Thursday, September 14, 2006

Microsoft on patent non-assertion covenants

Bob Sutor of IBM on Microsoft move in software patents:

David Berlind has been wondering what we think about this, so here goes: nice start, but there is such a long, long way for them to go after being such active opponents to open collaboration and innovation. The first step was perhaps hard, but they now need to start running fast to catch up to where the industry has been around open operating environments, open middleware, open development environments, and so forth.

Berlind wrote:

At the end of the day, we're talking about public companies that have bills to pay and stockholders to satisfy. Not only that, while IBM has issued similar non-assertion convenants, it too is operating in a hybrid mode where not all of its intellectual property is freely open for the taking by open source developers. In fact, the majority of IBM's IP is not quite so freely available. So, who is the final arbiter of what should stay open for Microsoft and what should stay closed? Microsoft must decide for itself the same way IBM decides when to non-assert certain parts of its patent portfolio and the same way Sun decides when to open source Java.


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