Eolas, the one-man software outfit which took Microsoft to the cleaners in a patent dispute, has given its new software launch a topical spin.
In a press release entitled 'Eolas Releases Multimedia Application to Support Hurricane Relief' we learn that Eolas CEO Michael Doyle is introducing what's billed as Muze version 1.0 'Hurricane Relief Edition'.
Software that rescues stranded storm victims while it mops streets while it sweeps as it dusts? Not quite.
Muze is a simple multimedia doodling application that looks like one of the demos intended to show off the capabilities of Apple's Hypercard, circa 1986. Eolas prices it at $39.95, and says it will donate 60 per cent of the revenues it receives to a hurricane relief charity.
But it's a line in the press release that caught our eye.
"Regarding Eolas' commitment to donate most of the revenues from its new product to hurricane relief, Doyle said, 'Eolas is not a wealthy company, but sometimes events happen that make you put things into proper perspective…"
Eolas won $534 million in damages from Microsoft for its patent covering web plugins, a move that prompted calls for fundamental changes in the US patent system. The decision is being appealed.
" … Hurricane Katrina did that for us. We knew we had to try to help in some way, and we decided that doing what we do best, making new kinds of software, would be the most effective way we could contribute to the effort."
"Eolas asks everyone to join them in supporting efforts to relieve the pain and suffering of the victims of this terrible disaster. Anyone who would like to purchase one or more copies of the Hurricane Relief Edition of Muze should visit http://www.mymuze.com"
It isn't the worst example of bad taste chasing a national tragedy, however. On September 11, 2001 a Cisco salesman described the day's terror attacks as a "a good opportunity to sell kit". And a UK cabinet minister with some indifferent figures to publish saw it as "an opportunity to bury the bad news". She subsequently lost her job. ®