09:15 AM

Stanford Summit: An energized McCain; MSFT loves startups; software patents for VCs . . .

I'm at the Stanford Summit for much of this week:

. . . I ran into Dan'l Lewin MSFT VP of emerging businesses and his sidekick, Doug Free. This dynamic duo is the face of MSFT around here, and also the eyes and ears for MSFT as to what is going on in Silicon Valley. Mr Lewin tells me he has been traveling all around the world recently, India, China and also Brazil. The goal is to involve startups in the MSFT platform. I have an interview with Mr Lewin lined up for Thursday.

. . . John McCain was surprisingly good in his keynote address. Admittedly, expectations had been set very low. Tony Perkins seemed starstruck, sitting on stage next to Senator McCain, watching him being interviewed. Can Senator McCain pull out of his dive? He could.

. . . The panel on software patents was interesting. IBM said it is a big supporter of the peer-reviewed software patent process. And also said that the software patent process needs to be reformed, adding more patent examiners is not the answer.

. . . There was much discussion about the poor quality of software patents. I had just had an interesting chat with a software patent lawyer who said: "Often when a startup gets funding, they come to us and ask us to find five software patents among what they have so that they can keep their VC investors happy. We look through their technology and try to find what can be patented, they are paying us for five patents."