In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft Freshman Course: How To Monetize Patents
2. Today's Top Story
- Google Shows Hybrid Cars That Return Juice To The Grid
- Image Gallery: Google Solar-Powered Car
3. Breaking News
- Enterprise 2.0 Users Want Easy Unified Communications
- Younger Workers Demanding Web 2.0 Tech On The Job
- PlayStation Inventor Kutaragi Leaves Sony
- Toshiba Reports Sony Battery-Related Notebook Fire
- Sprint Won't Abandon WiMax, Executive Reveals
- HP To Buy SPI Dynamics, Boost Web App Security Offerings
- Analysts Look For Different Direction From New Yahoo CEO Yang
- Nokia Unveils Three Handsets As Cell Phone Industry Prepares For iPhone Launch
- BitDefender Offers Challenge To Find Beta Bugs
- Some AT&T Customers Can Get DSL For $10 A Month
- Matsushita Starts Mass Producing 45-Nanometer Chips
- AT&T Files FCC Access Complaint Against Cablevision
- Authorities Destroy Global Pedophile Ring
- Microsoft Rebrands Internet Television Platform
- Review: Safari 3.0 Beta Tries To Take On IE And Firefox
4. The Latest Mobile Blog Posts
- My Macs And Treo Hate Me
- Will Enterprise 2.0 Kill Corporate E-Mail?
- Mobile Web Browser Wars Heat Up With Addition Of Revised Opera Mini
- All Knowledge Is Social At Enterprise 2.0
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
- Choosing The Right Time And Labor Management Solution
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward..." -- Leonardo da Vinci
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft Freshman Course: How To Monetize Patents
I watched Microsoft as a leading-edge company make has-beens out of those who couldn't keep up with its frenetic pace of Windows development. WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 spring to mind. Now Microsoft, a little longer in the tooth itself, has found a way to make has-beens out of a new set of companies -- those that agree to pay Microsoft royalties on open source code.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, WordPerfect word processing and Lotus Development's 1-2-3 spreadsheet were the dominant applications. But those firms forgot they were dominant on MS DOS only. They didn't realize the customer base was about to shift to Windows 3.0, leaving Microsoft the opportunity to beat them at their own game by coming out with Windows applications before they did. Microsoft did so and never looked back.
We now appear to be in the midst of another platform shift, and Microsoft is exhibiting some elements of the WordPerfect syndrome. The existing application is the best there is right where it is. No need to move it to the new platform. But if there's a bunch of people adopting Internet standards, test-driving online applications, and implementing a free operating system, well, maybe Microsoft needs to collect something on all that activity, as the self-appointed holder of the franchise.
Yes, this activity can be interpreted as support for Microsoft's patents, but please note as well that money is changing hands, $440 million in the case of the Novell pact. Microsoft will spend that amount in giveaways of support for Novell's SUSE Linux and other aspects of the deal. It's a boon for Novell at a time when its business plan is limping.
For Microsoft, doing so strengthens a weak competitor, which helps it fend off future antitrust accusations, while theoretically weakening a strong one, Red Hat.
Microsoft has no intention of suing its customers because they use open source code. It has no intention of seeking a date in court where it will be required to name patents and defend their legitimacy.
The deals with weak Linux vendors are about monetizing a weak patent portfolio. Microsoft's deputy general counsel of intellectual property, Marshall Phelps, spent 28 years at IBM figuring out how to get a return on its huge patent portfolio; IBM now collects a billion a year in royalties.
So, the middle ranks of Microsoft try to figure out how to be more like open source code in their practices, while the upper-most ranks rattle the patent saber against open source. It's got what you'd call a conflicted personality.
One way to become a legacy company is to take the saber rattling seriously and sign your company up to pay the patent tax. It's money that could be spent adopting more open source code and moving the company forward, but like I said, Microsoft is perfectly willing to make other firms the has-beens. Just contact any Microsoft deputy general counsel's office. They will show you where to sign.
Matsushita Starts Mass Producing 45-Nanometer Chips
Matsushita has started making system chips with 45-nanometer circuitry, becoming the world's first company to manufacture the advanced microchips on a commercial basis, the maker of the Panasonic brand said Tuesday.
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----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----
The concept has been the "next big thing" for a long time. But as with a lot of innovative technologies, time brings improvements in the products and the business benefits, as well as some interesting new players. Learn how more than 300 companies are deploying unified communications and VoIP in this new report by InformationWeek Research.
Windows Vista: Meeting Expectations Or Falling Short?
While security enhancements top the list of reasons companies are installing Windows Vista, concerns about compatibility and costs are driving the less-than-stellar adoption rates. Learn how more than 600 business technology professionals responded to these questions and more in InformationWeek Research's Windows Vista: Meeting Expectations Or Falling Short?
8 Fast Facts About The InformationWeek 500
Use this quick online tool to examine technology and business strategies of the most innovative users of technology, the InformationWeek 500. With this tool, you can review aggregate budgeting and spending plans, methods of innovation, level of customer focus, risk management priorities, global strategies, and technology deployment plans.
My Macs And Treo Hate Me
I've been having a terrible time getting my iCal calendars moved from the colossal iMac to the wee-small PowerBook and getting them to sync with my Palm Treo 650. I was eventually able to move the calendars, but syncing has still got me stumped.
Will Enterprise 2.0 Kill Corporate E-Mail?
One of themes that emerged during the keynote sessions at Enterprise 2.0 was how Web 2.0 technologies act as new communications tools. Some technologists (including a few of the speakers yesterday morning) suggest that Web 2.0 could kill e-mail for consumers. Could technologies like social networks, blogs, Skype, and IM kill e-mail for businesses as well?
Mobile Web Browser Wars Heat Up With Addition Of Revised Opera Mini
Unlike the regular Web browsers (you know, IE, Firefox, Safari), mobile Web browsers aren't really in a pitched "war" for market share. I say it's high time they had a war of their very own, though, and Opera is firing the first shot with its newly revised Mini 4 Web browser. Does Opera sing high notes or fall flat?
All Knowledge Is Social At Enterprise 2.0
I am at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Enterprise 2.0 is a relatively new term -- it was coined in March last year. But it has captured the imaginations of technologists and vendors around the world in just 15 months and gone memetic. But what does Enterprise 2.0 really mean for businesses?
Choosing The Right Time And Labor Management Solution
One of the most significant and controllable places to increase efficiency and decrease costs is labor expenses. This paper intends to provide executives with a high-level overview of critical time and attendance management features and explain the need to explore the cost of ownership in an effort to uncover potential hidden costs.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.