privacy and licensing

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

In 2003, after I unveiled a prototype Linux desktop called Project Looking Glass*, Steve called my office to let me know the graphical effects were “stepping all over Apple’s IP.” (IP = Intellectual Property = patents, trademarks and copyrights.) If we moved forward to commercialize it, “I’ll just sue you.”

My response was simple. “Steve, I was just watching your last presentation, and Keynote looks identical to Concurrence – do you own that IP?” Concurrence was a presentation product built by Lighthouse Design, a company I’d help to found and which Sun acquired in 1996. Lighthouse built applications for NeXTSTEP, the Unix based operating system whose core would become the foundation for all Mac products after Apple acquired NeXT in 1996. Steve had used Concurrence for years, and as Apple built their own presentation tool, it was obvious where they’d found inspiration. “And last I checked, MacOS is now built on Unix. I think Sun has a few OS patents, too.” Steve was silent.

And that was the last I heard on the topic. Although we ended up abandoning Looking Glass, Steve’s threat didn’t figure into our decision (the last thing enterprises wanted was a new desktop – in hindsight, exactly the wrong audience to poll (we should’ve been asking developers, not CIO’s)).

As in life, bluster and threat are commonplace in business – especially the technology business. So that interaction was good preparation for a later meeting with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They’d flown in over a weekend to meet with Scott McNealy, Sun’s then CEO – who asked me and Greg Papadopoulos (Sun’s CTO) to accompany him. As we sat down in our Menlo Park conference room, Bill skipped the small talk, and went straight to the point, “Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.” OpenOffice is a free office productivity suite found on tens of millions of desktops worldwide. It’s a tremendous brand ambassador for its owner – it also limits the appeal of Microsoft Office to businesses and those forced to pirate it. Bill was delivering a slightly more sophisticated variant of the threat Steve had made, but he had a different solution in mind. “We’re happy to get you under license.” That was code for “We’ll go away if you pay us a royalty for every download” – the digital version of a protection racket. Continue reading.

Subscribe to LinuxBSDos.com

Subscribe to receive the latest articles in your Inbox

Trust me, you'll not be spammed...

Please share:

We Recommend These Vendors and Free Offers

Register now for Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Con 2018, international conference on blockchain technnology in Dallas, TX (USA), Feb. 23-24, 2018. A 50% discount for students.

Best WhatsApp Plus features in Gbwhatsapp latest APK download

Best binary auto trading software reviews by 7binaryoptions.com

Google has got competition, because Presearch is building a blockchain-based search engine controlled by the community. At $0.15 a token, you can participation in Lot 3 of the token sale by clicking here

Open Money is building a solution that will run mainstream software on blockchain tech. Click here to get free tokens that will be the digital currency of the platform

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*