Michael Vizard, an IT Business Edge contributor, has created some new discussion threads focusing on technology patents and virtualization. Jump over to the discussion forum to see other threads as well.
You may not have taken note of a recent injunction issued against Microsoft that could prevent the company from using "custom XML" in Microsoft Word. Stemming from an infringement suit based on a patent issued in 1994 to a company called i4i, a ruling in the case bars Microsoft from selling and support Microsoft Word. The question this all raises is have things become so complex that nobody really knows who has what relevant patents anymore. Has it really reached the point where a patent issued over 15 years ago can threaten the existence of a fundamental piece of IT software? Sure, Microsoft could settle the case or rewrite the software in question. But has the time come for a new approach to IT patents?
Now that VMware is making a move into the application development space by acquiring SpringSource, will this move compromise the platform-neutral promise of virtualization? After all, Microsoft is probably going to optimize its application development environment for Hyper-V, so it's natural that VMware would want to counter. But does this run counter to one of the strategic value propositions of virtualization in the first place?