Saturday, August 8, 2009

How do we know that Bing doesn't violate software patents?

During my college days, when I used to read Microsoft's announcements about Live Search, I sometimes used to wonder - how does one ascertain that Microsoft doesn't secretly violate some (or many) software patents - specifically, search-related patents?

I still wonder about this, sometimes. When Bing was released, I got particularly concerned - how in the world does one ascertain whether or not Bing's underlying plumbing is Google's famous, and much publicized, PageRank algorithm (patented by Stanford University)?

This issue can be extended to the array of online applications and services that are cropping up all over the Web - popularly clubbed together as Cloud Computing. How does one know that Amazon Web Services is secretly not violating dozens of software patents, (perhaps even intentionally) because it knows that the only thing its users can see is the service's user-interface, and it can make its systems work better by including patented technology?

Reading about Leader Technologies' dispute with Facebook made me pen my concern...

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