On Tuesday, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft announced a deal with RealNames, but was this a slip of the tongue? They also did a deal with RealNetworks on the same day. (Great quote: "Microsoft is just one of the colors on the globe (in this space)," Doherty said. "Real is still the mapmaker.")
In fact they did do a deal with RealNames. "The pact will let Microsoft expand its use of RealNames' technology that lets Web surfers find Web sites by typing keywords like ford explorer in a browser, rather than by using lengthy addresses packed with dots and slashes." The domain name system just took another hit. Will there be an outcry this time? There wasn't the last time it happened.
Paranoid vision from yesterday's patent discussion. DOJ negotiates a settlement with MS. Major limitations on what they can do, with real teeth, unlike the last consent decree. A few months pass. Microsoft starts exercising their legal monopolies through their 1000+ patents. Sorry I don't remember who raised this scenario. It's cute. I'm not sure if they would play this tough. I kind of hope not.
Xml.Com: Cool XUL Provides Cross-Platform UI.
Brett Glass: Twinkle, twinkle little prime. "The patent on the RSA public key cryptography algorithm is due to expire shortly."
People I bonded with in Phoenix (this list will grow): Brian Behlendorf of Apache, David Ellington of NetNoir, Fred Davis and Colette McMullen of Lumeria, Dan Lynch (founder of many net-things), Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Associates, John Patrick of IBM, Evan Williams of Pyra, Ken Rhie of ThinkFree, Lawrence Lessig of Harvard, Tara Lamay of EFF, Doc Searls (who needs no introduction here), Michael Shrage of MIT Media Lab.
And get this -- I spent ten minutes with Whoopi Goldberg! We talked about growing up in NY, getting older (we're both 44), her fear of flying (she travels in a bus), and of course I mentioned the problem with patents. I liked talking with her. It gave me a buzz.
***Good morning from Day 3 of PC Forum
The Web Apps discussion yesterday was great fun. Lots of different approaches, the room was packed, humor, insights, in a way, the first meeting of members of a new market.
Last night an interesting session on patents. As one would expect, two extreme views, one that patents are needed to protect small companies from larger predators, the other that monopolies are not cool, even under the guise of patents.
An intermediate viewpoint, that the furor over patents is like Y2K, an imagined crisis, and an idea that the Frontier community could test the law by picking one highly visible yet thin company and meet them in the market, see how they respond.
One idea we've been interested in for quite some time is HTML email, so perhaps Firedrop would make a good test case. As you know Manila sends HTML email to subscribers that request it. I know their VCs well, and they know me. From what I've seen it wouldn't take long to build a server app that does what Firedrop does. How would they respond? Well, it's pretty clear that their patents have yet to be issued. Maybe they would just welcome the competition, as a way of helping them refine their relationship with their market.
These are just some thoughts from the field. I'm writing this out on the patio, it's a very pretty day, hard to be inside, but it's time to go back in! More news tomorrow, for sure.
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