Patent Wars in High Tech: A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 patent claims - - Part 1
Patent Wars in High Tech: In 'Steve Jobs,' the biography of the Apple co-founder, Walter Isaacson recounts how Jobs had convinced Bill Gates to agree that Microsoft would not create graphical software for anyone other than Apple until a year after the Macintosh shipped in January 1983. Unfortunately for Apple, it did not provide for the possibility that the Macintosh launch would be delayed for a year. So Gates revealed in November 1983 that Microsoft planned to develop a new operating system for IBM PCs -- featuring a graphical interface with windows, icons, and a mouse for point-and-click navigation -- called Windows. Isaacson writes that Jobs was furious. He knew there was little he could do about it, but he lashed out nonetheless. "Get Gates down here immediately," he ordered Mike Boich, who was Apple's evangelist to other software companies. Gates came down -- alone and willing to discuss things with Jobs. "He called me down to get pissed off at me," Gates recalled. "I went down to Cupertino, like a command performance. I told him, 'we're doing Windows.' I said to him, 'we're betting our company on graphics interface'." Their meeting was in Jobs's conference room, where Gates found himself surrounded by ten Apple employees who were eager to watch their boss assail him. Jobs didn't disappoint his troops. "You're ripping us off!" he shouted. "I trusted you, and now you're stealing from us!" Gates just sat there coolly, looking Steve in the eye, before hurling back, in his squeaky voice, what became a classic zinger. "Well, Steve, I think there's more than one way of looking at it. I think it's more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it." Steve Jobs continued to maintain that Microsoft's Windows software had been copied from Mac software and today a smartphone could have as many as 250,000 patent claims (mostly questionable) according to David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer. How to keep track of that!
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