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Did M$ invent the iPod? (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309690)

Of course Microsoft invented the iPod....just like they 'invented' the GUI (Apple), Active Directory (Novell), and the TCP-IP stack (BSD).
You would be a fool and a communist to insinuate otherwise (apologies to Bill Hicks).

From TFA:
So far, Microsoft hasn't been able to dent the Apple iPod dominance
Hey, if you can't beat 'em, litigate 'em to death, I guess...and people bitch and moan when I use the abbreviation M$...

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309706)


Seriously, why else other than karma whoring and trolling do you have spending time refreshing Slashdot to get FP?


Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309738)

Wow...do you ever stop stalking me? When do you sleep?

I guess I have to admire your dedication, however...I must be very important to you.


|rip/\/\aster /\/\onkey

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309903)

I'm not the GP, but uhhh, you should seriously get out of your mom's basement and see some daylight. You might learn a little bit about the world.

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (2, Insightful)

Tamerlan (817217) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309710)

Not like that. Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates ripped off this idea from Xerox PARC guys,

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (5, Insightful)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309792)

It's not ripping it off if PARC gives it to you, like they allowed Apple engineers to come in and look, multiple times.

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309810)

If you let me look at the money in your wallet does that mean you're giving it to me? Give me a break .... Apple took the idea just the same as Microsoft. The whole Microsoft stole this from Apple and Apple stole this from that is retarded. Its like saying Soichiro Honda stole the automobile idea from Henry Ford - you dont hear people arguing over that one do you?

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (2, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309712)

There is still a good deal of gray area as to who should own the technology. For once, I'd like to see Microsoft playing second fiddle. It doesn't have to dominate EVERYTHING.

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (1)

keendreams (874542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309739)

Actually XEROX invented the GUI, though Jobs claimed Apple bought the rights to the design.

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309774)

And I'd agree, seeing as Xerox was allowed to invest a million before IPO in Apple.

That means mucho denero for both companies, and Apple only got to *look* at the PARC stuff.

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309758)

TRIPSTER??>??? Why are you home at 1230 on a friday refreshing slashdot to get firstpost? Here is sometyhing to keep you busy and get your keyboard sticky
Last night was halloween, as I'm sure you celebrated -- I went as a french maid. 4.5" platform stilletto heels, red fishnets, the werks. I scared alot of people. especially with the fake bolld capsules. Anyway -- as for last nights dancing (& trying not to break my ankles in the process) the fresh anus piercing held up unusually well. If you have ever examined that area of your body, youve noticed the "fleshyness" of the skin about the 'pucker'. It was extremely easy & painless to pierce. No blood- or very little at that. And honestly no real discomfort. The absolute most difficult stage in the process is placing the jewelry (ESPECIALLY IF YOURE DOING IT YOURSELF.!!!) I have actually tried this particular area of the body for piercing before, about 3 years ago. It worked, but eventually wanted to grow out. This time, its got a good 3/4" asshole-skin to get through. I apologize for the graphic nature of my diction. Today, prior to its morning cleaning- consisting of Dial anti-bacterial liquid soap, a shower, etc- i noticed I wasnt able to see [and/or find]the top of the barbell ball. Aye de Mi! The holes were both still there, fresh and stretched to about a 14ga, just enough 'inhale' the barbell ends. I decided the barbell was a wee bit too short in length, and replaced it with a 5/8 14ga SScurved barbell. Sitting is even more pleasurable than before. It is a surprisingly protected area of the body. Not much gets to it. So you get the picture. Lets say youre on your knees, ass in the air. the top of the anal opening is where I placed my jewelry: //{(*)}\\ Initially, it was easyenough to use a 14ga needle with a 16ga 1/2" BB in the back of the needle, as trying to insert jewelry in that type of extreemly fleshy skin is & can be, literally, a pain in the ass. So i used the needle for both the piercing & an insertion tube. Mushy butt-flesh IS hard to manage. The Vertical nature of the piercing is just fine. I was concerned that bathroom issure might present a problem. But excrement from your own body is initially sterile, however funky. Pooing has not presented a problem. Wiping has become the tricky part. Some advice- wipe gently, almost dabbing where possible. Im not into scat, and think crap is rather nasty. Im also not one to judge, so I keep my ass as clean as possible. Especially in recent times. So far, the only noticible aftereffect, is that the skin between eentry & exit points has had some swelling, nothing like inflation, but definately noticible. It has become an eye-catching, interestingly pierced "butt-nub". And I adore it. I am planning to get a disposible camera or something in the very near future so I can send up some pictures, in about 2-3 weeks. They will be sent though. I have decided that the final jewelry for this piercing will be an L-bar of 14-12 ga. One last thing: I did not pierce through the

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (0, Offtopic)

pwnage (856708) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309797)

How is this "redundant?" It's the frist fucking post!!!

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309806)

because he's being stalked.

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (0, Offtopic)

daniel_mcl (77919) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309821)

The very first comment is moderated redundant? Sounds like someone needs to buy a dictionary...

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309883)

When did 'Apple' invent the GUI?
When did 'BSD' invent the TCP-IP stack?

Last I checked, Apple was not the inventor of the GUI and BSD was not even from the right university for TCP-IP....

You are the fool.

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309892)

I wasn't listing the original inventors..I was listing the people Microsoft lifted the ideas from.

Other people figured that out...why couldn't you?

Re:Did M$ invent the iPod? (0, Flamebait)

dedazo (737510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309912)

and people bitch and moan when I use the abbreviation M$

That's pretty funny, especially considering where you're at. But to clarify, I would hardly "bitch and moan" about that, I'd point out that by using it you make it clear that you're just another retarded asswipe who uses a "joke" that ceased to be "funny" in 1997 to "fit in" and feel "l33t", just like all the other retarded asswipes on "teh interweb" that use terms like "Winblows" and "Microshaft" and whatnot because they figure they're making some sort of social statement.

Other than that, you seem to have some sick fixation with posting on Slashdork. If it's getting too bad I suggest you seek professional help.

Nothing to see here... move along... (3, Insightful)

jsight (8987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309693)

Somehow seems appropriate. It's too bad the Patent Office doesn't see things the same way with these applications...

Re:Nothing to see here... move along... (3, Interesting)

wjames (579137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309845)

Well, I think Apple is looking at this from the "Turn-about is fair play" view. Microsoft stole from them, They steal from microsoft, It's just the way life works.

Old? (1)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309698)

Isn't this pretty ancient? There was an article on ./ last week about an Apple patent being refused. In the end, the MP3 player was invented by Compaq anyway - yet another ./ article from a couple weeks before.

This is worse than cable TV :)

Re:Old? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309755)

I'm sorry, but it appears you must have that second-rate news meta DotSlash mixed up with the first-class journalism of Slashdot. It's OK, everybody makes mistakes.

Apple made it available to buyers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309700)

And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

Plagiarism (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309701)

nate.oo "writes" stuff that was just a rip of the top of the TechWeb article. Cute.

Re:Plagiarism (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309754)

For what it's worth, i think this is called an excerpt. It is perfectly legal. See the decision against FR [techlawjournal.com] and how people on FR [freerepublic.com] get around that now.

Credit where credit's due (5, Informative)

Dubpal (860472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309703)

"If you think Apple Computer's Steve Jobs invented the technology behind the Apple iPod..."

Contents of the article aside, such an assumption would be wrong, Steve Jobs didn't invent the iPod - Jeff Robin [wikipedia.org] did.

Re:Credit where credit's due (1, Offtopic)

Rick and Roll (672077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309853)

Finally! Someone important in the tech industry with an ordinary name.

Bill Gates is pretty ordinary, but that was a long time ago.

Now I see Sergey Brin, Bruce Perens, Theo De Raadt, and David H???????? Hanson. Plus there's people that just happen to have the same names as famous people in non-geek circles, such as Dave Thomas. And I have a Sysadmin named Martha Stewart.

I hope Jeff Robin gets a little fame for his invention. It's no small achievement.

And for those of you who think it isn't an invention, you are wrong.

Re:Credit where credit's due (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309913)

And I have a Sysadmin named Martha Stewart.

That's a strange name for a guy.

Re:Credit where credit's due (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309927)

Can anyone say Jonathon Ive (and team)? ;)

Invention.. (5, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309707)

Patenting != inventing.

Hell, Microsoft's just trying to get whatever loose patent they can get so they can selectively use it to pressure their competitors.

You can always tell if Microsoft is sweating because of you if they take out a patent on something you've built as soon as you issue the first press release.

Re:Invention.. (4, Insightful)

fredistheking (464407) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309765)

Do you think Edision and Bell were the only ones who were working on the the lightbulb and the telephone? No, but they got the patents and history remembers them as the inventors. I'm not saying this is right but it is not new.

Re:Invention.. (2, Insightful)

ErikInterlude (784049) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309830)

I have no idea if this is true or not, but I had heard once that Edison employed several people just to dream up ideas for products. If he liked the idea, he'd go out and patent it as soon as possible.

The more I hear about Edison, the less inspiring he appears to be. Wasn't he the one that electrocuted animals to disprove the theories of Nikola Tesla?

Re:Invention.. (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309854)

Edison was briliant, but yes, IIRC, he was also likely a jerk, a petty one at that.

What I heard was that he wanted to discredit alternating current (AC) power, and electrocuting animals was his way of doing it. Edison favored direct current (DC) power. The problem is that given the technology of the time, and it is still largely true today, due to the physics involved, AC is generally a better long-distance electrical power transmission method.

I'm not sure how stable Tesla was, but he was right about AC.

Re:Invention.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309874)

No wonder so many slashdotters are Democrats.
You're all stupid.

Edison made the first electric chair as propaganda against AC current.

Tesla then electrocuted a elephant with DC.

What they don't teach in school about Edison (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309870)

The more I hear about Edison, the less inspiring he appears to be. Wasn't he the one that electrocuted animals to disprove the theories of Nikola Tesla?

This is true. wikipedia info including a video of the actual killing [wikipedia.org] .

Also read about the AC vs DC [ieee-virtual-museum.org] battle. Edison even tried to coin his competitor's name as a verb meaning "electrocution". Quite the sicko.

Re:Invention.. (4, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309873)

Yes, Edison electrocuted many animals, but it wasn't to disprove Tesla's theories. Rather, it was to 'demonstrate' that AC electricity (Tesla's system), was more lethal than Edison's preferred DC. Edison put on elaborate shows in which he electrocuted horses, dogs, elephants, and just about any other animal he could get his hands on (he was also known for paying children 25 cents for each stray dog they could bring him). Edison claimed that while AC electricity was obviously lethal, DC was not (which is patently false).

Interesting that Edison's name is synonomous with electricity even today, although the electricity we use in our homes is Tesla's alternating current.

Re:Invention.. (1)

mattmentecky (799199) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309767)

Well, the dictionary disagrees with you:

Pronunciation Key (ptnt)


1. A grant made by a government that confers upon the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use, and sell that invention for a set period of time.
2. Letters patent.
3. An invention protected by such a grant.

We can quibble about the US Patent system and how they grant patents to non-original inventions all day, and we can quibble about how this may be one of those cases, but linguistically spealing, yes, patenting should and is an invention.

Re:Invention.. (3, Insightful)

Dlugar (124619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309882)

Furthermore, inventing != inventing in a very important sense of the word. Not much of the technology in iPods was very novel or interesting--we'd seen all the technological pieces in other places before. Apple didn't "invent" the iPod in the sense that they came up with some new innovative way to play mp3s, or to fit that much player in such a small size, or even a great user interface. Those things had all been done in other places at other times to varying degrees of success.

What Apple did was create a beautiful device, something that was more of a fashion accessory than a geek toy. That was the revolution; that was what Apple "invented"; and that's why even though you can buy a similar mp3 player with more functionality for less money, iPods remain king. Apple didn't invent any one piece of the technology--they brought together existing technology in a functionally beautiful way, and wrapped it all up in an aesthetically beautiful package.


Re:Invention.. (3, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309885)

Please provide some examples of Microsoft using patents to prssure their competitors. Other than the ASF case, which was hardly "pressure" and hardly a "competitor".


FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309708)


Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword (5, Funny)

Effugas (2378) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309716)

You know, if I listen closely I can hear the laughter of thousands upon thousands of Korean engineers, and I'm in Seattle.

Re:Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309825)

"kekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekekek ekekeke"x1000x1000?

That... doesn't make sense. (2, Insightful)

millennial (830897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309717)

Why would they file a patent for it, but then allow Apple to develop, create, and market the device?

Or am I misreading this? Did they file a patent for something that vaguely described a system of some sort used in the iPod? That wouldn't really surprise me, seeing how they've recently tried to patent a method for highlighting numerical data with a box.

Re:That... doesn't make sense. (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309730)

Now that I've RTFA... how can Apple claim to have prior work here, when portable MP3 players have existed for several years?

Re:That... doesn't make sense. (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309920)

Why would they file a patent for it, but then allow Apple to develop, create, and market the device? You must be new here.

Is any body else... (2)

Anonymous Cumshot (859434) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309719)

getting really sick of all the patent-talk recently?

I don't mean to troll here, but is any of this really that significant? It seems to me that all the 'who-did-it-first' business is all just loose speculation..

Homer: You can't like... own a potato... it's one of God's creatures.

Obligatory... (1)

SpartanVII (838669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309722)

From TFA...

According to a citation on "Platt's home page, he and other colleagues at Microsoft developed a paper in the 2001-2002 timeframe discussing AutoDJ, "a system for automatically generating music playlists based on one or more seed songs selected by a user."

Yeah, but does it run Linux?

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309749)

And cum his fucking eyes shut.


Cock-shitting prick-mobile.


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309831)

Rock On

Bad Article (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309743)

The article mentions that Microsoft submitted a patent on a "portable, pocked-sized multimedia asset player" - i.e. a completely open-ended and substanceless junk patent. Or maybe the patent did have some merit, but who knows, since the article doesn't give more details. The one detail it does mention is in regards to a playlist feature that the iPod doesn't have.

On the brighter side, the not so subtle combination of Microsoft, Apple, vague patents and the iPod should make for a orgiastic troll feeding frenzy in the comments. And Techweb got some more traffic and hopefully some ad revenue. Hooray.

That's like saying (2, Funny)

sound+vision (884283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309745)

Did Al Gore invent the Internet?

Re:That's like saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309781)

He invented only one. The other internets have been around since the 70s

Re:That's like saying (1)

NemoX (630771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309800)

That depends...did he file for a patent before, or after the real inventor? :p

Re:That's like saying (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309802)

There's never a mod redundant around when you need one. Must EVERY patent article trot out the same lame jokes?


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309862)


Re:That's like saying (5, Informative)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309839)

I feel compelled to correct this misconception as a public service every time I see it.
Gore never claimed to have invented the internet. He said he backed funding (repeatedly and against republican opposition) for the Arpanet which became the internet.

He was misquoted deliberately (and repeatedly) by a group of right wing press until the lie became main stream. So now you can find many reasonable moderate people who believe he originally made the claim.

Re:That's like saying (1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309861)

"I took the initiative in creating the Internet"

I think that's pretty clear. Obviously, he was a greasy politician trying to take credit for the work of others. Maybe from where he was at, it made sense, but that just shows you how out-of-touch people in politics are.

go figure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309748)

We all know the US patent office doesn't know their ass from a hole in the ground... I work for a company who has been issued many software patents during the last several years and I'm ashamed to admit most of them were for things that should be obvious to most software developers, yet the USPO has no problem with issuing a "patent" for them. We are driven to submit more and more applications for patents, whether we believe in them or not, so the company has legal grounds against other companies doing the same thing when the time comes. If you are in a country who has yet to adopt software patents, a piece of advice: DON'T LET YOUR GOVERNMENT DO THIS TO YOU, and if the US government pushes your government to adopt our system, tell them to shove it!

Does the patent office... (4, Funny)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309751)

... run their database on MS software? If so, why does Microsoft bother applying for patents? They could just get in through a back door and insert retroactive patents on anything they like.

(Yeah, my tinfoil hat just fell off.)

Yeah, MS probably invented it (0)

Sivaram_Velauthapill (693619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309756)

Yes, MS probably invented the portable MP3 device. This is not to say that the iPod was created by MS (it clearly was not) but a generic MP3 player that this patent refers to may have been developed by MS prior to Apple.

It is pretty common to have tech companies develop things way ahead of others and yet fail to succeed. It is also quite common to see companies improve upon others' prior works. Ideally, such progress won't result in lawsuits but unfortunately capitalism will necessarily lead to everything being resolved through some pricing mechanism (which are basically what corporate lawsuits are about--this is also why I think lawyers and everyone associated with the process get paid a lot, relative to the people who invented the idea).

It is quite common nowadays to have start-up tech companies simply patent something and not deploy it to the field or attempt to sell it. Once upon a time, it was thought that inventing something meant that you needed to develop a product and sell it. Nowadays it is becoming more profitable to not develop an end-product and instead sit on some intellectual property and then live off the royalties you earn by suing whoever runs afoul of the patent. There have been quite a few good examples of this shift in trend (eg. cases involving RIM, Rambus, etc).

I think the trend I'm talking about will become the norm within 20 years. I don't think it'll play as much of a role in the computer industry (since the industry is well developed with large companies have more power) but I anticipate that it will be the norm in developing industries like biotech, nanotech, and stuff like that. Biotech companies will simply develop some intellectual property and sit on it (without developing any drugs or anything). It'll end up being more profitable for investors to do that...

What's this talk of denting? (4, Insightful)

Humorously_Inept (777630) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309760)

From the article:

So far, Microsoft hasn't been able to dent the Apple iPod dominance...

Exactly which devices would be doing the denting, or is this a reference to the music players that Microsoft has released in an alternate universe?

Steve jpbs inventor? (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309763)

if you think Apple Computer's Steve Jobs invented the technology behind the Apple iPod, don't bet your 60GB, 15,000-song model on it.

Ok, who thinks Jobs invented the ipod. Where did he even say that? He may run the company, but he is hardly an engineer.

Re:Steve jpbs inventor? (4, Funny)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309860)

"He may run the company, but he is hardly an engineer."

Are you crazy?!? Did you see the new fangled mouse he just invented? It has THREE buttons!

Re:Steve jobs inventor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309905)

you're an idiot. a freakin tool.

He is an incredible engineer. go do some god damn research before posting

Apple had it on shelves before the MS patent (5, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309769)

According to apple, the ipod was on store shelves before even M$ sumbitted the patent application.

I remember too. My friend bought the absolute first gen ipod.. a klunky 5 gig job... back in late 2001.

TFA can stick this FUD where it belongs, thank you very much.

Arguably Apple Didn't Invent the iPod (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309773)

From wikipedia...

Tony Fadell first conceived of iPod outside Apple; he had difficulty finding funding for a MP3 player he had designed. When he demonstrated it to Apple, the company hired him as an independent contractor to bring his project to the market, putting him in charge of assembling the team that developed the first two generations of the device. --

Of course, the argument stems from whether the time of invention is when the idea is conceived, when the product is designed, when the first working prototype is built, or when the public can buy the final product. I'll steer clear of that argument.

What a moot point (3, Insightful)

Godai (104143) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309777)

Did Microsoft invent the iPod? No. Did Apple? No. The idea that either company invented the mp3 is ludicrous -- both were years behind numerous companies.

Unless Microsoft somehow patented the idea of a well designed stylish mp3 player their patent is so laughably easy to dismiss with prior art it stands as just another example of how lazy, inept & stupidty-riddled the US Patent Office is.

Video games are next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309784)

Maybe we will see a patent show up that is vaguely worded again and basically makes Microsoft the only ones allowed to make a video game console.

since they are now patenting all kinds of things people have been using for years...which I thought you weren't allowed to do.

not again... (2, Interesting)

WreckingCru (764189) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309788)

i think /. is slowly becoming less of 'stuff that matters' and more of a popularity contestant. 'i know! let's publish articles that bash microsoft and make apple look like a victim/saint...it can't fail!' 'yes! by jove, you got it!' EVERYONE who isn't busy following paris hilton is busy getting patents for anything they can. I remember, as a college senior, doing my senior design project, one week we were made to look thru the US Patent Office website and find possible 'patent infringements' for our design (just as an exercise in real world product cycle development) - and we prob found about a hundred patents that "loosely" resemble every known product from a Tivo to a toaster.... every article now seems to be completely anti-microsoft and pro-apple. and if it has nothing to do with them, then the comments will always bring M$ into the fray. Really, can you HONESTLY say that /. and the internet and the computer me and you and everyone else is able to afford now was NOT a direct or indirect result of Microsoft and its products? (I already know I'm going to be considered a troll or given a 1 rating, but it needs to be said)

Winamp + 486 (2, Insightful)

Allnighterking (74212) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309794)

Winamp + 486 Is actually less powerful than an iPod. and I've been playing sounds on a computer for ages. Man I wonder what Mr. Nakamura (apologies if I spell it wrong) thinks of the idea of M$ thinking they are first with portable sound. Of course years before the iPod was released a product named the Diamond RIO was fighting for it's life against companies like M$ (under the guise of the BSA) for it's portable MP3 players. (bought mine in 98 or 99)

Why are software patents bad? (1)

Decessus (835669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309801)

I've read a lot of articles that have to do with software patents here on Slashdot. It seems like a majority of the people are against software patents. I'd like to get better informed about this issue. What are some good resources that I can use? I'd like to know why they are so bad. If they are as bad as people claim them to be, what can I do to help change the situation?

Re:Why are software patents bad? (1)

NemoX (630771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309826)

If they are as bad as people claim them to be, what can I do to help change the situation?

Get your neighbors to sign petitions against any elected official that is about to vote on any type of legislation that would increase the power of software/all patenting. Likewise, get them to sign petitions in favor of signing legislation in favor of dampening or removing software/all patents.

Re:Why are software patents bad? (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309868)

You don't know if they're bad, but you want to "change the situation"?

I smell another great "Ask Slashdot" entry coming.

Re:Why are software patents bad? (1)

Decessus (835669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309923)

I don't think you read my post correctly. It was a two part post so maybe that's why it confused you.

I'd like to get better informed about this issue. What are some good resources that I can use? I'd like to know why they are so bad.

Here is the first part. I mentioned that I was looking for information so I could make a more informed choice about this particular issue.

If they are as bad as people claim them to be, what can I do to help change the situation?

Here is the second part. I said IF ( this is an important part of the sentence ) patents are as bad as people are saying, what can I do to change the situation.

Hopefully this makes it a little more clear to you what it is I wanted.

Re:Why are software patents bad? (5, Interesting)

rpdillon (715137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309894)

You ask good and difficult questions.

I am particularly interested in patent law, though I am nothing more than a computer programmer, much less a lawyer.

Groklaw is a very good place to get more of a handle on some of what software patents are about. I have yet to come across a good all-around resource regarding the state of software patents, so I end up perusing the patent office's site quite often.

To answer your main question, software patents are thought to be a "bad thing" because patents were designed to protect an implementation of an idea...Edison didn't patent "creating light with an electrical device", he patented the incandescent lightbulb. Software makes this otherwise simple model a mess, because there is no clear line between the *effect* of something, and it's *implementation* in software. Sure, there are a bunch of clean cut cases, but there are also a lot of muddy cases.

Worse, software patents are very easy to abuse. For example, companies have patented things like the "double click", scrollbars, and drop-down menus. These days, it becomes a veritable mine-field of patents to avoid when writing even the simplest of GUI applications.

In one of the most astonishing software patent debacles, a shadow-rendering trick presented by John Carmack thereafter known as "Carmack's Reverse" was patented by a company later bought by Creative (of Sound Blaster fame) and used a scant week before Doom 3's release date to strong-arm Carmack into coding EAX support into his Doom 3 engine to avoid litigation.

The idea that a company spends lots of money to develop algorithms, and that those algorithms should be protected is a good one. The problem is that the vast majority of software patents are not used in cases like that; they are used in cases where a company likes to lie in wait for their competitors, and only after a competitor becomes a serious threat to they negotiate with their patent portfolio. Because patents (unlike copyrights) cost so much to apply for (not just application fees, but technical writing and legal fees), the software patent system keeps companies like Microsoft in their monopolistic lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, often at the expense of their competitors and, ultimately, the consumer.

Free software in particular is a fundamentally generous act, and is capable of providing great benefits to areas of the world that would not otherwise be able to afford computing. Similarly, it frees those who choose to use it in first-world countries from the monopoly that Microsoft enjoys, allowing us to run operating systems that do not require re-registration when the hardware in the comuter is altered, or keeping track of registration keys. But Free Software's future is in jeopardy because of the patent system that benefits the large corporations. You would be hard pressed to find a piece of free software that doesn't violate someone else's software patent one way or another.

There are many approaches to correcting the system, but one of the most obvious would be to raise the bar for what qualifies as innovative enough to deserve a patent. The article earlier today about highlighting numbers is a perfect example: a concept so simple that it seems like a good excercise for a beginner's book on C or Java, not a patent for a multi-billion dollar corporation to be filing. The ease with which something can be programmed is not the sole measure by which we should judge a patent, but it is a starting point. Other factors might include things like the amount of resources it would take to develop such a design.

At some point we need to admit to ourselves that our notions of intellectual property must change in an era where media can be so freely copied and exchanged. The nature of the economies that support industries resting on intellectual properties must shift, perhaps acknowledging that intellectual property should not be a luxury, but a commonplace product in most everyone's lives. This would allow more people to enjoy the fruits of the labor of the few, while maintaining the authors in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Most of all, our systems for managing and protecting intellectual property should fuel innovation, not stifle it. We have a long way to go in that respect.

They innovated! (1)

birdowner (635361) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309809)

They were focussed on the end-user experience (TM) and were looking to integrate their distribution channels by consolidating their partners. They were constantly innovating, to provide a richer set of functionality. Sigh. Why do I have to explain these things to such mighty techies...

Microsoft made the iPod. (2, Funny)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309818)

Microsoft invented the iPod.
Saddam had WMDs he was going to give to Bin Laden.
Big Brother Loves You.

Mouse (0, Offtopic)

antiaktiv (848995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309838)

I'd absolutely bet my cheap one button standard mouse that Amazon didn't invent the mouseclick though.

Invent? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309841)

The iPod is just a small computer with a catchy name and good marketing. How could anyone claim to have "invented" it?

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309843)

I can't believe that no one's mentioned this yet, but a simple google [google.ca] search reveals that the first hit points to this [slashdot.org] article which already talked about the patents and that Platt's application was rejected twice and user comments mentioned that Platt worked for MS.

what's the difference? (1)

cahiha (873942) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309844)

Apple patents, Microsoft patents, IBM patents, Sun patents. They all claim they are only doing it for good, but then they all go around suing people.

And the patents themselves are pretty iffy. If you only allow Microsoft's narrow claims, than Apple probably doesn't infringe and could trivially work around them. If you allow Microsoft's broadest claims, then they just patented finding other songs you like based on a bunch of examples--a trivial and obvious idea implemented by many people.

Patents really only serve two purposes: they make money for lawyers, and they create barriers to entry for small, new companies. That's why all the big players love them so much. It's also why we really have to do something about them if we care about our high-tech economy, because innovation comes from the little startups.

Isn't Rio the real "inventor" of portable MP3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309856)

Sorry if I miss the point here, but it seems to me the Diamond Rio came out WAY before the Ipod. If the patent is really referring to a "pocket-sized, portable MP3 player", shoulldn't Rio be credited for prior art?

Apple is in serious trouble (2, Funny)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309857)

Not only have they violated Microsoft's patents, but by copying from anyone at all they have violated /.'s patent on duplication of a pre-existing entity.

AutoDJ is half baked, unrelated to iPod or iTunes (1, Interesting)

aphor (99965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309877)

I read the MS paper on AutoDJ. It is crap. Here's how it works: editors magically decide some finite set of descriptive qualities and rate each of your songs on each of those qualities. If editors rate your least favorite song "highly snazzy" and your most favorite song also "highly snazzy", AutoDJ will guess that whenever you select three "highly snazzy" songs in a row to seed the playlist, your least favorite song will be a good match based on the "highly snazzy" factor. Maybe other songs fit better on other descriptors besides "snazzy", but those scores are no more reliable at predicting your impression than "snazzy."

Moreover, the underlying assumption is that when you select a few songs your selection represents a state which the playlist should make a best effort to approximate. Even if it worked ideally, the generated playlists would always represent a musical rut.

I have a theory that iTunes Party Shuffle uses computed Eigenvalues [wikipedia.org] of your iTunes library to compare the end of one track to the beginnings of other tracks and find a good match so that songs flow together. THAT is smart. It sometimes gets into a rut, but that is because I need to round out my collection, and the rut is always more interesting than getting stuck in one mode. AutoDJ is half-baked.

Steve Jobs invented the iPod? (1, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309880)

"If you think Apple Computer's Steve Jobs invented the technology behind the Apple iPod"

He didn't. A team of engineers at another company did and sold the finished product to Apple. He just took the credit.

Lightbulb strikes again (1)

Fox_1 (128616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309910)

The lightbulb [wikipedia.org] is likely an essential device to modern living. (if someone disagress then more power to you :) It remains to be seen if the PDA and MP3 player follow suit. I believe the phone has already hit that point. And on the matter of points my point is anywhere from a 120 to 150 years ago the lightbulb was invented by numerous different people in various forms. I had always thought Diamond invented the MP3 player with the Rio,wiki [wikipedia.org] says it was Eiger labs. However the minute MP3's became common everybody conceptualized the portable MP3 player, who patented it should really be a moot point. Damn I hate the USPTO sometime, I didn't want to say that, but god what a mess it's becoming.

and? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13309915)

i use debian how does this effect me?

Don't know why this is such big news. (1)

n.e.watson (835126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309916)

Microsoft patents everything that crosses their path. Is it just me, or is this [uspto.gov] a patent for the binder?

Correction (2, Funny)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13309925)

I think that line in the original post should read:
               +------+  +--------+
don't bet your | 60GB |, | 15,000 |-song model on it.
               +------+  +--------+
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