An interesting one from el Reg this evening.  At today’s ESC conference, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak dug into Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who he chided for stifling innovation.  Allen of course bought a patent engineering firm and is suing every technology out there for supposed patent violations.

“The other night Paul Allen was speaking at the Computer History Museum and I had four tickets. And I decided at the last minute not to go, because I remembered he’s suing all these companies like Apple and Google – but he’s not suing Microsoft – because he bought all these patents.”

From Wozniak’s point of view, Allen’s lawsuit will not help anyone except Allen and his lawyers. “Well heck,” he said, “Paul Allen should be out there investing in companies that are doing something, making products, actually making a new future for the world, and not ‘I’m … going to sue people, and get in bed with the lawyers to make my money.’ That’s not the right way.”

“It’s not really special what they come up with,.” he said, referring to patent-seeking teams of engineers. “But since you were a rich company, you can investigate [a technique] years before it’s going to be affordable for products. You could investigate it … and patent it, patent it, patent it.”

Woz then recalled that Apple had to pay RCA $5 or so for every one of the original Apple IIs for one such silly patent.

On the bigger picture, it is interesting how two number 2s could have turned out so diametrically opposed. 

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Seth Weintraub

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