Thursday, February 01, 2007

Now We Love Blackboard - NOT

Being ever so magnanimous, Blackboard has taken a shot at erasing some of the incredible badwill that they have generated over their B.S. patent and subsequent lawsuit for infringement against D2L.

snakesonablackboardI've used this graphic before, but it feels like the time to bring it back again. This feels very snakey and snarky to me. The BLACKBOARD PATENT PLEDGE was released by the company on 2/1/07.

"In summary, the Blackboard Patent Pledge is a promise by the company to never assert its issued or pending course management system software patents against open source software or home-grown course management systems. The Blackboard Pledge is legally binding, irrevocable and worldwide in scope." Yeah, right. Of course I believe them.

"Blackboard is also extending its pledge to many specifically identified open source initiatives within the course management system space whether or not they may include proprietary elements within their applications, such as Sakai, Moodle, ATutor, Elgg and Bodington." Clearly this is in direct reference to the SFLC filing. Basically they are saying: "Don't take away our bogus patent, we'll only use it as a weapon against hose who have deep enough pockets to pay us something significant."

Is this better than nothng? Sure, a little. Should this pacify the education community? Absolutely not.


Leonard said...

While it's a step in the right direction for Blackboard, I'm pretty sure the only reason they've even made this token gesture is because they're on the back foot now, with a re-examination of the patent in the works. Their aggressive stance of wielding their patent to the (most profitable and anti-competitive) extent possible has not changed.

For me, and others I've talked with, Blackboard are fast running out of time before there's *nothing* they can do to win back our goodwill. If it comes to the patent being forcibly wrested off them through re-examination, I'll forever regard Blackboard as being a selfish bully who are out only for themselves, and uninterested in a partnership with the educational community at large.

Barry Dahl said...

Hello Leonard,
Thanks for stumbling across my blog and leaving the comment. You're right on all counts .. token gesture, can't win back the goodwill, selfish bully, and not a partner of the educational community. That pretty much sums it up.
It's 5 below zero here, wish I was down under like you are. Take care, Barry

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice post!