Well then, one way or another – at least for the foreseeable future – it looks like we have confirmation that we won’t all be using Flash as our dominant way of designing for the web. Via 2lmc, I’ve been directed to Zeldman’s commentary on the Eolas vs. Microsoft patent battle over web plugins. In a nutshell, Microsoft has lost their first attempt to challenge the ruling, and are starting work on removing certain plug-in-related functionality from Internet Explorer. As a result every site using Flash or Java plug-ins across the web is likely to have to rebuild aspects of their site.
So what about all of those companies that have built sites using Flash in good faith? Who do they get to take to court? Could they sue Microsoft? I’m imagining they won’t have that opportunity. It seems to me that means thousands of companies spending millions of dollars in rebuilding and future-proofing and an internet that’s less accessible and useful than it was before. I just wish I had a better sense of whose fault it was? Is it Microsoft for breaking the rules, Eolas for pushing their patent or the patent system itself?