Microsoft has lost its initial defence against Eolas and the potential outcome could send us back to the technology of 1995. Microsoft still has some post-trial options before the final judgement later in the fall.
In a rare turn of events, the web community is actually hoping Microsoft can pull this one out. Eolas owns the patent to what are referred to as “plug-ins” to give added functionality to the Internet Explorer browser. These plug-ins allow web pages to embed enhanced objects, such as video, java applets or even Macromedia’s popular Flash animations.
If the lawsuit suceeds, Microsoft may be forced to remove this functionality from IE, and you can bet that the Opera, Netscape, Firebird and Safari browsers will quickly follow suit. Web pages around the world will be thrust into the dark ages.
On the other hand, Microsoft could pay a licence fee to Eolas. In this case, the worlds’ web pages will not change, since they still work in the popular IE browser, but the alternative browsers (especially the open source ones) will not be able to afford this licence fee, and they will disappear. Suddenly Microsoft regains its monopoly in the browser market, and all it had to do is lose a lawsuit.
Let’s hope Bill doesn’t figure out that math.