AOL Sells Its Patents To Microsoft For $1 Billion: Microsoft Now Owns Netscape IP

from the not-quite-a-troll dept

Just a few weeks ago, we had mentioned reports that AOL was looking to sell its patents. Sometimes, those kinds of things take a while, and may even involve auctions and whatnot. However, it looks like AOL got the deal done quickly, selling over 800 patents to Microsoft for just over $1 billion. The “good news” here is that the patents don’t end up in the hands of a pure patent troll, who will do nothing but sue over them. The bad news, of course, is that Microsoft is quite aggressive in suing others for patent infringement anyway, and you can expect some of these patents to start showing up in wasteful, innovation-hindering lawsuits before too long. And, of course, there’s the natural dead-weight loss of a ton of money going into buying patents, rather than directly into actual innovation.

Of course, there’s an interesting twist in all of this. Peter Kafka notes that Microsoft basically bought all Netscape assets outside of the name/trademarks, etc. From a historical standpoint, that’s pretty interesting, seeing as how big the early internet battle was between Microsoft and Netscape for who would win the war to control the window into the internet. It would then be especially ironic (and ridiculous) if Microsoft used those patents to sue others, after spending so much time trying to kill off Netscape… Such is the bizarre world of patents these days, I guess.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: aol, microsoft

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “AOL Sells Its Patents To Microsoft For $1 Billion: Microsoft Now Owns Netscape IP”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Big tech companies have a lot in common with big companies in any inudstry

With big tech companies buying patents from each other, it’s become something of a major league game these days.

Microsoft to Buy AOL Patents for More Than $1 Billion – “While Microsoft is struggling in the smartphone market, it is doing a brisk business in licensing its intellectual property to smartphone makers using rival software, analysts say.”

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Big tech companies have a lot in common with big companies in any inudstry

While some tech stories have been spun over the years as being about grassroots empowerment, I think our economic system encourages, in the end, power and money plays. Tech doesn’t seem any more immune to this than any other industry. (If anything, young multi-billionaire tech entrepreneurs are glorified: it really IS about the money.)

So now the big tech companies are the status quo, and perhaps something new will come along and upset them and begin the process anew. Right now I like the shareable/sustainability/localization movements as counterbalances to the establishment.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Monitor Everything (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Cool Components (1)
12:42 Tech Companies Ask European Commission Not To Wreck The Internet -- And You Can Too (4)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Play & Listen (1)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Beyond Chiptunes (12)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Updated Classics (3)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Celebrating Cities (1)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Crafts Of All Kinds (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: One Great Knob (13)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Simple Geeky Toys (2)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Gadgets For The New Year (18)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A Post-Holiday Grab Bag (0)
13:34 How Private-Sector Innovation Can Help Those Most In Need (21)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Towards The Future Of Drones (17)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Artisanal Handheld Games (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A New Approach To Smartphone VR (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Let's Bore The Censors (37)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Open Source For Your Brain (2)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: The Final Piece Of The VR Puzzle? (6)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: The Internet... Who Needs It? (15)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: The Light Non-Switch (18)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: 3D Printing And Way, Way More (7)
13:00 Techdirt Reading List: Learning By Doing (5)
12:43 The Stagnation Of eBooks Due To Closed Platforms And DRM (89)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A Modular Phone For Makers (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Everything On One Display (4)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Everything Is Still A Remix (13)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Great Desk Toy, Or Greatest Desk Toy? (6)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Sleep Hacking (12)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A Voice-Operated Household Assistant (19)
More arrow