Microsoft inks more Novell-like patent-infringement deals

Microsoft inks more Novell-like patent-infringement deals

Summary: Both Fuji Xerox -- and now Samsung -- quietly have signed deals that "allow" them to sell their products without the threat of a Microsoft suit claiming patent infringement by Linux on Microsoft Windows and other products hanging over their heads.

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I asked readers a few months ago which Linux vendor would be next to ink a patent-protection deal with Microsoft similar to the one Novell inked last November.

It turns out it wasn't any of the usual suspects. Instead, both Fuji Xerox -- and now Samsung -- quietly have signed deals that "allow" them to sell their products without the threat of a Microsoft suit claiming patent infringement by Linux on Microsoft Windows and other products hanging over their heads.

So far, there's been far less outcry over Fuji Xerox's and Samsung's decisions to admit the possibility of patent infringement by Linux than there was when Novell signed its patent-protection clause with Microsoft. The fact that neither Fuji Xerox nor Samsung are Linux distribution vendors might account for the difference. Or maybe Microsoft learned its lesson with Novell and has (at least temporarily) managed to gag CEO Steve Ballmer before has a chance to throw gas on the patent-infringement fire with these latest deals.

I've got to admit I'm surprised Linux-based vendors are signing on the dotted line. What's Microsoft showing/telling them to get them to do so?

Do you expect Microsoft to be able to continue to convince additional consumer electronics, software and system vendors to sign deals that include clauses that admit the possibility that Linux might infringe on Microsoft patents?

Topic: Microsoft

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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