Posted by : Randy Cooper in (CDN)

Akamai – The elephant in the living room

As Akamai continues it’s legal onslaught (Read Dan Rayburn’s article Latest Update On Akamai/Limelight Patent Suit and Potential Limelight Sale to get up to speed on the latest) and another victim falls to a patent suit, one has to wonder what the heck is going on out there in CDN land.

It seems that Akamai, for all of it’s supposed glory, is running rampant and like it or not, it’s winning. Pardon me, I always root for the underdog. Because normally that’s where innovation comes from.

Check this out:
The suit asserted that Limelight was infringing on Akamai’s patent which, upon examination, seems to be somewhat on the obvious side. ‘In accordance with the invention, however, a base HTML document portion of a Web page is served from the Content Provider’s site while one or more embedded objects for the page are served from the hosting servers, preferably, those hosting servers near the client machine. By serving the base HTML document from the Content Provider’s site, the Content Provider maintains control over the content.’
(from Slashdot http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/02/1831240&from=rss )

Now this basically could describe almost any CDN regardless of the technology employed. IMHO, it’s a real shame that such a patent was granted on this but, then again, I guess it’d be different if I were the owner and got to throw my weight around. Let’s just say though that Akamai was the only game in town (no boys and girls, that’s NOT really true, ok?) where does that leave innovators who want want to approach things differently? What if you were an employee who had a different vision but your way lost out in some conference room one day?

Personally, I think this is putting a patent on a search engine that says “provide searchable list of other websites”. This definition is too broad, lacking in sufficient detail of the technology, and is overall bad for business and the future of the internet.

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