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Lawsuit Against Google, Apple, Others Dropped

A patent lawsuit filed by Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen has been dismissed due to its vague nature. The lawsuit was filed earlier this year against the technology giants.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, who was ruling on the case, implied the case was a bit too sparse, and needed more specifics. He gave Allen until December 28 to refile the suit, which Allen said he intended to do. His team deemed the ruling, merely a “procedural issue.”

The lawsuit claims Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, eBay, Apple, Netflix, OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples all violated patents that Allen’s company – Interval Research (now out of business) – received in the 1990s.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that Microsoft developed the Bing search engine, and is heavily marketing the technology, they are not named in the suit.

Allen stated the patents cover “fundamental web technologies first developed at Interval Research in the 1990s, which the company believes are being infringed by major e-commerce and web search companies.”

My question with this lawsuit is, if Allen got the patents in the 90s, why is he just now – 20 years later – filing suits against the now major internet players? Companies like Facebook are fairly new to the game, but Google, AOL and Yahoo have been doing this for a long time, so why now?

Obviously I don’t have all the information here, but the little bit that is being released just seems fishy to me.

In Other Google and Apple News

The Google Latitude app is finally available on iOS platforms! The app was first announced way back in February of 2009, and hit some speed bumps after Apple’s App Store previously rejected it.

Now that it’s ready for you, here’s what you can get out of it:

* The ability to see on a Google map where your friends are, who’s closest, and who might be able to meet up on short notice.
* The ability to share your location. This lets you keep in touch on the go, even when you can’t update your status, text or answer your phone.
* Control privacy. Privacy is a big concern with an app like this, however it allows exclusivity and gives you ultimate control over who sees what when it comes to knowing where you are.

Google has had some trouble getting apps approved for Apple’s devices in the past. It took nearly as long for Google Voice to come to the Apple universe. Apple eventually said this was because the apps are too similar to ones already offered in the iOS bundles. They stated in a document released in September that apps that “look similar to apps bundled on the iPhone” wouldn’t make it to the App Store.

This is a completely free app offered by Google, and is now available through iTunes and the App Store.

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