@lin, maybe that's getting to be a drawback. Customers don't like to hear about patents, because it may mean the startup is apt to sue or get sued in the future, leading to its disappearance. Who wants that when you're looking to buy IT products? You want endless support.
@Mary - About a month ago, Gil Elbaz of Factual was on IE Radio. It was interesting to me that Factual didn't have any patent applications, even though Gil Elbaz was an inventor on a lot of patents while with Google. I think very fast and nimble software companies may be eschewing the whole patent process.
@Lin: Again, I can't speak for Boris, obviously. But he seemed to like a comparison I made. In the 1980s, a small Canadian company called Madge Networks developed a local area network technology called token ring. It was based on some other theories etc. But one guy sued the startup, claiming to own the technologh. Founder Robert Madge stood his ground. As a result, token ring became widespread and was adopted by all the big IT firms.
IOW, someone who signed up for a GroupOn for a restuarant today isn';t likely to return to that restaurant tomorrow (which is why the restaurant invested in the Groupon). The consumer will isntead go to anotehr restaurant offering another groupon another day.
Also, Groupon's business customers eventually realized they weren't winning loyal customers of their own by offering Groupons. Groupon was acquiring a massive base of consumers who went from one Groupon to another.
Kim, Amazon and Netflix are both examples of businesses that did something anyone could do, but succeeded by doing it better than anyone else. And GroupOn was doing what they did better than anyone else. The problem is they didn't make money off it.
Kim, I don't know if GroupOn's problem was copyright. They couldn't monetize. That's an old problem on the Internet -- to the point where someone who adopts the centuries-old business model of selling something people want for less than it costs to produce suddenly starts looking like a breathtaking innovator.
@Boris: You said traction trumps IP. Traction is a real challenge, though, isn't it? I'm thinking of GroupOn, which seemed to have good traction in the deals market, but because it couldn't copyright what it was doing, soon faced plenty of competition.
Google CIO yesterday said his strategy was to give employees enterprise devices they really wanted to use. When an employee likes his work device more than his leisure device, more work gets done, of course. But Google's rich.
The whole Amazon.reader debate is a double-stupid. It's stupid to think that there's any e-book buyer who doesn't know Amazon's URL, and it was stupider to let ICANN launch the whole free-form TLD initiative to start with.
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