Is Microsoft running out of steam?
Oct 08, 2010, 14:34 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)
"Most people have heard about the 18th-century inventor James
Watt and his steam engine; not so many know about the way he used
patents to stifle competition and throttle further development of
"Watt's patent was very broad in scope (covering all engines
making use of the separate condenser and all engines using steam as
a "working substance"). In other words, the patent had a very large
blocking power. The enforcement of almost absolute control on the
evolution of steam technology, using the wide scope of the patent,
became a crucial component of Boulton and Watt's business
"Eventually, after extensions gained through constant lobbying
of politicians (some things never change), Watt's patent expired.
Here's what happened next:"