Concerns about software patents

“Recently it was announced that the U.S. Department of Justice
is going to end its oversight of Microsoft since 2001, beginning on
May 12, 2011. There has been some concern voiced about what will
happen after that. I suspect things will carry on like normal at
Microsoft, at least for the near future. Why? Because Microsoft is
busy leveraging other ways to seek profits and try and undermine
competition by using something else: software patents.

“While patents themselves are a good thing, applying them to
software can actually have an adverse effect. Patents protect
physical devices from being cloned, but when dealing with software
that is based on mathematical algorithms, software patents prohibit
companies from competing with similar software products. And
depending on how broad the patent is, it can affect multiple
products that are based on the same mathematical algorithm or user
interface. This allows a company to prevent the competition from
designing software that can offer the consumer a choice between
products. In the end, this gives the consumer only one choice on
the market (in most cases), so that they must go to the vendor that
holds the software patent.”

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