Microsoft v Apple: here come the linguists

Microsoft v Apple: here come the linguistsThose crazy kids at Microsoft and Apple just can't seem to leave each other alone. They've been having a... slight disagreement, let's say, over whether app store should be seen as a generic term or the personal property of Apple – as in App Store.

And having made all the serious arguments already, it's clearly now time to break down to the pedantic small print, with both sides having hired professional linguists to fight their corner.

To remind you of the story so far, it all started with Apple's attempts to trademark the term “App Store”, its argument being that it had created both the concept and the name.

Step forward Microsoft with the objection that “app store” is simply an amalgamation of “app” and “store”, and means exactly that too, so is clearly a generic term.

Not so, returned Apple, as the public understands App Store as a single term, therefore breaking the term down into its two words is irrelevant to the trademark application. And for good measure, what about “Windows”, eh Redmond? Isn't that also a generic term?

Now come the linguists. In Microsoft's corner we have Ronald Butters, with his claim that “the compound noun app store means simply ‘store at which apps are offered for sale’, which is merely a definition of the thing itself – a generic characterisation”.

Fighting the good fight for Apple is Robert Leonard and his insistence that App Store is “a proper noun and deserved to be trademarked, even though the words are generic when separated”. Heady stuff indeed.

So what's your take on the matter? Apple or Microsoft? Let us know in the Comments.

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emmajk42 / MOD  Apr. 1, 2011 at 10:11

I'm not on Microsoft's side, but I also think it's a generic term that anyone should be allowed to use. I don't think Apple should win this one.

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 1, 2011 at 10:37

There is a slight difference to 'Windows' though: Though no other software designer can sell an OS called 'Windows', they are free to talk about windows, as in 'How To close all open windows...'; Dito, MS don't try to stop browser designers from talking about 'windows'...
As to who wins this one? It's like debating the virtues of Stalin's over Hitler's. <= sorry, my cat walked over the keyboard.

Golaboots8  Apr. 1, 2011 at 11:54

Well I'm going to invent something and call it 'The'

From now on everytime someone wants to use the word 'The' they will have to pay me.

Seriously, what planet are Apple on?

fs360  Apr. 1, 2011 at 13:01

I don't see it as Apple vs Microsoft. It's more like Apple vs every one,and every one should win.


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