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Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) has an app store for Windows Mobile 7. Mr. Softy wants to call it an app store, but Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) has a pending trademark on that term. So Microsoft is asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to deny Apple's application, because "app store" is a generic term and anybody should be able to use it.
In fact, Steve Jobs himself has been caught using "app store" in a generic sense. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) , Vodafone (NYSE: VOD ) , and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) have all created independent application repositories for the Android platform (though public launch is not the same as developing a store), and The Steve called them "app stores" in the last earnings call. Microsoft pounces on this fact, claiming it as evidence that "app store" is a generic term that belongs in the public domain.
All of this may be true, but it only makes Microsoft look hypocritical. Claiming genericness is convenient when the trademark claim belongs to someone else, but has everybody forgotten that this is the company that trademarked the term "Windows"? I suppose Jobs could point out the last time Steve Ballmer let a little sunshine into his living room and declare the Windows trademark unsupportable.
The solution to Microsoft's problem seems obvious: Come up with a snappy new name for your app store and let users refer to it any way they like. Android users may talk about their app stores, but the official Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) store bears the moniker "Android Market." No toes were trampled on in the making of this name. Amazon calls its solution the "Amazon Appstore," which may or may not ruffle feathers in Cupertino.
Microsoft's lawyers have enough work already. Ballmer should call his attack dogs off and save some legal fees. There's no point to this complaint.
The comments box is wide open for your view on the app store situation. The Fool might trademark "comments box" if this nonsense continues.