by Mike Masnick
Thu, Feb 26th 2009 9:38pm
A year ago, we noted that Seagate's outspoken CEO, Bill Watkins, had admitted that if the company found it impossible to compete technologically with solid state drives, it would resort to patent infringement lawsuits. And... indeed, it did exactly that just a few weeks later, suing SSD provider STEC. So, it's a bit surprising to find out that Seagate has suddenly dropped the lawsuit entirely, with the rather odd excuse that the troubled economy has hurt STEC's business so much that it's not really selling enough infringing SSDs to matter. STEC, in response, suggests that Seagate actually realized it had no chance of winning the lawsuit -- which is probably true (though, that certainly hasn't stopped some patent holders from dragging out such lawsuits). However, given that it was Bill Watkins that was so gung ho in pursuing a patent litigation strategy, perhaps the real reason has something to do with Watkins getting fired in January. Maybe that means the new management actually would prefer to focus on innovating to build its business, rather than litigating to hold innovation down.
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