Indistinguishable from evil

Rockstar vs. Google: How the patent trolling we hate taints the companies we love

I like to riff on Arthur C. Clarke by saying any company, sufficiently large, is indistinguishable from evil. I've used it before when referring to Google's disrespect for copyrights, flip-flop on net neutrality, disregard for privacy, and, through their Motorola subsidiary, horrendous violation of the very spirit of standards-essential patents. And I'm using it again now to describe the actions of the Rockstar consortium - the entity that purchased Nortel and Novell patents, bankrolled by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, and others. They've sued Google over search-related patents, which is an attack against the heart of Google's business. It's patent trolling, which is a revolting practice.

Motorola's actions don't excuse Rockstar's, nor vice versa. Nor is either illegal. They are, simply, one front among many in a vast, international war. And, it's nothing new. It's a reminder of how venomously these companies take their current competition, and how much they value winning. At any cost.

It's also an important reminder that we, as consumers, should never be loyal to the companies we purchase from. They should be loyal to us. Every decision we make should be a decision anew, based on the conditions of the moment, and only on who is best serving our needs, and the needs of our society at the time.

Here's some further reading on Rockstar vs. Google. I recommend all of it: