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Saturday, July 23rd, 2005, 4:02 pm

Healthy Competition

There are healthy competitions and morbid competitions. A competition which involves handicapping the opponents is always a destructive and dangerous one. Nevertheless, there are examples in industry where Xerox, Microsoft, Amazon and other leaders file laughable patents for what should certainly remain a taboo — a no-go area. After 5 years and 4 rejection, Amazon received exclusive rights to inform customers of what they already bought (history). Sounds outrageous? It gets worse…

Microsoft are patenting the custom emoticons, practically opening the door to control of social behaviour with an army of lawyers. Instead of following such footsteps, companies must strive to innovate and offer some added value, not imitate and shield uninnovative ideas that have floated around for decades.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates posing for a teen magazine in 1985
with a Mac at the back, from which he nicked the GUI

A competition where giants impose legal barriers to obstruct smaller opponents is like taking the lead in running race, tossing water bootles back at the track. Proprietary, patents and artificial channelling of users all have this effect. At the end of the day, Bill Gates wonders why computer science is slowly dying in the United States.

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