When Tech Companies Copy One Anothers’ Best Ideas, Consumers Suffer


By David Pogue

The central premise of copyrights (for creative works) and patents (for inventions) is this: you can't protect an idea—only the execution of it. ...

For a while, copycats paid at least lip service to differentiation. ... Today, though, nobody even bothers. ... This frenzy of idea stealing thwarts innovation. It's time-consuming and expensive to develop a new product. Copying, on the other hand, is cheap and easy. So why should a company bother to innovate? You don't reap much benefit from being first, except in the few months before the copycats come.

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