Letter: Jobs and the patent issue

Letter: Jobs and the patent issue

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A new authorized biography depicts Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, in a fit of hypocrisy and megalomania, angrily accusing Google Android software of stealing from Apple. Tellingly, Jobs simultaneously brags about stealing great ideas himself, such as the revolutionary mouse and graphical computer interface, first demonstrated by the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

The Xerox PARC demonstration was prototyped with the pioneering object-oriented Smalltalk language. Smalltalk was implemented in a more practical software form, called Objective-C, by an independent software firm and Hewlett-Packard.

In 1986, Hewlett-Packard’s intellectual property attorneys avoided taking legal action against Steve Jobs’ NeXT Computer for stealing the copyrighted Objective-C software developed by HP.

Attorneys at that time were more concerned about the legal uncertainties of patenting software inventions, which resulted from conflicting court decisions and inaction by Congress.

Jobs later sold the NeXT operating system software to become the basis of all future Apple computer products, including the Apple iOS used for iPod and iPhone. As a result, in my opinion, Apple is infringing U.S. Patent Number 5,883,639 and other patents owned by HP and spinoff Agilent Technologies.

Jobs defiantly refused to cross-license Apple’s patents, even for free, as companies with large patent portfolios typically do to avoid costly legal battles.

Steve Jobs idolized Hewlett-Packard cofounders Bill and Dave, but he never adopted their humble ethic of crediting visionary innovation to standing on the shoulders of giants.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis (Oct. 26)

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