Microsoft: The New James Watt
I don’t think it will be so easy for Microsoft to stifle competition the way
James Watt did. For one thing, Boulton & Watt had no other business but
their steam-engine monopoly, whereas Microsoft has a whole lot of existing
businesses, with existing customers, who will be antagonized by this
litigious image. Past experience shows that being seen as lawsuit-happy is
And for those who believe that patents, particularly software patents,
contribute anything to the economy:
... the aggregate annual patent profits for software in the US were $100
million for the years 1996-9; the aggregate litigation costs for the
same period were $3,880 million.
In short, the lawyers are making obscene profits out of all this, while the
inventors are getting peanuts.
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