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Businesses Microsoft Patents Apple

How Steve Jobs Patent-Trolled Bill Gates 307

theodp writes "Apple, which is currently waging IP war on Android vendors, is no stranger to patent trolling. Citing the Steve Jobs bio, Forbes' Eric Jackson recalls how Steve Jobs used patents to get Bill Gates to make a 1997 investment in Apple. Recalled Jobs: 'Microsoft was walking over Apple's patents. I said [to Gates], "If we kept up our lawsuits, a few years from now we could win a billion-dollar patent suit. You know it, and I know it. But Apple's not going to survive that long if we're at war. I know that. So let's figure out how to settle this right away. All I need is a commitment that Microsoft will keep developing for the Mac and an investment by Microsoft in Apple so it has a stake in our success.' Next thing you know, BillG was lording over Jobs at Macworld Boston, as the pair announced the $150 million investment that breathed new life into then-struggling Apple. So, does Gates deserve any credit for helping create the world's most valuable company?"
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How Steve Jobs Patent-Trolled Bill Gates

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  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Saturday March 03, 2012 @08:16PM (#39234907) Homepage Journal

    Patent troll nothing. Microsoft was caught red handed with code lifted *DIRECTLY* from the Quicktime codecs. This was not trolling with a concept or buying patents to then leverage against someone else, this was outright plagiarism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2012 @08:34PM (#39234973)

    Your evidence, courtesy of some reporting by The Register in 1998.

    "However, although Intel certainly knew that Canyon had developed key parts of the code for Apple, it did not specify that this must be undertaken in a clean room, which is a damning condemnation in view of Intel's experience of such matters following its own litigation with AMD. A month later, Canyon delivered the program to Intel containing code that was an exact copy of the code that it had previously delivered to Apple. Intel gave this code to Microsoft as part of a joint development program called Display Control Interface."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2012 @08:41PM (#39235013)

    That's not saying anything about Microsoft copying Apple's source. That's merely saying that Canyon developed some product for Apple and for Intel and that the two products shared source code.

    The two things are completely different in moral and in legal terms.

    Put another way, what action against Microsoft do you think Apple would have been entitled to take, and for what amount or other specific remedy?

  • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Informative)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @08:41PM (#39235021) Journal

    Andrew Carnegie []?

    Carnegie died on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts of bronchial pneumonia. He had already given away $350,695,653 (approximately $4.3 billion, adjusted to 2005 figures) of his wealth.[27] At his death, his last $30,000,000 was given to foundations, charities, and to pensioners

    John D. Rockefeller []?

    Rockefeller's fourth main philanthropy, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Foundation, was created in 1918.[80] Through this, he supported work in the social studies; this was later absorbed into the Rockefeller Foundation. In total Rockefeller donated about $550 million.

  • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Informative)

    by HappyEngineer ( 888000 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @09:10PM (#39235201) Homepage
    You're trying to define innovate to mean the same thing as invent. That's not what it means. It means "Make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.". It's hard to argue that Apple doesn't do this. They find markets where there's room for improvement in the products and then release a product which is better is some way.
  • by readandburn ( 825014 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @09:51PM (#39235413)
    Xerox got 1,000,000 shares of pre-IPO Apple stock for $100,000 in exchange for a demonstration of their technology.

    I wish someone would steal from me like that.

  • by larkost ( 79011 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @10:08PM (#39235523)

    You are very misinformed in using the word "stole". Apple clearly paid Xerox for everything it got from the tours there (except maybe for the engineers that it hired away):

    A choice quote (for those too lazy to click over):

    Apple obtained permission ahead of the Xerox PARC visit. In addition, Apple provided compensation in exchange for the various Xerox PARC ideas such as the GUI.

  • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2012 @10:18PM (#39235573)

    Like the parent poster said, do some basic research. This took me 30 seconds to find:

  • Re:Disagree (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2012 @10:51PM (#39235673)

    Every time I read something like the parent, its like a Nazi saying "We gave away our fortune in gold teeth, extracted from visitors to our camp at Auschwitz."

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @11:32PM (#39235793)

    The whole point of the patent system is to encourage cross licensing, sharing, and development of ideas while ensuring that real inventors can be paid for their creations.

    I'm sorry but you are living in fantasy land. The whole point of the patent system is to encourage people to invent things and have a legal resort to make sure no one steals their invention, that way they can justify the time and money invested to invent since now they can actually profit from the invention.

    I do accept the patent system is broken and sucks, and should be abolished or heavily revamped, but patents were always about roadblocks and restrictions.

    As for the origin of the name "patent troll" listen to This American LIfe's coverage on the topic []. They talk to the guy that originally coined the term and the reason: fantasy trolls that live under bridges and bully you to pay money if you want to use the bridge. Unlike some users like to think, patent trolls are not named after the forum variety that is there just to bother and annoy.

  • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @11:36PM (#39235801)

    Go listen to "When Patents Attack" by This American Life. [] They not only talk about the origin of the term "Patent Troll" but also talk to the guy that coined it up and he explains it's an allegory to the bridge trolls in fantasy, that will pop up as soon as you try to cross a bridge and just demand money.

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @11:43PM (#39235831)

    An interesting side story to this is that Apple engineers went crazy implementing overlapping windows because they were shown such a feature at Xerox. Xerox engineers were shocked since they never actually implemented the feature and thought it to be impossible to do.

    At the end of the day the only thing Apple got out of Xerox were ideas, nothing else. Implementation details were almost all home grown and some of those details were shared with Microsoft. Those were the details Apple sued Microsoft over.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @01:23AM (#39236415) Homepage Journal

    I use Apple devices because they DO work better, for me. Windows has never been a good fit, always got in the way more than it ever enabled. Linux and other options are not and have not been viable for me. Sure I could use any PC to do work but effectively? No. Apples devices get out of my way. They do what I want them to, enable me, empower me.

    Yes even the hardware. I can't stand non-Apple trackpads. So clumsy. Non-Apple PCs also generally have too much cruft. Too many useless function keys and buttons, all of which suck up resources, get in the way and are poorly thought out.

    Same is true of Windows. Too much unnecessary crap getting in the way. Every window has a pointless toolbar, every controll panel has 50 tabbed views crammed in. Search never worked, still doesn't.

    I can keep going but it really comes down to the fact that Apple's technology implementations were and are the best. That makes me more productive which means I am more successful.

    So yeah I think they deserve their present success.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @03:20AM (#39236951)

    Steve Jobs: Good artists copy great artists steal

    you have learned well young padawan Gates

  • by Kahlandad ( 1999936 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @04:07AM (#39237155)

    What bothers me is if a bunch of ignorant anti-Apple zealots want to insist that the entire Apple/Samsung lawsuit simply revolves around rounded corners and click to unlock.

    There is a difference between designing your product to look and function similarly to your competitors and simply ripping off every single design element, from the look and shape of the packaging, power adapter, the color and shape of the icons, the design of the built-in apps, and yes, the appearance of your product.

    This is a visual guide to the IP that Apple claims Samsung infringed upon. Read through it and then come back here and claim, with a straight face, that the lawsuit is just about rounded corners: []

  • Re:Disagree (Score:4, Informative)

    by JohnnyMindcrime ( 2487092 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:04AM (#39238133)

    Ahem! []

    There's a particularly poignant point about half way down the article where it's said that Ebenezer Jobs shut down Apple's philanthropic programs when he returned to the company in 1997.

  • by steve_bryan ( 2671 ) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @05:37PM (#39242007)

    Current value of those shares if held to the present day would be 8,000,000 x $500 = $4 Billion and still climbing (of course that would have required nerves of steel). Even Doctor Evil would be impressed. (N.B. Apple stock has split three times).

    By the way anyone who accuses Apple (or any other company that actually creates and sells products based on their patents) a patent troll indicates gross ignorance on the part of the accuser. The only definition I've heard of that term is a company that has no products of its own so that cross licensing is never an option for negotiation. Patent trolls are "purely abstract" companies that game the patent system to change it from an attempt to encourage innovation to one that kills innovation (cf. Intellectual Ventures and its vile ilk).

How come financial advisors never seem to be as wealthy as they claim they'll make you?