Microsoft and Amazon Strike Deal, Linux Foundation Comments
Article by George Norman
On 23 Feb 2010
Redmond-based software giant Microsoft announced the fact that it just struck a patent cross-license agreement with Amazon.com Inc. As part of the deal, Microsoft will have access to Amazon’s patent portfolio – and Amazon will have access to Microsoft’s patent portfolio. Also As part of the deal, Microsoft will pay Amazon “an undisclosed amount of money” – we’ll assume it’s a lot.

“We are pleased to have entered into this patent license agreement with Amazon.com,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “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.”

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One of Amazon’s most popular products is the Kindle e-reader. The Microsoft-Amazon deal covers a wide range of products and technology, including the Kindle, the e-reading device that uses Amazon’s proprietary software components and open source software. The deal also covers Amazon’s Linux Based servers.

Microsoft made sure to emphasize the part above in a press statement released the other day. Executive Director with the Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin, finds this peculiar. As Zemlin explained, when companies strike a deal like the one between Microsoft and Amazon, they do not usually tell the world about it in a press release (see Microsoft's here).

“Companies reach broad cross-license agreements all the time, never disclose the patents involved and don’t often issue press releases about it,” commented Zmelin. “Amazing how despite the “broad range of products and technology” covered in their cross license, Microsoft chose to focus on Linux and open source - distinctly calling it out from “proprietary software” and wasn’t specific about any patents. It is worth noting that most technology companies have invested heavily in patents and that a cross-licensing agreement is a non-news event. There’s nothing to see here. We have real code to write.”



Tags: Microsoft, Amazon, Linux Foundation
About the author: George Norman
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