Unless you’ve been hiding out under a rock for this past week, you must have seen something about the Yahoo/ Facebook debacle. Just to bring you up to speed, Yahoo is suing Facebook over alleged patent infringement. The short of it is: Yahoo patented social networking. Yes. You read that correctly, as ridiculous as it sounds. Trust me, it feels silly just writing it.
The reaction across tech blogs and social networking sites couldn’t be less divided. We’ve sided with Facebook, and everyone is looking at Yahoo with a mixture of pity and, in some cases, contempt. Randi Zuckerberg, ex marketing director of Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg’s big sis broadcast this particularly venomous tweet via her personal account: “This Yahoo stuff feels to me like the business equivalent of when celebs do “Dancing With The Stars” in a last-ditch effort to save a career.”
She later commented that she wanted to take this tweet back, since Dancing with the Stars is at least a good form of entertainment. (This tweet has since been removed, so I can’t be sure of the exact wording.)
Facebook is accused of infringing 10 patents held by Yahoo. Speculation seems to be that Yahoo is vying for an out of court settlement, which is perfect timing, since Facebook has a whopping pile on money lying around following the IPO.
What makes this case more interesting is that Facebook is not the only social networking site guilty of patent infringement. As reported by TechCrunch, other sites could be equally at risk of being Yahoo’s next victim.
Is this just a case of Yahoo refusing to go down without a fight? And will this mark the end of the company?