Delusions Of Grandeur: Yahoo Officially Sues Facebook, Laughably Argues That Facebook's Entire Model Is Based On Yahoo
from the if-that-were-true,-why-is-everyone-using-facebook dept
Already an also-ran laughingstock in the internet space, on Monday Yahoo decided to shoot itself in the remaining foot by following through on its silly threat to sue Facebook for patent infringement. That lawsuit is now official, and apparently even folks within the company are not at all pleased with the decision. As Kara Swisher has been reporting (in much more detail than most folks covering this story), apparently this effort was driven almost entirely by new CEO Scott Thompson with help from legal boss Michael Callahan. Almost everyone else was kept out of the loop. Much of the decision to sue was apparently also driven by an “activist” board member looking to goose the stock.
If that’s the goal, it seems to have failed. The immediate reaction on Wall Street to the news was a collective “meh,” with the stock dropping a bit after close.
Even more ridiculous are the insane hubris and delusions of grandeur found in the lawsuit and the statements about the lawsuit, starting with this whopper:
Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo!’s patented social networking technology.
Yeah, you see, if that were actually even close to true, then people would be spending all their days on Yahoo!. But they’re not. They’re spending them on Facebook, because Facebook innovated and built a better system while Yahoo languished and did nothing of consequence.
For much of the technology upon which Facebook is based, Yahoo! got there first and was therefore granted patents by the United States Patent Office to protect those innovations. Yahoo!’s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud, and privacy controls. These innovations dramatically improve user experience, privacy, and security and enhance the ability to connect with users.
Again, if that’s the case, why does Yahoo have a dreadful user experience that has been causing users to leave in droves for years, and why has it so totally failed to connect with users?
Yahoo! is harmed by Facebook’s use of Yahoo!’s patented technologies in a way that cannot be compensated for by payment of a royalty alone.
Right, because no one cares about Yahoo any more and just tossing a bunch of money Yahoo’s way won’t bring back all the users they’ve lost to Facebook. Why? It’s got absolutely nothing to do with Yahoo’s patents, and has a hell of a lot to do with developing a product users actually want — which is entirely unrelated to patents.
If this plan is actually based on some clueless exec’s idea of how to boost Yahoo’s share price, not only is that sadly mistaken, but it also kills off the only chance Yahoo might have had to boost its sale price going forward. Stupid, anti-innovation patent lawsuits against better, faster, more innovative competitors might seem like a short-term strategy that makes sense, but in Silicon Valley, it’s the death knell of any company. It’s when the last of the smart engineers — the people you actually need if you really want to innovate — know that it’s time to brush up the resume and take jobs at more innovative companies. It’s the last throes of any good Silicon Valley company.
And pretty much everyone realizes it.
As for the patents in question, here’s the list:
- US Patents 6,907,566, 7,100,111 and 7,373,599: Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage
- US Patent 7,668,861: System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a network
- US Patent 7,269,590: Method and system for customizing views of information associated with a social network user
- US Patent 7,599,935: Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user’s authorization level
- US Patent 7,454,509: Online playback system with community bias
- US Patent 5,983,227: Dynamic Page Generator
- US Patent 7,747,648: World modeling using a relationship network with communication channels to entities
- US Patent 7,406,501: System and method for instant messaging using an e-mail protocol