Microsoft is going to have to pull off some serious damage control to avoid the backlash from developing an “Avoid Ghetto” patent for the GPS. What argument could Microsoft possibly use to rationalize the meaning beyond calling such an ap “Avoid Ghetto”. The name is more than irresponsible. Bill Gates, we are so disappointed!
According to CBS News, Gates’ company didn’t mean it that way. They built the GPS ap to keep pedestrians from straying into the wrong area or THE GHETTO as the patent claim states. The report says that Microsoft explained the patent for the Windows7 Smartphone as:
“As a pedestrian travels, various difficulties can be encountered, such as traveling through an unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures,” Microsoft stated in their patent claims. “A route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian. Moreover, the route can alter as a situation of a user changes; for instance, if a user wants to add a stop along a route.”
Close but no cigar Microsoft! You still got some ‘splainin’ to do. That statement doesn’t address the use of language for the patent and we have got to hold your feet to the fire for this one. Whether you live in the “ghetto” or not, the objectivity of an area of people and the racist undertone it suggests, but maybe not intended, has to be clarified. Microsoft is one of the biggest companies in the world. Do they really not know that this isn’t right? And where was Bill Gates when they cooked this one up in the lab?
Read the rest of the report here.