Cringely: Siri may infringe old Excite patents

“I was watching this Bloomberg video the other day featuring Shawn Carolan, the venture capitalist who backed the Siri electronic personal assistant startup then sold it to Apple,” Bob Cringely blogs for I, Cringely. “His was the closest I’d heard to a technical explanation of how Siri works and it surprised me because it sounded a lot like technology I remembered from years ago at Excite, the long-defunct search engine.”
Cringely writes, “All this technology was patented — patents owned today by Excite@Home’s creditors, which surprised me given that the original inventor, Graham Spencer, now works at Google. Those old Excite patents, while nearing the end of their lives, could turn out to be very valuable to, say, a Google trying to compete with Siri on Android or even to an Apple trying to defend Siri from competitors.”

Cringely opines, “I expect we’ll see those patents change hands sometime soon.”


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