Few celebrate this defeat for Microsoft

Posted by bink on September 22 2003, 11:01 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Normally I don't post Microsoft issue's in US court (boring) but this one is different:

Some people are never satisfied. For years, the enemies of Microsoft Corp. have been praying that somebody, anybody, would finally pin the giant software company to the canvas. And now it's happened, at the hands of a tiny, hitherto unknown outfit in Wheaton, Ill. Yet hardly anyone is celebrating. You'd think the entire software industry, with a single voice, would sing hosannas to Mike Doyle, founder of Eolas Technologies Inc. In a federal court in Chicago last month, a jury ordered Microsoft to pay Eolas more than half a billion dollars in damages. Considering that Microsoft fought the entire US Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general to a draw in its antitrust case, Eolas's success is little less than astounding.

So why no ticker tape parade? Because this isn't an antitrust case; it's a patent dispute. Microsoft was found to have violated an Eolas patent governing the way Web browsers interact with Web pages that contain embedded software.

But other software products, including competing browsers like Opera and the new Safari browser from Apple Computer Inc., could also be in violation of the patent. Safari, by the way, is based on free browsing software created by the open-source programming community, and sure enough, these open-source products may also fall afoul of the Eolas patent. continue at boston.com