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Microsoft, Apple, EMC, and Oracle Form Patent Bloc 113

An anonymous reader writes "When Novell finally sold itself, part of the deal included the sale of 882 patents to a consortium backed by Microsoft. Thanks to a tip from Florian Mueller, it turns out that Microsoft's partners are Apple, Oracle, and EMC, which raises questions about where these companies are heading and what it means for the rest of the industry."
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Microsoft, Apple, EMC, and Oracle Form Patent Bloc

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  • First Post (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:50AM (#34588004)


  • Ahh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by itsownreward ( 688406 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:52AM (#34588058)
    ...the axis of evil.
  • What it means (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:01PM (#34588200)

    Is that it's going to get a little bit harder to run a new business that makes computer products.

    I don't think there's anything we can do about this. The general sentiment is that patents make the market "fair" by "protecting inventors." The American people care more about a "fair market" than a "free market" today. If you suggest that no one has a right to make money from their ideas, only their actual products, you're seen as a cold-hearted bastard in the mold of Randroid who believes cigar-chomping fatcats should be able to keep guys working on The Next Big Thing in their garage from getting rich by stealing their ideas.

    Nevermind the fact that more often than not, what the patent system really means is that the cigar-chomping fatcat can sue the guy in his garage into bankruptcy 100 times over before he can get his product to market.

  • by NotInfinitumLabs ( 1150639 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:04PM (#34588254)
    They're all involved with litigation against Google (or Google products, like Android).
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:06PM (#34588294)
    More interesting than the companies on the list is the company who isn't: Google.

    Strange that almost everyone involved in the consortium has some kind of axe to grind with Google. Both Apple and Microsoft have been involved in lawsuits with phone manufacturers who make Android devices and Oracle is suing Google over their JVM. EMC has fingers in several pies and some of those pies are ones that Google could conceivably want to sink fingers into as well so it's not inconceivable that they might target Google in the near future.

    Could just be a group of companies looking to ward off patent trolls, but I foresee that one or more of these companies will be bringing one or more of these newly acquired patents into the fray before too long.
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:13PM (#34588414)
    Microsoft knew that they wouldn't win in court. They just made up a number that sounded scary and started making noise. Some good old-fashioned FUD-slinging. The worst they can do is appear menacing and make it appear there's a sword hanging over the head of Linux.

    Even if they could somehow "own" Linux, it wouldn't stop the FOSS community from removing the offending parts and moving something new that can't be shutdown.
  • by molnarcs ( 675885 ) <> on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:16PM (#34588446) Homepage Journal

    They probably just don't want to worry about getting sued.

    I think I heard that line before... And then APPLE went after HTC waving ridiculous software patents, while their buddies at Microsoft covered the other big player: Motorola. Oracle is attacking Google directly...

  • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) * on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:16PM (#34588448) Journal

    Meanwhile, somewhere in near the future...

    - War Is Peace
    - Freedom Is Slavery
    - Ignorance Is Strength
    - Monopoly Is Competition
    - Fools Are Wise
    - Drugs Are Health
    - Torvalds Is Goldstein
    - Assange Is An Unlawful Informant

  • Re:What it means (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:24PM (#34588544)
    The big problem is that the tech industry moves so much faster than most other industries. By the time a patent on something has expired, it's likely fallen out of use or has been supplanted by something else. Either that or its a patent that covers something so vague that it can be applied to almost any product and it takes forever (by tech industry standards) for it to expire.

    There's also a horrible feedback loop because a few people have been burned by patent suits over asinine patents. To prevent this, companies patent everything and anything just so they can avoid patent trolls. If the company starts to go belly up it can bust out its patent portfolio and become a patent troll itself and the vicious circle goes around once more.

    I think that most of the /. community would agree that a patent system is a good thing, but that what we have now is horribly broken and badly in need of being fixed. Of course that's easier said than done.
  • Re:What it means (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @12:56PM (#34589012)

    just license the patents.

    ...and when Apple decides to compete with your new product, they will simply stop licensing to your company to shut you down. Remember Me neither.

  • by AntEater ( 16627 ) on Friday December 17, 2010 @02:53PM (#34590640) Homepage

    ...which raises questions about where these companies are heading and what it means for the rest of the industry.

    Total. World. Domination.

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.