eBay Settles With Its Patent Troll
The parties are not disclosing the terms, but eBay says it is acquiring the patents in question, plus a license to another search-related patent portfolio not involved in the lawsuit. At one point, a federal jury had ordered eBay to pay MercExchange $25 million in damages.
eBay employees and alums will recognize this case as a persistent thorn in the side of the company over the past few years. I was always surprised that this didn’t get settled sooner, but then again I was even more surprised that the American patent system would permit something like this to exist in the first place.
Tim O’Reilly is on stage giving his great talk about technology paradigm shifts and emerging “new platforms” such as eBay and Google.
I’m not sure if I will be able to post photos from my mobile device, but I’ll give it a crack here in a sec.
I’ll be moblogging from New Orleans this week (I’m on the plane at the moment). Tomorrow is a rehearsal/prep day; the developer’s conference starts Wednesday, and eBay Live starts Thursday night.
I was up until 1AM last night resolving (sorta) the battles with Visual Studio I posted about yesterday. My final solution was to install Windows 2000 on a VMWare machine — this is, embarassingly, what I’ll be doing my demos with this week.
InternetNews.com ran a story today on eBay’s use of RSS that I originally wrote about the other day. (The reporter said he was an “avid reader” of my weblog — thanks for the coverage Ryan!)
eBay Live is on June 24-26 and the eBay/PayPal Developer Conference is June 23-24. We’ve been planning this for months but it’s just now starting to kick into high gear. I gave an aggressively virtual walk-through of my introductory eBay SDK talk yesterday which went well (although “aggressively virtual” in this case means I didn’t have time to do the accompanying Powerpoint deck I was supposed to do, oops). Fortunately I’ve given this talk in a number of forms a couple dozen times in the last year so it should be good even if I’m slightly undercaffeinated.
Yesterday in IMs I demanded that Scoble attend and he said he would try to make it. Let’s everyone lean on him a little bit to make sure it happens.
You’ll want to make your travel plans now if you plan on going.
For the (numerous) user group talks I’ve been doing in the past few months, I’ve spent most of my time with one demo that shows three common eBay API calls — GeteBayOfficialTime (the “hello world” of eBay programming), AddItem, and GetSearchResults. Several people have asked me to make this demo available, so
here you go:
Update: I finally got around to revising this to support the authentication system we rolled out last year — you can now find this example on our examples site.
Had a great time speaking in Redmond last night to the VB .NET user group on the Microsoft campus. Mister Robert Green, VB .NET evangelist extrordinaire, reminded me that my article on building an eBay search app using VB .NET is featured this week on the Visual Basic Developer Center. Cool!
I’m in the middle of writing another article that will cover programming to eBay’s product taxonomy, a topic which I touched on briefly in my talk last night but don’t have a great code demo for yet. The basic problem is this: how do you make a database of 20 million products browseable? The answer to date has been to create a hierarchical taxonomy of 30,000-45,000 nodes called product categories and assign each listing to one or two categories. This isn’t a great choice when what you’re looking for is a pair of tickets to see the Giants play on September 21 — there’s no September 21 category for Tickets, and the concept of “September 21″ would suck mightily as a keyword search, but you actually *can* ask eBay to show you all the baseball games slated to take place on September 21. The way that eBay does this and the way you can take advantage of this as a programmer will be the topic of my next oeuvre.
Had a great couple of days in the eBay Developers Program booth at VSLive this week. Most common comment we heard: “I didn’t even know eBay had a developer program.” (We’ll fix that.) My team is there today, so if you’re at the show, stop by the booth and say hi.
At the show I got confirmation from Verizon and Samsung that the SPH-i700 will indeed be upgradable to Windows Mobile 2003, woo hoo! They said that owners will be able to take the PDA phones in to a Verizon store to get the upgrade.
I’m moblogging this from the airport; I’m off for a few days of baseball spring training in Arizona.
Quickbooks released a sample application for sellers to make it easy to import information about their eBay transactions into QuickBooks.
An interview we did with Application Development Trends magazine on the eBay Developers Program ran today.