Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Microsoft Open Sources 60,000 Patents To Protect Linux & Open Source

Microsoft thows Linux a life saver Report: Microsoft making patents royalty-free for Android OEMs
Katie Ramirez | 11 October, 2018, 23:01

Microsoft says that it understands that companies and developers don't want just a "binary choice between Windows vs Linux, or.NET vs Java", stating that access to all technologies for their platforms.

Microsoft has joined the "largest patent non-aggression community in history", the Open Invention Network (OIN), effectively open-sourcing nearly its entire patent portfolio.

But on Wednesday, Microsoft said the company was adding its own technology portfolio to OIN's patent defense pool, which now shields over 2,650 companies. This group includes startups, individual developers, and the biggest tech firms in the world.

More news: Razer shaves a bit off the price of a Razer Blade 15

In spite of this, the use of patents to extract royalties was one of the major sticking points within the open source community, used as evidence that Microsoft was not genuine in its commitment to open source principles.

"Microsoft sees open source as a key innovation engine, and for the past several years we have increased our involvement in, and contributions to, the open source community", said Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, Microsoft. This can be done by supporting grassroots efforts like the FSF's End Software Patents campaign, or by Microsoft directly urging the US Congress to pass legislation excluding software from the effects of patents, or both. As a result, Android vendors were pressured to ink deals, forcing them to pay royalties to Microsoft.In 2001, Microsoft's previous CEO Steve Ballmer also famously derided Linux as a "cancer" on intellectual property. Previously, OIN only had ownership of 1,300 global patents.

The Open Invention Network was created by IBM, Red Hat, and others back in 2005 as a patent pool in which members agreed to cross-license their patents to each other in exchange for agreeing not to assert those patents against companies working on Linux-based projects.

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