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Microsoft Wants to Distribute Software Socially and Virally

By - Source: USPTO | B 11 comments

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just published a patent application by Microsoft that may raise some eyebrows. "Like" an application, "recommend it" to a friend and you are in patent territory.

Microsoft says that the sheer number of applications makes it more and more difficult for software developers to reach the eyeballs they need to score downloads. A viral distribution method that is based on word of mouth to distribute software may be much more effective in the future, a patent application that was filed in November 2010 claims.

That may be rather common sense until that point, but Microsoft believes that such an idea that results in software downloads that can be traced back to social "likes" deserves to be awarded with a patent. The only noteworthy specific feature of the technology described in the patent application is a capability for a device to automatically find a version of a recommended app that runs on the device of the user - which would cut out the "inconvenience" for a user to search for that app.

From the patent application:

"In one embodiment, a first device receives information of an application from a second device through a short-range communication channel. The information of the application includes identification information of the application without any personally identifiable information. A version of the application that is compatible with the first device is determined by searching a catalog using the identification information of the application. The first device then may download or otherwise obtain the compatible version of the application."

Viral app/content distribution via "likes" would be difficult to patent for Microsoft in a social desktop environment as Facebook has established this technology several years ago. However, Microsoft's patent specifically targets mobile devices and applications stores. Conceivably, Microsoft may a good shot at winning the rights to this idea.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    zaznet , May 8, 2012 12:54 PM
    We used to call this Shareware...
  • 11 Hide
    spentshells , May 8, 2012 12:32 PM
    LOL Virally I really thought they were already doing that.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    spentshells , May 8, 2012 12:32 PM
    LOL Virally I really thought they were already doing that.
  • 0 Hide
    dameon51 , May 8, 2012 12:37 PM
    I guess I no longer "like" MS.
  • 8 Hide
    coolestcarl , May 8, 2012 12:37 PM
    Thank you congress for changing the established (and fairer) first to invent patent system to the first to file *sarcasm*.

    So if you ever invent something and do not have the money to patent it oh well Sucks for U! Gone are the days when an independent inventor can truly be rewarded for his/her work. Now corporations are going to have a mad rush of patent filing of everything they possibly can.

    Thank you elected representatives for screwing the common man.
  • 12 Hide
    zaznet , May 8, 2012 12:54 PM
    We used to call this Shareware...
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , May 8, 2012 2:04 PM
    OK to patent this may be stupid, but the idea is not
  • 6 Hide
    halcyon , May 8, 2012 2:09 PM
    Microsoft...you're really beginning to worry me.
  • 0 Hide
    alxianthelast , May 8, 2012 3:02 PM
    And here I was asking how they were going to deal with licensing and payments..
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , May 8, 2012 3:57 PM
    IT security professionals call this "phishing". Even if malware authors don't already have prior art, they will be certain to take advantage of it.
  • 0 Hide
    freggo , May 8, 2012 4:09 PM
    Patenting 'work of mouth'.Good one.

    Besides, if anyone can have/should have a patent on 'like' wouldn't that be Facebook?
    Didn't they come up withthe 'like' buzz word?

    Than again, 'recommend this site' has been around since the 2nd website was ever made and is the same as a 'like' under a different name.

    How about giving a 'thumbs up'...isn't that a 'like' in disguise ?

  • 2 Hide
    Parsian , May 8, 2012 8:11 PM
    Welcome to the century of patent douchebaggery and diminishing freedom.
  • 2 Hide
    Flameout , May 8, 2012 11:14 PM
    the ability to patent such a basic concept is ridiculous