Microsoft will add almost 60,000 patents to OIN, vastly enlarging its existing pool of 1,300 global patents.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the Redmond-based technology giant had joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in the world with more than 2,650 members.
Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, said: "We want to protect open source projects from IP lawsuits, so we're opening our patent portfolio to the OIN".
The OIN group formed in 2005 to protect proponents of the open source Linux operating system from legal actions, and now covers a broader range of open source technologies. "It is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents". This resulted in frequent clashes with the Android community and others but Microsoft is intent on leaving that behind.
Microsoft says that it understands that companies and developers don't want just a "binary choice between Windows vs Linux, or.NET vs Java", stating that access to all technologies for their platforms.
The patents, as well as those on offer from other members including Google, IBM, Sony and Philips, are available to license royalty-free to anyone that joins the OIN community. "For others who have followed our evolution as a company, we hope this will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to its customers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs". A number of Android vendors, including Samsung, pay the company a royalty on each phone they ship to license patents such as the ones covering the exFAT file system.
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