I think people are starting to go patent crazy and the latest move by Microsoft is just proof of that. CNet was able to scrounge up some patent information that shows how Microsoft is trying to patent the use of feed readers!?! This patent covers:
1. A computer-implemented method comprising: presenting a user interface having a subscription control to enable a user to subscribe to a feed; receiving, via the user interface, a user selection of the subscription control; and responsive to receiving the user’s selection, initiating a feed subscription process.
8. A computer-implemented method comprising: storing a list associated with feeds that are offered by one or more web sites; maintaining state information associated with the list; ascertaining, from the list, whether a web site has any new feeds; and providing user-perceptible indicia to distinguish any new feeds.
15. A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving a user selection in a reader to launch a web browser to view an item in a feed; launching a web browser; making the item available for viewing using the web browser; and using the web browser to make other feed-associated items available for viewing, without requiring the user to return to the reader to make subsequence item selections.
Now I understand that there can be a lot of value in a patent, but feed readers have been around for ages and Microsoft didn’t submit this patent until June 2005. There might be some underlying information that I don’t completely understand but it sure looks like this isn’t headed in a good direction. Dave Winer, a self-described co-inventor of RSS, said “Presumably they’re eventually going to charge us to use it. This should be denounced by everyone who has contributed anything to the success of RSS.“
So you better hold on to your underwear, because you never know who will be coming after that!