Microsoft inks patent deal with service provider using Linux servers

Microsoft inks patent deal with service provider using Linux servers

Summary: Microsoft's latest patent licensing deal isn't like its recent Android/Chrome OS arrangements. It is with a service provider running Linux boxes in its own datacenters.

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TOPICS: Patents, Linux, Microsoft
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For the past couple of years, Microsoft has been on a tear of signing up Android and Chome OS device makers to license publicly unspecified Microsoft patents that Microsoft claims are infringed upon by Google's operating systems.

amdocslogo

On July 24, Microsoft signed a patent deal with a different kind of vendor: a software and services provider to telcos that runs its business on Linux servers.

Today's patent agreement announced between Microsoft and Amdocs provides "mutual access to each company’s patent portfolio, including a license under Microsoft’s patent portfolio covering Amdocs’ use of Linux-based servers in its data centers," according to Microsoft's press release.

As has been the case with the Android and Chrome OS patent deals, Microsoft is not specifying the terms, but is saying that Amdocs will pay Microsoft some undisclosed amount of money as part of the deal. Microsoft officials are not offering any further details beyond what is in the press release about the technologies covered.

Amdocs, based in Chesterfield, Mo., is a $3.2 billion company with 19,000 employees. It provides solutions for billion, CRM and operations support for large telcos.

Microsoft is touting the deal with Amdocs as being among the "more than 1,100 patent license agreements Microsoft has entered into over the last decade."

In 2010, Amazon.com signed a patent-licensing deal with Microsoft involving Linux (upon which the Kindle e-reader is based). Novell, TomTom, Fuji Xerox and Samsung also have signed Linux-focused patent deals with Microsoft. But Amdocs isn't selling Linux-based hardware; it is just running Linux on servers in its own datacenters (best I can tell).

I wonder if this is the next patent-licensing revenue stream Microsoft is planning to pursue: Companies running Linux in their own datacenters.

Topics: Patents, Linux, 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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146 comments
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  • That's pure racket

    MS won't even disclose what patented tech is used in linux.

    Back in DOJ vs MS i didn't think braking MS up was a good idea. My bad - it needs to be broken down to a tiny pieces - for one thing it'll stop other using same methods.
    vgrig
    • why shouldn't MS have the same rights as others

      in getting paid for using their IP?
      William Farrel
      • What IP?

        As i said - they didn't disclose what they think patents linux infringing on.
        But - when did even facts mattered tom MS troll. :-P
        vgrig
        • You're an MS troll, vgrig?

          I mean, your posting here without any facts.

          But here's a fact - they didn't disclose what patents linux infringing on TO YOU.

          What you're claiming is that MS just walked in and said "you're infringing on our patents", with Amdoc's resonse as "We are? Well just sell me a license, and we'll call it a day over lunch!"

          What scenerio do you think is more accurate?
          William Farrel
          • Easy, Will:

            i can see your mouth foaming. :-)
            vgrig
          • sad

            Sad man you are, you know u have no right to know whats in those deals but attack him just because he has a rep for supporting Microsoft. You are completely wrong but i think you already know that. By the way i'm sure its you foaming at the lips.
            FlatbushE21
          • Missing the point, aren't you?

            What MS doing is like trying to (and succeeding) squeeze money from rental car company for using say Ford cars in their business - does that sound right to you?
            vgrig
          • @vgrig Your Example is Completely Wrong

            your example of Ford Cars at Rental Car company is wrong, because Ford Cars are not Free. If Ford Cars are GNUed like Linux and are available for free, then Microsoft has every right to go after companies that voilate their "patents" who use those GNUed Ford Cars "For Profit". Microsoft is not after you and I, who use Linux for personal use, and they are not interested in it.
            Ram U
          • "Free" doesn't have anything to do with it.

            If free product infringes - it doesn't matter that it free.

            "If Ford Cars are GNUed like Linux and are available for free, then Microsoft has every right to go after companies that voilate their "patents" who use those GNUed Ford Cars "For Profit"."
            As far as i know it doesn't matter if infringing product is not used for profit - unless patent is made available by holder for non-commercial use.

            GNUing has nothing to do with it - it's a license not patent grant.
            vgrig
          • Sure

            If the company is Ford and the cars are stolen.
            thekman58
          • How is it stolen?

            Stolen from who? Manufacturer? If potentially infringing product was sold or granted by license from manufacturer - it's not stolen. It still infringing (potentially) - but not stolen.
            If ford infringed on GM's patent for say transmission and you bought ford - is your car stolen? What's wrong with you? :-P
            vgrig
          • WTF do you linux fanbois

            not get, if they didn't think they were infringing, they wouldn't pay, simple as that.
            hopp64
          • WTF do you windows fanbois

            don't get - court is expensive, even if you win in court you won't get all of your expenses back, so: when MS comes in and tells you that you can pay say $1m or go to courts, spend $10m, get back 5 of it if you win, still being down 4m compared to taking MS deal - what do you think business will do?
            As i said - racket.
            vgrig
          • You're interpertation, and you're leaving alot out

            If this where a book, where someon making a movie (not based on the book at all), and uses a paragraph or two from the book as it happens to "fits perfectly" into this movie in this scenerio, wouldn't the book owner have the right to compensation?

            How is it different because it's software IP?

            MS doesn't own any part of Ford, and the rental car company purchased the car from Ford. Now, if Ford stole IP from MS, they would be on the hook, but who is responsible for Linux? Who placed those lines of code into Linux?

            What this is closer to is "possesion of stolen property", where yo buys a stolen vehicle off a guy in the street - the law sees you in possesion of that stolen car, and are charged accordingly, even if you claim you didn't know it was stolen.
            William Farrel
          • Book

            "f this where a book, where someon making a movie (not based on the book at all), and uses a paragraph or two from the book as it happens to "fits perfectly" into this movie in this scenerio, wouldn't the book owner have the right to compensation?"

            Yes - from whoever wrote the script - meaning code in this example, not the movie theater that showed it. So - sue the coder.

            "but who is responsible for Linux? Who placed those lines of code into Linux?"
            Whoever produced the OS distro.
            vgrig
          • And what Distro would that be?

            Since using Linux you aquire the rights to modify the software and distribute it kind of makes the end user owner of the software, even moreso because it's free.
            The GPL is pretty clear on "ownership" and usage, and what not

            Not like proprietary, where you own the disk, not the data on. That would natually be handled totally differently.

            Like if you gave the cars to the rental agency, as is, free of charge, no responsibility. If the wheel falls off, it's not your fault, nor is it Fords.
            William Farrel
          • owning the data

            Actually William, you newer own the data. It is immaterial. It's just virtual bits temporarily stored on some media. They could disappear any moment. You own rights and that's all.

            Doesn't matter if you use the GPL license or Microsoft's EULA.

            The GPL license does not help you with breaching someone's patents. Neither does the Microsoft's EULA.
            danbi
          • Who placed those lines of code into Linux?

            Could be, Microsoft (employee)?
            danbi
          • What if they did?

            According to most open-source advocates (including yourself, @danbi), the Linux kernel is open source and publicly vetted, which means that any rogue code would be immediately knocked out before it could possibly taint the kernel.

            By this reasoning, any code that makes it to the mainstream kernel, regardless of who added the code, has been allowed there by the Linux kernel development team.
            daftkey
          • Embrace, extend, extinguish

            Let's see how much longer Amdocs lasts. I know Wilie is still salivating.
            CaviarBlack