Microsoft and RIM sign file-system licensing agreement

Summary:RIM is now licensing Microsoft's exFAT file system technology.

Microsoft and Research in Motion (RIM) have signed a technology licensing agreement, Microsoft announced on September 18.


Don't get too excited about this one. It's not yet another an Android licensing arrangement -- which makes sense since the BlackBerry OS isn't Android-based. Instead, the agreement announced today is for exFAT.

exFAT, or EXtended File Allocation Table, is an enhanced version of the FAT file system from Microsoft that uses less overhead than the Windows NTFS file system. It extends the maximum file size of 4GB in FAT32 to virtually unlimited. exFAT has been part of part of Microsoft's embedded version of Windows, as well as of Windows client. Microsoft also has continued to license FAT (the "full FAT"?) alongside exFAT to interested parties.

Microsoft has signed up a number of other companies as exFAT licensees, including Sharp , Sony, Canon, Sanyo, SanDisk and Tuxera over the past few years.

(Back in 2010, Microsoft was charging a $300,000 flat free to license exFAT for certain consumer device categories, including cameras, camcorders and digital photo frames, with volume-based pricing available for those who want to license it for mobile phones, PCs and networks, officials told me.)

The Microsoft-RIM deal announced today is the first second technology licensing deal between the two companies, a Microsoft spokesperson said. (The first deal between the two was RIM's agreement to license Exchange ActiveSync.) Today's deal "allows RIM to incorporate exFAT into certain BlackBerry devices."

Microsoft is not commenting on how much RIM is paying to license exFAT.

Topics: Legal, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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