After I compared three popular desktop-search programs a couple of weeks ago, the folks at Google contacted me about a couple of inaccuracies in that post. I had thought that because local files are listed above Web sites when you use Google to search in your browser, the ads that appear on the results page are related to the content of the local files. In fact, Google keeps an index of your local files on its servers only when you enable the Search Across Computers feature, which is off by default. And even then, the index disappears once the search … Read more
Benchmark Capital has invested $6.5 million in online subscription software company Zuora, which launched its Web site Thursday, according to the company.
The series A round of funding also included investors Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff and Min Zhu, founder and co-CEO of Web conferencing company WebEx.
Redwood City, Calif.-based Zuora, founded in March 2007, has built a platform that automates purchasing and billing for online subscriptions. With its automated platform, which has yet to fully launch, the company hopes to make it easier and less expensive for any online service provider or publisher to regularly bill customers. … Read more
Prominent legal counsel the Software Freedom Law Center said that the legal terms covering Microsoft's Open XML document formats pose a patent risk to free and open-source software developers.
The SFLC on Wednesday published a legal analysis of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise (OSP), a document written to give developers the green light to make open-source products based on specifications written by Microsoft.
The OSP is meant to allay concerns over violating Microsoft patents that relate to Open XML, Microsoft's document specifications that the company is trying to have certified as a standard at the ISO (International Organization … Read more
IBM has snapped up security software maker Encentuate, in a move to broaden its security management software offerings, Big Blue announced Wednesday.
Encentuate develops two-factor authentication software that's designed to let users log on with a single sign-on to all their other applications.
IBM plans to roll Encentuate's software into its Tivoli product line, which includes identity and access management software products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
IBM also is beefing up its security software efforts by opening a new software security lab in Singapore, the company said Wednesday. The lab will house more than 20 … Read more
Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch? Giveaway of the Day gives you a different commercial software application, free of charge, every day. Yes, there's a catch, but it's a simple one: each program is made available for only 24 hours, and you have to install it the day you download it.
Let me clarify that: The software doesn't expire after 24 hours. Rather, you have a one-day window in which to download it and install it. But once that's done, it's yours to keep forever (or at least until you … Read more
The other day I was driving with my five-year old daughter, Greta. Out of the blue she asked me,Dad, do you know what the olden days were like?
Surprised, I responded, "No," to which she replied,Sadness.
She went on to suggest that the "olden days" were sad because everyone was poor, among other reasons. We talked about how life gets better when good laws and good markets are put in place.
It made me think about the software industry.… Read more
A shareholder of Take-Two Interactive Software has sued the company for rejecting Electronic Arts' $2 billion takeover bid, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (subscription required to read entire article).
The suit was filed Friday in a Wilmington, Del., court. According to the Journal, the suit charges that Take-Two executives sought to enrich themselves at the expense of shareholders through a compensation agreement, amended in February after EA made a private offer for the company, that could grant them a big pay-out if Take-Two is acquired.
Two law firms--Prickett, Jones & Elliott, and Schiffrin, Barroway, Topaz & Kessler--filed the suit, … Read more
After the release of the software development kit for Apple's iPhone, Sun Microsystems says it's going to enable Java applications to run on the device, InfoWorld is reporting.
Sun will build a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), based on the Java Micro Edition version of the programming language after June of this year. It will be available in the iPhone AppStore. Eric Klein, vice president of Java marketing at Sun, told InfoWorld Friday that although Apple passed on enabling Java on the iPhone, Sun decided to do so anyway after Thursday's SDK unveiling. After combing through the documents … Read more
Twenty-four hours after Apple revealed its procedure for getting third-party applications on the iPhone, developers have a few questions about the software development kit, but seem mostly satisfied.
In the immediate aftermath of Thursday's presentation at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., reaction was almost universally positive to Apple's SDK plans. Some developers had feared worse outcomes, such as having to submit their source code to Apple, and seemed willing to let Apple take a piece of their revenue and be the exclusive distributor for iPhone applications in exchange for getting a crack at the technology.
Now that … Read more
Maybe you are of a sufficient vintage to remember the game show Let's Make a Deal. But have you ever thought about the similarities between that show and the U.S. patent system?
In the game show, contestants would have to pay a price (a wallet containing $500) to see what was behind door No. 3 (maybe a live goat; maybe a brand new faux wood-paneled station wagon). Similarly, in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the government pays a price (allowing a unique brand of monopoly) to see what is in envelope No. 3 (your invention). The analogy may seem far-fetched, but the basic premise is the same: that is, paying a price to see what is otherwise concealed. And even in the realm of patent law, sometimes the government ends up with...a goat.
Fortunately, unlike the game show, there are several ways the USPTO can get out of the deal even after the envelope is opened and the invention disclosed. To be worthy of a patent, the invention must be new, useful, and non-obvious. While the "new" and "non-obvious" requirements normally get most of the attention, the USPTO and the U.S. Court of Appeals for patent cases (the Federal Circuit) have taken a somewhat surprising approach in the past couple of months to back out of deals with potential patentees--rejecting patent applications on the basis of usefulness. In other words, the Federal Circuit has been deciding that certain classes of inventions just aren't patentable.
What is really creating a buzz in the patent world is that the USPTO and the Federal Circuit have recently addressed an almost decade-old class of patents that has developed a reputation as the runt of the litter as far as patents go--business method patents. Love them or hate them, the Federal Circuit's 1998 decision in the State Street Bank case has been widely interpreted to allow for the patenting of new and novel business methods. Since that case, the USPTO has been inundated with business method patent applications and, more specifically, software applications. The question is, will this trend continue?