The bile against Yahoo’s decision to sue Facebook does not seem to be letting up with the freshest onslaught coming from Yammer. The corporate social network has joined the tech community in condemning and criticizing Yahoo for patent trolling, something that many feel is the reserve for small companies after a quick buck.
CEO David Sacks has gone a step further by offering any Yahoo employee who leaves the embattled company. “If established companies like Yahoo decide that patent trolling is a legitimate form of business, it will destroy Silicon Valley,” Sacks said. “The only check on their behavior is community outrage.”
Yahoo is suing Facebook over a number of patents Yahoo claims Facebook is infringing upon with its social network. Some of the patent claims are so ambiguous and far-reaching that they could affect simple web-standard functions such as news feeds or profile building.
Yahoo has been involved in a difficult stretch where it has lost a huge chunk of its significance with an onslaught from existing players as well as startup companies. It had tried to raise funds from selling its stake in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan but these failed to materialize with many pointing to shotgun tendencies from Yahoo.
In fact, Alibaba is currently in the process of buying back its shares from the public as it tries to reinvent itself. It’s not clear whether this will mean anything to Yahoo’s current woes.
Yahoo was involved in a similar patent suit against Google when the search engine was just preparing for its IPO where Google was forced to part with $200 million worth of stock in an out-of-court settlement.
This seems to be a recurring trend from yahoo and as Yammer CEO Sacks said, patent trolling seems to be becoming a business model but one that is not welcome if innovation is to continue unabated.