Hi-Tech

Microsoft just open-sourced 60,000 of its patents

Microsoft just open-sourced 60,000 of its patents

Following yesterday's rather landmark move of Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network and thus allowing much of its vast patent collection now being allowed to help off patent attacks within the Linux/open-source ecosystem, the Free Software Foundation applauded the move but wants Microsoft to do more. Founded back in 2005, OIN's mission has been to shield Linux developers from patent lawsuits - a legal tactic Microsoft has used time and time again to extract royalties from industry vendors.

"We know Microsoft's decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents." wrote Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel Erich Andersen in a blog post. Enterprise cloud computing depends heavily on Linux and other open-source technologies, and any type of patent dispute involving open-source technology would send shock waves through the system.

Microsoft has made billions from its extensive library of software patents. This resulted in frequent clashes with the Android community and others but Microsoft is intent on leaving that behind. By joining OIN, the company may be able to convince even the most ardent skeptics that it really does love Linux and open source.




OIN works by providing patent cross-licenses between companies that have joined it, these covering Linux tech. Members of OIN get access to the OIN's roster of patents and cross-licenses among the licensees of OIN without needing to pay royalties.

Now, the company is really putting its money where its mouth is by joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), a group which manages a system of patent cross-licensing created to reduce the risk of open-source projects being shut down by patent infringement claims - with some of said claims having, in the past, come from Microsoft itself.


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