of Innovation?

If you read our blog from time to time, you’ll know that Brad and I dislike the U.S. patent system with a particular distate for software patents.  Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court issued a couple of rulings that seemed to be nudging the system in the right direction.

Today, Brad sent me an article regarding Microsoft’s claims that free software infringes upon as many as 235 of its patents.   The article talks about how Microsoft filed nearly 3800 software in 2004 and is a vertible software patenting machine.

Now Steve Ballmer is seemingly on a press tour saying that Microsoft deserves royalites from anyone who uses free software and yes, this includes Linux.  He is quoted as saying “what’s fair is fair.”  What’s fair is that people can create innovative software products and bring them to market to keep our economy competitive.  What Microsoft has apparently done is rushed to “patent” everything in the world without any intention of bring any of these products to market.  Apparently Microsoft has “patented” software. 

Is Microsoft really this desparate in it’s battle with Google?  Can they not compete, so that their options are buying Yahoo! and / or trying to raise revenues holding innovation and corporate America hostage?

Whatever the reason, they ought to know that their behavior will do nothing more than potentially raise short term revenues and help destroy innovation and competitiveness of our country. 

Shame on you Microsoft.  If this isn’t anti-competitive behavior, than what is?