Blog vs blog: the Sun/NetApp saga

Does it really matter what two executives say on their blogs?

Ashlee Vance of The Register has a great piece on the ongoing patent feud between Sun and NetApp over Sun's/NetApp's ZFS technology. In this war of words, Sun's Schwartz gets to take the moral high ground:

The simple reality that [NetApp founder Dave] Hitz needs to face here is that Schwartz, who is very talented in the art of rhetoric (sometimes to a fault), has more persuasive material to work with in the court of public opinion. No matter how hard it tries, NetApp comes off as a seller of high-priced storage gear doing everything it can to keep selling high-priced gear in the face of a disruptive technology....

Hitz has gain and so much more to lose from a public relations standpoint. NetApp may in fact have the stronger legal claims, but it will take years to hash that out in a backwoods court. In the meantime, Hitz must talk about NetApp not going out of business, not firing its employees, not scaring off customers and not being a patent troll.

Why be a slave to the "Participation Age" when it's damaging to your company?

Indeed. In the online world, those who can "code" (i.e., write) have the upper hand. Dave is an interesting writer, but it's as if the only words he's being allowed to use are "give" "me" "more" "money." You can rearrange those in quite a few ways, but none of which are terribly thought-provoking.

It's probably time to let the lawyers do their job so that we can have an answer to this mess in a few decades. In the meantime, Jonathan Schwartz is winning the PR battle.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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