Friday, June 01, 2007

Apple Beware: Microsoft Awarded Web Phone Patent

Microsoft patents basic interface for Web phone ...

"Could Apple's iPhone be at the mercy of a patent just granted to Microsoft? Could be, judging by U.S. Patent 7,225,409, "Graphical User Interface For A Screen Telephone," which was awarded to Microsoft on Tuesday. More potential worries for Apple: The patent isn't just for a phone, but for the underlying software, and the patent document even includes a helpful flowchart.

According to its abstract, the Microsoft patent is GUI-centric. "A graphical user interface for a web telephone and other telephony devices provides a unique combination of display elements that provide information and enable the user to access functionality of the device," it reads. "The display elements include customizable screen areas called panes, an application program selection area, and call state area for displaying telephone line status information."

Here's a block diagram of the GUI, which was filed as part of the patent. (below)

As for the underlying software, it's described as follows: "A software platform of the user interface provides a set of default user interface features and exposes an application programming interface. System implementers may customize the default display elements or create entirely new custom panes that fit within a uniform user interface framework using the application programming interface."    (Continued via InformationWeek)    [Usability Resources]

Microsoft Web Phone - Usability, User Interface Design

Microsoft Web Phone

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