In June 2005 Microsoft announced their support for RSS. At the time it seemed like a good thing that Microsoft were embracing this standard, however, it was Microsoft after all. I should have known there was a more sinister motive behind it.
Today, according to an article in News.com, Microsoft has filed two patent applications covering RSS. The patents were filed in June 2005 but only came to light today.
The first application is for “finding and consuming Web subscriptions in a Web browser” while the second, according to the article is:
titled “content syndication platform,” [and] appears to describe a system that can break down feeds into a format that can be accessed and managed by many different types of applications and users.
Dave Winer is unsurprisingly, unimpressed and says:
Presumably they’re eventually going to charge us to use it. This should be denounced by everyone who has contributed anything to the success of RSS.
Nick Bradbury, of NewsGator takes a more sanguine approach saying:
quite often companies file patents just to protect themselves from lawsuits. There are plenty of sleazebags who file patent applications on obvious ideas, and then wait for someone like Microsoft to infringe those patents. In other words, companies like Microsoft often file patents to prevent having to shell out millions of dollars to predatory lawyers who haven’t invented anything other than a legal pain in the ass.
So, what do you think, is Microsoft’s “evil” reputation is deserved after all? Or is this a sad reflection on the state of US patent law?