Apple, Oracle and EMC are members of the consortium set up by Microsoft to buy 882 patents from Novell, a deal that went along with Attachmate's multi-billion-dollar takeover of the software and services company, documents have shown.
The $2.2bn (£1.4bn) Attachmate merger was announced in late November, along with the news that a new, Microsoft-organised consortium called CPTN Holdings would be buying 882 of Novell's patents — although, as Novell subsequently stressed, these would not include the firm's Unix copyrights.
On 9 December, CPTN Holdings filed documentation with the German antitrust regulator, revealing as it did so that its members are Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC.
FOSS patents blogger Florian Mueller, who flagged up the filing, noted in a post on Thursday that these four very different companies would "have to agree on a common denominator concerning the patents to be acquired".
"They've apparently been able to agree that those patents are valuable assets to own," Mueller wrote. "I still don't know the list of those patents, but it's important progress that we now have the names of the companies, thanks to the German competition authority."