Microsoft reannounces its exFAT file format is available for licensing

Microsoft reannounces its exFAT file format is available for licensing

Summary: Microsoft has been licensing its exFAT flash file format for licensing for a while now. In case you forgot, on December 10, the company reminded folks that exFAT is available for licensing.

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Microsoft has been licensing its exFAT flash file format for licensing for a while now. In case you forgot, on December 10, the company reminded folks that exFAT is available for licensing.

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 is part of part of Windows CE and Windows client.

Microsoft officials said that Sony, Canon and Sanyo already have signed IP licensing agreements for exFAT. And SanDisk, "as a member of the SD Card Association and the Memory Stick standard, has endorsed the adoption of exFAT file system for use in the new extra capacity storage media." Microsoft didn't mention today that open-source vendor Tuxera also is one of the licensees of exFAT.

Microsoft plans to continue to license the older FAT format alongside exFAT, a company spokesperson told me. (No surprise there; just ask TomTom.)There is 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, the spokesperson added.

So what's the thinking behind today's reannouncement? "Today marks our efforts to build awareness of the overall exFAT licensing program," the spokesperson said.

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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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7 comments
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  • (laugh)

    I must say that $300,000 doesn't seem very flat free to me at all.
    sfcanuck
    • Less than a dollar a unit

      If you sell 4 or 5 hundred thousand cameras, for the volume guys, something $0.75 added to the cost of a camera doesn't seem ridiculous. Most people spend 100x more to buy ink for their printers to print those photos.

      I'd like to know how licensing works for low volume guys that want to use exFAT in a something that has a 5000 unit production run.
      croberts
      • They gave the license cost in the blog/atricle.

        <i>There is 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</i>
        B.O.F.H.
    • Flat - meaning not variable...

      Has nothing to do with the amount.
      Fark
      • I'm well aware

        You seem to have missed the fact that her article has typoed a $300,000 flat
        fee into a flat FREE. Sigh.
        sfcanuck
    • Whoops!

      Foiled by a typo! I thought the same thing. It's kinda sad that bloggers seem not to use editors any more.
      CassidyJames
  • exFAT is a questionable choice of name

    exFAT is a questionable choice of name :)

    It implies taking an old app out of retirement, changinging the name and reselling it ........... exPlayer Pele, exPC_ZX81, exCAR_Model_T_FORD

    FATx, or eFAT would have been more sensible. Oh God, I hate marketing people :)
    On a more positive note; at least they didn't inflict us with iFAT.
    Hopefully the next story title will be "Microsoft renounces its exFAT file name""
    Steve__Jobs