The competition between Apple (News - Alert) and Microsoft for digital supremacy wages on, and with the recent release of the Surface tablet, it’s one that is hard to ignore. Microsoft purchased Skype (News - Alert) last year, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) form of communication, for 8.5 billion dollars, taking Microsoft onto a completely different path Apple isn’t traveling.
This is not to say, however, that the VoIP path is a smooth one for Microsoft (News - Alert). Even without having to out-innovate its traditional rival, Apple, it has still found itself embroiled in another ugly battle. The new predator is a small, almost unknown company from California called VoIP-Pal.
VoIP-Pal took over the company Digifonica Gibraltar a few months ago, giving VoIP-Pal control of all the patents previously owned by Digifonica.
Microsoft filed for a patent in December of 2009 called Legal Intercept, meant for monitoring and recording VoIP communications. This is a way for the government and law enforcement agencies to legally wiretap communications on Voice over Internet Protocol communications.
VoIP-Pal is now pointing out that Digifonica had filed for a comparable wiretapping patent in 2007, to which it now owns the rights. The patent in question was named Lawful Intercept by Digifonica, and was designed to be used for government agencies to intercept VoIP and other data communications – very similar to what Microsoft filed.
The president of VoIP-Pal, Dennis Chang, stated when the similarities of the two patents were discussed, there are “substantial similarities.” Describing the patent his company holds, he said, “Federal law enforcement agencies have expressed frustration in trying to track and record criminal and terrorist internet conversations. Our Lawful Intercept technology would allow government agencies to 'silently record' VOIP communications.”
In spite of the problems that Microsoft is having with VoIP-Pal, Apple president Steve Wozniack has expressed his concern that Microsoft has become more advanced than Apple. If Microsoft loses its battle with VoIP-Pal, recent statements from Wozniack lead to the belief that it may still win the much bigger war.
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Edited by Braden Becker