Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yes Virginia: Thomson Reuters sues Zotero

An entrenched company, threatened by open-source free software, snaps back with a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Is this a storm in a teacup?

Thomson Reuters naturally wishes maximal profits from their proprietary programs, but... details of this lawsuit can be found here. A few marketing observations: the Thomson Reuters lawsuit draws attention to their nimble competitor. Seeking legal limits on what scholars can do with their own data, they risk seriously alienating their users.

Many users have invested time & resources in old Endnote software, but I'm no fan. Data storage always seemed unnecessarily obscure to me. The owners seemed to treat their software system protection as more important than my data - but I'm the customer. Why pay for deliberate confusion?

Even if Thomson Reuters win some damages with this case, they've chosen the Luddite path and can expect to be pityingly mocked by a growing segment of users & opinion leaders. I expect that the route they've chosen will cost them much more dearly than if they'd ignored their Zotero competition ( - the scholars friend). Thomson Reuters instead should work hard at innovation.