Showing posts from April, 2012

How expanding Twitter's pledge could end the patent wars

This post was also published on CNET and VentureBeat. Twitter's momentous announcement yesterday that it would only use its patent portfolio defensively was received with wide acclaim by the tech world. With two small changes, Twitter's Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA) could actually completely change the landscape of software patents. 1. Share patents defensively with any other company that signs the IPA Allow any company that is a signatory to the IPA to use each other's patents defensively. To qualify, a company would have to have at least 10 patents to contribute and no active patent litigation. The minimum of a 10-patent contribution creates a virtuous circle that incents even startups to innovate with patents, as they will get an umbrella of patent shielding from all other companies that have signed the IPA. With this small change, Twitter could spur a wide following of companies that follow suit, as they will all mutually benefit from joining the IP

How RIM could save itself: With a “super feature phone”

This post was also published on CNET and VentureBeat. Research In Motion is reportedly attempting to sell itself after rejecting the former co-CEO's plan to open up its network to carriers . But for some reason it is not pursuing the creation of a lucrative category between smart phones and feature phones -- the super feature phone. Less than a smartphone, but far more than a feature phone What are you left with if you take a smartphone and remove the ability to install apps? It's far more functional than a feature phone, with built in apps for e-mail, Facebook, and a camera. But it's definitely not a smartphone like an iPhone or Android device. RIM's range of devices are fully capable, with integrated apps and cameras, but suffer from a paucity of apps other than an attempt to integrate Android apps. The key to the super feature phone is the ability to use cheap data plans in the $10-per-month range, rather than the more expensive full data plans required b