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.
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.