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Microsoft Sued Over Patent For 'Tiles' In Windows 8

     
5:35 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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What I don't quite understand is why this wasn't done prior to launch. But then, IANAL.

Microsoft is already facing lawsuits related to the just-launched Windows, with an operating system technology designer accusing Microsoft of ripping of its patent for "tiles."

SurfCast, in a complaint filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in Maine, said Microsoft infringes one of its four patents -- No. 6,724,403 -- by "making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products" covered by SurfCast's patent. That includes mobile devices using the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems as well as PCs using Windows 8/RT. Microsoft Sued Over Patent For 'Tiles' In Windows 8 [news.cnet.com]
5:57 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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What I don't quite understand is why this wasn't done prior to launch.

Would they not be able to gouge more money out of MS post launch? But then again, like you, IANAL.
6:22 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The patent describes a tiled UI for organizing simultaneous sources of information.

This same idea was called Windows 1.0 back in 1985.
6:30 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

May be I'm looking at it too simplistically but to me the 'tiles' are just another way of displaying desktop icons, whether it's a folder or an app/executable. I guess Surfcast's main issue may be with the snippets of info that are displayed and dynamically updated within the tiles.

Still seems pretty flaky to me - the lawsuit not the design ;-)

<edit>clarification</edit>
6:38 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It's unfortunate that stuff like this can be patented in the first place.
6:39 am on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Apparently the patent called for an integration of hardware and software. Microsoft didn't make hardware that qualified until the Surface.
5:27 pm on Nov 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Surfcast's description (as quoted) sounds a lot like various widget frameworks every significant OS/desktop environment has had (available in not built in) for years.

They may have combined it with tiling, which has also been available for years.

An obvious combination of existing ideas.