You may recall that, a few weeks ago, Microsoft bought all of AOL's patents
for about a billion dollars. Last week, the news came out that Facebook had bid on the patents too
, but lost. However, it's now worked out a deal to buy a bunch of those patents from Microsoft anyway
for about $550 million. There's also some sort of cross-licensing as a part of this. The end result is that it's more like Microsoft and Facebook teamed up to pool resources to buy the patents from AOL. It's unclear who now has the Netscape patents, or what's going to be done with these patents. It's good that they didn't end up in the hands of pure trolls, but it still seems like a shame that these companies have to spend so much money on something of which the only value is in either keeping them from getting sued or in shaking down others for innovating. What happened to the days when companies could just compete with products in the marketplace?