One mans patent is another mans future – AOL sells $billion+ in patents to Microsoft

Whilst some firms are creating innovative products, Microsoft's got its wallet out buying up patents again...Developed a popular tech? You had better watch out!

What do you do when you have products which people are not buying? What do you do when you produce a product that fails to grasp the interest of the consumer in the same way as your competitor?

Do you make your products desirable? – No need.   In todays modern world you don’t have to develop anything, you can merely stock up on patents, stuff your portfolio full and then go out on an expedition of legal challenges, NDA’s and take a little of the cream from your competition! What a wonderful fair world we live in.

Microsoft and its WP7 are a good example here.   Not exactly capturing the imagination of the consumer and failing to compete with both Android and Apple products, it went forth with its legal team and managed (according to reports) to claim a few scraps of the success from manufacturers  of Android phones by way of “licenses”.  Microsoft obviously doesn’t want people to know exactly what its up to, so then a convenient NDA can come into play to ensure the competitors “don’t talk”.  But WP7 is not the only example of the Redmond company producing legal challenges instead of products, it is mentioned more since the mainstream consumer is migrating in large numbers towards smartphones and tablets for their computing needs both on the move and in the home.

Some Microsoft “advocates” are changing their tactics too, instead of their claims of “Linux failure” its now “Linux desktop failure”.  Of course thats not true since Linux is still going and if these “people” are to believed in what they write about Linux, then we wouldn’t see such choice in Linux desktops for the home.  The failure (or rather lessening demand) of the desktop is due, in my view to the concept of the tablet, where the mainstream user’s are met with a rather more convenient (and space saving) tablet over the traditional CPU, monitor and keyboard.  I would expect this has Microsoft worried.  They are way behind in tablets, late to the party.  Having been late to the Smartphone market they already see their WP7 languishing near the bottom of the pile and to make matters worse they are trying to build on-top of a reputation consisting of Winmob and the 60 day Kin.

I digress, as the purpose of this article is to report that it appears Microsoft is investing in its future again – no, not by employing new teams to develop new idea’s and concepts, but investing approximately $billion pounds buying up a pile of papers (or patents) from AOL.

AOL (AOL) agreed to sell more than 800 patents to Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) for $1.056 billion in cash. AOL also granted a non-exclusive license to Microsoft for the rest of its patents.


So happy times are here again for Microsoft.  One just has to wonder what else Microsoft will turn its eyes to in the future?  Have you developed tech? written a piece of software? you may just get Microsoft knocking at your door for its dues if you create something people want to buy.

And what’s Microsoft got on the horizon? Windows 8? – need I say more?

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on

4 thoughts on “One mans patent is another mans future – AOL sells $billion+ in patents to Microsoft

Add yours

  1. I hope this thing doesn’t pass.
    There must be regulators(sane regulators) somewhere in America who actually can stop this.
    If this comes to happen, it will be patent litigation du jour…
    Quelle merde…

    Best regards,

  2. Actually Microsoft wasn’t “Late” to the smartphone marketplace. Pocket PC 2000 which dates back to April 19. 2000 was Microsoft’s first smartphone operating system. Microsoft was one of the first into the market.

    Microsoft’s problem was that they couldn’t use their monopoly muscle in the smartphone market, and they’ve never been good at competing on a level playing field.

    So Microsoft has been loosing market share. Which is actually to bad from a Darwinian perspective. Usually the more players there are in a market, the faster the market evolves. Of course when a vendor fails on the level that Microsoft has…


    1. No, but the late to the party is in reference to when Smartphones recieved the mainstream consumer traction, then it seemed a case of Winmob languishing around the market as Android and Apple were giving the consumer what they wanted, Microsoft seemed to go stale then.

      Look at the Kin as an example of the Microsoft offering, when it was clear that consumers really liked the idea of multi-purpose phones and the Kin was released presumably to try and capitalize on some of the market.. Then, late to the party WP7 was released trying to grasp some of what Android and Apple had, the problem was, it wasn’t as mature, didn’t have the apps and had the Microsoft name attached to it.

      The market moved on, leaving Microsoft to take money from Android handsets by way of licenses…

      Now we see rumours that Windows 8 will have a phone incarnation and those few people who chanced WP7 may find themselves in a similar place as the few who bought into Microsoft’s Kin those years ago.

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