12:27 PM

11.30.06: Google's Wi-Fi invest, patent obviousness, and oh yeah, Vista

Google is one of several bridge investors in Meraki Networks, a wireless mesh provider that Google has shown interest in regarding the San Francisco WiFi Project, Katie Fehrenbacher writes on GigaOm.

co-founder Sanjit Biswas Biswas wouldn’t specify the amount but said the round was under a million dollars. “We’d bootstrapped the company so far, so this cash is really just for growth/acceleration . . .and for the development of some products we plan to launch next year,” says Biswas. The company currently sells a $49 wireless 802.11b/g router (beta price) that allows users to build a wireless mesh network or extend the range of a municipal network.

Microsoft officially released Vista and Office 2007 to business customers. But after so much delay and build-up, the official launch of Vista is fairly anti-climactic, especially since it's still not available to consumers. Infoworld:

This is a big launch for them but for everyone else it's ho-hum," said James McQuivey, a professor for Boston University's College of Communication who specializes in marketing research and business management. "It's the biggest wait-and-see event of the week. Customers are going to wait and see when they need [Vista] and if they need it."

Paul Kedrosky points to the transcript of oral arguments (PDF) before the Supreme Court in closely watched patent case. The case has big ramifications for software because the Court may reject the current "obviousness" standard for awarding patents.

This is important stuff, and changes -- which look inevitable, based on justice comments this morning -- could have a wide-ranging impact across a range of companies in all sectors, from consumer products, to life sciences, to information technology. We had justices calling the curent Federal Circuit standard vague, gobbledy-gook, and generally un-useful to everyone except the lawyers being paid to lawyer the thing. Here is Justice Scalia pointing out how absurd the current non-obviousness standard remains, despite its supposed universality: "It is misleading to say that the whole world is embraced within these three nouns, teaching, suggestion, or motivation, and then you define teaching, suggestion, or motivation to mean anything that renders it nonobvious. This is gobbledygook. It really is, it's irrational."