Carter, D. (2009) Blackboard, D2L declare truce eSchool News, December 17

The three-and-a-half-year court battle between learning management system (LMS) giant Blackboard Inc. and competitor Desire2Learn ended Dec. 15 when the companies agreed to license each other’s patents and drop long-standing lawsuits.

So does this mean that LMS wars are over? Not really. Both companies have lost out over this battle, driving decision-makers more and more towards open source solutions such as Moodle and Sakai, which also incorporate more easily new web 2.0 tools. Since the two companies have also agreed to swap licenses, they are still open to sue other commercial vendors of LMSs, although they may have learned something from this experience.


  1. How could you paint Desire2Learn with the same brush as Blackboard here? They were not the aggressor and from what I’ve read they were the ones standing up for the community and others who couldn’t afford the fight.

  2. Hi,George.

    I agree that Blackboard was the villain in this but I stand by my statement that both have lost out, indeed Desire2Learn most, because potential customers feared that Desire2Learn would be driven out of business by Blackboard. But Blackboard have also lost a huge amount of good will through their actions, and driven many potential customers towards open source solutions, although it’s hard to measure, because some would have moved in that direction anyway.

    Above all, this lawsuit has been a huge distraction, putting on hold real development in virtual learning environments, and again, I agree Blackboard is to blame for this. We need an environment that encourages innovation and new approaches to blending LMSs with web 2.0, and I’m not sure that this settlement clears the way for that. Every developer will still be looking over their shoulder at what a judge in Texas might say.


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