Bill Gates has never been one to shy away from a fight. But it is still eye-opening to read just how abrasive he can be.
Jay Walker, founder of Priceline.com, the celebrated internet business that lets buyers name their price for goods, has recently filed a law suit accusing Microsoft of patent infringement. According to Walker, in a face-to-face meeting Gates told him he had no intention of letting Priceline's patents stand in his way and added that if Walker was unhappy about that he could 'get in line' with all the other companies trying to sue Microsoft. No wonder Walker is smarting.
Microsoft tends to get tarred as the big bully but in this case the public should be cheering for Gates. Priceline.com's patent does not cover a particular technology, but a whole way of doing business over the internet - any web site that allows people to name a price for a service is covered.