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MSNBC/Newsweek: The Big Blue Yonder

Dec 05, 2005, 13:45 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Karen Lowry Miller)

"By the time Sam Palmisano took over as CEO of IBM in 2002, the technology giant had become the undisputed king of patents. Each year it files more than 3,000 patents, more than any other company. And yet IBM had also begun to present a very different face to the world—as the leading proponent of so-called open-source software, a communal body of code that individuals and companies develop at their own expense and then share with each other freely. How far should IBM go in sharing its software innovations? Would the company also be giving away its technological advantage? Likewise, would clinging to its treasure chest of patents make it harder to foster the kind of open collaboration IBM wants, dooming the company to irrelevance? Palmisano wanted some answers. So in the spring of 2004, he asked John Kelly, a physicist who had run the chip division (pointedly, not a lawyer), to find them..."

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