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AOL Patent Deal Means Microsoft Now Holds Vestiges of Netscape

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the vestiges-are-the-best-part dept.

Mozilla 129

inode_buddha writes "It's part of the $1 billion AOL patent deal, and it's something that would have made many minds explode back in the 1990s. It still makes my mind explode today. Marc Andreesen points out that MS now has a significant chunk of the old Netscape. What are the ramifications for Mozilla?"

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Nothing. (5, Informative)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39630925)

Nothing.

Re:Nothing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39630991)

Nothing.

Don't you mean Nutscrape Nardigrator?

MODERATORS!!!! EMERGENCY!!!! DIAL 911!!!!!!!l!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631189)

Nevermind, just mod parent up!

Re:Nothing. (1, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631255)

How about seaMonkey? It has the same look-and-feel-and-functionality as the old Netscape Communicator. Probably has the many of the same patents. Though I doubt MS would go after such a small competitor. ( 1%)

ACHTUNG!!! MOD PARENT DOWN!!ll!!!l!!!!!l!!!ll!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39633831)

This moron is trolling for karma by replying to a primary descendent of a FP. What a douche!

Re:Nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39632435)

Nothing.

Don't you mean Nutscrape Nardigrator?

Nutscrape Napivator was my personal favorite

Re:Nothing. (1)

randomErr (172078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631007)

Mozilla was a complete rewrite as open source. That means the team to time to remove all the old, copyright-able code.

Re:Nothing. (4, Insightful)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631081)

Except this is about patents - not copyrights.

Re:Nothing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631225)

Okay, how about, "Nothing, because otherwise AOL would have sued Mozilla ages ago"?

Re:Nothing. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39632149)

AOL *created* the Mozilla Foundation, so why would they sue them? It's a safe bet that Mozilla has a license to any relevant patent.

Re:Nothing. (1)

BBird (664014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631401)

as Old97 said -- MS bought patents, not copyrights.
Netscape browser code was open sourced by Netscape just before its demise. Mozilla is not a complete re-write. It is
based on said open sourced code.

Re:Nothing. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631119)

I was just about to post this. Of course knowing how Microsoft operates, they'll try to sue Mozilla anyway as part of their Embrace, Extend, and then Extinguish philosophy. (On the other hand, they didn't try to use their NCSA Mosaic patents to kill-off Netscape Navigator, so maybe they'll behave.)

(ponder). My dialup service is Netscape. I wonder if that means it will now become part of Microsoft, or will it remain part of AOL. (reads article). Never mind. AOL is keeping the ISP http://www.getnetscape.com/ [getnetscape.com]

Re:Nothing. (3, Funny)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631165)

Dialup... service? What is this?

Re:Nothing. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631759)

What you use when the DSL or Cable goes down. Or when stuck in a hotel without internet (except a phone). I've downloaded a lot of torrents over 50k these last several years, and no bandwidth caps. :-)

Re:Nothing. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631959)

No bandwidth caps except for the fact that it takes 3 weeks to download a single episode of a TV show. I used to have dialup for similar reasons, but these days nearly every hotel has wifi available and if your DSL or cable goes down frequently enough to be a problem then you should probably switch to a different provider.

Re:Nothing. (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632777)

No bandwidth caps except for the fact that it takes 3 weeks to download a single episode of a TV show.

And the insane telephone bill for a 43.200 minute phone call. A good 2.000€ for 16.43GB means ~122€ per GB.

Re:Nothing. (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633387)

cpu6502 is in the USA, where local telephone calls are usually free. If your ISP has a local POP then the telephone bill will be nothing beyond your line rental. This is a big part of the reason why dialup was more popular in the US than in Europe, where a per-minute fee was more common. It's also part of the reason why mobile phone adoption was slower in the US.

Re:Nothing. (3)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631991)

and no bandwidth caps. :-)

Yeah, but 50kbps * 1 month is only ~16.43 gigabytes, and that's if you could run it at full throttle 24/7. It caps itself.

Re:Nothing. (1)

TallDarkMan (1073350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632909)

Or it's the best/cheapest alternate when (1) you're too far out of a rural town for DSL service to reach you, (2) the (only) cable company will charge you $500 to just *get* it to your property and put a telephone pole in the middle of your front yard in the process, and (3) you're so deep in the forest, you'd have to clear-cut half of your property to get a line-of-sight for satellite service (and that's at a rate of $120/month for 60% of typical broadband speeds)

BTW I'm talking about a Northern California coastal town with a population of over 6,000, not some shack in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.

Re:Nothing. (1)

rndmtim (664101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633961)

This is also true in (rural) upstate NY. I'm less than 45 minutes out of Albany and Kingston. The satellite companies - Wild Blue, for example - also cap you at a few gigs no matter what you pay... something you find out when your dad is visiting and leaves webstreaming for his favorite city radio station going 24/7 for a week.

I ended up with local RF (something like the old breezenet) through a company that specializes in line of sight internet. I can see the last drop for the cable company but the 1/2 mile of poles I'd need would run $5000. Now a tree or something has grown up through my line of sight up the mountain... so I might go back to dial up.

As an extra bonus, my job is at a power plant and we've got NERC regulations on connecting devices and all sorts of filtering. I figure I waste less time on line this way. But yet I'm still here now.

Re:Nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39634465)

You're right, some shack in the middle of the Canadian Rockies would probably have either Cable or DSL.

Re:Nothing. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634285)

What you use when the DSL or Cable goes down. Or when stuck in a hotel without internet (except a phone). I've downloaded a lot of torrents over 50k these last several years, and no bandwidth caps. :-)

Cellular hot-spot.

Re:Nothing. (3, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634907)

Dialup... service? What is this?

It's like the Internet on your Droid, but it's over a landline and you use a computer instead of a smart phone.

Re:Nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635301)

hehe! This is how most people connect to internet in Iran!

Re:Nothing. (1, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631403)

Bill Gate's Embrace, Extend and then Extinguish philosophy didn't include suing over patents. Under Gate's reign, they never once used patents offensively.

However, under Ballmer it has been a different story, so I don't know.

That being said, if Netscape had browser patents that AOL was sitting on that could be monetized, I'm assuming they would have done so.

Re:Nothing. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634279)

AOL dial-up still exists? And still has customers? Is that because you live in the last place in America that doesn't have broadband, or is sticking with dial-up easier than running the gauntlet to cancel your AOL account? (Been there, commiserate.)

Re:Nothing. (3, Interesting)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631351)

I totally agree with parent. Firefox has absolutely nothing to worry about here. Not only for the fact that Microsoft has enough fights on its hands as is, but that if it wanted to start a war in the browser space, it would get schooled by the DOJ and then they'd (DOJ) start poking their heads into all of Microsoft's other battles.

Additionally, the is very little technology that is common between Firefox and Netscape. Firefox has evolved past it's 0.8 code and so for there to be anything left in Firefox that is a major bit from Netscape would be a big surprise.

Re:Nothing. (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633889)

You mean like last time?

I wouldn't count on MS shaking in their boots over the DOJ. More likely the patents are not only weak, but about to expire, but then why did MS pay so much for them.

Clearly *something* is going on, but it's not at all clear what. Perhaps AOL threatened to sue MS? Or, alternatively, MS is up to something vile. Neither would be a surprise, and the target isn't necessarily FOSS.

FWIW, recent court decisions have made software patents a lot more questionable than previously (thankfully), and I'd assume that the patents were probably a load of garbage ("adding two numbers on a computer" kind of thing), except that MS paid considerable for them.

But don't count on the DOJ. It's politically driven, and MS has been paying "blackmail" to both parties. (If you don't like thinking of it as blackmail, call it bribes, but remember that MS didn't play those games until the first time the DOJ got involved. When the decision was clearly going to be against it, MS opened up with "campaign donations", and the decision was handed off to another judge who gave them a slap on the wrist. So I think blackmail or extortion is the better term.)

Re:Nothing. (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631537)

Let's hope they'll incorporate this great Netscape 4 technology in their crappy IE12 !

Kidding of course.

Hmm... (1)

CodeHxr (2471822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39630953)

Does this mean that some hybrid of IE/Netscrape will be created? That could be either very interesting or very scary.

Re:Hmm... (2)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631087)

Does this mean that some hybrid of IE/Netscrape will be created? That could be either very interesting or very scary.

Netscape 7 (or was it 8) could already use the Trident rendering engine on Windows, the same engine that powers Internet Explorer. It was a runtime user option, and could be switched on the fly.

Re:Hmm... (1)

jmDev (2607337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631139)

I doubt they'd put any resources on something like that when they already have IE.

Re:Hmm... (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631623)

No, I think this means that Bill Gates is going to have the original Netscape documents delivered to his house so he can wipe is ass with them.

Re:Hmm... (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633307)

Doubtful... what I would suspect is that MS will use this to target handset (tablet & phone) manufacturers first and foremost. If they can make $5 per handset sold in the world, they'll be pretty content with that, and probably earn back the initial investment in under a few years time. MS will continue to develop solutions (Win8/Phone7-8 etc) in order to get closer to 100% of the pie... but they're diversifying in order to get money from competitors *also*.

I'm sorry mates! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39630997)

I'm sorry, but I have to get this off my chest after all these years. I was...the one who gave Steve Jobs AIDS. I have been HIV positive for nearly a decade and I knew I shouldn't have had sex with him in the bathhouse that night, but when he started stroking my shaft and fingering my prostate I lost all sense of reason. I told him we should use a condom 'just in case' but he demanded that I fuck him bareback and I couldn't help but to orgasm in his asshole. A few months later was when he first started having health issues and I've felt bad ever since.

Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (3, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631005)

Or, if Microsoft is stupid, they'll leverage the patents against other browsers and open up a nice new series of anti-competition complaints. But as we've seen over the last 10 years, MS has gotten very, very careful about not treading into areas that could open up a new round of such suits, and very subtle in their anti-competitive behavior so as not to draw attention from the DoJ.

I'm sure MS would love to lock out all browsers but IE from Windows 8, like Apple can on iOS, but MS burned themselves there before. I'm sure they'd love to lock out the ability for users to boot non-Windows platforms on x86 PCs, like they do on ARM. But that too would draw an unending stream of complaints (though I think the ARM lock out should as well, against all vendors.)

The question to be asked is how MS will use these patents to raise fees on Android, and if they'll go around demanding more "Linux licenses" like they did in 2007.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (0)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631053)

The App Store has a number of alternate browsers. So what locking out are you referring to?

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631097)

With the exception of Opera they are not actually alternate browsers. They are safari with some different buttons at the bottom. Apple does not allow other browsers on the app store.

Opera gets away with it because of that minifying thing they do where they MITM each page.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631099)

It is possible for them to, but they don't. In the early days of the App store things like browsers were blocked as "Duplicating core iOS functionality".

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (4, Informative)

Reapman (740286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631201)

All alternate browsers must use the Safari rendering engine - in short you can get a fancy front end, but not a new backend (like say Firefox's backend, or Opera, etc) Note that Opera's Mini browser gets a pass since most work doesn't occur on the device, but Opera's backend servers. You can't get the "real" Opera browser on the phone.

Unless somethings changed in the last year, I can't port Opera or Firefox or Chrome over, etc

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (0, Flamebait)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631499)

All alternate browsers must use the Safari rendering engine - in short you can get a fancy front end, but not a new backend (like say Firefox's backend, or Opera, etc) Note that Opera's Mini browser gets a pass since most work doesn't occur on the device, but Opera's backend servers. You can't get the "real" Opera browser on the phone.

Unless somethings changed in the last year, I can't port Opera or Firefox or Chrome over, etc

I'm supposed to care about this because? Firefox used to run like absolute CRAP on OS X for a number of years, Opera is used by almost nobody and Chrome's engine is only different in the javascript engine as the main renderer is webkit.

I don't want the bloated mozilla codebase on my iOS devices and I have no interest in Opera. Much of what chrome offers is duplicated with third party browsers that still use the same renderer and javascript engine as safari but offer additional features like a persistent "desktop-like" tab bar, file downloads and extensions. iCab is one example with extended functionality.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (4, Informative)

Reapman (740286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631765)

Don't remember telling you if you should care or not. Question was asked and I provided the answer. If that offended your fanboyism I apologize.

But while on the topic - We all know how well only having one Web browser (IE6) worked out for everyone. And if you're providing anecdotes - Safari runs like crap on Windows.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631767)

Translation: I am a happy Apple customer. I do not want and never would want anything non-approved from outside my walled garden. By definition, anything non-approved is bad, and not only do I not want it, nobody else should want it or have any means of getting it.

Well done, you are a *good* consumer and will get a gold star (cost $0.99, has been billed to your account).

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631745)

There is Opera Mini (using Opera's backend servers) and there is Opera Mobile, which actually renders on your device.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631071)

subtle like how their choose a new search engine webpage never *ever* puts google on the first page.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

Whatanut (203397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632439)

It did when those selection pages were introduced. I remember seeing it there. However, ever since then it quickly fell in the rankings and wound up somewhere in the weeds. Now I have to search for it every time I get a new install and want to change that.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631085)

Since 2001 or so, my throwaway webmail address has been @netscape.net. Although it's been a redirect to @aol.com for a few years now, that's the way I still write it. TFA says Microsoft bought the domain name; do I have to change email addresses?

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (0)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631315)

Read it again numbnuts.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631267)

But as we've seen over the last 10 years, MS has gotten very, very careful about not treading into areas that could open up a new round of such suits, and very subtle in their anti-competitive behavior so as not to draw attention from the DoJ.

Live in a cave dude? Check out http://www.noooxml.org/ [noooxml.org]

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631395)

And it hasn't been pursued. They've been very subtle.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

c (8461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631391)

> Or, if Microsoft is stupid, they'll leverage the patents against other
> browsers and open up a nice new series of anti-competition complaints.

One could argue that just buying the assets of a company they were convicted of putting out of business anti-competitively should bring down immediate anti-competition scrutiny.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634687)

Would only happen if some politicians were strapped for cash. They would call the DOJ to get funding from Microsoft, then drop the case when they felt they had enough. Super-PAC legalization has done away with some of that need.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635345)

I think RedHat now owns what was Netscape Server along with all their old ident stuff and login managers... Wonder if MS now owns the patents to some RH products? I do know RH is offering something from that code base.

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (2)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631655)

The question to be asked is how MS will use these patents to raise fees on Android

Pretty much this...

Re:Nothing, if Microsoft is smart. (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631811)

Came here to say this, but found your commentary to be better than mine.

Since we have to live with software patents, the best we can hope for is that these patents are used defensively.

But even if they take some of these patents to war, I just don't see them striking out against Mozilla or Chrome. They aren't exactly Microsoft's biggest targets right now, and I'm pretty sure MS knows they don't want to have to withstand the backlash that attacking Mozilla or Chrome would create.

Patents shmatents. (3, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631033)

>> Marc Andreesen points out that MS now has a significant chunk of the old Netscape. What are the ramifications for Mozilla?

Not sure how much those patents would be worth to anyone, given that Netscape was unable to use them to defend against IE in the 1990s.

Re:Patents shmatents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631147)

Probably more of a defense thing. If they fell into the hands of a patent troll? They have been burned there before...

Re:Patents shmatents. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631239)

If it includes some patents on some of the fundamental Javascript and cookies technology, that could be pretty powerful. I imagine most web related patents rely on these.

Re:Patents shmatents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631265)

Except Microsoft is a patent troll itself. Let's be clear, they all live under the bridge. Each trying to shake nickels free from the passersby overhead...and each other.

Re:Patents shmatents. (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634795)

Netscape actually did beat Microsoft in the antitrust case. (Unfortunately it bankrupted them, and forced Netscape to sell-off to AOL.)

business as usual (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631115)

if you can't beat them, buy them

Re:business as usual (4, Insightful)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631285)

if you can't beat them, buy them

Beat them and buy them.

Re:business as usual (1)

pinfall (2430412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633339)

if you can't beat them, buy them

Beat them and buy them.

Beat them, buy them, liquidate them. ... profit!

Re:business as usual (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633367)

Mitt? Is that you?

Re:business as usual (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634313)

Buy them and beat them.

MicroScape NaviPlorer? (4, Funny)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631177)

NetSoft InternetEscaper? Netcraft MicroScapeExplorer? MicroCape NetExCavator? A strange marriage, this on... I'll just stick to using FireFox, thank you...

Re:MicroScape NaviPlorer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39632489)

NetSoft InternetEscaper? Netcraft MicroScapeExplorer? MicroCape NetExCavator? A strange marriage, this on... I'll just stick to using FireFox, thank you...

The late 1990s called. They want their jokes back!

Mozilla is open source code (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631243)

Theoretically, versions of derived works from the Netscape code base are safe. If M$ decides to change the license, anything going forward, from this point on, would need to be forked from the current (open source) codebase.

Re:Mozilla is open source code (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631785)

That's copyright, not patents. Patents apply to any code, not only derivatives.

Re:Mozilla is open source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39634829)

On this subject, microsoft only purchased patents, not code did they not? That would mean they shouldn't have netscape anyway - just the patents it may use.

More Patents = More Lawsuits (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631299)

It's very pathetic what the world has come to. Big corporations now rely on suing each other to make profits.

no matter (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631303)

While I love my gecko based browser, the engine does not hold the critical position it did even a year ago. Webkit is now stable and functional. If MS chooses to make trouble for Gecko, all that will happen is more people will go to Webkit and we will improve that layout engine. I don't think the loss of competition between Gecko and Webkit will hurt, and the primary competitor has been MS IE.

Re:no matter (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631429)

I'm pretty sure that if they can create trouble for Mozilla, which will quickly result in an antitrust complaint, they can create trouble for Webkit.

Hypothetically, what would happen if.... (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631305)

... patents on software and algorithms were no longer allowed, and all existing patents on them were declared null and void?

I hate software patents with all of my being, because I believe that they are equivalent to patenting mental steps (which supposedly cannot be patented, but even worse, effectively legislates what sort of ideas a person is allowed to think about or share with others). To that end, I'm curious what sort of repercussions there would actually be if they were simply dissolved. Would it cause, as advocates of software patents would tend to believe, a stifling of innovation, because companies with the money to do some cutting edge R&D would be less likely to invest in it when they know somebody else could potentially do the same thing later and they'd have no recourse? Or would it foster healthy competition among startups, and end up encouraging new ideas and innovation overall?

MS is competing with Apple and Google, not Mozilla (5, Interesting)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631319)

MS isn't terribly worried about the browser wars any more. They're far more afraid of Apple and Google; witness the abortion that is Metro on W8 and their mad rush to 'converge' the desktop with the tablet. Idiocy? Perhaps. It's certainly a slap in the face to every desktop user.

Re:MS is competing with Apple and Google, not Mozi (1)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631937)

I agree. MS needs these patents to enable a revenue stream past their current cash cows into the post-PC aera.

Re:MS is competing with Apple and Google, not Mozi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39632341)

BINGO!

Re:MS is competing with Apple and Google, not Mozi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39633501)

MS isn't terribly worried about the browser wars any more. They're far more afraid of Apple and Google; witness the abortion that is Metro on W8 and their mad rush to 'converge' the desktop with the tablet. Idiocy? Perhaps. It's certainly a slap in the face to every desktop user.

I have been using metro and like it. I have yet to feel slapped. So "certainly" is a bit much.

Re:MS is competing with Apple and Google, not Mozi (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633979)

Not to mention the blatantly anti-open-source nature of their app store TOS agreement.

Re:MS is competing with Apple and Google, not Mozi (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634035)

Perhaps. It's certainly a slap in the face to every desktop user.

No more than Gnome3 or Unity.

Cake (2)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631353)

I assume Mozilla will get another cake.

Re:Cake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631439)

I assume poopy in my pants.

because (0)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631415)

Because MS is sooo big, sooo smart, has soo many patents they still must buy anything vaguely useful because their own product is so good it can compete on it's own strength. Right?

Peter Kafka is NOT Marc Andreesen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39631557)

The article only carried the subhead "Attention Marc Andreesen".

Besides, most of Netscape's achievements have already been released long ago either by Mozilla or published as standards by the W3C or other standards bodies (SSL, LDAP, frames, cookies, JavaScript, etc). The Justice Department of the US and their European counterparts would have a dim view of MS using newly acquired patents to force companies to stop using them.

Re:Peter Kafka is NOT Marc Andreesen (1)

JonahsDad (1332091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631771)

Microsoft would never use the newly acquired patents to force companies to stop using them. They would use the newly acquired patents to force companies to pay a fee to use them. Specifically, they would suggest to Google that they should license the SSL patent for use in Chrome.

Re:Peter Kafka is NOT Marc Andreesen (3, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632317)

exactly but they would leverage existing licensing contracts for force the "licensing agreement" just as they've done with most of the Android signers. If you noticed, most of them already licensed and sold Microsoft Windows based products so they were already licensing Windows. Now that they've basically lost the FAT patent they need something to replace it and as you suggested, an SSL patent might be a good one.

LoB

Mailing Floppies (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39631585)

Did they get the patent on mass-mailing your software to customers on floppy disks? That could net them millions of dollars. Well, Zimbabwe dollars at least.

Idea bout how to solve this patent mess (1)

magsk (1316183) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632215)

One of the rules of earning a patent are that it is simply an improvement on an existing thing. So wouldn't it make sense for HTC for example to patent their entire HTC one x, that will soon be released? Then all the item s in that phone are no longer patent protected from the software to chips , because the act of putting them all together in the configuration that the HTC one x, did is a clear improvement on them as pieces. Is it not an improvement of the 3g chip or the java software when they are put together to create the phone? I think it would hold up, I remember reading this article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/business/15schumer.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com] [nytimes.com] And the main villain in it Claudio Ballard said the following, ot justify his patents “I didn’t invent the scanner; I didn’t invent networking, or computers or software,” he said. “But I am an expert at systems integration, and I created this complete end-to-end solution” for digital check processing.

Microsoft wasted cash, look forward a few months (4, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632335)

I know most people only think of Netscape with browsers, but I have most of the original Source from the various Netscape projects somewhere.

Netscape back then had an impressive LDAP server, Identity Management Server, Application server, Key servers, Proxy servers, as well as the framework for the web browser. Netscape was huge, and in to lots of technical areas that most people think of as standard services. Netscape was literally the gateway for SunOne Directory server for example.

The age of the patents has to put them close to expiration. This is the first "WTF" when talking about paying such a high price for AOL patents. The next WTF is that most of the Netscape patents were open sourced long long ago. Meaning that the patents have no value (Assuming that UC vs. AT&T would be considered valid case law example, which it has been repeatedly.). I fail to find value in what they bought, at least that goes beyond a year or two.

I'm not a fortune teller, but here is what I see. Microsoft is going to start trying to sue everyone. They see the writing on the wall, hell even our Windows guys at work say "Microsoft will be out of business in 4-5 years" and are trying to learn Linux. Zune was way to late, WinPhone is something nobody wants, XBox is still a huge money sink, and people have no desire to keep buying the same OS and Office products for way more money than they are worth from them.

I see this is a drowning company flailing in the water. I hope they prove me wrong, but then again we in the business know how they have been since day 1.

Re:Microsoft wasted cash, look forward a few month (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632987)

RedHat now owns the Netscape servers you mentioned. Please expand on your thoughts regarding this patent deal.

Re:Microsoft wasted cash, look forward a few month (2)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633481)

I may be wrong, but the way I read those Netscape deals with both Sun and Redhat was that they bought licenses to use, not the actual patents. Redhat's base trees were the same source I had, at least when I first saw them, which were the same as Sun Microsystems. Could be, and probably were, many deals I was not aware of. At the same time, Sun's product line using Netscape was pretty much the same as Redhat's. Netscape could not sell the same patents to both companies. Redhat acquired a lot of technology after Netscape open sourced most of their code base, was it 1999/ 2000 maybe?. (Sorry, I'm go lazy to go fishing for it now)

Assuming AOL bought out the Netscape portfolio and had extensions done with every single patent, we are now in 2012. Those patent's can't have much life left in them. What ever Microsoft is planning to do with them would have to be done very quickly.

Re:Microsoft wasted cash, look forward a few month (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635263)

Redhat bought the code base for the servers, and they bought the server business. They did open the code as you say. But RH *didn't* get the parents. They were separate. MS could well give RH a PITA that way. Dunno about Sun/Oracle tho.

Any of these to expire? (2)

Roobles (1880882) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632699)

Shouldn't at least some of these Netscape patents be up for expiration? Any patents they were granted in 94 should have expired last year, and any between 95-99 or so should expire in 2015-2019. I feel like I must be missing some part of the picture, because patents on the verge of expiration seem like they should be almost worthless.

Old Netscape joke (3, Funny)

frank249 (100528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39632713)

Back in the day, Netscape was going to merge with Yahoo! and move their headquarters to Israel. The new company would be called NetandYahoo!

One billion? That's desperate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39632985)

I'm getting more and more the impression that those folks are basically printing money.

They've got such reams of money they're desperate to invest that they have to invent "intellectual property" (for lack of enough "real property" out there to match those gazillions of dollars burning holes in their pockets).

Shit will hit the fan when they try to "realize" that investment and get some ROI (their investors will want that eventually). They'll think up all kinds of nastynesses to squeeze as much as possible out of that billion. This operation will encompass *your* pocket and *mine*.

In principle I don't oppose capitalism. But this is definitely too much of that.

Old men fighting (1, Flamebait)

jjohn (2991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633767)

Has anyone else noticed how irrelevant Microsoft, Internet Explorer and (sadly) Firefox are in 2012?

If this were 2001, I would agree that this is a big story.

Let Microsoft fight over the dredges of the desktop market. That's a declining market.

No one will take your Firefox away from you Linux desktop, so untwist your knickers.

Re:Old men fighting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39633925)

You clearly are both old and stupid.

Why Software Patents Won't Go Away (4, Insightful)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39633833)

This billion dollar expenditure to buy something as silly as software patents is the #1 reason why they won't go away. Big business has too much invested in software patents to let some pesky government go about changing the rules. Meanwhile, small business suffers for it.

Would you pay 1 billion for.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39633875)

the dumpiest hooker on the block?

Microsoft did.

Patent life expiration (1)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634023)

Netscape? They are so 2000. If any patent was granted to Netscape that would be twelve years ago, patents have a 14 year life. They're due to expire soon. And if the Mozilla organization was infringing on these patents then AOL would had litigated long ago. Smells like a non-issue.
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