FORMER CEO of Sun, Jonathan Schwartz has been telling the world plus dog how he told Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to stuff it when they threatened the company with patent lawsuits.
Writing in his blog, Schwartz said that he had a phone chat with Steve Jobs, who tried to claim he invented some of the graphical effects in the prototype Linux desktop called Project Looking Glass.
Jobs said that the graphical effects were "stepping all over Apple's IP" and if Sun commercialized it he would sue.
Schwartz pointed out that he'd attended Jobs' last rally and noticed that Apple's Keynote was the spitting image of Concurrence. Concurrence was a presentation product built by Lighthouse Design, a company Schwartz had helped to found and which Sun acquired in 1996.
Lighthouse also built applications for Nextstep, the Unix based operating system whose core would become the foundation for all Mac products after Apple acquired Next in 1996.
In other words, Jobs had been using Concurrence for so long he thought he had invented it. When Apple built its own presentation tool, it was obvious where it had found inspiration.
Schwartz added that if Steve wanted to go around claiming he invented everything then he might like to look at Apple's Mac OS, which was built on Unix, and said that Sun had a few OS patents in that area. Jobs didn't say anything further.
Schwartz also faced down Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They'd flown in over a weekend to meet with Sun's then CEO Scott McNealy, apparently.
Gates claimed right off that Microsoft "owned the office productivity market" and Openoffice needed to pay the Vole lots of cash in royalties.
Bill told Schwartz that he was happy to "get you under license" so Sun would have to pay Microsoft for every download of Openoffice.
However Schwartz was apparently ready for this and pointed out that .NET was clearly trampling all over a lot of Java patents.
He replied, "So, what will you pay us for every copy of Windows?" It became a very short meeting after that.
Schwartz mentions that patents are needed for both offensive and defensive purposes. "Sun had a treasure trove of some of the Internet's most valuable patents - ranging from search to microelectronics - so no one in the technology industry could come after us without fearing an expensive counter assault. And there's no defence like an obvious offense," he said. µ
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