MSNBC/Newsweek: The Big Blue Yonder
Dec 05, 2005, 13:45 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Karen Lowry Miller)
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"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..."