Microsoft patenting APIs

The barely noticable, yet significant alarms in the back of my head are going off again – The RidiculousPatent-sense is tingling:

An application program interface (API) provides a set of functions for application developers who build Web applications on Microsoft Corporation’s .NET.TM. platform

That’s the abstract from a patent filed by Microsoft. It is no surprise that Microsoft wants to control the use of their .net technology seeing how they’ve spent a lot of time and money on it, but to my untrained eye (I go all crosseyed and my brain starts shutting down when I try to read patent claims) it looks as they are trying control the concept of writing APIs to access web services.

Surely, that claim is so broad and with so many examples of prior art that it won’t stand against any patent infringement claims. APIs are vital to the ever-confusing world of programming, having them wrap around client/server communication is by no means a new idea. Someone claiming and enforcing a patent on APIs would be devastating.

Even if this patent only applies to the libraries/APIs that ship with the .Net Framework the effects are – perhaps not devasting, but at least very discouraging. In that case it will effectivly allow the Redmond BigCo to control what platforms they want interfacing the .net technology.