Tim O'reilly weighs in
March 3, 2000 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Tim O'reilly weighs in on Amazon.com's patent on one-click shopping and the movement to boycott Amazon.
posted by Mick (5 comments total)
I thought that the patents were a joke at first, but then they actually used it to sue Barnes and Noble. The article referenced in the main post is one of the most balanced takes I've seen on this. Personally I think Amazon has seriously crossed the line. Their patent is analogous to me patenting and cool use of the table tag.

I like this site's approach to the boycott. For me Amazon was always a really cool company with great service. But now they've gone and peed in the pool. I'm backing the boycott. I was recently looking for some books about Ireland that I couldn't find at Amazon and was able to find them other places without to much trouble.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:04 PM on March 3, 2000

Tim O'Reilly has posted an update, after he had a chat with Bezos.
posted by mathowie at 9:09 PM on March 3, 2000

Well, now that I've heard Bezos' side, I'm even more for the boycott. He seems to be saying that the best way to handle competition is to sue people.

He also implies that the only reason they patented 1-click was so they could sue B&N. Well, don't they have to enforce it uniformly? Don't they have to sue me if I use a cookie and a database to give people one click access to things? Have you read the patent? It sure sounds broad. Not like what Bezos is talking about. What I hear is, "We're the good guys. We only sue people who try to keep us from taking over the world."
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:07 PM on March 3, 2000

I think what Bezos was saying about the "sue B&N but not developers" is kind of the way that Oracle does their pricing.

They only charge big bucks to the people that can afford it. If you're a university student, you can pretty much get a copy of Oracle 8i for free, but if you're Amazon or eBay running multi-processor boxes with large Oracle db's, they charge in the hundreds of thousands in annual licensing fees.

So, I guess no one needs to worry about getting sued by Amazon unless your success is going to threaten their business.
posted by mathowie at 10:10 PM on March 3, 2000

What a relief. I mean, their long term goal is to be the retailer of choice for just about everything you can buy, so if you sell anything (why else would you want to offer one click shopping or an affiliate program), you'll eventually going to compete with them. If you compete with them, then theoretically you're a threat to their business.

I can understand Bezos' fear of the big traditional retail companies, and I can understand his anger at companies like B&N just copying things Amazon.com does on their site.

I just don't think that the things that have been patented so far are so innovative that Amazon.com deserves a monopoly on them for the next 21 years.
posted by rafeco at 11:29 AM on March 4, 2000

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