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IE, Flash, and patents: here comes trouble

irish weblog
Interesting story brewing with respect to Microsoft's 'appropriation' of ActiveX controls - seamless display of varying types of content is at the heart of this - and Eolas say that they have a patent. The University of California are also plaintiffs in this case. Their take here. [Eolas, by the way, licensed the 'e' in their logo to IBM for the latter's e-business campaigns]. It's bad news for people like Macromedia - Flash content would have to be accessed in a brand-new Flash player window.

IE, Flash, and patents: here comes trouble Microsoft has again been told to cripple its market-leading browser in compliance with the Eolas patent lawsuit. IE/Windows will no longer be able to seamlessly play Flash, Quicktime, PDF, and other rich media formats. Other browser makers like Netscape and Opera may also be forced to cripple their browsers, making the web look like 1993 all over again. Clumsy, disruptive workarounds that diminish user experience might allow browsers to present rich media files, but site owners would have to pay for development -- and Eolas might sue anyway. The patent ruling will hurt everyone. Patents on the web are always bad, but this one stinks to Heaven. We find ourselves rooting for Microsoft.

[Source: Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report]

C-NET has more information.

Microsoft has suffered another legal setback in the patent dispute with software developer Eolas and is now advising Web authors on workarounds, as new details emerge of its plans to tweak Internet Explorer.

A federal judge last week rejected Microsoft's post-trial claim that Eolas had misrepresented the facts in the patent case, which claimed the software giant had stolen browser technology relating to plug-ins. The ruling came after a $521 million verdict against the software giant last month, and ends Microsoft's first attempt to challenge the result.

According to the Eolas website -

-- To create and develop the inventions that allow information technologies to enhance the quality of life for everyone.

Their tack will certainly enhance the quality of bank balances for web developers if this goes through.

Just like '99 all over again.

September 15, 2003 in Business, Civil Liberties, Interaction, newMedia Design | Permalink


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