Microsoft, Amazon Strike Cross-Licensing Deal

Agreement includes Amazon’s Kindle and use of Linux-based servers. Joins others paying Microsoft for Linux.

February 24, 2010

D.H. Kass

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Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. have signed a cross licensing, intellectual property agreement to open each other’s patent portfolio, a deal that includes Amazon’s Kindle e-reading device and its use of Linux-based servers.

Under terms of the agreement, which covers open source and Linux-based technology, Amazon will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of money although specific details were not revealed.

Neither company spelled out the patents to which the deal grants the other access.

Amazon joins a growing list of companies using Linux to strike a patent deal with Microsoft, which has claimed on a number of occasions that open source software violates some of its patents. Last May, Microsoft signed a similar agreement with TomTom, a maker of portable GPS navigation systems.

Amazon’s Kindle device, which employs a mix of proprietary and open source software, runs Linux.

Microsoft said it has signed 600 such patent licensing agreements since 2003, including deals with Apple Computer Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., LG Electronics, Nikon Corp., Pioneer Corp., Novell Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., among others.

In a statement, the company referenced both its IP perspective and prior patent licensing deals concerning open source software.

“Microsoft’s patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the software industry, and this agreement demonstrates our mutual respect for intellectual property as well as our ability to reach pragmatic solutions to IP issues regardless of whether proprietary or open source software is involved,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing.

TAGS: Linux,Amazon,Microsoft,Kindle,licensing

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