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2/23/2007
04:55 PM
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DOES APPLE DESERVE 200 iPHONE PATENTS?
(see "The iPhone Has Very Little New Technology: So Why Does Apple Need 200 Patents?")
Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs, has been a leader in innovation. Apple didn't invent the MP3 player; it just innovated it and made it mainstream. And it's poised to do the same with its iPhone. Does Apple's success at innovation give it the right to patent the innovation of existing technology?
--Stephen Wellman

In many cases, Apple takes an existing technology and morphs it in behavior or intended usage into something that's quite different than what was originally patented. There's as much creativity and originality in that as there is in the original technological breakthrough, and it's just as likely to be stolen or copied. The world wouldn't be a better place without this kind of innovation, and in some measure it's justifiable for it to be patented. Two hundred patents? I don't know enough to comment on that. I'll trust the patent office to winnow out what doesn't ring true.
--vg

Why shouldn't innovation be patented? Didn't Microsoft evolve through innovation instead of invention? Was Microsoft the originator of the word processor or spreadsheet or database? Bill Gates never invented anything but, as he himself says, he innovates. Wasn't Windows copied from the Apple Macintosh? Leave Steve Jobs alone; he's great.
--Morton

THE UNITED STATES IS A BROADBAND LAGGARD
(see: "Why Some U.S. Citizens Still Can't Get Broadband" Over the past few decades, U.S. citizens have had to get used to the fact that, when it comes to technology, we're falling behind. Now it looks like we can't keep up with Internet access. Just ask anyone who lives in a rural area.
--Barbara Krasnoff

Verizon started to install fiber optic service in my state but now is trying to sell off all its standard wired telephone services, which includes all their ISP services. The most likely buyer doesn't intend to extend FiOS and instead plans to extend DSL. I'm all in favor of getting broadband to everyone, but DSL? With other countries delivering 10 times the speed at a lower cost, why are we allowing companies to continue to extend the slowest services? We need to insist that companies stop installing slower connections and start to invest in the future, not the past. Let's get high-speed broadband service to rural areas now. We need to push universal service like we did with mail service a few hundred years ago.
--Luke Peters

Be careful what you wish for. Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin is exploring universal high-speed Internet access because it's essential for everyone. Unfortunately, the conclusion of this would be an additional tax imposed through service providers on current customers, à la the universal connectivity fee tucked on the bottom of your telephone bill. I live in Chicago and have several high-speed alternatives, but I also pay a price for living in a major metro area. If someone lives in Sunshine, S.D., that should be their choice and possibly good fortune. However, I don't feel that I should subsidize their high-speed access because of where they've chosen to live.
--Jim Culver

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