In the grand saga that is the Patent Wars: Another Invention, young start-up Facebook has acquired knowledge from the old Master, IBM who was in the Chip wars in 1960. While limited, the knowledge acquired may help the young apprentice launch a series of patent lawsuits of its own, marking its territory and ensuring it won’t be infringed. Thus the galaxy was saved, and young Facebook enthralled many fine maidens later that day.
In all honesty though, it’s in the news that Facebook recently bought up 569 patents from IBM. While most aren’t going to affect you, it’s interesting to note that they concern networking technologies that IBM has held for a long time. Also part of the deal are patents concerning specific parts of software, and the first 56 have already been awarded.
Why on earth would they do this? I’m going to speculate a bit here, but Facebook’s custom HTC Cha-Cha had a fairly good uptake when the phone was available on MTN for as low as R50 per month. Access via mobiles and internet café’s has allowed Facebook to transform into a uquibitious social network – just over a billion people use it worldwide and 4.5Million of those in South Africa, which means that its almost a given that anyone you meet will have a profile there.
Buying up patents to network technologies and software, however, means that the company may be planning its own range of netbook/notebook devices with instant Facebook access and integration. And why not? Steven Elop muses that the internet and mobile space today has no longer become a hardware battle, but a fight between ecosystems for mind and market share. Google’s Chromebooks feature a special Linux variant that exclusively uses Google Apps, Google + and a host of other things that Google offers to users. Having it all on one device for someone who uses their services exclusively or more frequently may benefit both the user and Google in the long run – and perhaps its time for Facebook to capitalise on this as well.
Source: Tom’s Hardware