Tech industry hates on Yahoo for Facebook lawsuit

Tech industry hates on Yahoo for Facebook lawsuit

Summary: Yahoo this week filed a lawsuit against Facebook over 10 of its patents. The technology industry is up in arms: most are not so much with Facebook, but they are definitely against Yahoo.


Last month, Yahoo threatened Facebook with patent war. On Monday, the online giant sued the social networking giant over 10 patents. This week, the technology industry didn't hold back and criticized Yahoo till no end.

Venture capitalist Fred Wilson called the lawsuit a "crock of s***" in a post titled "Yahoo! Crosses The Line." It's not such much that he's on Facebook's side, but he's definitely not on Yahoo's side:

I am not writing this in defense of Facebook. They can and will defend themselves. I am wrting this in outrage at Yahoo! I used to care about that company for some reason. No more. They are dead to me. Dead and gone. I hate them now.

Ex-Yahoo employee Andy Baio wrote an article post by Wired titled "A Patent Lie: How Yahoo Weaponized My Work." Soon after Yahoo acquired his company in 2005, it asked him to file patents on his software. Baio says Yahoo assured him the patents would only be used defensively but now he realizes Yahoo was essentially "weaponizing" his and other people's work:

Yahoo's lawsuit against Facebook is an insult to the talented engineers who filed patents with the understanding they wouldn't be used for evil. Betraying that trust won’t be forgotten, but I doubt it matters anymore. Nobody I know wants to work for a company like that.

In a post titled "I Hope Yahoo Crushes Facebook in its Patent Suit," investor Mark Cuban actually says he wishes Yahoo will win, but not because the company is correct. He argues a massive verdict against Facebook will result in a reform of U.S. patent law:

Rather than originating in Congress, its going to take a consumer uprising to cause change. What better way to create a consumer uprising than to financially cripple and possibly put out of business the largest social network on the planet ?

If Yahoo were to be awarded 50 Billion Dollars from Facebook, I think consumers may take notice. And don’t think that 50B should be an impossibility.

Oh, and if that wasn't enough for you, take a look at what Yammer announced this week. First, Yammer CEO David Sacks tweeted that he won't hire anyone from Yahoo that doesn't quit in the next two months. Then he followed up with a monetary incentive:

I'm declaring it: Yammer will never hire another former Yahoo employee who doesn't leave in the next 60 days. Who will join me? #stopyahoo I'm pleased to announce a $25,000 signing bonus for any Yahoo employee who joins Yammer in the next 60 days.

Some say Facebook should just buy Yahoo. Others think Microsoft should come to Facebook's rescue. A recent rumor, however, points to Facebook fighting back by itself.

See also:

Topics: Legal, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • Why?? If they own something that someone else stole ...

    ... then they need to sue. If you have a patent, you have to defend it .... even if it is a BS patent.
    • I am afraid I have to agree

      As much as I hate the ridiculous patent wars, if you do not use the system to your advantage, others will, and they will eat you alive. To not be "for" Facebook, but be "against" Yahoo, is about as mindless and hypocritical as it gets. Yahoo either has valid rights or it doesn't. Let the courts decide. Then do a massive overhaul of the patent laws. It is LONG overdue.
    • Is it not disturbing that

      Yahoo asked that Andy Baio patent his software in good faith, only to have lied to him the whole time? Technically, Yahoo owns the patents, yet it sounds as thought they had tricked Andy Baio and his developers out of them.

      Had Microsoft or Apple done the same, would you stand by their rights to defend them?

      As for Mark Cuban, he is one that can not be trusted himself, so I would no back his views, either.
      Tim Cook
  • Anyone who thinks their patents would be used only defensively is pretty

    naive not to get it in writing. Im no fan of yahoo or yang but for one management changes and secondly management actually has a feduciary duty to the share holders to monetize the work paid for. The courts will decide if facebook ripped off yahoos ideas. No settlement will cripple facebook. As for calling the lawsuit a crock of s**t, I think its pretty premature to conclude that.
    Johnny Vegas