Microsoft does this all the time and has for many years. Even back in the DOS days. They once invited a company in to discuss real-time file compression. They looked at the IP, showed the company out, and introduced the IP in their next version of MS-DOS as a new feature. They got sued, of course. But the lawyers were ready. Everyone got a few million while M$ was able to make billions and continue on their merry way. It’s just business.
Xerox could have been bigger than IBM or M$ had they realized that the toys they had developed would be soon be in use by billions of people on the planet: the mouse, the graphical user interface (aka windows), laser printing, IVp6, to name but a few. Yep. They developed all this and more in their PARC lab facility and were tickled pink when Bill and Steve came through on tours. Bill and Steve weren’t so stupid and both went on to become billionaires while PC work at Xerox passed away (essentially). Check out Palo Alto Research Center on wikipedia for more.
BTW, filedog, Bill didn’t screw the inventor, per se. One version of the story has it that he bought a copy from one of the inventor’s customers, re-labeled as his own and re-sold it to IBM. The story goes that IBM came to the inventor first but he was OOT and his wife wouldn’t sign the NDA IBM required (of all their suppliers BTW) so they went back and asked Bill and he “figured it out”. So. It is really hard to point fingers of fault, and after all these years, it’s just water over the dam anyhow. The inventor later sold the company to Novell for a pretty penny and moved to a lake-beach house in Austin (TX); keeping the mansion in Pebble Beach (CA) for business and vacations. you can wikipedia Gary Kildall for more on this interesting fellow.