Tag - patents

Yahoo … just like SCO 9 years ago

What a train wreck Yahoo! has been over the last few years. And with their new lawsuit against Facebook they’ve joined the SCO Group in the annals of tech sleaze.

SCO, you’ll remember, is the group that sued IBM over Linux. SCO was a once-proud company that had completely lost its way, lost its customers, and lost any sort of product direction. And it was completely in the hands of new management (Darl McBride, who I once had dinner with) that had no product vision, no passion for technology, and no hope of creating legitimate success.

Sounds a lot like Yahoo, doesn’t it?

It’s time for any self-respecting geeks to leave the organization. As Kara Swisher reports, there was a lot of internal debate over this move, and a lot of the top technical people were opposed to it.

Guess what: real product people, real techies, don’t stand for this stuff. They see it for what it is: legal cheating. And legal cheating that is unlikely to work, to boot.

Yahoo: there was a time you didn’t suck.

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On innovation and patents

I just got schooled on innovation and patents by a 12-year-old. My 12 year old, to be precise.

“I just invented a new way of putting wheels on,” he said. They’re playing lego – he and my other son, who’s 8.

He showed me how he did it – a neat way of taking the wheels off the built-in axels they come from the factory on, slipping them into small pieces with a hole in them, and embedding the small piece within the body of the vehicle. Neat indeed.

“It’s much stronger,” he said. “Don’t tell Aidan.”

Don’t tell Aidan. There you have the essence of the patent system. Not exactly, because patents actually reveal something about methodology … but basically. I figure out how to do something good, and you can’t copy it.

This is what threatened Linux a decade ago; it’s what threatens Android now; it’s what has caused a thousand lawsuits and a million settlements.

Mine. Not yours.

It’s very human of us. Doesn’t mean it’s good.

But I think I know how this story is going to end. Sooner or later, Ethan will show Aidan how he put together the wheels in a whole new way. Then Aidan will know how too.

Somehow, that’s how I think our current patent situation in the the US and Europe might end up too.