Thursday, March 15, 2007

Microsoft's flip-flop on patents

For the past few years Microsoft has supported software patents, an annoying plague ... or at least a common cold ... in the software industry. The software industry gained no benefit in the 90s when software patents became popular; there are good reasons to think that the system is unfair and detrimental to the industry as a whole.

I had a faint hope that when Microsoft was hit with a $1.5 billion judgement for infringing on one of the MP3 patents (because Windows supports MP3 files), it might change its tune. No such luck. Ironically, as this article expains, Microsoft's original basis for using patents recognized the flaws in the system.