Did Xandros sign a Novell-like patent deal with Microsoft? Yes.

Did Xandros sign a Novell-like patent deal with Microsoft? Yes.

Summary: Looks like there could be another Microsoft-Linux patent deal in the offing. Signs point to Linux vendor Xandros signing a "patent-protection" deal with Microsoft akin to the one Novell inked last November.

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Looks like there could be another Microsoft-Linux patent deal in the offing.

eWEEK posted a story a few hours ago entitled "Microsoft Gives Xandros Linux Users Patent Protection." The story is now gone from the Web site.

My best guess? There's some embargoed news coming some time in the next few hours. (Note: I was not put under or offered any Xandros-Microsoft embargo.)

Based on eWEEK's now-disappeared headline, it sure looks like Xandros may have gone the Novell route and signed a patent-protection deal with Microsoft. (The other possibility is eWEEK believed Xandros was ready to sign on the dotted line, but didn't. My educated guess is there is a deal and eWEEK jumped the gun in publishing the "exclusive" story. Guess we'll find out for sure in a few more hours.)

I asked Microsoft for comment. No word back yet.

If I were Microsoft, I think I'd have let the patent dust settle before stirring it all up again with another "patent-protection" deal. But perhaps Microsoft is emboldened by the fact that the latest General Public License version 3 draft does not block the current Novell-Microsoft deal (although it does prevent other Linux distros desiring GPL V3 licensing status from signing Microsoft-style deals.)

Xandros is a vendor of desktop and server open-source products. According to a statement on Xandros' Web site:

"In August 2001, Xandros acquired the Corel Linux Business Division's award winning software development team with the objective of creating the Xandros Desktop. This Desktop environment is the first to include benefits and features that will effectively compete against Microsoft Windows."

Meanwhile, Xandros Server 2.0 seemingly is designed to compete with Microsoft SharePoint Server.

But as Microsoft and Novell have stated (and restated) many times since the two inked their patent deal in November 2006, all's fair in "coopetition."

What do you think of Xandros' decision to follow in Novell's, Fuji Xerox's and Samsung's footsteps by basically admitting it is infringing on Microsoft's patents? (Yes, this is obviously my characterization, and not Microsoft's or its new best friends'.)

Update on June 4: Done deal. Microsoft and Xandros signed an agreement that looks a whole lot like the Microsoft-Novell one. Here's the patent clause:

"Intellectual property assurance. Through the agreement, Microsoft will make available patent covenants for Xandros customers. These covenants will provide customers with confidence that the Xandros technologies they use and deploy in their environments are compliant with Microsoft's intellectual property. By putting a framework in place to share intellectual property, Xandros and Microsoft can speed the development of interoperable solutions. "

Topics: Microsoft, Legal, Open Source, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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