I mean, seriously, how does anyone come up with this as an idea and have it taken seriously as something the company should spend time and effort on? What the fuck is wrong with people?
Now, there's a follow-up article to this one, pointing out that the application is actually not a patent on emoticons themselves, but for a button that lets you select a multicharacter emoticon with a single keystroke. That makes zero difference to me in terms of judging the stupidity of the thing. Have you used Yahoo Messenger or just about any other IM application? They all have the same... fucking... thing. In fact, let's see... a single keystroke that does the work of multiple keystrokes... that's really similar to... oh yeah, a macro! Are macros patentable? Can every macro be patented on the basis of what the macro actually does? I don't fucking think so, so stop wasting everyone's fucking time with such idiotic and greedy attempts at revenue generation. Assholes.