Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

Summary: Microsoft and Casio Computer have signed a patent-protection deal, resulting in Casio paying Microsoft an undisclosed amount for IP coverage for Linux-based devices.

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After issuing press release after press release touting the Android patent-protection deals it had signed in the past few months, Microsoft went back and added a new Linux licensee to its patent-deal roster.

On September 20, Microsoft officials said that Microsoft and Casio Computer Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Casio Worldwide, had entered into a "a broad, multiyear patent cross-licensing agreement that, among other things, will provide Casio’s customers with patent coverage for their use of Linux in certain Casio devices."

The pair aren't sharing terms of the deal, but are acknowledging that Casio is compensating Microsoft an undisclosed amount as part of the arrangement.

Casio Computer doesn't only use Linux in its products. It also licenses  Microsoft's Windows Embedded operating-system software for use in its industrial handheld terminals and Windows in its business information systems. This division of the company also manufactures and sells digital cameras, watches, electronic dictionaries, electronic musical instruments, calculators, cell phones, cash registers, printers and various electronic components.

Before it was rounding up Android patent licensees, Microsoft had been focusing on Linux vendors as its IP licensing targets. Novell (and now its parent Attachmate/SUSE) have signed a patent deal with Microsoft, as had a number of Linux vendors, including Linspire, Melco/Buffalo, Fuji Xerox and Samsung.

Microsoft officials infamously claimed a couple of years ago that Linux and other free software violated 235 Microsoft patents, but never publicly listed which patents Linux allegedly infringes.

Topics: Microsoft, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, 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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40 comments
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  • another outrageous protection fee

    the M$ mobsters hit again!
    Shame to Casio for rolling over!
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

      @The Linux Geek

      ummm Linux geek , crying over linux, well to be expected perhaps.
      evilcart
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @evilcart
        oh yeah... this inter-company patent nonsense is COMPLETELY justified. Love how big software companies can exploit PATENTS which were conceived to protect independant inventors and COPYRIGHT which which was designed to protect ARTISTS.

        Does the opensource community steal code from Microsoft? Nope. We are just talking about a massive software cartel throwing its weight around. Nothing so noble as you seem to think it is.

        What damage has Linux done exactly?
        Aside from show that a bunch of unpaid people can often out-do large corporations and run 80% of the internet backend?
        12312332123
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @Traxxion
        I've been saying this for years. Now that the Judicial oversight of Microsoft has ended, these creeps now feel they have carte blanche to do anything they feel like. They still regard Linux as a serious threat. Otherwise they wouldn't go around like a bunch of sleazy backdoor salesmen, setting up these IP deals and not letting the public in on what it's all about. This is the same principle they used back in the 90s when they went around to all the OEMs and helped put IBM out of the PC business. History repeats itself.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @evilcart
        it is about racketeering the competition: http://techrights.org/2011/09/20/extortion-company-strikes-again/
        The Linux Geek
    • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

      @The Linux Geek

      Just shows that MS has a stong case against Linux IP infringment. That's why these companies don't put up a fight because they'll lose.
      Rob.sharp
      • Absolutely Not the Case

        @rob.sharp@...
        Most settled cases about IP are settled because it's cheaper to settle than to fight it out in court regardless of the outcome. One company sues the other and then offers a settlement that is easier to deal with than a court case.

        Without knowing any of the specifics of the case, for all we know this could be one hundred percent about the long filename for FAT32 patents.
        CFWhitman
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @rob.sharp@... Clearly you are either a) a shill and/or b) a fool. See this ZDNet article: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/what-is-in-those-microsoft-linux-patent-agreements/6378
        nicholas22
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @rob.sharp@...
        You must be really smart!
        I suppose you know all about the things that Microsoft has nicked from others down through the years. What has the open source community stolen - besides nothing?
        12312332123
    • $10k in exchange for $240k discount on Windows licenses

      The terms are:

      Casio pays $10k to Microsoft as the 'undisclosed' payment.

      Microsoft gives them a discount on Windows & Office licenses to the value of $240k.

      So the value of buying IP protection from Microsoft is worth negative $230k.

      Nah, I'm just joshing, these are just my guess at the numbers. There's no value to Casio for this, so they wouldn't pay real money, there is a *lot* of value to MS creating a false value in their IP assets (e.g. lets them inflate their book value/non tangible assets). So it will be a net payment to Casio for the deal.

      To be worth Casio managements time it has to be worth it, to 6 figures or 7 figures.
      guihombre
  • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

    What a shame.

    It may be quite possible that Microsoft, while not publicly disclosing the contents of its supposed patent claims, has privately disclosed them to the targets of its swindle. How else would they capitulate so easily to such fear-mongering?

    What these Linux vendors, victim/suckers, should realize is that there are companies out there who are not afraid of Microsoft's deceitful and evil tactics.

    The question the vendors should have asked themselves is whether Microsoft's patent claims are at all valid, or sufficiently valid, to succumb to the company's intimidation. Microsoft has never shown what or how Linux infringes on these so-called patents. If there is any truth to this, it would have been evident.
    Aaln
    • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

      @Aaln yeah I am sure multi billion dollar companies just rolled over.
      evilcart
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @evilcart

        They did just roll over when others called their bluff and stood firm. For those that did not cave in to the extortion attempt, how many of them has Microsoft sued?

        None.
        Aaln
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @evilcart
        Sometimes it's what you know.
        Sometimes it's who you know
        and sometimes it's what you know about who you know.

        We'll never know the intricate alliances formed by these major players, but you can bet on two things. First, they will profit at our expense, and second, we will never see the cards they hold.

        Who needs cards anyway? Bluff mostly, occasionally showing a strong hand when you have one and have to.
        PassingWind
    • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

      @Aaln
      Obviously, the patents are valid. Otherwise, no company would agree to pay MS fees.
      kstap
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @kris_stapley@...

        In fact, most companies have NOT agreed to pay the MS extortion money.
        Aaln
      • That Does Not Follow

        @kris_stapley@...
        All a company has to do is make a settlement so easy that a court case is not worth the trouble and most corporations will not fight it out in court when it's only for the sake of principle (most corporations have no principles).

        Since we don't know any specifics, we don't know if there are companies that have refused to settle. We don't know what patents the lawsuit was about (for all we know it's only long filename support for FAT16/32). We don't know the amount of money involved. We don't know enough, really, to draw any conclusions at all.
        CFWhitman
      • Come now

        @alanon

        Give us a list of companies that have stood against MS on this issue
        William Farrell
      • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

        @CFWhitman <i>Since we don't know any specifics, we don't know if there are companies that have refused to settle. We don't know what patents the lawsuit was about (for all we know it's only long filename support for FAT16/32). We don't know the amount of money involved. We don't know enough, really, to draw any conclusions at all. </i><br><br>Yet look at all the posters here who think they know all and have passed judgement one way or the other.
        non-biased
  • RE: Microsoft adds Casio to its Linux patent-protection list

    MJ. This really isn't news anymore. <br>The news is, these vendors aren't being scared off of using Linux. End of story.<br><br>Wasn't that M$ grand plan? M$'s new business model?
    Return_of_the_jedi