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Fishing for Ideas 235

FyreWyr writes "Whether Microsoft is searching for new ideas, or supporting inventors outright is up for grabs, but they're stabbing at it with $300,000 for 12 spanking ideas (that's $25k each). But as with everything Microsoft, the devil's in the details, or rather, the fine print. At first, you'd swear it was "Brought to you by VISA" - the logo is ubiquitous - but the very last statement in the contest rules reads: "The sponsor...is Microsoft ... VISA...have not sponsored or offered this contest in any way". They also retain a spectrum of rights, and responsibily suggest that you go out and patent really good ideas first. Okay, how much does that cost again? (see end of this article)."
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Fishing for Ideas

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  • by jesco ( 598308 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:57PM (#5674942)
    At least MS is honest and tells you to go and patent your idea, or they'll steal it from you. An honest thief, one could say... ;)
    • What do you mean, Microsoft "not being honest," that's impossible. They are always letting people keep there ideas. They have always "embraced and extended" everyone's good ideas. More seriously though, anyone should patent an idea or it will be lost to some big business, M$ or not, someone will steal it.
    • patent your idea, or they'll steal it from you.

      Not so sure about that... The assignment in the legal section could be taken to mean that you're also assigning any patent rights to them as well (along with the explicitly mentioned copyright). If I was being truly paranoid (and submitting anyways), I'd be inclined to have one person patent the idea, and another submit it to Microsoft -- that way they couldn't claim that you assigned them something you don't own.

    • by Dukeofshadows ( 607689 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:35PM (#5675144) Journal
      It seems a far cry from the days of Q-DOS in 1981 when Gates and Co were trying to sell an operating system they didn't technically own at the time to IBM. They were a much more nimble company in those days and had plenty of ideas and developments to go scour and steal. Lately, however, the Standard Oil of the Computer industry is encounrtering the same problems as its turn-of-the-previous century counterpart: government is on its back, the "innovation" that got it where it is seems to have disappeared (Rockefeller consolidating oil pipelines and refineries together), and the public at large is disgruntled but left with few alternatives.

      Microsoft is not run by idiots. They realize that if they are to compete against systems like Linux they need to innovate before Linux develops a truly AOL level interface that even Joe Schmoe can use...for free. Bad press and a worse reputation have finally gotten their attention, so their asking for ideas to investigate. It would seem that their age range (based on the prize offered) is 16-25, just the right age when people are thinking way outside the box and are not limited by knowledge of what should not be possible. These (maverick?) thinkers tend to give the most innovative ideas but also the ones that need the most work to come to fruition. If Microsoft can cull this source of innovation while reaping the profits from it, they could set themselves up as a potential warehouse for new tech ideas. A wiser plan would have been to offer 5-10% of all profits made from the idea in addition to the $25k since that would get more cynical programmers and worldly people interested, but the young and nieve seem to be the most easily exploited by definition. I have to wonder if this is not a sign of desperation by the Microsoft management though since they did drag in these same sorts of innovative thinkers by the truckload even 3 years ago. Even now they tend to snap up the best of the best offered by MIT and other major tech schools, but why would they need this sort of competition when they already have the best minds? Do those folks just have really good grades but an inability to think outside the box? Again, I have to wonder if this is not desperation for truly radical ideas as much as a desire to see what talent is out there.
    • Videos must be a minimum of 10 seconds and a maximum of 60 seconds in length, and must be in one of the following formats: VHS, miniDV, or CD (MPEG, WMW, AVI, REAL, or QuickTtime).

      Photos: Digital photos must be in .jpg format, must consist of a minimum of 240x180 and maximum of 480x360 pixels, and have a maximum file size of 60K.

      Anybody else thinking about the same thing that I am thinking about? Write a credible essay. Then attach an incredible picture of your... you know what I mean.

  • by ShishCoBob ( 516335 ) <shishcobob&shishcobob,com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:58PM (#5674949) Homepage
    How about security for Microsoft? Now there is an idea.
    • Re:For Microsoft (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Xenographic ( 557057 )
      That would take a wee bit more than $25K (or even $300K...) :]
      • It's 25k for just pointing them into the right direction.
        I say, if they pay for an idea, there is a chance they will take it seriously this time...
        • For 25k? If I were in control of giving money out at Microsoft I could probably drop a couple times that per day on paying people for their ideas and nobody would notice.

          I don't think Microsoft starts taking ideas seriously until they start nearing the couple-of-mil mark.
    • How about security for Microsoft?

      I'm sorry but the patent office does not allow patents on perpetual motion machines and other absurdities

  • Great plan! (Score:4, Funny)

    by cliffy2000 ( 185461 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:58PM (#5674951) Journal
    Step 1: Give idea to Microsoft.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:59PM (#5674955)
    a Linux CD and a BSD CD.

    Will I get the 25g's? :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:59PM (#5674958)
    Software with frickin' laser beams on its head
  • by kd5lsx ( 642777 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @05:59PM (#5674959)
    Write decent software!

    • They should GPL their software and quit ramming this intellectual property garbage down everyones throat.
      • by GigsVT ( 208848 )
        MS didn't invent IP, they only abuse it. You should turn your wrath on your legislator and tell them what needs to be fixed. (i.e. software patents)
        • MS didn't invent IP, they only abuse it. You should turn your wrath on your legislator and tell them what needs to be fixed.

          I think we have about as likely a chance of that working as microsoft going GPL. At least this way, challenging the IP belief directly offers a chance to get the problem at the root.

      • Exactly. Those fucking ungrateful developers need to realize that I've spent years of my life trolling this discussion site about how awful their software is and I demand SOME comepensation. The code to the software that they have produced (which sucks ass, by the way) would be nice. Dumbass.
  • Development costs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:00PM (#5674965) Homepage
    I think MS is being quite clever here (can't believe I just wrote that). The way I'm seeing it is that they are basically doing product development on 12 new products for $300,000. If you actually look at the amount of time/development that goes on in big coporation you will find that 90% of the things reasearched never come to fruition. Going from what MS is offering is that if they can just get one of these ideas of the ground then they might have a killer product for very little investment.

    As for the rules well that is another discussion totally

    • You might want to RTFA. The examples listed aren't pitching ideas for new products or businesses (at least, none of the ones I saw did, including the examples).

      Rather, they were for things like 'fund me so build an orphanage in Guatemala' and 'help me recreate my grandfather's immigration to America so I can understand my roots'.

      Of course, using it as venture capital for some new product you have in mind might win, too, but from what I gather, the point of it is not (necessarily) to get new product ideas
      • You might want to RTFA. The examples listed aren't pitching ideas for new products or businesses (at least, none of the ones I saw did, including the examples).

        Rather, they were for things like 'fund me so build an orphanage in Guatemala' and 'help me recreate

        ah, but there is an entrepenuerial (sp?) section. they will disregard the non-business stuff. i would go so far as to suggest the good-for-society ideas are planted to make the site look innocuous.

    • Re:Development costs (Score:3, Informative)

      by unicron ( 20286 )
      It's not "think up some software ideas". If you look at the video, that guy wants to go to sicily. Did you even follow the links? All he has to do is sell himself. I mean maybe if they came up with "MS FLIGHT SIM TO SICILY" but I doubt it.
    • I see, so that explains it. Security in Windows must be part of that 90% that doesn't make it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:04PM (#5674988)
    Somebody wrote "Patent your idea or Microsoft will steal it." Actually NOTHING will stop Microsoft from "stealing" it, not even a patent. Microsoft recommends a patent so that OTHER people who view the site won't steal it, but Microsoft also explicitly states that by submitting your idea:
    By entering, each entrant forfeits to Sponsor all rights to content of his/her entry (including the essay) and the concepts embodied therein. Entrant unconditionally assigns and transfers to Sponsor all rights, title, interest and claim, which it now has or may in the future have to the entries or any element(s) thereafter including, without limitation, the copyright therein. Sponsor shall have right to use, alter, assign or dispose of such entries however it sees fit without approval of entrants.
    In other words, it doesn't matter what kind of rights and title (including patents or copyright) you have (actually "had") on your entry. You forfeit all of it when you submit -- basically you would be transferring your patent to Microsoft.
    • by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:27PM (#5675111) Homepage Journal
      This happens in other arenas, in particular book rights and movies.

      Richard Bach spent a lot of time and money buying the rights of his first couple books back from his publisher, but as I understand it he wouldn't have been able to publish those books without having given the rights away in the first place. Not that he did profit from the books even though he didn't own them.

      I want to say the same happens in the movie industry, but I'm not sure.

      The only real difference is that people will always want to know who wrote a book or movie, and don't really care about the individual behind research.
    • So is it true that Fred Durst will be [dotmusic.com] handling the auditions [metal-sludge.com]? (and claiming rights to all entries submitted).

      Talk about deja-vu...


  • by shawnywany ( 664241 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:05PM (#5675001)
    'offer expires 1983'
  • You are, Number Six (Score:5, Informative)

    by John Leeming ( 160817 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:13PM (#5675038)
    Interesting to note on the section 6 "General Conditions" segment the heart of the problem.

    By entering, each entrant forfeits to Sponsor all rights to content of his/her entry (including the essay) and the concepts embodied therein. Entrant unconditionally assigns and transfers to Sponsor all rights, title, interest and claim, which it now has or may in the future have to the entries or any element(s) thereafter including, without limitation, the copyright therein. Sponsor shall have right to use, alter, assign or dispose of such entries however it sees fit without approval of entrants. Permission is also granted for Sponsor to publish entry in perpetuity in any medium it may see fit including, but not limited to, website, television, radio and/or printed materials. Entrants shall not receive any compensation or credit for use of entries, other than that disclosed in these rules. Entrants agree to be bound by the terms of these Official Rules.

    The idea must be new and unpublished, but at the same time, all your rights are belong to Microsoft. So, even if you own a patent or trademark on it, by entering, you are:
    1. Disqualified automatically
    2. Lose all interest in the concept
    3. Lose any right to sue/earn from this contest aside from the prize money

    What a concept! Win by losing! That's the Microsoft way!

    • To be honest, I don't think that's legal. Well number one could be, but I find it hard to believe that entering the contest basically gives your patent or copyright to MS. I just don't think it works that way, I could be wrong though. Besides even if it doesn't who has the money to fight MS on it?
  • by diggem ( 74763 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:15PM (#5675048) Homepage
    Most of the people are going looking to win the money to do something with it. Mostly it falls into two categories.

    1. Help myself
    2. Help others

    Not sure how MS is going to make more money by building libraries in Ghana. :P Unless they put Windows computers in the library and bring the kiddies and people up using their software of course!
    • You may also want to read the fine print. According to the "pitch button" [msn.com]:

      Accepted entries will be posted at ideasHappen.com, where users can view pitches and weigh in. (NOTE: Users' opinions at this time are used only to determine our ongoing Top 10 List, and have no bearing on the selection process.)

      So if you search for some of the non "cure cancer", "help 'mental youths'" (what exactly is a mental youth?), you get to the "Email, Inc", "Jazz Club", or my favorite "Slum Lord" (see this [msn.com] page for what a

      • Hmm .. I also wondered about those "mental youths" .. in some English-speaking parts of the world (not sure about the US), "mental" is used as an adjective to refer to a mentally ill person. Perhaps that was what was meant? However, it is more typically used as an insult to non-mentally-ill people, and never (to my knowledge) used to refer to actual mentally ill people.

        (Hmm .. "Hope for Africa" .. nice sentiment, but terribly naive.. :/ .. still, I hope she reaches her goals and learns something about Afri

  • my idea (Score:3, Funny)

    by VanillaCoke420 ( 662576 ) <vanillacoke420 AT hotmail DOT com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:17PM (#5675057)
    inventors! inventors! inventors! inventors!
  • by Sophrosyne ( 630428 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:19PM (#5675062) Homepage
    Microsoft finally ran out of things to steal from Xerox Parc and Apple!

  • by woodja ( 28457 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:20PM (#5675073) Homepage
    From what I can tell from the entries so far the competition isn't for technical ideas. It is mostly social ideas, like starting a school program or helping out in a third world country. I would not expect to see their target audience submit an idea for developing a new video compression technique.

    I personally would not bash Microsoft or Visa for this one. The aim is promote MSN and Visa, not a way to get ideas for free. Besides, I highly doubt Microsoft would be able to patent a method for paying off Grandma's medical bills.
    • I was over at sourceforge, and saw a M$ advertisement for a contest for software for their Tablet Computer.

      So anyhow, I went over and saw the same kind of thing there.

      However, in that contest, they were giving away a couple free (okay, not free when you read what comes next) tablet computers to the winners who would write applications for the Tablet computer.

      However, win or lose, if you entered, you guaranteed that you had full rights to the software, and transferred all said rights to M$ for nothing.

      • However, win or lose, if you entered, you guaranteed that you had full rights to the software, and transferred all said rights to M$ for nothing.

        That's absolutely no problem. Just publish you software on sourceforge under a copy left license before you submit your code. In that way, you can continue working on the free code.

        If you publish under the revised BSD license, you can even make a closed version again of which you control all rights.
      • This way? Anyone stupid enough to enter is too stupid to be hired by Microsoft.

        Given the quality of their software, I'd say anyone stupid enough to enter is probably MS management material.

  • by Coward, Anonymous ( 55185 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:25PM (#5675093)
    The sponsor...is Microsoft ... VISA...have not sponsored or offered this contest in any way

    Not only that, it also states: "Puerto Rico... to... become the property of Microsoft Corporation"
    • Full statement:

      SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington, 98052-6399. VISA and its Member financial institutions have not sponsored or offered this contest in any way.

      So for once, the paraphrasing is accurate. I agree though, it is something you have to watch out for, especially on Slashdot.

    • it also states: "Puerto Rico... to... become the property of Microsoft Corporation"

      Actually that is a typo. The corrected spelling for the first two words is "US Congress". We appologize for any confusion this may have caused.

  • by lostchicken ( 226656 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:27PM (#5675106)
    Yeah. Good idea. Let's make patents free, so anybody can patent thousands of things!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:27PM (#5675108)
    $300,000 for 12 spanking ideas

    I suggest the following list all be spanked. [microsoft.com] I'll take the $300,000 thank you very much. (I know there are more than 12, just consider the rest freebies.) Actually, I think that a few of them be sent to bed without supper too, like Gates, Ballmer, Allchin, and Mundie.

    Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect

    Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer

    Jim Allchin, Group Vice President, Platforms

    Orlando Ayala, Group Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Marketing & Services

    Robbie Bach, Senior Vice President, Home & Entertainment Division/Chief Xbox Officer

    Doug Burgum, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions

    David Cole, Senior Vice President, MSN and Personal Services Group

    John Connors, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

    Jean-Phillipe Courtois, President, Microsoft Europe, Middle East, & Africa; Senior Vice President

    Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice President, TV Division

    Rick Devenuti, Corporate Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Operations and Technology Group

    Ken DiPietro, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources

    Richard Emerson, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development Strategy

    Paul Flessner, Senior Vice President, .NET Enterprise Servers

    Bob Herbold, Executive Vice President

    Kevin Johnson, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Americas

    Pieter Knook, Corporate Vice President, Network Service Providers and Mobile Devices

    Mich Mathews, Corporate Vice President, Marketing Division

    Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, MSN Personal Services Business Group

    Bob Muglia, Group Vice President, Enterprise Storage Division

    Craig Mundie, Senior Vice President, Chief Technical Officer, Advanced Strategies and Policy

    Jeff Raikes, Group Vice President, Productivity and Business Services

    Rick Rashid, Senior Vice President, Research

    Eric Rudder, Senior Vice President, Developer and Platform Evangelism

    Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Office

    Brad Smith, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Law and Corporate Affairs

    Brian Valentine, Senior Vice President, Windows Division

    David Vaskevitch, Senior Vice President, Chief Technical Officer, Business Platform

    Hank Vigil, Corporate Vice President, Consumer Strategy and Partnerships

  • by Espressoman ( 8032 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:27PM (#5675114)
    I'm 32, which is too old to have an idea. Apparently ideas come from 18-29 year olds...
    • > I'm 32, which is too old to have an idea. Apparently ideas come from 18-29 year olds...

      nope.. you're supposed to have reached an age where you're to smart to let yourself being robbed in such a way... :-)
  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:28PM (#5675116)
    These aren't ideas for new programs and stuff of that nature. I haven't seen a single idea on the site yet that deals with software.

    Perhaps it's not what their aiming for, that they're getting, but then again, with catagories like "self-expression, community, and entrepreneur," I doubt that they are looking to do R&D like this.

    Also, look at the ideas, "Go on a mission trip, open a medical practice, pay my bills," I don't know, but if they're getting something that they can sell out of this, I haven't seen it yet.

    Not only that, but users on the site get to vote for ideas that they like and don't like. Then again, hiding all of the "long range wireless gigabit ethernet," behind "saving baby sea lions from brutal dinosaurs," might be a good way to keep stealing ideas under the radar... or perhaps I'm too slashdotted.
  • It pisses me off (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:38PM (#5675162) Journal
    I have been suggesting just this thing for Transmeta/IBM/SUN/HP for the last year. You will find it in a large number of posts here and LinuxToday (as a.c./dev@null). MS runs around and does it. While I personally think that MS has some of the worse coders and software in the world, they have the very best Lawyers and Marketers. My hat is off to you MS. If you win, it is becuase the good guys are so totally stupid and greedy. Perhaps, it also shows the total lack of imagination.
    • by Erris ( 531066 )
      I have been suggesting just this thing for Transmeta/IBM/SUN/HP for the last year. ... My hat is off to you MS. If you win, it is becuase the good guys are so totally stupid and greedy.

      The good guys thought the contest idea was stupid and greedy. It is you know.

  • 12 spanking ideas

    Let's see:
    1. Hand
    2. Stick
    3. Bat
    4. Belt
    5. Mallet
    6. Large flat piece of wood
    7. Large flat piece of metal
    8. Large flat piece of concrete
    9. Crowbar
    10. Really big fish sticks
    11. Stale Noodles (Lasagna)
    12. War and Peace
    I'll take my 12*300,000 = 3,600,000 dollars now, thank you. Not bad for 2 minutes of work. Oh, it's an adjective. Damn.
  • Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

    by labratuk ( 204918 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:51PM (#5675202)
    ...for 12 spanking ideas...


    1. Tied up on a four poster bed, one limb on each post.
    2. Use of a fish of some sort to perform the spanking.
    3. Electromagnetic spanking device controlled by victim's brainwave patterns.
    4. Caged.
    5. First give the arse a carpet burn (spin them around on a rug), rub with vinegar, spank.
    6. Spanking in the shower.
    7. Spanking an inflatable Rolf Harris doll.
    8. A game of naughty child / strict parent.
    9. Use of a thin, splintering strip of wood.
    10. Hot spanking: use cloth dipped in 'deep heat'.
    11. Boiling oil/sugar*.
    12. In the middle of the corridoor at work, to an unsuspectiong co-worker, and in full view, creating an awkward situation for all concerned.

    * - Do not consume after use in this manor.
  • If you don't like the rules of the contest don't enter. It is nice that somebody pointed the rules out, but no one is being forced to enter either. Also, it's not like Visa isn't a duopoly with Mastercard. Is Visa somehow a really loveable company to everyone and now you're all crushed to find out Microsoft is involved?
  • by miketang16 ( 585602 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:02PM (#5675245) Journal
    A successor to SMTP, that would require validation of senders and not just act as a spam hub.... o.. wait.. nevermind...

    Sure wish ISPs would use it...
  • They have finally succeded in making sure that no one makes a killer app again by stealing and killing off innovative companies. Whit no one to steal from they are pretty much a sitting duck cause hey, when was the last time something, anything at all originatet from Microsoft? I can honestly not remember a single app that isnt a ripoff. Even the BSOD is a blatant ripoff (though no BSOD have been so much advertised as MS own)
  • Ideas (Score:2, Funny)

    by GnuVince ( 623231 )
    1. Ditch C# and VB as the back-end for ASP.NET code and use Brainf*ck, whitespace and/or Intercal instead 2. Rewrite Office in Lisp 3. Rewrite Windows in Haskell 4. Get into nuclear submarine business: with global warming and North Pole melting, PS (personnal submarine) will surely prove to be a great way to make money
  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:17PM (#5675302)
    • I would open up my own 70's dance club and have my best friend be my partner.
    • Give the money to his parents for their love and support
    • Create a giant pudding mold of Bill Gates or the MSN Butterfly with $25,000 worth of pudding to be displayed in San Francisco (or Seattle) on a cold summer's day in mid May. After being displayed for one hour, the pudding will be dispensed in biodegradable cups to the eagerly waiting public and the busloads of children driven in from local schools.
    • Travel (listed by 4 people)
    • Pay for her mom's house repairs
    • Give some to his parents, use some for travel, and use some to raise his jeep higher off the ground
    • Create a shampoo with built in sunscreen for bald men
    • Fix the emotional issues of African Americans

    Don't get me wrong ... it's great to have ideas and wishes and goals... but most of these aren't ideas ... they're things people want. Second of all ... I don't think $25,000 is going to be enough to design a shampoo, open a dance club, or somehow "fix the emotional issues" of an entire race. I won't even get into the entry about the pudding...

  • by crazyphilman ( 609923 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:19PM (#5675310) Journal
    I went to the site, wasted a bunch of time there, and got to the instructions/post an idea page, where they gleefully informed me that those over 29 years old need not apply. Oh, really? Well, fuck them too.

    I'll keep my ideas to myself, thanks.

  • by v_1_r_u_5 ( 462399 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:21PM (#5675324)
    Here's my submission:

    Wait for someone to have a great idea, then steal it.

    Oh, wait, they already do that.
  • MS and Scientolgy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by madchris ( 266878 )
    Both Microsoft and Scientology like to grab the "regular guy's" inventiveness to use for their own ends.

    Beware assholes bearing gifts!
  • by the_pooh_experience ( 596177 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:27PM (#5675352)
    If you have a unique idea and are passionate about making it happen, you're in the right place. Whether it's something you've been working on for a while, or an idea that hatched yesterday, we want you to pitch it for your chance at $25,000.

    ...and some of the pitches...

    In just over 6 months I will be getting married to the most wonderful woman in the world. We will both be in our senior year of college at Seattle Pacific University. While we do have our financial situation figured out. We have had to cut a number of corners and one of those corners will be our honeymoon. With this money I would surprise my fiance with an incredible honeymoon that we could both enjoy and appreciate because we know that we are not going broke because of it. I would also give a large portion of the money to my brother to keep him attending a special school where they specialize in teaching dyslexic people. He is such a great kid and so much fun but it breaks my heart to see him struggling with his reading. My parent have been sending him to this school for a couple of years now but they are coming to the point where they can't afford to send him there any more. With the money left over I would buy my fiance a better car. She has had to put over a thousand dollars into her car in the past four months just to keep it on the road and in this next year we are not going to be able to afford the seemingly neverending repairs.
    I have had to sit back and watch while my parents struggle to pay for bills regarding my fathers bout with cancer and otherwise for many years now. I want to finally quit watching and do something. I hope to win this money so I can help my parents pay off their bills. This has been something that I want to do for them in return for everything that they have done for me.
    If I had $25K to do whatever I wanted with, I would have to obviously give half of the money to my parents. Obviously my parents deserve at least half for the support, financially, mentally, and physically that they have giving me over the years. Then, I would have to save some money for school, just a little, and with the money I have left, I would either travel back to my homeland, or lift my Jeep even more. I figure having a huge jeep makes it original and makes me happy. I love going off road and having too much money invested into my hobby. My hobby is what sets me apart from everyone else. I love my jeep and it loves me back, now I'm not a psycho that thinks my car talks back to me or anything, but it does! So pick me and you'll see the biggest Jeep in the northwest!

    I am sure Microsoft is chomping at the bit to get these ideas. These people are dolts for not patenting these gems. I am writing disclosures as we speak. Is "off roading" prior art?

  • by afflatus_com ( 121694 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:48PM (#5675456) Homepage
    ...that they were were seeing Google as more and more of a competitor [slashdot.org] and you will recall that Google had a similar contest to solicit ideas [slashdot.org].

    I suppose one could comment on such a drought of new ideas at Redmond that they have to start using ideas from competitors on how to get ideas.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:50PM (#5675470)
    This board is rabid. Back in about 1989 Apple ran one or two promotions like this. They retained all the rights too.

    Lay off Microsoft. Not everything they do is wrong.
  • I submitted this idea... unfortunately it has to get past screeners before it goes public, but I thought I'd circumvent the process and post it here...

    Idea #7141

    Title - Exploting Creative Talent
    Keywords - exploitation evil empire conniving deceitful
    Essay - I propose to set up a contest to exploit the ideas of America's most creative college students by setting up a contest that seems to be supporting creativity and innovation. I will offer these students a sum of money that may be sizable to them but in the real world is chump change. I will get them to submit their ideas and in doing so yield all intellectual property rights to me. Then I can use their ideas to make myself multiple millions of dollars. And I'll make sure to bury this fact in contest rules so that it's not inherently obvious. It's a great idea because it saves me the expenses of actual research and development, despite its deceitful and conniving nature. It is the beginning of my evil empire.

    What do you think. Do I deserve to win $25 g's?

  • Yeah? And what will happen next? Microsoft will take all the source code from projects like Linux, Mozilla, Apache, XFree86, GNOME, KDE, etc., and package it into a proprietary thing called Windows YP, the successor to Windows XP, and market it as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then, when the whole world goes after them for jacking source code, they'll drag it out in the courts for 100 years until we're all dead and gone and don't give a friggen hoot anymore, spending 5,000,000 dollars a day in the
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Funny)

    by zmooc ( 33175 ) <(zmooc) (at) (zmooc.net)> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:39PM (#5676012) Homepage
    Implement your good idea, release it with a GPL license to a friend or a lawyer or whatever, ask him to keep it quiet, submit to contest, win $25K, tell friend to release software[, smoke weed], win lawsuit on prior art[, smoke weed]. Repeat.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:26PM (#5676267) Homepage
    And people complain that the Sand Hill Road venture capital crowd wants tough terms.

    If you have a really good idea, there are ways to make money with it. This isn't one of them.

  • Here is a very interesting idea fishing [shouldexist.org] site. Go fish. :)
  • Heh. Everyone should go hit the button for the dude that wants to pay off his loans, say "hi" to his mother, and maybe get a sammitch. I'd rather see MS pay through the ass for this guy to perform his mundane tasks, while MS gets absolutely no value.

    I should've patented the method of obtaining a sandwich.

  • Easy to navigate webpages, especially those dealing with contests.
  • It seems you need to have a .NET Passport account to pitch an idea. Oh well, I guess I'll pitch my idea here on /. instead:

    First, lead all senior management out of the Microsoft Headquarters onto the fine green grass of their Redmon campus.

    Second, dress them in dunce-caps and hang signs around their necks reading things like "destroyer of innovation", "I give life to the endlessly voracious maw", and "technological rapist". All the while they are surrounded by children who beat them with sticks with n

  • by rufusdufus ( 450462 ) on Monday April 07, 2003 @05:06AM (#5677566)
    Forgetting the smarmy PR department faux extemporaneous nature of all of the videos, the fact that most of the are holding the same microphone kinda gives it away.
  • Paraphrased from opensource.org:

    When MICROS~1 brings you flowers, they're likely to end up decorating your grave.
  • This has about as much value as those magazine picture contests, where you send in a picture of your dog drinking out of the toilet or whatever. That is to say, it might be entertaining, but don't expect to find the next Ansel Adams. In those contests the fine print states that you sign most rights over to the magazine.

    This is also true for almost any other type of "mail in" contest: Video, Essay, Picture etc...

    Usually you still retain your rights (i.e. you can sell the picture or whatever) but you can't

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