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Tim Lee on Reverse Engineering and Innovation

Tim Lee has (another) good post, Reverse Engineering and Innovation: Some Examples, over at the Technology Liberation Front. Tim uses three examples (IM, Samba, and x86 cpus) to make three points about the role of reverse engineering in innovation:

(1) “reverse-engineering to accomplish compatibility with a competitor’s closed, proprietary platform is utterly common in the technology world”

(2) “reverse engineering is plainly a pre-condition to innovation in many cases,” and

(3) “there’s no reason to think the existence of these competing products has reduced the incentive of AOL, Microsoft, or Intel to continue innovating themselves.”