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.